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Sarah Clayes House in Framingham, MA

From: Adrienne
Sent on: Friday, October 23, 2015 5:40 PM

Not quite about ghosts, but the following news is kind of related. I'm betting several BAGH members might have an interest in the Salem Witch Trials. This is the time of year when folks travel from all over the world to celebrate Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts. It definitely has plenty of ghost stories.

This is courtesy of the Salem Witch e-mail list.


----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Margo Burns via
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, October 23,[masked]:17 PM
Subject: [SALEM-WITCH] The Sarah Clayes House in Framingham, MA

Good news!

Happy, emotional end to Framingham 'witch house' foreclosure auction

By Danielle Ameden/Daily News Staff

Posted Oct. 23, 2015 at 1:17 PM
Updated at 4:06 PM

FRAMINGHAM – Janice Thompson broke down in tears and was wrapped in hugs Friday after auctioneer Paul J. Traverse declared the historic Sarah Clayes House “Sold!”

After years of effort to preserve the 322-year-old “witch house” at 657 Salem End Road, Thompson’s group, the Sarah Clayes House Trust, at last had reason to celebrate.

An on-site foreclosure auction Friday morning attracted three qualified bidders, but, in the end, mortgage holder Goldman Sachs, which had been an ally to the trust, exercised its right to take ownership of the dilapidated treasure.

Thompson, who lives in Ashland, said she was “totally confident” the financial firm will now donate the vacant home to the trust.
“We’ve been at this for over 10 years,” she said. “It really has sort of taken a village.”

Sarah Clayes and her husband Peter built the home after fleeing from Salem, where she was convicted of witchcraft in 1692, during the Salem Witch Trials.

Her proud descendents came out from Grafton, Boxford and beyond to watch the auction, hoping the trust could win the home away from developers who eyed it - and its acreage - as an investment.

Town Meeting member and Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Phil Ottaviani was one of the three bidders who qualified by bringing $10,000 in cash or a certified check.

Ottaviani said he bid on the house at auction in the past but lost out to a higher bidder who was never able to make the purchase because of title complications.

As for his plans for the property, “let’s see what happens,” he said.

None of the three qualified bidders bit when Traverse asked for a $1 million opening bid.

On behalf of Goldman Sachs, Traverse opened up bidding at $817,894, which none of the three wanted to touch.

Thompson and a crowd of other preservationists and descendents of Clayes rejoiced when Traverse declared, “Sold! Back to the bank, $817,894.”

Annie Murphy, a member of the trust and executive director of the Framingham History Center, called it an “incredibly exciting day” and culmination of a decade of effort.

“It’s about the community coming together to save a treasure,” Murphy said. “Frankly I think a lot of people just sort of had given up and thrown up their hands.”

Murphy credited Thompson and others for their perseverance in wanting to save the home, which is now vacant, boarded up and in deteriorated condition. Originally built in federal style in 1693, the house later grew through additions.

Over the years the deed and ownership became tangled, and the last owner’s estate was in default on the mortgage, said Stephen Meltzer, an attorney for the trust.

Murphy said the trust hopes to have a private homeowner come in and restore and protect the home.

Architect Doug Stiles of The Stiles Co. in Weston, who works to restore antique homes, said he is working with the trust to draw up plans to renovate the Clayes House.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” he said.

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