The Andover Historical Society will present an exhibit of photos, memorabilia, furniture, and household items from Weare Drake Tuttle and his descendants, as well as paintings and crafts by his daughter, Stella Tuttle Thompson. The exhibit will be on display in the JC Emons Store Museum at the Andover Historical Society in Potter Place from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. For details, visit AndoverHistory.org.
Weare Drake Tuttle came to Andover in 1860 from Effingham, New Hampshire. His six-times great-grandfather, John Tuttle (1610-1663), sailed from England on the “Angel Gabriel” in 1635 and survived its wreckage off the coast of Maine.
John was granted land to farm in Effingham, near what is now Dover, by England’s King Charles II. This farm has become known as the country’s longest continuously run family farm.
After arriving in East Andover, Weare Drake Tuttle bought the 15-room colonial-style farm with barn at 47 Maple Street. For generations, this Tuttle farm has been called The Homestead. It was built by Squire Brown circa 1824.
In 1866, Weare married Ellen “Nellie” M. Flanders, whose family lived on Cascade Road/ Kearsarge Mountain in Wilmot. They had four children: Issa, Lynford, Stella, and Ralph. Nellie was a milliner and dressmaker. Weare served as a state representative (1900-1901), selectman, and supervisor of the checklist.
He was a very successful businessman. The Homestead became the site of the Andover Provisions Company. Ralph Chaffee wrote in his History of Andover, 1966: “In the early part of the [20th] century, several meat and provision carts were operated out of East Andover. The most ambitious project of this sort was the Andover Provision Company, consisting of Weare D. Tuttle, F. Carroll Colby, and Ernest B. Thompson, with headquarters at the Tuttle Farm [the Homestead].”
Weare and Nellie lived the rest of their lives at the Homestead. Nellie had a successful dressmaking and hat business out of the Homestead, as well. Stella Tuttle Thompson, their third-born, lived there until her death in 1968. She married Ernest Bertelle Thompson, who became a partner in business with his father-in-law.
Bertelle also established the Farm Bureau Insurance Company. Stella and Bertelle had four children: Donald, Katharine, Tuttle, and Alan. Alan K. Thompson (1911-1986) farmed alongside his father, purchasing the farm next door to the Homestead in the 1940s. He married Florence Hall and had five children: Madelyn, Jane, Carolyn, John, and Mark. Alan was successful in the insurance business started by Bertelle.
Following Stella’s death in 1968, the Homestead was passed down to Alan’s son, Mark E. Thompson, and his wife Sandy Rayno Thompson. They had three sons: John, Jerry, and James.
In 1995, the Homestead was sold to Patrick and Christine Frost after being in the Tuttle and Thompson families for 165 years. Today, it is owned by Frank and Justine Puliafico.
Fun Notes of Interest
Weare Drake Tuttle’s name is written on a stained-glass window in the East Andover church.
It has been told that Weare and Ellen attended Lincoln’s second inauguration in 1865.
It has been said that Lincoln visited the Tuttle family farm in Effingham.
Issa taught at the Tucker Mountain School for one year in 1887. She and Stella are present in the photo published in Ralph Chaffee’s book.
It has been said that Stella was the first woman in Andover to cast a vote, in 1920.
Stella was a prolific artist and crafter.