This house is part of the South Berwick Village District on the National Register of Historic Places. Northend Cogswell (1762-1828) was a merchant and Revolutionary War veteran born in Rowley, Massachusetts. His wife Elizabeth was the sister of William Lambert, living nearby at 194 Portland Street. Among the Cogswell children who grew up here was Charles Northend Cogswell (1797-1846), an attorney who served as Maine state senator and representative in the 1830s and 1840s.
According to records of the Coggswell Family Association, Northend Cogswell was the son of Dr. Nathaniel Cogswell and Sarah Northend. He served in a company from Rowley during the Revolutionary War.
In 1794 he married Elizabeth Lambert, sister of William Lambert. The Lamberts were also from Rowley and like Cogswell moved to South Berwick in or just before 1800. Their parents were Thomas Lambert and Apphia Gage. The Cogswells had moved here by 1795, when the first of their children was born.
The Cogswells’ home is shown on a map drawn about 1805 showing Portland Street when it was part of the new road system from Boston to Portland. An excerpt of the map is at right.
Elizabeth Lambert Cogswell was born in 1774, 12 years after her husband. The Cogswells had at least seven children, all born in South Berwick: Elizabeth (b. 1795), Charles Northend (b. 1797), Mary Ann (b. 1801), William Lambert (b. 1803), Frederic (b. 1806), Dorothy Maria (b. 1808), and Sarah Louisa (b. 1813).
Thought to have been a merchant, Cogswell is known to have invested in a Portsmouth privateer ship, Ranger, during the War of 1812.
In 1823, daughter Mary Ann married lawyer Charles Edward Norton (1795 - 1873), but she died of consumption two years later. Norton then married her older sister Elizabeth in 1827, but she died in 1832. Mary Ann had had a daughter Mary Ann Norton, but she contracted the disfiguring skin disease erysipelas or St. Anthony's Fire, and died in 1847 at age 23.
Elizabeth Cogswell died 18 Nov 1828. Northend Cogswell died in 1837 and is buried in Portland Street Cemetery.
At left, a view of the intersection of Portland Street and Agamenticus Road, with the Soldiers' Monument in the foreground. In the background on Portland Street is the Cogswell House, left, and the Thomas Jewett House.
The family's eldest son, Charles Northend Cogswell, who grew up in the house, graduated from Berwick Academy and Bowdoin College. He became a lawyer. According to the History of York County, 1880, he served three terms in the state legislature. Cogswell and his wife, Elizabeth W. Hill of Rollinsford, NH, seem to have built 169 Main Street. She died in 1837 and he remarried, to Margaret Russel of Portland. He died in 1846. The property then became the home of John B. Nealley.
William Lambert Cogswell moved to New York City according to Berwick Academy records, and is said to have been associated with Astor Library. In 1864 he started a trust fund to award prizes for the top students at Berwick Academy. Cogswell prizes are awarded to this day.
|Charles Northend Cogswell
||William Lambert Cogswell
Photos are courtesy of Berwick Academy
(This summary by Wendy Pirsig from archives of the Counting House Museum. Updated December 2020.)