|8. c. 1810– Raynes House and Miss Raynes’ School – 96 Portland Street|
In the mid-1800s, most of this side of Portland Street was open farmland, owned by the Raynes family living in this house. Francis Raynes made and sold shoes in a business on the site of the gas station near the corner. Daughter Olive Raynes (b. 1833) taught school for over 60 years, first from her father’s shoe business and then, from 1861 into the 20th century, from the Raynes farmhouse. Among her pupils were author Sarah Orne Jewett and her sisters, as well as generations of children from South Berwick’s leading families. The house now contains Century 21 real estate.
Portland Street, South Berwick, about 1860 .
From young Sarah Orne Jewett’s doorway at the her home, marked Dr. T. Jewett on the map at right, she often crossed Portland Street to play in the fields on Butler’s Hill, and discover a bubbling spring or a sentinel pine. Most of the land where she played there belonged to Francis Raynes and his wife, Harriet Goodwin Raynes.
A purchase made by the Raynes family at the Jewett family store
To children like young Sarah, her sisters and her friends, by far the most important member of Raynes family was their daughter. Miss Olive Raynes, born July 6, 1833, was a Portland Street legend, as evidenced by newspaper articles written at the end of her life. She taught school in South Berwick for over 60 years—from the 1850s, when Sarah and her sisters were pupils, into the twentieth century.
(This article was revised January 2010.)