The "Old Chelmsford" Garrison House is a non-profit organization. The cost of saving the Hill Jock House will be a severe financial burden on the organization. We are asking members of the community to help by making a donation to help defray the cost.
Update March 24, 2004 -- THe Hill Jock house has finally been moved. The 4.5 mile journey took nearly 12 hours and caused numerous traffic delays, but the house is now at the "Old Chelmsford" Garrison House museum on Garrison Road, where it will become a permanent part of the museum.
The house arrived at its destination just in time for Preservation Week, which will be observed on May 9, 2004 at the Garrison House. Details here.
Update March 29, 2004 -- The date for the move has been set. The Hill Jock house will be moved to its new location on April 24 and 25.
Update March 22, 2004 -- The date for the move still has not been set, but we hope it is before the end of April. Keep checking this page, as the move date will be posted here as soon as it is known.
Update March 5, 2004 -- The house has been lowered almost to street level, and the wheels are in place to
carry the structure the 4.5 miles to its new location. Also, it was discovered that part of the roof would need to be removed
to lower the overall height of the house in order to avoid some of the more difficult-to-move electrical wires along the way.
The photo below shows the house as it appeared on March 4. 2004.
Update Feb 14, 2004 -- The movers have begun their work. The house is now about 1 foot above the foundation where it has stood
for over 200 years. The photo below shows the house as it looked on Feb 14, 2004.
The Hill Jock House
The Garrison House Association is pleased to be able to preserve a historic structure; The Hill Jock House, which was built by Jonathan (Jock) Parker in 1756 at the latest. The present owner wanted to demolish the historic structure, and was willing to give it to anyone who was willing to assume the large cost of moving and renovation.
In 1756 there were three men in Chelmsford named Jonathan Parker. One of them was black and easily identified. The other two lived very close to one another (at what is now 134 and 155 Boston Road). The one at 134 Boston road was a trooper in the American war for Independence and was known as "Trooper Jock". The other lived in the house on the hill and was known as "Hill Jock"; and of course, his house came to be known as the "Hill Jock House."
A most notable resident of the building was Willard Parker (1800-1884), who owned the place for many years. He moved there with his family when he was about 5 and eventually inherited the place, not selling it until around 1880. He taught school in Chelmsford from 1821 to 1823, before moving to New York City to become an eminent physician, one of the founders of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1847 and one of its presidents. A short note from the Academy's web site gives us:
"Willard Parker (1800-1884), one of the first health commissioners in New York City, organized the Alms House at Bellevue into a hospital that evolved into what is now Bellevue Hospital. President of the Academy in 1856, he was a successful surgeon who was among the first in America to operate successfully on an abscessed appendix."
Originally it was hoped that the move would occur in December of 2003, but the house needed some structural repair in order to make it capable of surviving the move. The repairs weren't complete until January, and March 6, 2004 is now the most likely date that the Hill Jock house will join the other buildings at 105 Garrison Road. After the structure has been moved, extensive renovations will be needed before the house can be opened to the public.
To the left is a picture of the original fireplace and beehive oven in the kitchen, and below is a picture of the house after being prepared for the movers. The top of the chimney was removed, the enclosed entrance was removed, and at the bottom the new sills are visible.