A New Home for a Grieving Widow
The 1840s had been a difficult time for Anna Hastings. Though she was happily married and lived
with her husband and children at 7 Maple Street, she had been saddened by the loss of her fifteen
year old niece Mary Hayward, her father Caleb Allen, her brother-in-law Congressman William
Soden Hastings, and her nineteen year old nephew Caleb Hayward, all within three years. She
received comfort from her family and friends, but it was the death of her husband, Attorney Charles
C. P. Hastings, at age forty-four in 1848, that left her devastated. She was a twenty-eight year old
widow with four children, nine years old and younger. Her Maple Street home, a family wedding gift
just ten years earlier, became a daily reminder of unrelenting sorrow. She decided she could no
longer live there without her husband.
Anna concluded that it would be best for her emotional well-being if she could move to a new
place. Dr. John Metcalf, the multi-talented town physician who had delivered her children, was an
amateur architect. As a favor to his family friend, he designed a new house at six Hastings Street,
across the street from his own house. She moved to her new location in 1849, and it became her
family residence for the next thirty-four years. Her sister and her husband, Minerva and James
Cunnabell, moved to 7 Maple Street to fill the vacancy, though Anna retained ownership.
Anna's move to a new home reflected a transition within the village center as well as a transition
within the Hastings family. By 1849, there had been several changes that impacted the village's
economy, population, and culture. Blackstone had separated from Mendon and became an
independent town. The tax dollars generated from the factories along the Blackstone River no
longer went to Mendon's treasury. The farmer-friendly Blackstone Canal closed and was replaced
by the aloof Providence and Worcester Railroad. Additionally, many of the 1820s prominent Ivy
League professionals who had lived in the village under the leadership of Seth Hastings were
deceased. The titles of attorney (7), congressman (2), ambassador, bank president, state senator,
and superior court justice had been replaced with boot maker, wood crafter, and farmer. The
splendor of the golden age was over for the village center as well as for the Hastings family by the
Anna's new home offered a renewed hope for the future. She raised her children there and had the
support of neighborhood family and friends. At the time of her death on August 20, 1883, at age
sixty-three, she was the last of the spouses of the children of Seth and Chloe Hastings. She died
as the matriarch of a great family.
Six Hastings Street is currently the well-kept home of Paul Crosby and Sharon Dawes.
The Hastings family The Hayward family Mendon Menu