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This is the Durham house nearest the Old Burying Ground. The house’s wide, shallow lot is high above the road, continues to rise behind the house towards the west, and shares a private drive with the houses to the north. A retaining wall to the southwest abuts the Burying Ground. A small board and batten shed lies to the south.
Extensive alteration of both interior and facade is suggested by the irregular placement of the plain trim doorway, the full 2/2 sash windows of the first story, and the four smaller windows of the second story. A 2-story high flat roof which cuts into the south gable marks a major addition to the southwest corner.
The Samuel Roberts House is a 2 story, clapboarded, Colonial saltbox structure which rests on a sandstone foundation. The main doorway is slightly south of the west facade center.
In 1728, Theophilus Morrison sold to Samuel Roberts “a part of [his] home lott” (DLR 4:58), which was the six-acre plot bounded southerly by the Old Burying Ground and northerly by what was later to become the north boundary of the Church of the Epiphany. A reference in December 1729 (DLR 4:124) to “Samue l Robert’s home lot” indicates that the house had been built during the preceding year.
Samuel Roberts married Rachel Webb in 1777. By the time of the house’s construcution, Samuel and Rachel had a family of five children.(cf. Arnold, DVR, p. 64). Four more were born before Samuel, in 1739, sold the house lot, now with a “cooper ‘ s shop,” to Thomas Phillips. Until 1896, when it passed to the Goodale family (in whose possession is remained until 1964), the house never remained in the same hands for more than a few years at a time.
This early eighteenth-century house was built in a period of rapid settlement in Durham’s history. The fragmentation of Theophilus Morrison’s home lot and the subsequent construction of the Samuel Roberts House and other houses attest to this demographic growth.