35 India Street

An NPT House Marker

George Lawrence, mariner

c. 1786

35 India Street
35 India Street c. 1786, Courtesy Nantucket Historical Association

35 India Street c. 1885
Courtesy Nantucket Historical Association

From 1783 to 1785 George Lawrence made thirteen real estate investments, six of them for land in the 3rd Squadron of the Wesco Acre Lots, on the north side of Pearl Street (now India Street), in an area that was then known as Coffin’s Squadron. Described variously in deeds as a blockmaker, mariner, and merchant, this man of many hats from Alexandria, Virginia, married twice—both wives were great-great granddaughters of original proprietor Tristam Coffin who had been awarded shares in the Wesco Acre Lots.   George Lawrence built the house at 35 India Street between 1785 and 1788. Lawrence and his family left Nantucket in 1801 and moved back to Virginia, after he had sold every lot on the north side of Main Street from 15 through number 35.   In 1795 he sold the house to Martha Swain, “gentlewoman” widow of David Swain. It remained in the Swain family for 85 years. From 1799 to 1880 it was known as the Gilbert Swain Homestead.

Twentieth century owner Frances Devens “Daisy” Parrish gained some local literary fame as author of Poilu, Petit Chien de la Guerre, a memoir of her adventures as a nurse in France during World War I, with her heroic and faithful canine companion Poilu.