The story of the Thayer Homestead begins in 1653 with the arrival of one of the first settlers to the area, Mr. Partridge, formerly of Medfield, MA. Like most of the first settlers, he cleared and farmed his land, established a home, and raised a family. In 1742 his grandson, Jonathan Partridge sold the family farm on Oak Street to his brother James. James’s grandson, Joel, bought more land and expanded the family holdings to incorporate the property north of Oak Street and west of Chicken Brook, on the site of the original Thayer farmhouse.
At that time Joel’s homestead on Oak Street was bordered on the east by land owned by Cephus Thayer of Bellingham. In 1813 Mr. Thayer married Lavinia Adams and moved to West Medway, where they lived on Village Street. They had one surviving child, Addison Thayer. By 1830 Cephas Thayer owned all the land to the north and south of Main Street along Chicken Brook and had the right to use the water to power mills. He built a dam, creating Thayer Pond, also known today as Choate Pond, on the north side of Main Street. The water from the dam powered the Thayer Box Board Mill situated to the east of the Partridge homestead. Cephas built a second dam on the south side and used the water power for a second mill. In 1846 he gave his son Addison half ownership and in 1856, full ownership of all his holdings.
In October 1852 Joel Partridge died, leaving his property to his wife, Joanna and his five children. In 1853 Joanna sold her inheritance to her children, except for the ¼ acre of land where the Thayer Homestead stood. Not long after, the children sold their shares to Addison Thayer, who married Lydia Partridge, the youngest daughter of Joel. When Joanna died, the house passed to Lydia as well. Addison and Lydia moved into the house and had 3 children. Over the years various inheritances left Addison with a large amount of property in Medway, including the land now known as Choate Park and the Thayer Homestead. Eventually the Medway Parks Association was able to purchase the pond and surrounding property and make it available for public enjoyment.
The Thayer Homestead itself transferred ownership several times over the past years until the Town of Medway voted at Town Meeting to purchase the property in 2006 with Community Preservation Committee funds and with the dual goals of preserving the historic homestead and expanding the town’s open space. The barn was stabilized and the grounds cleared of undergrowth and planted with grass between 2008 and 2010.
With its prime location next to Choate Park and Pond, the property represented a chance to make the area accessible to all residents of Medway while preserving the historic significance and picturesque location of the property.