Maple Avenue, west side

Facing east onto Maple Avenue, the David Robinson House is surrounded by sweeping open fields in a rural residential neighborhood.

Notable Features

The facade exhibits a modern exterior brick chimney and an off-center doorway. The first floor displays six-over-one sash while the second floor features smaller, six-over-six
windows. The gable ends exhibit overhanging eaves and a small rectangular six-paned window. A shed-roofed addition has been added to the rear. The north elevation features a hip-roofed ell with six-over-six sash. A number of farm-related outbuildings are found on the property.

Historical or Architectural Importance

This unusual three-bay, 2 1/2 story, ridge-to-street colonial-period house dates from the first three decades of the eighteenth century. Resting on a sandstone block foundation, the post-and-beam framing system is sided with clapboards. The shallow pitched roof is asphalt-shingled.
Although the records are not entirely clear, this house was probably constructed by David Robinson (b. 1660) before 1735. Robinson, a native of Guilford, was one of Durham’s earliest proprietors. In 1708 he received permission to erect a cornmill on Allyn’s Brook in the center of town. A number of Robinson’s heirs were the first settlers of Granville, Massachusetts. The first reference made to this property is in 1735 when Robinson’s daughters, Abigail, Hannah and Mary, quit-claimed to their brothers, Thomas, David, Jr. and Ebenezer, “all the real estate of our father’s estate” (DLR 5:144-145). Ebenezer (1701-1783) received a 47 acre parcel bordered on the east by a highway, which contained a dwelling house, barn, and fruit trees. A farmer, Ebenezer gave the town a lot of land near the green on which a new school house was built in 1775. In 1783, leaving no direct heirs, Ebenezer willed his old dwelling house and barn to his cousin Ebenezer Robinson, Jr. Robinson’s will also bestowed the town of Durham three acres of land near the meeting house to be used for a burying ground. The will stipulated “that all profits that hereafter arise from the improvement of said land hereafter be appropriated, used and improved for the benefit and support of the said Center School” (Fowler, p. 129). Ebenezer Robinson, Jr. (b. 1754) was the son of James Robinson (b. 1731), the nephew of Ebenezer Robinson, Sr. A private in the Revolutionary War, Ebenezer, Jr. joined other Durham volunteers in 1775 to march to Boston and relieve the colonial troops after the confrontation at Lexington. In 1818 Ebenezer, Jr. quit-claimed the house and barn to Moses Robinson (1790-1820). Robinson genealogy does not reveal how Ebenezer, Jr. and Moses are related, but they could possibly be father and son, respectively. Moses and his wife Electra had five children: Andrew Jackson, Moses Austin, Susan Malvira, Rachel Rice, and Elizabeth Electra. In 1853 the heirs of Moses sold the property to a farmer, Charles Hickox (1803-1890), the son of Daniel Hickox, Sr and his wife Jerusha. Sherman J. Nettleton (1822-1905) acquired the property in 1868. The son of Jeremiah and Clarinda (Davis) Nettleton, Sherman continued operating a successful farm.
One of the oldest structures remaining in Durham, the David Robinson House derives its significance from its association with the Robinson family and Durham’s agricultural past.