Saturday, April 15, 2023

Marble Farm Historic Site dedication

 On May 2, 2023, a 4:30 PM, Maynard's newest park will be dedicated. The event is planned to coincide with peak daffodil blooming, as thousands of daffodils were planted there, starting fall of 2018. The site is on the Assabet River Rail Trail, across Route 27 from Christmas Motors.

                           Below, parts taken from a 2019 newspaper column about the site

As for this site’s history, start with a witch trial. In 1692, Joseph Marble, resident of Andover, Massachusetts, posted bond for his two nieces, accused of witchcraft. Abigail Faulkner, their mother, had already been convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to be hanged. Her execution was deferred because she was pregnant. By the spring of 1693 the witch hunt frenzy was over. Abigail was pardoned, her daughters never brought to trial.

Maynard Historic Society photo of the house 
with barns in the background
Locally, records show Joseph Marble buying 140 acres of land in Sudbury in 1704. Exactly what land he bought and from whom has not been confirmed, but a good guess is from William Brown and at the northeast edge of what is now Maynard. Joseph is recorded as attending Sudbury town meetings. Joseph’s son John and his neighbors petitioned to switch their land to Stow in 1730. In 1871 the same land was included in the creation of Maynard, carved out of parts of Stow and Sudbury. Thus, over the years the homestead was located in three towns.

The family line at the homestead was as follows: Joseph Marble, then his son John, John’s son John, and that John’s son, John. (Whew!) John-the-last is buried in Glendale cemetery with his wife Lois. Their daughter Sarah Marble married Daniel Whitney and they inherited the house. Their daughter Mary Whitney married Joel Parmenter. Mary and Joel lived in Sudbury until Daniel Whitney died in 1871, then back to the homestead, making it the Parmenter house until Joel died in 1919. Mary’s and Joel’s son Harry owned only half of the house and none of the farm at the time the house burned to the ground in 1924. The house was never rebuilt and the barns (spared by the fire) are long gone. The land is owned by the town of Maynard.

A few highlights: The original immigrants John and Judith Marble, John and Elinor Whitney and John and Briget Parmenter, all arrived in New England in the 1630’s as part of the Puritan Great Migration. Joseph’s “witch” sister-in-law gave birth to Ammi Ruhamah Faulkner in 1693. His name was derived from Hebrew and translates as “my people have been saved” – apt for a child whose pregnancy saved his mother’s life! Around 1740 Ammi moved to South Acton and bought the mill. His home is now the historic Faulkner Homestead. His first cousin John Marble was already in residence at the Marble homestead, a mile down the road. Whitneys were early inhabitants of Stow; Parmenters early inhabitants of Sudbury.

Maynard Boy Scout Troop #130 at site
The site consists of a 28’ x 32’ house foundation and surrounding stone walls. In April 2009 Maynard’s Boy Scout Troop #130 cleared the site and installed a post and chain fence around part of the foundation. The east border is a walled ditch running parallel to the Assabet River Rail Trail. A historic plaque marks the site. The house burned on April 2, 1924. The nearest fire hydrant was too far away to be of any use.

Marble Farm was the topic of a presentation to the Maynard Historical Society in 2009. In attendance were two descendants of Joseph Marble! Charles Marble was a descendent of John, one of Joseph’s sons. Sally Wadman, maiden name Chandler descended from one of Joseph’s other sons – Edmund – who had married Mary Jewell in August 1711.Their daughter Dorothy married Moses Chandler in 1742, and through their son, Samuel Chandler, reached down through eight more generations to Sally. Chandler is another New England name dating its arrival to the early 1600’s, in this case to a William Chandler who arrived around 1637. Thus, through Sally’s genealogical research she was able to connect with her Marble, Jewell and Chandler ancestors who all arrived within 20 years of the Mayflower.

After the Scout effort the site reverted to wilderness, overgrown with Oriental bittersweet, sumac, blackberry and Japanese knotweed. Dead trees fell or were threatening. Starting in 2018, volunteers cleared a portion between the foundation and the rail trail this summer past and planted grass. In October of that year, more than 1,000 daffodils were planted. This was the first step toward converting Maynard’s portion of the Assabet River Rail Trail into a “Trail of Flowers.” The project continued in 2019 with more daffodils. A web site,, was launched.

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Initial drawing submitted to CPC in 2020
In 2020, Maynard's Community Preservation Committee funded a feasibility study for a landscape architect company go create a park creation design. The result was a design for a 2/3 acre park with a safety fence around the foundation, removal of brush piles, dead trees, brick entranceway and a well house, and addition of paths, and amenities such as benches, bike rack, entrance bridge and signage. In 2021, the CPC funded and the citizen vote approved a $100,000 budget. This went out for bid, no bids accepted, design elements removed, out for bid again, and a bid accepted summer of 2022. Project reduced to fence, removal of brush piles, dead trees, well house and deteriorating brick causeway, but no replacement bridge, stone dust paths or bike rack. 

Dedication event, May 2, 2023
A ground-breaking event took place in October 2022. Construction was completed in early 2023. A dedication event took place on May 2, 2023 (to coincide with peak daffodil blooming). The park, officially MARBLE FARM HISTORIC SITE, joins MapleBrook Park, Tobin Park and Ice House Landing as a series of parks adjacent to the Assabet River Rail Trail. The volunteer organization Trail of Flowers continues to augment the parks and other parts of the Rail Trail with flowering bulbs, perennials plants and flowering shrubs and trees, many chosen to be pollinator- and bird-friendly. The lettering on the sign was incised at the Assabet Valley Regional Technical/Vocational High School.



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