1730's
Home Built
Land records indicate the house was built sometime in the 1730’s by Captain Tobias Lear III.
1730's
1751
Tobias Lear III dies.
1751
1760’s
Home Expanded
Tobias Lear IV doubles the size of the house, essentially to its current size.
1760’s
1762
Birth of Tobias Lear V
Tobias Lear V is born in the house.
1762
1777
New Career
Following a privateering misadventure imperiling the family’s fortunes, Tobias Lear IV becomes the “yard boss” for his cousin John Langdon, a Founding Father, supervising the building of the USS Ranger, captained by John Paul Jones, and the USS America at Langdon’s shipyard on Badger’s Island
1777
1781
Tobias Lear IV dies
Tobias Lear IV dies; daughter Mary gets a one-half share in the house. Lear’s wife Mary receives a one-half interest in the house during her widowhood; thereafter her share goes to her son, Tobias Lear V.
1781
1784
Graduation
At the age of 22, freshly graduated from Harvard College, Tobias Lear V, on the strength of Uncle John Langdon’s recommendation, becomes the personal secretary of George Washington, a position he will hold until Washington’s death in 1799.
1784
1789
George Washington
President George Washington visits the Lear house during his Northern Tour
1789
1790
Home Expanded
At about this time, or perhaps a decade later, a two-story addition to the house embracing the northwest corner of the 1760’s house is built, likely to accommodate the divided ownership of the house and occupancy by two or more families. The addition was removed sometime before 1877.
1790
1829
Mary Lear dies
Widow Mary Lear dies.
1829
1861
Home Sold to Jeremiah Falvey & James D. Flynn
The house is sold by Lear heirs to Jeremiah Falvey and James D. Flynn, beginning a period of occupancy of the house by various and at times multiple families of tenants.
1861
1917
Home Sold to Wallace Nutting
Margaret Falvey Ballard sells the house to Wallace Nutting, noted colonial revivalist and entrepreneur who also owns the adjacent Wentworth Gardner house.
1917
1920
Home Sold to Miss Jessie Varrell
Nutting sells to Bostonian Miss Jessie Varrell, who later refurbishes the house in preparation for the 1923 Portsmouth 300-year centennial.
1920
1935
Home Sold to William Appleton Sumner
Miss Jesse Varrell sells to William Appleton Sumner, founder of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.
1935
1940
Home Sold to Historic Houses Association
Former NH Governor Charles Dale engineers the purchase of the house by the newly formed Wentworth Lear Historic Houses Association, a non-profit which he directs until 1976, linking the Wentworth Gardner and the Tobias Lear houses in a single organization.
1940
1976
Dorothy Vaughan
Local preservationist Dorothy Vaughan takes the lead among local volunteers running the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses Association.
1976
1979
National Registry of Historic Places
The Lear House is placed on the National Registry of Historic Places as part of the Wentworth Lear Historic District.
1979
2017
De-accession the Lear house
After decades of maintaining the Tobias Lear House but perennially short of funds to undertake a needed full-scale rehabilitation, the board of trustees of the Wentworth-Lear Historic Houses Association votes to de-accession the Lear house.
2017
2019
Rehabilitation and preservation work begins
Stephen Foster contracts to purchase the house, an historic preservation easement is placed on the house in favor of Historic New England, and the sale is made to the Tobias Lear House Historic Inn, LLC. Rehabilitation and preservation work begins.
2019