Otis E. Moulton (1851-1914), builder

Otis Moulton House 1875

1875 - Otis Moulton House – 84 Portland Street

This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Otis E. Moulton likely built it when starting a family after his marriage in 1878. He and his brother Ogden Moulton were builders of the Fogg Memorial bell tower at Berwick Academy in 1910.

Moulton was born in April 8, 1851 in Parsonsfield, ME. He was listed as a South Berwick “contractor and builder” in the state business directory (Maine Register) of 1880.

A Rev. O. T. Moulton was pastor of the South Berwick Freewill Baptist Church from 1868 to 1878. His first name may have been Orange, and his relationship to Otis is not known. In 1856, an Orange T. Moulton had been the first pastor of a Free Baptist Church in Oneonta, New York, and died there in 1887, according to their records posted on the internet.

Otis E. Moulton married Lydia Ellen Young of South Berwick, born in 1850. They were married May 25, 1878 in the First Baptist Church on Main Street. A daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born May 10, 1885.

It is not known whether Lydia Ellen Moulton was nicknamed Nellie, but a clipping in the Counting House Museum archives says a Nellie Young Moulton had been a classmate of Sarah Orne Jewett at Miss Olive Raynes’ school on Portland Street; she and Jewett are identified in a photo from the 1850s reprinted in the newspaper upon Miss Raynes’ retirement.

Nellie Young Moulton in Sarah Orne Jewett’s class at Miss Raynes’ school in the 1850s.

In 1910, Otis E. Moulton and his brother Ogden Moulton were builders of the Fogg Memorial tower at Berwick Academy. It replaced the original 1894 stone tower which was apparently exhibiting structural problems.

Otis Moulton died January 26, 1914, according to cemetery records. His wife Lydia Ellen died in 1922. They are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.


Restoration of Fogg Tower, 1998.  When Berwick Academy repaired the Fogg tower in 1998, timber framers Arron Sturgis and Dan Boyle found Otis and Ogden Moulton’s names repeatedly written on the timbers.  The 1998 carpenters repairing the tower in used many hand tools and methods that the Moulton brothers would have used in 1910. 

Arron Sturgis of Preservation Timber Framing at Berwick Academy

Keith Trefethen worked on the Fogg tower restoration in 1998.

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