Highlights from the History of Needham in 100 objects
Title:
The Captain Fuller House, c.1860
Artist - Creator:
Timothy Newell Smith (1817-1893)
Date:
1861
Material:
Oil on board
Notes:
The Robert Fuller House was built in 1707, a few years prior to Fuller's marriage. It is a "salt box" house, so-called for the extended roofline at the back, giving it the characteristic asymmetrical shape. It is Needham's only First Period (early Colonial) structure, and is the oldest house in Needham, still standing at the corner of Forest Street and Burrill Lane, at the edge of North Hill. The road running across the picture is Forest Street, and the white house on the hill is in the approximate location of Babson College. At that time, North Hill and the surrounding area had been cleared for pasture.

Robert Fuller (1685-1769) was one of Needham's first residents, building his house in the Dedham North Parish, and signing the petition that separated the North Parish from Dedham in 1711. He was a captain in the militia during the French and Indian War (1745-48), and served the town as selectman for sixteen years and treasurer for four years. Fuller's descendants were some of Needham's most prominent families, serving the town in many capacities for generations.

Timothy Newell Smith, who painted this scene, was also a descendant of one of the town's oldest families. He was a carpenter, lumber-supplier, and shopkeeper, as well as an officer in Needham's militia in the 1840s, and served as selectman for a term. Smith drew and painted architecture and historic scenes.


Click to Enlarge
Robert Fuller HouseRobert Fuller House