The Dwight Family

TIMOTHY DWIGHT

Timothy Dwight was the tenth person to be granted a house lot in the area now known as Medfield. Upon this land he built his Elizabethan structure, which looked very much like the Peak House, shown below, does today.

Peak House

Timothy was born in Woolverstone, England in 1609 and came to Medfield from Dedham as did all the thirteen original settlers of Medfield. Maria his wife, joined him but she died, childless, in February 1668. After Maria’s demise, Timothy married Dorcas Watson of Roxbury in 1669. They had three children, one of whom survived to adulthood. Dorcas survived Timothy to marry John Adams.

Timothy served on Medfield’s first board of selectman and continued to serve for a total of eighteen years. He was the first of the town to serve as the Representative of the General Court and was Chief Military Officer.  

On that dreadful day in February of 1675-76, when half the town of Medfield was burnt to the ground as a result of the King Philip War, Timothy was shot on his stoop. He died of his wounds a few weeks later.

 

JOHN DWIGHT

John, son of Dorcas and Timothy, was born in May only three months after his father’s death. Dorcas married again in 1677 to John Adams when her son was just two years old. John Dwight turned 21 in 1696, which was the legal age to own property in colonial times. The Dwight-Derby House then became his property and he wedded Elizabeth Harding of Medfield’s Bridge Street. They had eight children: Elizabeth, Timothy, Dorcas, Kezia, Sarah, Sybil, Hannah and Seth. Their first child was born in 1698, which correlates with the second building phases of the house.

John Dwight held several offices in the town: Treasurer, Selectman, Town Clerk, Chief Military Officer and Representative of the General Court. He was a very influential and prominent person in town. His children married into the Balch, Ellis, Plimpton, Fisher and Clark families.

 

SETH DWIGHT

Seth, son of John and Elizabeth, married Hannah Fisher in 1740. They had three children: Patty, Timothy and Hannah. His father died in 1751 and he inherited the Dwight-Derby House. He undertook a massive reconstruction of the house in 1760. We can only speculate as to why he may have felt the need to do such a major renovation, but it was likely a matter of keeping up with the times. The house, as we see it today minus the dormers, is a reflection of the restoration work done by Seth.

Seth also served the town as Selectman and Treasurer. He died of small pox in 1776 and his wife Hannah died in 1792. After Hannah’s death, the Dwight-Derby House was left equally to their two surviving children, Patty and Timothy.  Timothy sold his share to Patty’s husband Jonathan Metcalf who owned a mercantile business in town. Soon thereafter the Metcalfs needed to sell the Dwight-Derby House to pay off their debts, thus ending reign of the Dwights.