The Toppan-Towle Homestead
Old Home Day
1638 - Town of Hampton - 1962
234 Lafayette Road
The antecedents of this house date back to a tavern, operated by the widow of Moses Leavitt, and located on the Portsmouth Road a little north of the boundary between Hampton and North Hampton. In 1733 it burned to the ground and was rebuilt for the widow by kindly neighbors. (Joseph) Dow tells us that this tavern was moved many years later to its present site on Drakeside Road.
Shortly after 1776 Captain Caleb Toppan, a wealthy Newburyport ship owner and merchant, moved to Hampton with his family. According to the Hampton map of 1806, Toppan was living in the house at that time. Whether he was responsible for moving it is uncertain. It is possible that he was the owner who transformed the house into a beautiful mansion. It is possible too that he employed the same architect and ships carpenters as did General Moulton for his house, since they were both engaged in trade and were acquainted with another.
After Toppan's death, his grandson, Richard Greenleaf, taverner and trader, inherited the property and operated his store in a part of it. After Greenleaf moved from Hampton, David Towle, carpenter and undertaker, bought the property in the 1830's. It remained in the posssesion of the Towle family until the 1950's when it was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Claude La Roux and restored to its original plan as far as was consistent with modern living.
The beautiful paneling, the delicately reeded pilasteded columns flanking the fireplace in the living room, the window seats, sliding Indian shutters and folding shutters are similar to those features found in the General Moulton house. All of this suggests the possibility of some collaboration between Toppan and Moulton as mentioned above.
Mr. and Mrs. Elliott M. Gordon, the present (1962) owners of the house, have furnished it in a gracious and effective manner.