Thursday, June 2, 2011

A.A. Farnsworth/Henry Jackson

(This post is part of a series about my research of Fitchburg architect H.M. Francis)

Today at the Historical Society, I began gathering information about Francis's clients by jotting down names attached to the inventory. The first name was A.A. Farnsworth. In my initial search through the archives, I did not find out much about Mr. Farnsworth, though I am going to delve deeper next week. What I found by re-examining the inventory was that his house was built in 1887, on Mount Vernon Street in Fitchburg. The house was designed in the Queen Anne style, a popular style of the time, as well as one of Francis's more prevalent architectural styles.

Fig. 1: A.A. Farnsworth House, built in 1887 (photo courtesy of
According to the 1892 City Directory, Henry Jackson the auditor for the city of Fitchburg lived in that house. I was able to find a brief write-up about him in a Souvenir edition of the Fitchburg Sentinel dated 06/18/1892.

Fig. 2: Write-up about Henry Jackson from Fitchburg Sentinel
The text reads:

A WELL-KNOWN citizen and public official of Fitchburg is Mr. Henry Jackson, whose vast experience has made him a valuable man to the city and its residents.
Born in Leominster, his parents came to Fitchburg when he was five years of age, and he has grown up with the city, residing here ever since. He obtained a good schooling at the academies of Framingham and this city. He was elected town clerk as far back as 1866, to which position he returned each subsequent election. When the city was incorporated he was elected city clerk. In the capacity of clerk he served the town and city until 1887, a period of 21 years, a most remarkable record, equalled by few city or town clerks in the state. Before the city was incorporated he also served as clerk of the Board of Selectmen until 1873. From 1872 to 1883 he also held the office of water registrar, while he was also librarian of the public library from 1866 to 1873. He was a member of the auditing committee of the town from 1867 to the time Fitchburg was made a city. Since 1887 he has held the office of city auditor, and is well fitted by ability and experience to perform its important duties. His repeated re-elections show his popularity in this city, while he is justly deserving of the confidence the public repose in him."

Over the years, the house was probably renovated with modern amenities, but a very thoughtful addition came in the shape of a sign on a street-facing window.

Fig. 3: Sign on the A.A. Farnsworth house (photo courtesy of

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