Mary Baker Eddy Historic House
29 Hall’s Brook Road
North Groton, NH 03241
Open May – October, Tuesday-Saturday
Tour is paired with the house in Rumney, NH.
Mary Baker Eddy (1821 – 1910) was the founder of Christian Science, a new religious movement that emerged in New England in the late 19th century. Eddy is the author of the movement's textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (first published 1875), and founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist (1879). She also founded the Christian Science Publishing Society, which continues to publish a number of periodicals, including The Christian Science Monitor.
The house: The Pattersons’ former home — a four-room cottage — nestles in a depression that slopes downhill from the main road and bridge high above Hall’s Brook. The front door is just two steps above the ground, but in the rear the land falls off steeply to the banks of the brook. Below the kitchen window, water flows past low and peaceful in summer, high and roaring in spring run-offs, and sets silent and icy in the dead of winter.
When Mrs. Longyear found this house in 1920, it had long since been moved to an upland field. She had it moved by horse and sledge back to its former site. The house has undergone several major renovations over the years, with an historically correct exterior restoration in 2002. An interior restoration is being planned. In an overgrown, dried-up former sluice at the bottom of the property, researchers have uncovered the rusty remains of a nineteenth-century sawmill — Daniel Patterson’s failed venture.
Its story: In the late 1840s in Sanbornton, New Hampshire, the widowed Mary Baker Glover was in chronic ill health and often unable to care for her young son, George. A family acquaintance often looked after the boy. This acquaintance married a man living in North Groton and desired to take George with her. Under the circumstances of Mary’s precarious health, that seemed like the best solution.
In 1853 Mary married Daniel Patterson, a dentist, and looked forward to having “Georgie” live with her. In 1855 Patterson purchased this small house and a sawmill operation, and the Pattersons moved to North Groton.
Stepping across this threshold, you stand in the cottage where the future Mary Baker Eddy came in hopes that her husband would provide a home for her son. But it was not to be. A year after the Pattersons moved to North Groton, the family caring for the boy moved to the far West. Without seeking her permission, they took 11-year-old Georgie with them. He was told his mother had died. She was told that he had wandered away and was lost in the vast open spaces of the frontier.
In five mostly grim years here, Mary’s health declined. She was an often bedridden semi-invalid. But these walls witnessed some intuitions about healing stirring in her thought. Seeking to recover from her ills, she experimented with various systems that promised cures. For health, she looked to Jahr’s Manual of Homeopathic Medicine and other works. But for spiritual sustenance, she looked — as she always had — to her Bible, where she found solace, strength, and hope.
After five years, her husband’s sawmill venture failed. The home and mill were foreclosed. Most of what they owned was lost to creditors. The Pattersons were forced to move on. Yet those intuitions about healing and the hopes inspired by the Bible continued to stir her thinking.