East New Market

Property Reports

110 Main Street

Varnes House (ca. 1886 - ca. 1973)

The site of the Varnes House was described as a vacant lot in 1883.  It was the south part of the Methodist Protestant Parsonage lot.  In 1896, a tax record describes the property with a dwelling and improvements.  Since tax records for 1876 to 1896 are missing, it is presumed that William J. Varnes built the house shortly after he purchased the lot in 1883.  William J. Varnes is listed as a machinist in East New Market in the 1887 Commercial Directory.  The Willoughby family demolished the Varnes house around 1973.

James Cheesman (b. 1895) stated that there was a family of Varnes who lived here.  And then after they died, some way Ruth got the house and it was torn down, or burned.

For more information about the original 1877 lot see 110 & 112 Main Street.

Note from Neil Frampton

As a child I spent more time in this home than any other in ENM besides my own.  I believe that the Varnes home was moved there after 1877 from somewhere else in town.  I say this because the front half was very old I think, with a middle section and a small back portion by the 1940's.  I was in every inch of the place, including the attic, and still have a nickel operated cylinder record player which my parents bought for me from that home's auction in the late 1950's.  Seems like the father died young, in the late 1800's, leaving a widow and 4 or 5 children to fend for themselves.  They had to be the poorest family in town by the 1940's, and survived only from food my folks gave them, and some help from one daughter who married well and moved away.  The other two sisters never married, and took care of an invalid brother who died at 60 in 1950.

Mrs. Mary Varnes was widowed prior to 1900 and tried to keep several of her children there for some years later.  Earl Varnes was out of the house by 1905 or so and working in Cambridge.  He took the photo of Methodist Church photo for that turn of the century postcard.  Sally & Edna Varnes never married, taking care of an invalid brother, Fletcher until he died in 1950.  The Willoughbys eventually bought the house & plot in the 60's or so, and wound up tearing it down.

Note from Chuck Hurley

The northern side of the Zeller yard is vacant but was the home of the Varnes' family - two sisters and one brother: Edna, Sally and Fletcher Varnes.  Fletcher was a bed-ridden cripple for all intents and purposes.  There were a number of questions centered around his disability from polio to fakery.