HISTORY OF THE GROUT HEARD HOUSE
The two families for whom the House is named – the Grouts and the Heards – played prominent roles in Wayland from its earliest settlement.
In 1639, soon after the first settlers of Sudbury arrived, Thomas Cakebread of Watertown was granted one hundred acres of land in the vicinity of the Mill Brook to persuade him to build a grist mill and to serve as the town miller. When Cakebread died in 1643 his son-in-law, John Grout moved to here to take over the mill and property.
Jonathan Grout, grandson of John, probably built the original house on this site around 1740. The earliest construction may have had only four rooms with a large central chimney. A lean-to was probably added sometime later. Jonathan’s marriage in 1743 might have been an appropriate reason for the construction of this homestead. The original horse was sold in 1744 to Richard Heard, Jonathan’s brother in-law. Soon afterward, it passed out of the family to Elijah Bent and Bent’s son-in-law, David Curtis. As the Minutemen headed for Concord Bridge in April of l775, they would have passed Elijah Bent’s store in the house. See location on this detail of a 1776 map. In 1787, Silas Grout, a blacksmith and descendant of the first John Grout, living in East Sudbury (Wayland) since 1783, bought this house. The next year, Silas married and brought his new wife Susanna Clapp, from Sherborn where he had previously lived. It was probably at this time that the rear rooms of the first floor and a second floor over them were built. Silas Grout modernized the façade by moving the old smaller windows to the rear and replacing them with larger windows. Silas Grout operated his blacksmith shop just south of the house very close to the road.
Jerusaha Grout, one of the five children raised by Silas and Susanna, married Newall Heard, owner of the old Red Store across the street in 1822. The house became a two family house as Newell and Jerusha Heard and their two children continued to share it with Jerusha’s unmarried brother and sister William and Susan. An ell was built on the south end of the house sometime after 1820. Their mother Susanna, widowed in 1820, also lived there. John Augustus Heard, Newell’s and Jerusha’s son, was born in 1828. At the age of seventeen he left for Boston and learned the trade of daguerreotype photography, gaining some renown. In l85l, he married Sarah Hawkes in Boston and the couple had two girls, Grace and Blanche. Sarah brought the family to Wayland around 1868, after the death of John’s parents, Newell and Jerusha. She served as Wayland’s librarian from 1885-1901. John continued to have a studio in Boston and returned to Wayland in 1877 to die a year later. He is buried in the North Cemetery.
From its solid appearance, one would never guess that the Grout Heard House, the present home of the Wayland Historical Society, has been moved twice. In 1878 it was moved to Old Sudbury Road to make way for the construction of a new town hall. A prominent landowner, selectman, and chairman of the committee to build the new town hall, Hodijah Braman apparently wanted it built on that particular plot of land in the town. He offered to transfer some of his land to Sarah Heard on favorable terms as a new site for her house. Braman’s large 1873 Victorian house, stood on a rise on Old Sudbury Road behind the two remaining fieldstone gate posts, with Sarah Heard’s house adjacent to it on the north. This photo shows the Grout Heard House and one of the Braman gate posts on Old Sudbury Road.
Sarah Heard continued to live in her house on Old Sudbury Road after it was moved there. Her two daughters became school teachers in Concord and Arlington but were regular visitors to the old home, especially during the summer.