Description of Historic Place
The Abraham Lent house is composed of three wood frame structures, including a main two-and-one half storey building, a one-and-a-half storey kitchen ell and a one-and-a-half storey lean-to structure that dates from the 1980s. The house and property is located high on a sloping point of land at the narrowest point on the Tusket River called the “Narrows”. The municipal designation includes the building and surrounding land.
The Abraham Lent house is composed of three wood frame structures. The main portion of the house is the two-and-a-half storey structure, which is in the Dutch Colonial tradition with a symmetrical three bay façade and an off-centre doorway that includes a Dutch door with spiral hinges. This portion of the house was built circa 1787-1794. The one-and-a-half storey kitchen ell may be of a similar age, and is one of the oldest post-Deportation Acadian houses in this area. It was hauled and attached to the main house sometime in the early 1800s.
The Abraham Lent house is valued because of its association with Tusket’s original Loyalist settlers who arrived here in 1784. The Lent family, like many others who settled in Tusket and the surrounding area, came from New York State and New Jersey. The kitchen ell on this house is also one of the earliest post-Deportation Acadian houses in this area which appears to have been built originally by a member of Muise family. It was moved and attached to the main house in the early 1800s – a unique melding of these two important founding cultural groups in Tusket. This rare combination also forms an important factor in the unique heritage value of this home to the Argyle region.
Abraham Lent, who built this house, returned after a few years to New York state, and sold this house to his brother James Lent in the 1790s. Oddly, this house does not sit on property included in the original grant and division of Tusket Village, but somewhat south of those boundaries – and the land was not granted to Abraham Lent. In 1801, this and other land, was granted to various Acadian settlers. Shortly afterwards one finds James Lent buying several pieces of land from two or three Acadian settlers in order to consolidate a homestead around this house. James Lent was a prominent merchant and citizen in Tusket. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1806 and served until 1818. He was also a Justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas. James Lent did not live in this house, but elsewhere in the village and in 1835 he deeded this property to his son, another Abraham Lent, named after his uncle, the original owner. This second Abraham Lent was also prominent in local affairs and served as a member in the Legislative Assembly from 1818-1820 and again from 1832-1836. He was also a Justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, like his father, James. In addition to this he also served as the Customs Officer for Tusket from 1857 to 1873, and many people still refer to the Abraham Lent house as the “Customs House.”
Abraham Lent and his wife were a childless couple, and they passed this property on to their nephew, James Adolphus Hatfield. There have been several owners since that time. Fortunately all the subsequent owners have respected the architectural integrity of this home.
Source: Argyle Municipal Heritage Files, file #016
Character-defining elements of the entire Abraham Lent House site includes:
- location of the house on the top of a slope at the narrowest point on the Tusket River called The Narrows;
- form and massing;
- entire structure clad in both clapboard and shingle cladding.
Character-defining elements of the original and historic section of the Abraham Lent House include:
- two-and-one-half storey, gable roof wood structure;
- symmetrical three-bay façade, with an off-centre doorway;
- Dutch style front door with transom;
- two small windows found on both gable ends at the attic level.