Tobey Homestead Update and Why I Care

Sep 29, 2011
On the WarehamWater website the following was posted . . .

Someone calling themselves McCarthy on Wareham Week asks, "What's the story with the Tobey Homestead?"

McCarthy wrote:

"I have been told that the goal of Southcoast Hospital Corporation is to be allowed to tear the building down... I encourage the local reporters to please follow up on this, and I encourage anyone who has factual information to please share it with the rest of us."

Welcome to Wareham's longest running psychodrama. Forty years ago last July, Tobey Trustee and Hospital Administrator Ed Whitehouse, my grandfather, hired moonlighting firefighters to arson the building and make way for the hospital's expansion. He failed. So did all subsequent efforts.

From day one, the story reduced to horrified residents facing Doctors+Lawyers+Rabid Greed and odds are, this time they'll win. Our doctors don't live here anymore and - please prove me wrong - they don't give a flying [. . .].

Watch close when that happens. Southcoast will steamroll Wareham (Narrows) Village unbound.

I loved my grandfather but I will testify in court. Email me.

Last edited by billw (2011-09-24 11:23:58)


There are other postings there that are not completely accurate. The Tobey home that stands today is the same that was built in 1832 with some additions. There were other outbuildings that did burn down, but the home itself has never completely burned and been rebuilt. This is evident in the architectural details which are appropriate to the early to mid-1800's.


I would be happy to email Mr. Whitehouse, but do not have his email address. He has referred to me as "somebody who calls themselves McCarthy." That is my name, and yes, I am a relative newcomer to Wareham, having bought a home here just 4 years ago. But I don't feel like a newcomer. I have also noticed that there have been some negative comments made on this site about people who are newcomers. This is troublesome to me for many reasons, which I won't go into here. In answer to Mr. Whitehouse's comment as well as the derogatory statements, the old maxim to not judge by appearances may be applied here. And so, in my case, here is a part of who I am.


I actually have very deep family roots here in Wareham which I learned through my passion for genealogy and history. My greatgrandmother, Jennie Martin, was from Wareham, and she left following her marriage in 1899 (here in Wareham). Her brother, William Martin, stayed in Wareham all his life, and his son, Kenneth Martin, attended Wareham Schools. They are both buried at Long Neck Cemetery in Onset. Jennie and William's mother was Eliza Wickson who was of the 4th generation of the Wickson (also spelled Wixon) family to live here in Onset. Eliza's first husband, Horace Martin, died when the children were very young, and Eliza remarried to Horace's brother, Arthur Martin. Arthur owned and ran the Sand and Stone business that was where the BayPoint Golf Course now exists. He also owned the land on Buttermilk Bay that is now the Jefferson Shores development. In fact I have the original survey/layout for Jefferson Shores, done for Arthur, in which he designates lots to his sisters and their husbands. Eliza's father and grandfather were both named Israel Wickson, and it is her grandfather's signature that is on display at the Fearing Tavern as one of the registered voters attending a meeting there (This Israel's wife was Phebe Burgess, a well-recognized Wareham name). It was the first Israel Wickson's father, James Wixon/Wickson who moved here in the 1820's along with Jesse Cahoon, Abijah Long, and several others from Harwich. James and Jesse  were cousins (James' mother was Fear Cahoon, sister to Jesse's father) and they were married to sisters, Tabitha and Rosanne Nickerson. In addition, through Jennie Martin's husband, Henry Weston Cook who was from Quisset in Falmouth, I am also a descendant of the Tupper's, Burgess's, and Nye's who are named in the Book of Agawam and were early 1700's property owners in Wareham. Interestingly, despite the fact that my grandfather never lived in Wareham, he did visit and ultimately passed away at Tobey Hospital. Today, my mother, myself, and my son all live in Wareham.


So, you see, despite the fact that I have not lived here very long, I have deep roots in this town, my ancestors walked these roads, attended town meetings and the schools, knew the people of Wareham, worked here (or I should say sailed from here as they were mariners) and frequented the locations and buildings that we now regard as historic. I care very much about what happens here, and spend a great deal of time and effort with the Wareham Historical Society to help preserve and appreciate our history.