Written By Dale Brown,1988. Edited & expanded on by Sarah Spira, 2022
The John Taisey House, also known as the Brick House of Groton, was built in 1823.
The house is located just off of Route 302, currently the main thoroughfare between Montpelier, Vermont and Portland, Maine.
This corridor along the Wells River has been well traveled: before colonization, the Abenaki traveled along a trail that extends from the Winooski River in Plainfield to the Coos Meadow at Wells River and crosses the NW corner of the Taisey property.
Prior to the establishment of Vermont and the chartering of Groton, this area was a part of Gloucester County, NY. New York made this trail passable for wagons and troop movement. Surveying records located the county road across the farm of the brick house.
When Groton was chartered in 1789, James Whitelaw and Ira Allen surveyed the land and divided it up into 86 lots. The charter members were assigned lots by drawing a number from a bean pot at a meeting in Newbury, VT.
Elijah Galusha drew lot 17, and No. 18 rights were drawn by Nathaniel Lowell. No improvements of the land were recorded.
The lot occupied by the brick house was lot 17, however the close proximity of lot 18 was usually associated with it. The stone wall on the hillside in back of the house was the boundary line between the two allotments.
Ephrarim Garey purchased lots 17 & 18 in 1801, and in 1805 he built a home somewhere near Legare’s sugar house.
Mr Garey sold 50 acres of lot 17 and 40 acres of lot 18 to Robert Taisey on March 21, 1814. Dale Brown notes that as late as the 1900s the pastureland behind the brick house was still known as Garey Hill. He must have been quite well known!
Robert Taisey owned a grist mill, and built the first stone house in town. The farm was passed down through the oldest son for 3 generations: Robert to John, John to William, and William to George W. Taisey and was in the Taisey family until 1930.
On April 29, 1823, Robert sold 40 acres of lot 17 to his son John. John worked at the gristmill, and became an entrepreneur. He started a brickyard/ kiln near the road that led down to the bridge crossing the Wells River. He also sold the ashes from the kiln as potash, used to make soap. The revenue from these endeavors allowed him to grow the property, and purchase an additional 300 acres. John Taisey and his wife Phoebe Heath had 17 children- with 10 living to adulthood.
William Taisey, the oldest of John’s sons, lived on the farm his entire life. John Taisey deeded the homestead to William in 1860.
William’s oldest son George W., moved to Boston and worked as a teamster in his 20s. He returned to the farm in 1870 and built the white house. He Married Phoebe Whitehill (d. 1895) in 1872, and farmed with his father William.
On March 18,1884, William deeded the white house, the east end of the shed, the brick house, and equal rights to the basement to George W. Taisey.
The estate settlement of William Taisey in 1895 left George the remainder of the real estate.
George W. Taisey had 4 children with 3 living to adulthood. Harry Taisey was a barber, Herbert a stonecutter in Groton, and George Ernest (Ernie) was a clerk in Boston.
Upon George George W. Taisey’s death, George Ernest Taisey was willed 1/2 of the estate in 1905.
In 1907, G.E. Taisey sold his interest in the farm to his Aunt, Margaret (Taisey) Mead. Margaret returned to Groton from Dorchester, Massachusetts after the death of her husband. She lived in the white house.
On May 20, 1907 the brick house was deeded to Chrissie Whitehill, Margaret (Taisey) Mead’s sister-in-law. Chrissie’s husband had previously been married to Margaret’s older sister, Mary Taisey.
Dale Brown notes that between 1907 and 1925 there may have been a falling out between Margaret and Chrissie, and that it might have had to do with rights to access the basement. Part of the reason this is suspected is because Margaret left her estate (and the white house) to the Groton Baptist Church.
On Nov. 14, 1925 Chrissie Whitehill purchased the Mead estate from the Church.
On August 22, 1930 Chrissie sold the farm to Robert Taisey Heath.
Robert Taisey Heath sold the farm to John French on June 1, 1932. Mr. French raised turkeys and sold gravel. He purchased additional land which made it one of the larger farms in the area.
John French died July 30, 1957. His wife Nellie was bequeathed the estate. She then sold the farm to I.N.H. (“Newty”) Darling on December 5, 1960.
The Darling’s owned the farm for 2 generations: I.N.H. Darling deeded the property to his son Gerry August 12, 1980. Gerry sold the property on May 2, 1985 to Dr. H. Gordon Page and Louise Page.
In 2005, the house was sold to Deb & Mel Lyford, who resided there until 2021 when the house was sold to its current owners- Sarah Spira and Terrence Curran.