1 Exeter was built ca. 1870 for building contractor George Wheatland Jr., for speculative sale, one of four contiguous houses (299 Beacon and 1-3-5 Exeter) which form a single unit between Beacon Street and Public Alley 417.
By 1872, 1 Exeter was the home of Edward Henshaw, a wholesale dealer in leather findings, and his wife, Frances (Simmons) Henshaw. They had been married in February of 1871 and 1 Exeter probably was their first home together.
Frances Henshaw’s father, clothing merchant George Washington Simmons, is shown as the owner of 1 Exeter on the 1874 Hopkins map and the 1883 Bromley map. He also is shown as the owner of 299 Beacon (the house abutting 1 Exeter to the north) on the 1883 map. He and his wife, Frances A. (Gay) Simmons, moved there from 6 Walnut in late 1882, shortly before his death in December of that year.
Edward and Frances Henshaw continued to live at 1 Exeter in February of 1874, when their daughter, Bertha, was born, but by 1875, had moved to 13 Gloucester.
By 1875, 1 Exeter was the home of Joseph Howe Wales and his wife, Isabelle (Webbe) Wales. They previously had lived at 337 Marlborough.
Joseph Wales was a ship owner and East India merchant in his father’s firm, and then an insurance broker.
They continued to live there in 1877, but had moved to New York by 1878.
By 1879, 1 Exeter was the home of wholesale flour and grain merchant Wesley Perkins Balch and his wife Almira Patterson (Smith) Balch. In 1878, they had lived at 34 Chestnut.
They continued to live at 1 Exeter in 1882, but had moved to 12 Beacon by 1885.
During the 1885-1886 winter season, it was the home of Edward E. Adams. They previously had lived at 8 Joy. He was a steamship agent and commission merchant. They continued to live at 1 Exeter during the 1886-1887 season, but moved soon thereafter to the Hotel Victoria at 273 Dartmouth.
By the 1887-1888 winter season, 1 Exeter was the home of Dr. Charles Pratt Strong, a physician and surgeon, and his wife, Mary Washburn (Baker) Strong. He also maintained his medical office at the house. They previously had lived (and he had maintained his office) at 37 Charles. Mary Strong is shown as the owner of 1 Exeter on the 1888 and 1898 Bromley maps.
They continued to live there during the 1891-1892 winter season, but had moved soon thereafter to 258 Beacon.
The house was not listed in the 1893 Blue Book.
By 1894, 1 Exeter was the home and medical offices of Dr. George Haven and Dr. Algernon Sidney Coolidge, Jr., physicians. Algernon Coolidge previously had lived at 81 Marlborough with his parents, Dr. Algernon Sidney Coolidge and Mary (Lowell) Coolidge.
Algernon Coolidge married in December of 1896 to Amy Peabody Lothrop and, soon thereafter, they moved to 3 Exeter while awaiting completion of the house they were having built at 487 Commonwealth. While living at 3 Exeter, he continued to maintain his medical offices at 1 Exeter.
George Haven continued to live and maintain his office at 1 Exeter in 1898.
The house was not listed in the 1899-1902 Blue Books, nor was it enumerated in the 1900 US Census.
In the Fall of 1902, 1 Exeter was purchased from Mary Strong by attorney Harry James Jaquith and his wife, Mary A. H. (Taylor) Jaquith. The sale was reported by the Boston Globe on October 8, 1902. They previously had lived at Wellesley Farms. Mary Jaquith is shown as the owner of 1 Exeter on the 1908 and 1912 Bromley maps.
Harry Jaquith’s father, Benjamin Franklin Jaquith, was living with them in June of 1910, at the time of the 1910 US Census. He died later that year.
Harry and Mary Jaquith continued to live at 1 Exeter during the 1913-1914 winter season, but moved to Brookline soon thereafter.
During the 1914-1915 winter season, 1 Exeter was the home of William J. Stober and his wife, Josephine (Flavin) Stober. Their primary residence was in Roslindale.
William Stober was a real estate broker and conveyancer.
In early 1915, 1 Exeter was acquired by Francis Russell Hart, trustee, from William Stober. The transaction was reported by the Boston Globe on January 27, 1915.
Francis Hart was Vice-Chairman of the Old Colony Trust Company. He and his wife, Helen (Hobbey) Hart, lived at 474 Beacon. F. R. Hart, trustee, is shown as the owner of 1 Exeter on the 1917 and 1928 Bromley maps.
The house was not listed in the 1917 Blue Book.
By the 1917-1918 winter season, 1 Exeter was the home of Mrs. Belle (Pritz) Herman, the widow of William Herman, who had been a dry goods merchant in Nashville. Their two sons, William Jacob Herman and Edward Pritz Herman, lived with her. They both were graduate students at Harvard. William Herman would become one of the first psychiatrists at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Edward Herman would become an investment banker. Mrs. Herman and her sons continued to live at 1 Exeter during the 1920-1921 winter season, but moved soon thereafter.
By 1922, it was the home of Mrs. Beatrice Wilhelmine (Helleberg) Bowie, the former wife of Edward Mandell Bowie, and their daughter, Beatrice Marie Bowie. They also maintained homes in Sharon and in Jamaica.
1 Exeter was not listed in the 1923-1925 Blue Books.
By 1924, it was the home of Gertrude May (Hood) Park, the widow of John Francis Park, and their daughter, Annabel Park. In 1923, they had lived in an apartment at 330 Dartmouth and prior to that at 10 Gloucester. They continued to live at 1 Exeter in 1925, but had moved to 31 Gloucester by 1926.
During the 1925-1926 winter season, Mrs. Bowie and her daughter were living ay 1 Exeter once again. Beatrice Marie Bowie left for Europe soon thereafter, where she studied in Paris and then at Oxford. Mrs. Bowie remained at 1 Exeter during the 1926-1927 season, but then moved, probably either to her home in Jamaica or in Sharon.
By the 1927-1928 winter season, 1 Exeter was the home of US Army Colonel Sherwood Alfred Cheney and his wife Charlotte (Hopkins) Cheney.
The house was not listed in the 1929 Blue Book.
During the 1930-1931 winter season, 1 Exeter was the home of William Cabot Bramhall, a salesman, and his wife, Christine (Dexter) Bramhall. They also maintained a summer home in Weston. They continued to live at 1 Exeter during the 1931-1932 season, but had moved soon thereafter to 10 Fairfield.
Beatrice Marie Bowie married in 1930 to Horace Felix DeCourcy Pereira, whom she had met in a fencing club at Oxford. They settled in Boston where he became a banker. They lived first at 86 Mt. Vernon, but had moved to 1 Exeter by the 1932-1933 winter season. They continued to live there in 1934, but had moved to Dover by 1935.
1 Exeter was not listed in the 1935 Blue Book.
By 1936, it was the home of attorney Charles Harold Baldwin and his wife, Marion Ann (Landry) Baldwin. They previously had lived in an apartment at 259 Beacon. M. A. Baldwin is shown as the owner on the 1938 Bromley map.
Their daughter, Elaine Marion Baldwin, lived with them. She married in 1936 to Elmer Page Madsen following his graduation from Harvard in June of that year. They lived with her parents at 1 Exeter during the 1936-1937 winter season but divorced soon thereafter. She continued to live with her parents and remarried in July of 1938 to Otto August Ritzman, Jr., a salesman. After their marriage, they lived with her parents until about 1941, when they moved to Medford and then, by 1943, to an apartment at 195 Marlborough.
C. Harold Baldwin died in October of 1943 and Marion Baldwin moved soon thereafter to live with her son-in-law and daughter at 195 Marlborough.
In 1944, 1 Exeter was the home of Mrs. Verna Mae (Klink) Gordon, the former wife of William H. Gordon. In 1943, she and her husband had lived in an apartment at 342 Marlborough.
By 1945, it was the home of Kenneth Hugh Perkins and his wife, Helen B. (Allen) Perkins. They previously had lived in an apartment at 458 Beacon. He was president and treasurer of the Commercial Trading Company, clothing manufacturers and wholesale dealers in men’s clothing. He died in January of 1949 while they were traveling in Bermuda and Helen Perkins moved from 1 Exeter soon thereafter.
In 1949, 1 Exeter was the home of Louis Mortimer Pratt and his wife, Elizabeth (Stuart) Pratt. They previously had lived in Brookline. He was president of Davenport Peters Company, wholesale lumber merchants.
In 1950 and 1951, 1 Exeter was the home of Mary N. Gilbert. She previously had lived in California.
By 1952, 1 Exeter was the home of attorney Henry H. Davis and his wife, Virginia Mildred (Nason) Lyons Davis. They previously had lived at 415 Beacon. They subsequently moved to an apartment at 275 Beacon.
By 1953, 1 Exeter was the home of Mrs. Helen A. (Leonard) Westcott, the former wife of Arthur Goodwin Westcott, who operated it as a lodging house. She was a nurse and previously had lived in Brookline. She continued to live at 1 Exeter until about 1959.
The property changed hands, and in March of 1979 it was purchased by the Werner Real Estate Corporation. It remained a lodging house.
In June of 1984, Werner Real Estate filed for permission to remodel the interior and establish the legal occupancy of the property as a single-family dwelling (the Building Department had no record of the legal occupancy). It subsequently abandoned the application.
In June of 1984, 1 Exeter was purchased by public relations consultant and former Lt. Governor Thomas Phillip O’Neill, III, and his wife, Jacqueline Anne (DeMartino) O’Neill. In July of 1984, they filed for (and subsequently received) permission to remodel the interior and establish the legal occupancy as a single-family dwelling. In April of 1986, the O’Neills transferred the property into her name, alone.
In May of 1999, Jacqueline O’Neill filed for (and subsequently received) permission to add “a projecting oriel bay” at the rear. In March of 2000, she filed for (and subsequently received) permission to change the legal occupancy from a single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling.
1 Exeter was assessed as a single-dwelling in 2014.