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History of 8 Westminster Street

1807 Robert Gardner Jr, a sea captain on Nantucket, purchases the land at 8 Westminster Street from his father, a cooper and a direct descendant of Richard Gardner, the early settler who was granted land on Beacon (Academy) Hill by the original proprietors of Nantucket Island. The main section of 8 Westminster is built in 1807 and 1808.
1809 An additional purchase of land is made in 1809 along the south boundary of the property (where the kitchen is) giving the lot its odd shape.
1812 Captain Robert Gardner’s ship, the Chili, is captured in the War of 1812 along with many other Nantucketers by Peruvian allies of the British at Talcahuano, Chile. Joel Poinsett, the U.S. agent in South America, rallies over 400 Chilean revolutionaries and rescues the Nantucketers and their ships but Captain Gardner’s ship is unfortunately recaptured again at Tarpaulin Cove by the British brig Nimrod. Captain Gardner finally returns to Nantucket only to discover that his wife has died.
1814 Captain Gardner remarries, sells 8 Westminster Street to his brother in law, Obediah Fitch, another even more famous Nantucket Sea Captain and leaves the island. Captain Fitch owned the house until his death in 1848 but let his son, George Fitch, a cooper live in the house.
1880 George Fitch dies and his widow sells the house in 1880 beginning a long succession of Nantucket owners.
1976 The Ellicotts purchase 8 Westminster Street from Edwin Hoyt, an architect and author of Nantucket – The Life of an Island. His son, a sculptor created the piece on the wood stove in the kitchen.

Authored by Mary Lou Ellicott (d.1995)