French Family Association
Famous French Architecture
The Asa French House,
Braintree, MA, 1825
Updated by Mara French on 4/6/08
French House in Braintree, MA. The house’s most prominent resident was Asa French (1775-1853), a trained civil engineer who opened Braintree’s first post office in his house in 1825.
The French family is one of Braintree’s oldest families and the Asa French House, located at 766 Washington Street, is one of Braintree’s oldest homes. The house, built about 1699 by Thomas French (1657/8-1717), the eighth child of English colonists, John and Grace French, was originally part of a large family farm. Thomas French was born in Braintree on March 10, 1657/58 and in about 1695/6 married Elizabeth Belcher (1677-1718) and had ten children. The house then remained in the French family for many generations. Much of what is visible on and inside the main block of the present house dates from the 1800s. The ell is a twentieth-century addition. Little, apart from the central chimney, remains of the original structure. The Asa French House at 766 Washington Street has been identified as potentially eligible for inclusion in the Register. The Braintree Town Center Local Historic District was established in 1980. This district includes seventeen properties at Thayer Academy and along Washington Street.
The house’s most prominent resident was Asa French (16 Apr 1775-1853), FFA Chart #5, a trained civil engineer who opened Braintree’s first post office in the house in 1825. Asa French also served as the town’s first Postmaster for the next seventeen years. He also served as Town Clerk (1826-36) and Town Treasurer (1810-15, 1826-36). The house’s classically-inspired formal entrance pavilion and moldings were probably added by Asa French. The house sold out of the French family from 1964 to 1976, when it was purchased by a French family cousin, Charlotte Valentine Taylor, who donated it to Thayer Academy. The house then served as the residence of Jonathan Wales French, Jr., a French teacher at Thayer Academy, and his wife Katherine. After Jonathan’s death, Thayer Academy donated the house to Braintree Historical Society in 1999. The house is currently a private residence but the Society eventually plans to restore it to the period when it served as the town’s first post office. Asa was the son of Moses and Elizabeth (Hobart) French.