STRAWBERY BANKE MUSEUM

 
Winn, to the left and Yeaton, to the right (following their Heritage House Program rehabilitations.)

WINN-YEATON HOUSES

The Family

In 1794, Thales Yeaton, a twenty-four year old trader, bought a large vacant lot on Jefferson Street. Two weeks later he sold the east half of his street frontage to Timothy Winn, his thirty year old brother-in-law who was also a trader. Almost immediately they began building two adjoining houses, completed the following year.

It was at exactly this time that Yeaton had a scrape with the law. He was part of a mob which in September of 1795 demonstrated against Jay's Treaty by marching through the streets, burning effigies and smashing windows. Yeaton was summoned to court in Exeter, but the charges were dropped and he returned home to a rousing welcome. He went on to become an established tobacco manufacturer on Buck (now State) Street in Portsmouth.

Timothy Winn, also a merchant, ran a shop near Yeaton on Mulberry, and then on Buck Street. The sign over his door read "Timothy Winn 3d" which earned him the punning nickname of "Three-penny Winn" He reportedly enjoyed the joke. Winn died at the relatively young age of thirty-nine from one of the deadliest killers of his day, consumption, now known as tuberculosis.

Architecture

Restored as part of the Heritage House Program the Winn-Yeaton Connected Houses were constructed simultaneously for two separate owners. Although frame houses connected in this manner are rare, this type of construction made the best use of limited space in an urban environment. The Winn-Yeaton House is one of the few framed examples which survived the fires of 1802, 1806 and 1813.

Inside, different floor plans show the individuality of two different owners. Winn House was built with a central hallway design and two chimneys. The two rear stairways and two kitchens reflect the fact that this house was designed for two-family occupancy. Yeaton House, in contrast, displays a central chimney and was built as a single-family dwelling.

Each of the houses originally housed a small commercial shop in one of the two front rooms. Such shops were common in urban areas in the eighteenth century when many crafts men and tradesmen worked out of their homes. The interiors exhibit many characteristics of post revolutionary architecture such as ogee (s-ended) friezes over the fireplaces, and denticulated mantels and cornices.

Winn House contains an exhibit entitled "To Build A House." This exhibit, partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, shows the various steps in constructing a house of this period, and displays tools of the craftsmen who built such houses.

Yeaton House contains the Montrone Family Gallery with a permanent exhibit on maritime Portsmouth, "Port of Portsmouth: War, Trade & Travel".