Bates House Acquisition
Completed Project
Project Description
Bates House
This project is funding the acquisition of the “Bates House” for $350,000. The Bates House is being offered for purchase subject to a life estate to Mrs. Twomey, as more fully explained below.

The Bates House is located at 6 Jericho Road with breathtaking views of Scituate Harbor, and is currently owned by Mrs. Yvonne Twomey. The Scituate Historical Society is the applicant, and it has been instrumental in working with Mrs. Twomey regarding the opportunity to acquire this historic property.

There is a pending application nominating the Bates House to the National Register of Historic Places, and the property appears to meet the criteria for such listing.

The Bates House is believed to have been constructed between 1665 and 1696. The property is most well known for its linkage to the story of the Bates sisters, “An American Army of Two.” According to that story, during the war of 1812, the Bates sisters successfully repelled several landing boats full of British soldiers, by concealing themselves and playing Yankee Doodle on a fife and drum, allegedly leading the soldiers to believe opposing forces awaited their landing.

The current assessed value of the property is $473,900, and an independent appraisal will be contracted by the CPC. Real estate professionals not engaged by the CPC have indicated their view of an appraised value of $550,000, however the CPC will conduct its own independent appraisal, which will factor in the value of the life estate being retained by Mrs. Twomey. The CPC has voted to recommend the lesser of $350,000 or the fair market value of the property as a result of that appraisal.

The life estate reserved to Mrs. Twomey will essentially provide that Mrs. Twomey will be allowed to reside in the property for the rest of her natural life. Mrs. Twomey will be responsible for all of the normal operating, repair and maintenance cost during such tenancy but not for capital repairs.

Based on review by members of the Historical Commission, the Bates House appears to be in excellent condition with no current need for capital expenditures. The Scituate Historical Society has committed to provide an initial capital maintenance fund of $25,000. Future capital expenditures would be paid from this maintenance fund. Further, once the owner’s life estate has ended, the Historical Society will manage the property and operate it as a rental property, much like the current Scituate Lighthouse. Rental income from the property will then be available for all normal and capital operating expenses. The Historical Society will open the Bates House on the same schedule as other historical sites such as the Lighthouse.

It is an express condition of Mrs. Twomey’s agreement to convey the property, that the Town authorizes the Scituate Historical Society to manage and administer the property. The Historical Society currently maintains the Scituate Lighthouse, the Mann House, and the Lawson Tower.

The project meets the goals of the Community Preservation Act and the CPC by providing for the protection of a significant historical resource.

Provided that the property is managed by the Scituate Historical Society in a manner consistent with other properties referenced above, this project is not expected to require the Town to incur any material future operating or maintenance expense.

Since 1761 only two families have owned the small yellow house located at 6 Jericho Road. Job Otis, Jr. conveyed a lot "with the building thereon" to John Bates in 1761. John Bates’ son Reuben was living here by 1764 and his son Simeon, first keeper of the 1811 Scituate Light on Cedar Point was born here.

It was Simeon’s daughters, Rebecca and Abigail, who intimidated the British in the War of 1812 by hiding behind the cedar trees on the Point and playing “Yankee Doodle” on a fife and drum loudly enough to make the Redcoats believe there was a large party of militia waiting to attack them and so speedily departed. This account was told to Harpers Magazine in 1878.

In 1880, a bill was introduced in Congress granting a pension to Rebecca and Abigail who lived in the house after their father died. In 1886, upon Abigail’s death, the property was passed to Lorenzo Bates (b. 1847), son of Thomas Bates (brother of Rebecca and Abigail). Lorenzo sold the house to Julia Murphy, whose granddaughter Yvonne Twomey lives there still and has meticulously preserved it.

Courtesy of The Scituate Historical Society
Photos (click on image to enlarge)