Peter Rice Homestead is home to Marlborough’s rich history

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Peter Rice Homestead is home to Marlborough’s rich history
The Peter Rice Homestead on Elm Street has been the home of the Marlborough Historical Society since 1964. (Photo/Courtesy of the Marlborough Historical Society)

MARLBOROUGH – The Peter Rice Homestead is located at 377 Elm Street and has been the home of the Marlborough Historical Society since 1964.

The society has preserved some of the rooms as they might have been when the house was built. However, they are currently using one area as a military room to house information and items of the men and women from Marlborough that served. There is also a room that has all the authentic desks and school materials from the 1800s.

The Homestead was built in 1688 by Peter Rice for his bride Rebecca Howe. Peter was the grandson of Edmund Rice who came from England around the year 1638. Peter and Rebecca had eleven children.

They supported the farm with horses, sheep and swine and many crops.

Peter was active in civil affairs. In 1711 at the time of Queen Anne’s War, he was one of a committee who designated garrison houses and he was captain of the train band. He was also a representative to the General Court of Massachusetts. Peter’s landholdings extended well into Westborough and Northborough.

After Rebecca died in 1749 and Peter in 1753, they were both buried in the Old Common Cemetery behind the Walker building. Peter’s son Abraham enlarged the homestead when he inherited it. Abraham’s son Peter followed and then his son Eli. Eli’s daughter married Otis Russell and had seventeen children. They were living on the farm at the time of the Civil War. Five of their sons served and two lost their lives. Sophronia was the last of the Rice-Russell family to live in the house. It was then sold to Ernest Fitch in 1894 and later to his son-in-law, Edward McLeod.

In 1939 the Joseph LaBelle family took over the property and went on to provide badly needed housing after World War II. They divided the house into several apartments. The homestead was next sold to Honeywell Corp. To ensure the preservation of this historic house Honeywell deeded it to the Marlborough Historical Society in 1964.

For more information: https://www.historicmarlborough.org/peter-rice-homestead

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