Mary Ann Wentworth Hart (1820-1891), Freewill Baptist preacher; Alfred W. Hart (1843-1863), Civil War soldier

329 Main St., South Berwick

c. 1820 Wentworth-Hart-Butler House - 329 Main St.

This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. On the South Berwick map of c. 1856, the home at 329 Main is labeled M. & S. Wentworth. Wentworth descendants say Mary Ann Wentworth Hart (1820-1891) and her husband Simon Hart lived here, and that she was a Free Will Baptist preacher. She was the daughter of Capt. Samuel Wentworth (1792-1851), buried in the Free Will Baptist cemetery.

Mary Ann and Simon Hart’s son, Alfred W. Hart (1843-1863), died in the Civil War. The family grave in the Free Will cemetery is marked, "Our first born – He gave his life for his country.”

On a map in the Atlas of York County, 1872, the house was then occupied by George W. Butler (1814-1881), clerk of the Free Will Baptist church for 23 years. He owned the Butler Store, later 337 Main. Butler Street likely took its name from him.

Simon Hart's family had earlier settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  A Hart family descendant, Louise Hart, writes, "Simon Hart was a direct descendant of Thomas Hart, first selectman, first town clerk, member of the town militia, a tanner, successful businessman and builder of the 1640 Hart House, considered the only extant prime example of 17th century architecture in New England.  Rooms from the Hart House are lodged with the Vanderbilt Museum (R.I.) and N.Y. Metropolitan Museum (NYC).  Thomas Hart's son, George's house is in the collection at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC."

(Summary by Wendy Pirsig from archives at the Counting House Museum. Updated December 2020.)