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Number Seventeen Chestnut Street is a three-story red-brick building located on the corner of Chestnut and Seventh Streets in central Philadelphia. It was the rented home of Lord John Grey, his son William, and his niece Dottie from June 1777 through August 1778.

History

Lord John returned to the colonies – accompanied by his niece, Dottie – after hearing that his nephew Henry Grey had been shot and captured as a British prisoner of war. As Henry had been moved to Philadelphia, John rented Number 17 Chestnut Street. Not long after he arrived, he hired Jerusha Figg as a housekeeper.

Although the city was occupied by British troops, Loyalists could not count on constant protection from violence or vandalism by the city's rebel sympathizers, and so Lord John often wore his redcoat uniform in order to better protect his niece and nephew.

In mid-November of 1777, William returned from his posting in New York after the British saw defeat at Saratoga. Though he had a billet in Philadelphia, he often stayed at his father's house instead.

In spring of 1778, John was paid an unexpected visit by Claire Fraser, who sought use of the vitriol John had purchased the year before. They struck a deal wherein John would provide Claire the vitriol and any other medical supplies she required, in exchange for operating on his nephew Henry. Some weeks later, John received word that Claire's husband, Jamie Fraser, had perished aboard a ship on its way to the colonies. After hearing that Claire would soon be arrested as a spy, John promptly proposed marriage to the widowed Mrs. Fraser in order to protect her and her family in the city. Claire lived in the house with John for the duration of their brief two-month marriage, April to June of 1778.

When Hal arrived in the colonies, he too stayed at Number 17 while under Claire's medical supervision for an acute asthma attack. Within a few days, however, Sir Henry Clinton evacuated the city's British troops as well as its Loyalists, leaving Number 17 vacant except for Mrs. Figg, and later Dottie, who by then had allied herself with the Continental Army by way of her engagement to Denzell Hunter.

After briefly returning to Philadelphia while hunting Captain Richardson (and attending Dottie's wedding), John offered Claire the use of Number 17 as a temporary medical premises, as his lease would run until the end of the year. She used the house to nurse Tench Bledsoe, a known Loyalist who was brutally attacked by the Sons of Liberty, but otherwise spent her time at Fergus's printshop.

Description

Number 17 has a front room with a large expensive carpet and a set of stairs. There's a parlor off the front hall, where Lord John and others receive guests and where Claire and John are married.

The second floor landing contains an expensive chandelier, which William smashes in a fit of anger. There are at least two bedrooms leading off the second floor landing - Lord John's bedroom at the front of the house and a smaller back bedroom. The house also has a set of back stairs, which lead out the back door of the house or up to an attic.

Given the period and style, there is likely to be a dining room and possibly additional rooms on the ground floor, with the upper two floors devoted to bedrooms.

There is a separate cookhouse and a well in the backyard.

Location

The house is located on the corner of Chestnut and Seventh Streets in central Philadelphia.[1]

Trivia

References

  1. See map of Philadelphia in The Outlandish Companion, Vol. II.
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