634 Main Street, New London NH

Current Use

  • Private residence


  • 2011 - 2012 Cochran heirs
  • 1960 - Home of Carl and Elinore Cochran
  • Home of Mary Burpee Macomber, Eliza Burpee Robbins and her husband Melville, and Hattie Burpee
  • Edwin Burpee Homestead
  • Perley Burpee residence (1816)

Building History

  • Built in 1816 as a wedding present from Joseph Colby to his daughter, Judith (1796-1884) and Perley Burpee (1790-1860). The Burpees had four children who survived to adulthood - Anthony Colby Burpee (1817-1905), Sarah (1823-1892), Judith Maria (1827-1907), and Edwin Perley Burpee (1829-1897). Anthony and Sarah never married and remained at the homestead throughout their lives, as did Edwin and his family. The original house had two main front rooms, each with a fireplace on the rear wall, and they were separated by a hallway with a pulpit stairway to the second floor. Behind the left front room was the kitchen ell, with a small room attached at the back. On the second floor were two bedrooms over the two downstairs front rooms, and an attic over the kitchen. Outside there was one large barn, a cobbler's shop where Perley made shoes, and several out buildings.
  • 1837 - "Uncle Burpee is enlarging his house and it is going to make a great improvement both in the outward appearance and the convenience of it." (Letter from Nancy Herrick to Susan Colby, Sept. 26, 1837, Colby-Sawyer College Archives). Extensions were made to the ell of the house to the left and the rear, giving an extra bedroom and more dining space on the first floor and an extra 2 extra bedrooms upstairs. By 1838, an insurance policy indicates there were three barns, some with attached sheds, a chaise house, and a shoemaker's shop.
  • In 1859 Edwin married Rosaline Todd(1838-1906); they had 5 children: Wilfred Ernest (1860-1948), Mary Elsie (1863-1952), Susan Colgate (1865-1888), Eliza Colby (1867-1959), and Hattie Todd (1873-1960). Mary married Walter Macomber in 1897, and after his death after 1899 she remained at the Homestead; Eliza married Melville Robbins in 1903 and they lived at the Homestead, and Hattie never married and lived at the Homestead.
  • c. 1878, other major changes took place to the house; the five fireplaces were removed, and the house was heated by 16 stoves. The roof was raised on the main part of the house, so that two more bedrooms could be built on a third floor. The ell was also made two and a half stories high, now containing 6 bedrooms. While a good pump went into the kitchen, there were still no bathrooms. With both Edwin and Anthony busy with extensive farming activity, additional barns were added over time - perhaps as many as seven total. The Burpee farm was a major collecting place for animals to be driven to the Brighton market.
  • 1890s - bay window added to left front room in 1894; front door removed and replaced with a double door with a frosted pane in each section, small paned windows replaced with 2 over 2 windows, pulpit stairway replaced by wider single run staircase to the second floor. After 1897 when Mary Burpee married Walter Macomber and he developed tuberculosis, a screened in porch was added.
  • Eliza Burpee married Melville Robbins in 1903. He was a skilled carpenter and made various improvements to the house and barns. Since he focused primarily on dairying rather than general farming, he extended the main barn, attached to the house, about a third, and attached the cobbler's shop to it to become a workshop Three other barns were demolished at this time (Frank Butler tapes, 7/21/72). He built a new, modern kitchen in the back rooms of the ell, adding electricity, bathrooms, and a coal-fired heating system.
  • Carl and Elinore Cochran bought the Homestead after the Hattie Burpee's death in 1960. They made major changes to the house; the bay window was removed and it and the other windows replaced with small paned windows; the main front door was replaced with added sidelights and transom, and other changes were made to better replicate the house's early appearance.The kitchen was moved to where the dining room had been and was modernized, and the old one became Carl's art studio. They painted the house ochre.
(Descriptions of changes to house are more thoroughly described in Judith Maria Burpee's Recollections, and in a paper which Malcolm Cochran [son of Carl and Elinore] wrote about the house while a student at Wesleyan University in 1971).

Stories & Trivia

Built by Joseph Colby as a wedding present for his daughter, Judith.

Photos & Images

Burpee Homestead