Henry G. Harvey (1832-1888), Civil War veteran, builder

Henry G. Harvey House

1877 – Henry G. Harvey House - 8 Academy Street

This building is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Civil War veteran Henry G. Harvey (1832-1888) was a member of Company B of the 27th Regiment Maine Volunteers. He was a building contractor, and he built this Colonial Revival home in the decade after the war.

Harvey was listed as a South Berwick house builder in the Maine business registers of the late 1800s. He seems to perhaps have built a home for his neighbor, Dr. William P. Atkinson, at about the same time as his own. That house still stands at 144 Main Street.

Probably the son of Stephen Harvey, Henry G. Harvey built this Colonial Revival home for himself. It contains handsome fireplace mantels, the Harvey name in cut glass on the front doors, and a beautiful front staircase with a carved souvenir of the Philadelphia exposition of 1876 on the Newell post.

Martha Hayes Harvey

Martha Hayes Harvey 1833-1915 (Photo courtesy of Joyce Borkowski) 

Harvey married Armine Earle in 1858. She died in 1871 at age 34. Harvey‘s second wife was Martha F. Hayes, who was born in 1833. Did they attend the Philadelphia Exposition at the start of their marriage? Henry died in 1888 and Martha in 1915. They are buried in Portland Street Cemetery. His name is on the Soldiers Monument on Portland Street.

Henry and Armine had a son, Herman E. Harvey, who was born in 1858. When he grew up he worked for the railroad. 

Herman E. Harvey married Elizabeth Nowell, who was born in 1873. Their son, Ralph Herman Harvey, graduated from Berwick Academy in 1921 and enrolled at Northeastern University, but died of pneumonia and was buried on May 10, 1923.  

 The Harveys built the rear addition on the house in 1909. Elizabeth operated a tearoom in the house and rented rooms to teachers.  

The South Berwick town report of 1929 carried the following advertisement: “Mrs. Elizabeth N. Harvey announces the opening of ‘Elizabeth’s Coffee Room’ -- Waffles a Specialty – Salads and Sandwiches Served – TRANSIENTS ACCOMMODATED OVER NIGHT – Home Cooked Food For Sale On Order – Telephone 85-5.”

Herman E. Harvey died in 1936, and Elizabeth Nowell Harvey in 1940. 

Herman E. and Elizabeth Harvey's daughter was Ruth Harvey Brown. After a divorce she moved into this house and shared half with her mother. She gave piano lessons in the house for years, and taught music at South Berwick Central School and at Berwick Academy. Ruth had two sons, Ralph and Richard Brown.  Richard, born 1923, worked at the Newichawanick/Newichawannock or Burleigh woolen mill at Rocky Gorge (Great Works) while attending Berwick Academy, served in the armed forces during World War II, and became a successful engineer, designing many of California's arterial roads intersections.  

The family retained ties to the house until the mid-20th century. Later it became the home of Walter and Joyce Pray Borkowski and their family.

This summary by Wendy Pirsig was updated in 2010 with information from Richard Brown, and again in March 2021. Other details provided by Joyce Pray Borkowski, as well as references and archives of the Old Berwick Historical Society.