Friday, October 11, 2013

The Captain Joseph Gould Barn & Preservation

An introduction share to the article The Captain Joseph Gould Barn in the Topsfield Historical Collections Volume 34 written by Norm Isler President of the Topsfield Historic Society 
The article can be found at the Topsfield Public Library in the reference section.
Sundial Sundial, 1697. In back of Parson Capen house in Topsfield, MA.Photo by Kristen Galardi

The article details the preservation of present and future plans and the years of effort and dedication put forth by local residents and fund raisers. A great read! (and some added genealogy details by Melissa).

Norm Isler has written a wonderful, detailed account on the project to preserve one of Topsfield's oldest structures--the reconstruction of the Joseph Gould Barn on the Capen House property located at 1 Howlett Street. Isler was the heart and soul who initiated this venture. In his article Isler walks the reader through the entire process of this venture. Learn how all these committed and loyal men and women made this possible--from architects to boards to local caring residents. The researchers and construction crew---a 4th grade teacher in the community who raised funds from a penny drive. A donation even came from Hawaii. Several stores and corporations who pledged their time, money, services, and supplies. Garden club to Rotarian members all helped to make this a reality.

The property is now the central location of Topsfield's Historic headquarters. A climate controlled archives center, a host for several artifacts---including a musket from Revolutionary war and much more! The barn is also a facility for private and community events. Stop by the Topsfield library or tour the Gould Barn to learn about the great journey that brought back a 300+ year old structure to life!

Birthday celebration held at the barn

Zaccheus Gould (1589-1668) son of Richard Gould and Mary Colder. He was one of the founders of Topsfield and married Phebe Deacon daughter of Thomas Deacon and Marsha Field. The couple had one son John Gould (1635-1709) m Sarah Baker October 14, 1660

John (December 1, 1662 - 1724), married Phebe French in 1684
Sarah (December 18, 1664 - 1723), married Joseph Bixby, Jr. in 1682
Thomas (February 14, 1666 - 1752), married first Mary Yates in 1700. Thomas married second in 1728/29, the widow Mary Stanley
Samuel (March 9, 1669/70 - 1724), married Margaret Stone in 1697
Zaccheus (March 26, 1672 - 1739), married Elizabeth Curtice in 1703
Priscilla (November 2, 1674 - 1715), married John Curtice, Jr. in 1695
Joseph (August 24, 1677 - 1753), married Priscilla Perkins in 1712/13
Mary (June 16, 1681 - May 11, 168)

It was John Gould and his wife Phebe who built the barn in 1710---location 129 Washington Street. He was a weaver. The fifth son Joseph Gould---Captain, Ensign, Selectmen, and representative of the general court for the town had a son Joseph which the barn was named after. He was a farmer and Captain of a military Co. April 19, 1775 when the bell sounded for the battle of Lexington and Concord, Joseph did a stand halt in the field and left his plow in mid-furrow and darted off to fight the Brits.

Bond from the From the Hansen/Gould Family History site


A bond, given by John Gould (1635-1710) in 1664, before his father’s death, promising to pay £24 to each of the five daughters of his sister Priscilla (Wildes) upon their attaining the age of 21 years.  Priscilla had died nearly fourteen months before, and Wildes was married again to the unfortunate Sarah Averill. The bond is witnessed by John and Thomas Baker, brothers-in-law of John Gould.  Upon the reverse of the same paper is a receipt by Timothy Day for the share of his wife Phebe.

Home built in 1670 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Because the property was subdivided, it is no longer at its listed address, 73 Prospect Street.

Gould family clip from the Archives: Another Fire in Topsfield Saturday, December 17, 1836 Gloucester Telegraph (Gloucester, MA)

Also check out these sources: An Account of Some early Settlers of West Dunstable, Monson, and Hollis, NH Vital Records of Topsfield, Massachusetts: To the end of the year 1849 Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts Town Records of Topsfield, Massachusetts by Joseph Dow With Lists of Members and Their Revolutionary Ancestors


  1. Very interesting article about the early Gould family. Zaccheus Gould is my 10th great grandfather on my mother's mother's side. Nice to see this map and and the story on the barn. Ward H

  2. Melissa, this is a helpful piece, thank you. Now I wish a document woul emerge clarifying whether or not Priscilla Putnam of Salem was the sister of Zaccheus Gould. Much speculation, no evidence. I descend from John's brother, Thomas Gould. That Pine Grove Cemetery continues to be the resting place of our current Goulds, from their grandparents, Zaccheus Gould and Phebe Deacon Gould on down.


  4. Hey Judith,
    I did find information that Priscilla Gould, who married John Putnam Sr. in 1611 in Aston Abbots, Buckinghamshire, England was indeed the sister of Zaccheus Gould. Zaccheus Gould was the brother of Richard Gould, Jeremy Gould, John Gould and Priscilla Gould. Feel free to shoot me an email. Zaccheus Gould is my 9th great grandfather on my dad's side.
    -Laura Gould

  5. Oh thank you for the article. Zaccheus Gould is my paternal 9th great grandfather, while, also listed, Timothy Day is my paternal 7th great grandfather.