Who was David Hodgdon? / by Jason Turgeon

Most of us living in Fort Hill are familiar with Hodgdon House, the large mansion on the corner of Highland Street and Hawthorne that is sadly neglected and falling apart.  It was used in the recent movie “The Company Men,” for which it received a coat of paint on the two sides that were filmed.  

The house is known as Hodgdon House after David Hodgdon, its first occupant.  It took some digging, but here is a little bit more info about the David Hodgdon.  There is some info about the house in the Boston Preservation Alliance’s 2009 report on Highland Park (PDF), but there are some inaccuracies.  For one thing, the house was not built by Supply Clapp Thwing, although Thwing owned a very similar house across Highland Street.  For another, Supply Clapp was not the son of Supply F. Thwing as stated.  But the overall report is pretty good, so if you want to know more about the house I’ll point you there instead of repeating it here.  The section on Hodgdon’s house starts on page 15

But as interesting as the house is - and it IS interesting, with a long and colorful history that is pretty well documented in that report - I wanted to find out more about Mr. Hodgdon himself.  So far, I’ve been able to dig up the skeleton of a portrait.  His full name was David Miller Hodgdon.  His father was John Hodgdon, of Belfast, Maine, where David was Born.  He manufactured clothes at a facility on the corner of Otis and Arch street in downtown Boston and was evidently very successful.  He married Henrietta Young, the daughter of a successful merchant family in Orleans.  He owned a pew in the First Church, and was important enough to the Church to get his name inscribed on a plaque with a limited number of other luminaries.  He died in Roxbury on May 17, 1894, at the age of 67.

I’ll leave you with a note about his business from an 1892 guide to Boston’s finance.