Joseph Howard House // 1808

Salem, Massachusetts is probably the best town in the country to see amazing Halloween decorations everywhere and possibly the largest collection of high-style Federal period homes, a perfect pairing! This brick Federal home on Brown Street was built in 1808 for Joseph Howard (1780-1857) after his marriage to Anstiss Smith when they were in their 20s! Joseph worked as a shipping merchant in town. Together the couple had 11 children, with the last three dying in infancy. In 1827, the family relocated to Brooklyn, New York, and there, with his son, John Tasker Howard the two established the shipping and commission house of J. Howard & Son, with offices on South Street, and later at 34 Broadway. The family lived the remainder of their lives in New York. This house in Salem was sold to Thomas Downing, a dry goods dealer with a store nearby on Essex Street. Sadly, Downing suffered with severe depression in the later years of his life until 1859 when he took his own life in the stairwell of the eastern tower of the East Church in Salem (now the Salem Witch Museum). The Brown Street home was willed to his widow.

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