Historic Home Closeup- The
Widows at Number 734 (Longmeadow Street)
by Linda Abrams- Curator, Longmeadow Historical Society-
old home once stood on this property; the home of
Roderick and Charlotte (Williams) Burt.
Upon Roderick's death in 1850, his widow forged on alone
until finally persuaded to sell her home and large
Eventually two wealthy sons of a former minister, Rev.
Samuel Wolcott, purchased the house and property in 1883
with a goal to update the old house as a retirement home
for their parents who wished to return to Longmeadow.
Rev. Samuel Wolcott, recently of the American Missionary
Society in Cleveland, had been the minister at First
Church from 1843-1847. As workers were dismantling the
old home, the adjacent barn caught fire and all
structures were consumed; 30 April 1884. Therein began
the construction of a larger and more grand home.
Rev. Samuel and Harriet (Pope) Wolcott
moved into the new home once the living quarters were
completed, but sadly, before the home was finished, Rev.
Wolcott died in Feb 1886, less than two years after
taking residence. Widow Harriet Wolcott forged on alone
until her death in 1901.
The next owners were the family of Edward and
Corinne Brewer. The Brewers made many
improvements, with the biggest change being the
appearance. Edward Brewer had also owned the large
hotel, Ocean House, in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, and
perhaps sought a lighter color for his new home. He had
the old brown shingles replaced with white clapboards
and it has remained white ever since. He died in 1911,
having enjoyed only 10 years in this grand mansion. His
widow remained there alone for a few years but then
began dividing her time between Florida and her
daughter's home in Boston. Eventually the home stood
lonely and unoccupied.
Upon the death of the Widow Brewer in 1921, the home was
purchased by another widow, Mary Ida
(Stephenson) Young. The Youngs, Wilbur and Mary
Ida, had been living in their large home on State Street
in Springfield, where Wilbur died in 1918. Mary
Ida, having been friends with the Brewers, eagerly
purchased the estate, which would provide ample space
for the gardens and animals she desired to have.
The Widow Young moved into the mansion with many
servants in 1922, which began the real glory days of the
property. Although she took over the management of the
company upon the death of her husband, she eagerly
awaited the time when her only son, Wilbur F Young, Jr.,
would complete his education and assume control.
His brief period in charge ended suddenly with his
accidental death in Bermuda at age 30.
Meanwhile, Mary Ida had married a third time to a man
named David Alexander (both she and Wilbur had had
previous marriages without children), whom she divorced
soon after the loss of her son. Mary Ida married a
fourth time, in 1933, to Charles Denault. During their
life together, their home, that she had named Meadowview
Farms, became the site of many social activities,
benefits, and horse shows, as well as a showcase for the
black Persian sheep, cows, chickens, and even the
creation of a deer farm on the 18 original acres of the
estate. The grounds were extensively landscaped and the
scene of many garden parties.
Upon the death of Charles Denault in 1948, Mary Ida
(Stephenson) [Norton] [Young] [Alexander] Denault became
a widow once again. At this time Mary Ida petitioned the
court for a name change to be legally known as Mary Ida
Young. The home, with the beautiful glass conservatory
fashioned after the Crystal Palace Exposition in London,
continued to be seen as the location for very visible
high social events even when she had to give up many of
the acres of her farm when Route 91 cut a wide swath
through her property in the early 1950s. Even in her
later years, she would host formal teas for the young
ladies in town to assess their proper manners; a
frightening experience for this writer.
The Widow Mary Ida Young passed away on Halloween,
October 31, 1960, at age 95. Sure wish we had her
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