238 Webster St, Marshfield, MA 02050, USA
Owned By: Daniel Webster Preservation Trust
Renowned orator and statesman Daniel Webster named this estate “Green Harbor,” and kept it as his country home from 1832 until his death in 1852. A short trail connects the property to Webster’s Wilderness. Guided tours of the estate are offered monthly.
The complete history of this estate is fascinating. You can read about it, in detail, on the Daniel Webster Estate’s website: https://thedanielwebsterestate.org/daniel-webster-history/
In 1832, Captain John Thomas sold the estate to Daniel Webster, who was a renowned orator, lawyer, and Massachusetts Senator. Webster gained early fame by defending several noteworthy cases before the United States Supreme Court (and more than 150 in total). He kept a small law office and horticultural library on the property. One of his visitors was John James Audubon, who painted many of his wildlife pictures in Marshfield! Webster was known as “the Farmer of Marshfield.” He bred cattle, raised a variety of vegetable crops, and planted species of trees from all over the world, some of which still stand.
In 1840, President William Henry Harrison appointed Webster as his Secretary of State. Webster worked with Lord Alexander Ashburton of Great Britain to write the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which in 1842 set the boundary between Maine and Canada. Webster also served as Secretary of State under John Tyler and Millard Fillmore. He was the only person to serve in that office under three presidents.
During the twenty years that Daniel Webster lived here, he expanded his land holdings to nearly 1,800 acres. This included nearby properties such as Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/daniel-webster-wildlife-sanctuary/) and Webster’s Wilderness (https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/websters-wilderness/). Webster is buried nearby in the historic Winslow Cemetery, not far from the entrance to the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary.
A fire destroyed the original home in 1878. The current Queen Anne-style home was designed by William Gibbons Preston, a prominent Boston architect, and built in 1880. Daniel Webster’s daughter-in-law, Caroline White Webster, oversaw the project. The estate passed through several owners over the ensuing years, including the Walton Hall family, who grew cranberries here and elsewhere in town, and Vincent Cohee, who established Camp Daniel Webster, a summer day camp for children in 1950. The camp lived on, through subsequent owners, into the late 1980s.
For details about estate tours, visit the Daniel Webster Estate website (https://thedanielwebsterestate.org/guided-tours/).
A short trail extends through woodlands and wetlands, and around the perimeter of one of the property’s two ponds. It connects with the much-larger trail network of Webster’s Wilderness, an adjacent town-owned conservation property. A small portion of this trail is part of the historic Old Pilgrim Trail, the first court-ordered road in Plymouth Colony. Look for yellow and black markers with a pilgrim motif.
Habitats and Wildlife
The property features two ponds, woodlands, and open lawn areas. Look for cedar, birch, maple and black walnut trees. The streams and ponds within the Daniel Webster Estate flow into Wharf Creek, a tributary to the Green Harbor River. The Green Harbor River finds its source in springs and ponds in Duxbury. It twists and turns through Marshfield via large cranberry bog complex, the Green Harbor Golf Club, the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, property owned by the Marshfield Municipal Airport, and Peter Igo Park, and empties into the Atlantic downstream in Green Harbor.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 14 acres
Hours: Trails open dawn to dusk.
Parking: Limited on-site parking at 238 Webster Street.
Cost: Trail access is free. Event costs vary.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
This historic home hosts public and private events throughout the year.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes