William Ingersoll Bowditch House // c.1855-1939

Once located in the Aspinwall Hill area of Brookline, the William Ingersoll Bowditch House stood alone in a sparsely developed section of metro Boston. Located on Tappan Street, this house was built by 1855 for William I. Bowditch (1818-1909), the son of the famous navigator Nathaniel Bowditch. William Bowditch’s successful career as a lawyer allowed him to support the liberal ideals and causes in which he believed, which were emboldened by forward-thinking citizens of Boston. He was an ardent abolitionist and a great friend of William Lloyd Garrison and John Brown. Bowditch was active in hiding run away slaves and aiding their safe escape via a small home on Toxteth Street in Brookline. Bowditch also advocated for women’s rights as at a Brookline town meeting in 1881, he suggested “That the town ask the legislature to extend to women who are citizens the right to hold office and vote in town affairs on the same terms as male citizens.”

After Bowditch’s death in 1909, the home was willed to his widow Sarah Rhea Higginson who resided their until her death ten years later. The home was occupied by heirs of Bowditch family lived in the home until 1938 when it was sold after the death of James Higginson Bowditch to John Richmond who razed the home and built seven homes along Tappan Street in its place.

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