Ocean House History

The Owners of Ocean House

The Ocean House was built in 1748 by Colonel John Jones (b.1683 known as John Jones Esq.). An addition to the house was built about 1763. This addition is the East side of the house which includes the distinctive “Beverly Jog.” The new portion of the house was most likely occupied by John Jones, Esq. and his 3rd wife Mary as John Jones, Esq.’s final will dated 1772 reads, “Privilege in Dwelling to wife Mary (his third wife) together with executor (son John, Jr.); one half of old end to son John; one half of old end to son Anthony.” This would indicate that when John, Esq. died in 1773, the house was occupied by John Sr.’s wife Mary in the new or east side of the house and by John Jr. and his wife Mary and their five daughters in the old or west side of the house.

In 1777, Anthony and Elizabeth Jones sold their inherited rights to half of the old [part of] house and well to John Jr. John Jr.’s wife Mary died in 1792. John Jones, Jr. died in 1797.

In 1798 Mary Jones (John Esq.’s 3rd wife) acquired the Homestead, four lots of land, half of corn mill, and one 50′ x 30′ barn.

Mary died in 1798, at which time John and Hannah Jones occupied the house. This John Jones is the son of Anthony. When John died in 1824, the house was divided into two sections: widow Hannah to have east section with rights to bake oven in kitchen and to access cellar via stairs in the west section of the house. John H. Jones, son of John and Hannah, his wife Sally and their six year old son and one year old twin daughters to have the west section of the house. Hannah died in 1839. John H. died in 1846.

There is a lapse in records of ownership from 1846 to 1873. Albert Ellis, who was one of the first Selectman elected upon the town’s incorporation in 1846, sold the house to his son, William Fuller Ellis in 1873. William (who had also been a Selectman and a State Representative) sold the house on the same day to Benjamin W. Houghton. Benjamin’s wife, Mary was the daughter of James H. Jones and Helen M. Valentine. Helen’s father was Thomas Valentine. And Thomas’ mother was Elizabeth Jones, daughter of John Jones, Jr. Thus, at this time, John Jones, Esq.’s great-great-great granddaughter, owned the house. In 1880 Benjamin was listed as working in a boot shop; Mary as a milliner. Living with them in the house is James H. Jones, who at 80 years old is the postmaster. The house was next acquired through probate in 1899 by Benjamin and Mary’s daughter, Margaret E. Houghton. The 1900 US census shows Mary, her sister Caroline Jones, and Margaret, a school teacher, living in the house.

The house was then purchased by the Dwight Printing Co., owners from 1900 to 1902. William B. Sullivan, bought the property at auction in 1902 and sold it 15 days later to J.L. Schmidt et al and John B. Rooney et al. (This was the Rooney Syndicate.) It is most likely that the house was used as a rooming house by the granite mills across the street from 1900 to 1906, when the house was sold to Myra E. Stone (Mrs. George Stimson Stone) and yes, there is a Stimson and a Stone connection to the Jones family. Myra’s husband George was grandson of the Capt. John Stone, from whose estate Stone Park was donated, and his wife, Nancy Stimson., John, Esq.’s great-granddaughter. The house was now in the hands of John Esq’s great-great-great grandson.

In 1918, One hundred and seventy years after being built by John Jones, Esq., The Ocean House left the Jones family ownership for the final time. The remaining record of ownership is:

1918 – 1919 Laurence W. Pennington. Laurence was a jeweler, born in England.

1919 – 1944 Emma A. Thomas. There is no record of Emma living in Ashland. During this time, Miss Grace F. Gay lived in the house. Grace was Emma’s sister. Emma was married to William Thomas, a San Francisco lawyer.

1944 – 1946 Doris Hodgdon. Doris last resided in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

1946 – 1950 Joseph & Helen Torchio. Joseph was a probation officer for the Berkshire County Court in Pittsfield after leaving Ashland.

1950 – 1973 Hazel Jewett. Hazel was the wife of Paul N. Jewett

1973 – 1974 Charles Lincoln Jewett, Paul’s son

1974 – 1980 John D. and Joanne Reed

1980 – 1980 Merrill Lynch Relocation

1980 – 1983 David and Barbara Richardson

1983 – 1991 James Stewart

1991 – Present Ashland Historical Society

Cliff Wilson for the Ashland Historical Society