The Dwight-Derby House

Dwight Derby House by Cheryl O'Malley

Colonial History in the Heart of Medfield

The Dwight-Derby House is a wonderful example of a mid-century 1700s home, resting in a setting that has not been altered much by the ravages of time. The old meetinghouse still stands in its original location and a mill pond connecting both of these historically significant properties still fills. It is as if time has stood still to create this picturesque scene straight from the 1700s.

This house was named for its two long-term families who lived amongst its walls – the Dwights, who were the original family, and the Derbys, who later occupied the house.


In 1996, the house was up for sale. It was not in the best of condition and the wrecking ball was looming. A grass roots group formed to save the house.  They gathered information on the house and presented their findings to the town of Medfield. As a result of these efforts, the Dwight-Derby House was purchased by the town of Medfield by an almost unanimous vote of its townspeople.




                                                                              Captain George Horatio Derby

                                                                                     West Point Academy


 Fall is happening at the Dwight-Derby House

Medfield Day was a success!
The Dwight-Derby Shoppe was filled with local artisan’s wares, Medfield items and Dwight-Derby Derby House branded products. Our Yard Sale was full of bargains. Thank you for you patronage and support of the Dwight-Derby House a non-profit 501(c) 3 tax exempt organization.

If you are moving and need to dispose of items consider contacting us. We have the ability to store items and would be pleased to help out. The Dwight-Derby House is in great need of funds and we are hoping these second hand items will enable us to achieve our goals. You can contact us at or 508-359-7264 to make arrangements.

Medfield’s newest addition


The new sign at the Dwight-Derby House’s is now the gateway to Frairy Street and welcomes you to the neighborhood.

Several years ago, an old wide board was discovered in the barn of the Dwight-Derby House. Thoughts immediately turned toward using it in conjunction with the house and consensus determined that a sign was an appropriate use for the board.

Research was conducted into the design of old-style signs that would complement the Dwight-Derby House and property.  A tavern sign came to mind.  After perusing many published works The Friends of the Dwight-Derby House, incorporated in 1998, decided a tavern sign would be suitable.

A local artist, Cheryl O’Malley, took on the design concept and incorporated several historical elements of the Dwight-Derby House into its design. After several layout reviews it was approved and the design implemented.

The sign carries the name of the house which was determined when The Friends of the Dwight-Derby House were incorporated and displays the names of the two early and long-standing families the Dwights and the Derbys each of which spent nearly a hundred and fifty years within its walls.

The medallion at the top center is a replica of the “Dwight Holland Platter” which the Dwight family had crafted to commemorate their trip to the new world. It is a Delft platter with an early 1600s tulip design.

Timothy Dwight was one of Medfield’s first thirteen settlers and in 1651 built the first structure that stood on this property. His son and grandson later adapted and built additions to the old structure to accommodate their families. Timothy’s son, John, constructed the addition to the right of the front door which was built in 1699. This is the date seen at the center bottom of the sign. This does not mean the original structure does not exist in the center core of the structure, but this early structure cannot be accessed for scientific testing without damaging the historic fabric of the house.  1699 is the earliest date that can be safely claimed. Grandson, Seth, was responsible for today’s appearance of the house with his update in 1760.

In the middle of the sign is a copy of George Horatio Derby’s self-sketch at his honeymoon cottage in 1853. Captain George Horatio Derby was a topographical engineer for the U. S. Army, served in the Mexican-American War where his report was instrumental in winning that war, mapped out much of the territory west of the Mississippi and was America’s first satirical writer. He spent his childhood in Medfield and lived in the Dwight-Derby House most of his young life.

This sign was installed and viewed for the first time on Medfield Day, September 19, 2015. As you pass by the Dwight-Derby House, please stop for a moment to enjoy the sense of history, the stories behind the design and the essence of Medfield this sign represents.