UPDATE: In an amazing display of generosity and love for the Warner House, a member who wishes to remain anonymous has already pledged a matching grant of $25,000 to the LCHIP matching grant! This incredible gesture will help the Warner House reach its goals; however, fundraising efforts must be matched to the penny to receive this remarkable gift. Your contribution will help keep the Warner House standing for its next 300 years!
UPDATE: As of July, the Warner House is four-fifths of the way to its goal of $25,000! Thank you to all the wonderful people who are supporting the Warner House! As you may know, the last mile is always the most challenging. Please help the Warner House cross the fundraising finish line!
Recently, the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) awarded the Warner House a $47,000 matching grant. LCHIP is an independent state authority that promotes preservation of natural, cultural and historic resources by providing matching grants to non-profits and municipalities. For more information on LCHIP, visit www.lchip.org
Warner House will use the funds for exterior envelope and structural repairs related to moisture mitigation. The project will include much needed repairs to the brick piers in the basement and repairs of other elements including the following: parapet caps, windows, masonry and gutters. All work will adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, ensuring that as much historic fabric is retained as possible, that if an architectural element has deteriorated beyond repair, it is replaced in-kind and through making modifications reversible.
Work will occur over a two-year period and be completed in time to celebrate our 300th anniversary and will position the Warner House to last another 300 years. Be on the lookout for specialized “hard hat tours” and special programs highlighting our progress.
To donate to this worthy cause and assist us in raising funds to match our challenge grant, please click on the donate button, which will take you to the secure Paypal site. If you would prefer to pay by check, please make the check payable to the WARNER HOUSE ASSOCIATION, memo line LCHIP GRANT, and mail it to WARNER HOUSE ASSOCIATION, P.O. BOX 895, PORTSMOUTH, NH 03802 – 0895.
Discover what happened to the Warner House after the passing of Jonathan Warner. Who were his beneficiaries in his will? Learn how people coped with grief in the 19th century. Faced with the devastating aftermath of the Christmas Eve fire of 1813, what was happening to Portsmouth? This season, the Warner House will mark the 200th anniversary of Warner’s death with programs, events and the Last of the Cocked Hats lecture series that will illuminate the time period, the city, and the family as they handle life after Warner. Click here for the Calendar of Events.
Warner House will herald its 82nd season on Sunday, June 1, 2014!
When the Warner House first opened in 1932 as a house museum, the building was largely unfurnished, the heirs understandably dividing and scattering its contents to their respective homes across the country. Through the years, descendants have donated items back to their ancestral home, and these cherished possessions now furnish the spacious rooms, illuminating the rich life of the six generations who once called the Warner House home.
This season, the Warner House celebrates the life of Jonathan Warner by honoring the bicentennial of his death. Find out more in the Calendar of Events.
Born in Portsmouth in 1726, Jonathan Warner followed the mercantile path of his father, Daniel Warner, and owned ships by the 1750s. By 1760, Warner was widowed with a young daughter, Polly. That year, he married Mary Macpheadris Osborne, the cousin of his deceased wife and family friend. Mary was a wealthy widow and heir to the estate of her father, Archibald Macpheadris, which included the brick mansion on Daniel Street, now known as the Warner House. Before the War of Independence broke out, Warner was a member of the King’s Council, and during the conflict, the Committee of Safety brought him to an Exeter jail after he refused to sign the Association Test. Like many businessmen who had strong financial ties with English trade, Warner straddled the political fence. Near the beginning of the war, Mary died, and in 1781, he married another wealthy heiress, Elizabeth Pitts, daughter of leading Boston patriot James Pitts and granddaughter of James Bowdoin. While his political allegiance remains a mystery, there is no doubt about Warner’s business acumen. After the Revolutionary War, Warner resumed his mercantile ways and later became active in local and state government. He served as moderator for the town of Portsmouth.
In 1810, Elizabeth died, leaving her vast estate to her husband. Warner survived long enough to see the Great Fire of 1813 gut Portsmouth, including the south side of Daniel Street where Warner purportedly had a store. As the town began to rebuild that spring, Jonathan Warner’s life was slipping away. He died on May 15, 1814, in the same house he had resided in for 54 years.
The mid-19th century journalist Charles W. Brewster recalled Jonathan Warner in Brewster’s Rambles About Portsmouth #25. Brewster wrote:
We well recollect Mr. W. as one of the last of the cocked hats. As in a vision of early childhood, he is still before us, in all the dignity of the aristocratic crown officers. That broad back, long skirted brown coat, those small clothes and silk stockings – those silver buckles, and that cane, we see them still, although the life that filled and moved them ceased half a century ago.