Judge Benjamin Chadbourne

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Benjamin Chadbourne

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Berwick, York, Maine, United States of America
Death: March 16, 1799 (80)
South Berwick, York, Maine, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Chadbourne and Mary Chadbourne
Husband of Sarah Chadbourne and Mary Chesley
Partner of Sarah Libby
Father of Mary Shorey; Chadbourne; James Heard Chadbourne; Martha Leigh; Lydia Haggins and 5 others
Brother of William Chadbourne; Capt. Humphrey Chadbourne; Capt. Joseph Chadbourne; Thomas Chadbourne; Sarah Chadbourne and 2 others

Occupation: He was an attorney and counselor at law, a colonel in the militia, and a judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
Managed by: Paul Douglas Van Dillen
Last Updated:

About Judge Benjamin Chadbourne

Judge Benjamin Chadbourne (1718-1799), (son of William Chadbourne and Mary Nason) was born July 23, 1718 in Berwick, Maine, and died March 16, 1799 in Berwick, Maine.

DAR Ancestor #: A023716 Patriotic Service


  1. (did not marry) Sarah, widow of Benjamin Libby
  2. 21 July 1742. Sarah, dau. of James and Mary (Roberts) Heard
  3. 10 Oct. 1751, Mary Chesley of Durham, N. H.

Child with Sarah, widow of Benjamin Libby (Libby, 39), surname LIBBY:

  1. MARY, b 27 Aug 1739; m JACOB SHOREY. Judge Benjamin supported Mary she was 7, at which time (Jan 1745/6 Court Session) he petitioned the court to put the child out to apprenticeship, and was discharged from further support (Court Sessions, YCGSJ Vol 3, No 4, Oct 1988). Child, surname Shorey: 1. Polly, m Jotham Hanscom. (Info from Joseph "Bob" Haswell, CFAA).

Children by 1st marriage

  1. James Heard b. 7 May 1743; d. 27 June 1743.
  2. Martha b. 26 April 1744; m. 1 Oct. 1768 Capt. Thomas Leigh of Portsmouth.
  3. Lydia b. 20 July 1746; m. John Haggens 1 May 1765.
  4. Sarah b. 20 July 1748; d. 24 March 1773.

Children by second marriage:

  1. Jonathan Chesley b. Aug. 1752; m. Elizabeth Rollins 10 Nov. 1779.
  2. Mary b. 14 Feb. 1754: d. 19 Sept. 1774. .
  3. Benjamin b. 8 Nov. 1756; m. Nov. 1781 Comfort Weeks, who d s. p. Feb. 1784, (2) Nov. II, 1790, Eunice b. 3 June 1764; d. 21 June 1764.



  • One of the founders of Berwick Academy established in 1791. For the academy he gave ten acres of land in the finest possible situation and a sum of money to begin the subscription. Rev. John Lord, D.D. in his historical address on Berwick Academy refers to Judge Chadbourne as "a veritable patrician with a great landed estate which his ancestor's purchased from the Indians.
  • He lived in a fine colonial mansion surrounded by noble elms. He sent to John Hancock a large number of elms from his Berwick estate to be planted on Boston Common where some still exits." When his house was built there was no house between it and Canada.
  • Sarah Orne Jewett has made Judge Chadbourne one of the characters in her historical romance "The Tory Lover," picturing him as "an old man of singular dignity and kindliness of look."

From Old Berwick Historic Society

The house of Judge Benjamin Chadbourne still stands today at the corner of Vine and Liberty Streets in South Berwick.

On June 12, 1770, the great-grandson of Humphrey Chadbourne built this house. Benjamin Chadbourne (1718-1799) had served in Sir William Pepperrell’s expedition against Louisburg in 1745, and later became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He represented the Berwicks in the Massachusetts Congress from 1756-1771, and was a member of the Governor’s Council.

The judge is said to have been a wealthy aristocratic type who loved to give lavish parties. In 1791 he gave ten acres of land and a sum of money to initiate the founding of Berwick Academy, today the oldest school in Maine, and served as its first president. He also sent some elms from his property to his friend, John Hancock, to plant on Boston Common.

The Chadbourne House, still occupied by descendants of the original Chadbournes, is considered to have been one of the best-built frame houses of its time. The cellar has a dirt floor and the foundation is made of stone. The cellar houses a huge chimney in its center and is enclosed with a brick archway. Each chimney interior measures 64 inches wide, large enough to serve five separate fireplaces providing ample heat throughout the house.

The main fireplace, largest in the house, is eight feet wide and contains a Dutch oven. Hot coals from the fireplace were placed into the Dutch oven daily for baking. The main house has eight rooms. The interior walls are solid plank. Many of the doors are double cross (“Christian”) doors. As well as beautiful paneling, every corner flaunts a six-inch by six-inch floor-to-ceiling molding. The main living room contains Indian shutters which slide in front of the windowpanes inside the windows. The main stairway curves upward with three landings and a hand carved banister. The second floor displays ornate ceiling moldings and wainscoting and some original wide pine floorboards.

The Chadbourne House remained within the family for 150 years after its construction, then was owned by Judge Benjamin Greene for a very short period of time. Next, Richard Davis and Abram Gilpatrick operated a tinsmith shop Gilpatric and Davis Tinware on the property. When the partnership ended, Gilpatrick moved an early ell from this house to the land next door where it is still standing. The well serves as a divider between the two properties. The Chadbourne House was subsequently owned by Davis’ daughter, Louise B. Davis, her niece, Florence Mary Smith Stevens, and Mrs. Stevens’ cousin, Freeman J. Smith, father of the present owner, Virginia Smith Alterio, who is a descendant of Patience Chadbourn, sister to Humphrey Chadbourne.

    --- Marc and Virginia Smith Alterio  


  1. Old Kittery and Her Families (Google eBook) Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.  Press of Lewiston Journal Company, 1903 - Kittery (Me.) - 822 pages.  Page 314
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Judge Benjamin Chadbourne's Timeline

July 23, 1718
Berwick, York, Maine, United States of America
August 27, 1739
Age 21
May 7, 1743
Age 24
Berwick, York, Maine
April 26, 1744
Age 25
July 20, 1746
Age 27
January 20, 1749
Age 30
August 1752
Age 34
Berwick, York, Maine
February 14, 1754
Age 35