< Back to the History Camp America 2021 Video Archive

Stuart Christie

The Fairbanks House in Dedham: The House, The Myths, The Legends

Many myths and legends have been created about our national landmarks and the outstanding figures in American history. The Fairbanks House of Dedham (1637) is no exception.

Throughout its time as the residence for eight generations of the Fairbanks family and subsequently as a private museum, much of its history has been passed down through oral tradition—and precious little was committed to writing. Consequently, the House has been the subject of myths and legends and even tales of ghosts and spirits.

Sorting out fact from fiction is only part of the challenge we face today as a result. Thanks to the power of social media and alternative reality, the challenge has grown exponentially. The financial lure to leverage these alternatives is greater than ever—there’s a lot of money in ghost tours!

We’ll explore these myths, legends, and apparitions to see how we’re dealing with public history today.

Stuart R. Christie

Stuart R. Christie has been a docent at the Fairbanks House (fairbankshouse.org) in Dedham, Massachusetts, the oldest Timber Frame House in North America for more than a decade; served on the Board of the Dedham Historical Society and Museum (DHSM); and led tours on 17th century Puritan history in Boston for the Partnership of Historic Bostons. Based on letters transcribed by Stuart over a three year period, the DHSM recently published a book entitled My Dear Mother: Civil War Letters to Dedham from the Lathrop Brothers. These letters were written by the three brothers from Dedham, who served in the Union Army.