Here is a synopsis of the property's rich history.
history of the property
The home that would become the Patton Homestead, was built in 1786 and due to the surrounding lush meadows, was named “Green Meadows”. In 1928, the siblings of Beatrice Ayer Patton surprised Beatrice and her husband, General George S. Patton, Jr. with the purchase of the Green Meadows property.
The Pattons and their four children enjoyed Green Meadows as their home base while the family was still traveling and residing elsewhere due to the military commitments of General Patton. They planned to return to Green Meadows right after the end of WWII, but General Patton’s untimely death in 1945 meant that his wife, Beatrice, would then preside over Green Meadows alone.
Beatrice made the Homestead a welcoming place for friends and relatives to enjoy her rose gardens and displays of military memorabilia. The land was a regular route for the Myopia Hunt in which Beatrice was a participant. In 1953, Beatrice had a heart attack while riding in the hunt, which unfortunately ended her life.
1953 – 1980:
At the time of his mother’s death, General George S. Patton IV was serving in Korea. He and his wife, Joanne Holbrook Patton, a fifth-generation army daughter, and their family took over the Homestead. The Pattons continued to enjoy the Homestead during summers and on vacation, but George wanted to finish his military career, which required living and traveling abroad.
1980 – 2012:
Joanne Patton and General George S. Patton IV lived in the Patton Homestead and it is where they continued the raising of their 5 children. Together they developed a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) organic farm project at Green Meadows. In 2004, her husband George died and Joanne has continued to live in the Homestead and to oversee Green Meadows Farm as a thriving CSA. Joanne has generously welcomed others to enjoy the estate and Homestead, hosting outings for Operation Troop Support, West Point and various other colleges. She was director of the Hamilton-Wenham Community Center for many years. Joanne has been an active member of the Hamilton Community and has contributed generously to the town’s public life and events.
historical features of the property
- The little bench under the arbor in the front yard was placed there by Beatrice and George Patton. This was also the site of the wedding of Bea and Peter Britton.
- The sundial in the rose garden was moved there by Joanne Patton in the 1980’s from a maze that had been located across the street.
- There are numerous trees that have been planted throughout the property in honor of births, anniversaries etc. A partial listing includes:
*The three large copper beeches directly in line with the home (top of hill) were planted by WWII Gen. Patton.
*Two dogwoods at the top of the hill at the opening of the wall were planted in honor of Margaret Patton – now Mother Margaret Georgina Patton. The birth of Margaret began the tradition of planting a tree to celebrate a birth.
*The small flowering tree by the pond was planted by Benjamin Patton, to replace his honoring tree, which died.
*The large cherry tree between the home and the stable honors Helen Patton, who was born in Wash. DC at Cherry blossom time.
*The faux redwood tree by the pool was planted by the Patton children in 2002, in honor of their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.
*The very large and beautiful copper beech by the pond (known as the wedding tree) was planted in honor of James Patton Totten, youngest child of Ruth Ellen and James.
- Older photos of the house show a large ash tree in front of the home. That succumbed to ash blight and had to be cut down. There is a myth attached to that tree, as well as a piece of heavy chain embedded in the trunk. It was said (by Ruth Ellen Patton Totten) that a settler and an Indian had a fight and the settler chained the Indian to the tree. Legend has it the Indian broke his chains but drowned in the pond behind the tennis court. According to Ruth Ellen evidence of his ghost can sometimes still be found in the form of muddy hand-prints on the front door. A slice of that tree and the chain still exist to the side of the rose garden.
- The green and red lanterns on either side of the front door were installed by Beatrice and George Patton, to show their love of boating.
- Many different flags representing different military units have been raised on the flag pole outside the front entrance over the years.
- In the back of the house outside of the kitchen is an old millstone that washed up from the river many years ago. Some years ago it was used as the base for a baptismal font for Joanne Patton’s church, St. John’s Episcopal in Beverly Farms, at a ceremony held at the Homestead.
- The large green cannon off the back patio was washed up on the shores of Morocco early in WWII. Research documents that it is Spanish, made of bronze and cast in Seville. It dates from the 1600’s during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain. It is not a navel piece and is presumed to have been part of a fortification under the command of Don Diego Mesia Felipez de Guzman, Captain General, the 1st Marquis of Leganes and the Duke of Sanlucar. We have been told that Gen. Patton’s staff put it on an empty aircraft returning home to the States. Beatrice Patton told children she faced it toward the river “in case of pirates.”
- Next to the cannon is a memorial to Beatrice Patton.
- The weathervane on the stable was installed by Gen. Patton (the senior).
- There was a gargoyle from Pershing Barracks at West Point in the rock garden next to the barn for six decades. In the 1950’s, B. Patton’s son-in-law was at West Point and saw that it was abandoned during renovations and brought it to Green Meadows. It was recently returned to West Point with the assistance of the West Point Society of New England when the barracks were restored again.
- The center section of the home dates from 1786.
- The old colonial oven, used for cooking, is still visible from closets next to the fireplaces in the living and dining rooms.
- There are eight fireplaces in the home – all work. There is “hidden” storage above each mantle.
- The original staircase to the second floor is visible by opening the closet to the right of the living room fire place. The existing stairwell was built over the original, which was built with square nails.
- What is now known as the Trophy Room was built as a separate cooking room, not attached to the main house. It was attached sometime after 1906.
- Two closets in the Library were converted to archival shelving several years ago, to accommodate newspaper-sized albums.
- Beatrice and Gen. Patton (the senior) built the addition (library, General’s office and the master suite) before WWII – between 1938 -1942. It remains very much the way it was built.
- The front door of the home features bullseye windows.
- There are “speaking tubes” located throughout the house, that were historically used to communicate with kitchen and house staff.
- The upstairs floors are original wide pine.
- The small bedroom over the kitchen was George Patton’s bedroom as a boy. When he retired from the Army and moved to Hamilton permanently with Joanne, it became his office.
- The kitchen was built for the era of household help, complete with butler’s pantry. What is now the main reception desk was originally the servant’s dining room. The other office rooms were servant’s bedrooms. The kitchen was updated in 1982 by George Patton as an anniversary gift to his wife.