Moffatt-Ladd House

Built in 1763, this Georgian beauty was built by John Moffatt, one of the wealthiest men in colonial New Hampshire. He gave the house, which overlooks the Portsmouth Harbor, to his son Samuel as a wedding gift the following year.

In 1768, John bought the house back from his son and lived there with his daughter Catherine and her husband, William Whipple, until he died in 1784. Whipple was a Revolutionary War general and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

According to signage outside the house, “Prince, who was enslaved by General William Whipple and his wife, Katherine Moffatt, accompanied the general through several battles of the American Revolution but was not freed until 1781.

In 1799, however, Prince and Winsor were two of twenty African-born men in Portsmouth who signed an elegantly worded petition asked the State legislature to abolish slavery. The lawmakers tabled the petition. The local newspaper printed the text in its issue of July 15, 1780 “for the amusement” of its readers.”

John Moffatt left the house to Samuel’s descendants who received the property in 1818 after legal disputes. The following year, one of Samuel’s granddaughters, Maria Tufton Haven Ladd, inherited the house. Her son, Alexander Hamilton Ladd, lived here until his 1900 death. He was responsible for the home’s gardens.

In 1911, Alexander’s children donated the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in New Hampshire.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is now a house museum that is open the the public. Whipple’s sword and other items are inside, and outside is a horse chesnut tree Whipple planted in 1776 with seeds he brought back from Philadelphia.

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