Married to Abigail Greenleaf, this did not stop Captain Philip Aubin from manning a Privateer ship, Thorne, which unfortunately was captured by the HMS Grantham in 1780. While he was away during the Revolutionary War, she gave birth to Philip, Jr. Speaking of Privateering, the Greenleafs were closely associated with William Coombs and his Privateer’s wharf. Regardless of his temporary misfortune, much money was made by this line of work. Surviving the war, Capt. Aubin built this house in 1783 mainly for his growing family. He had a boy, John born in 1781, Lydia in 1783 and Joshua in 1789. His last child was Greenleaf born in 1795. To show how close the Coombs were, Lydia’s given middle name was Coombs.
The house itself is built in a High Georgian Style common for the wealthy to construct around this time. The area around Federal Street was a popular abode for the well to do and High Georgian homes are numerous in the South End. Only later in the beginning of the 19th century did the upper class begin to gravitate to High Street.
Philip Aubin though a sea captain even at this early date saw the future in the coming Industrial Revolution. In 1794 he was one of the incorporators of the Newburyport Woolen Manufacturing Company, one of the earliest textile mills in the area.
Even with his vision, he continued to go to sea. His son also followed in his footsteps. But alas, the sea is a cruel mistress and he saw his firstborn who was only twenty, lost at sea in 1799. Tragically, Captain Aubin Senior also died at sea in 1801. Abigail survived him for many more decades and roughly died in 1840.
In 1851, 4 Orange Street was owned by Forrest Eaton. As is evidenced by the change in ownership of this house, the economy of Newburyport was also changing. While the original owner was primarily associated with the sea, Mr. Eaton was associated with the then developing textile industry. He was the overseer in the card room at the Globe Steam Mill located at the corner of Federal and Water Streets.
By 1872, the house had been sold to Daniel Young. Young sold stoves in a shop at 10-12 Merrimac Street. Young’s widow continued to live in this house after the death of her husband.
In 1968, this house was divjded into four apartments and has been rental property ever since. Arthur & Mary Cronin owned it since 1980 and it is now presently owned by Michael Cronin who purchased it in 2005 and who now resides in Merrimac.
National Register of Historic Places’ Historic Survey, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1984.
J. J. currier, History of Newburyport, 1764-1905, Volumes I and II, reprint, Newburyport 1977.
Newburyport Daily News, August 15, 1968
1851 Plan of Newburyport, Mass. H. Mclntire
1872 Map of the City of Newburyport, Mass. D. c.
1851, 1872 City Directories
1884 Atlas of Essex County, G. H. Walker Co.
Assessor’s Records, 1890-1980.