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Architecturally the Nichols-Overing House, circa 1730, is built on what is often referred to as the ¾ house plan. Formal 18th century house builders strongly preferred a symmetrical plan with an equal number of windows on either side of the main entrance. Despite the fact that the Overing House is one of the grandest and most formal in the NRF collections, this rural house does not have the full balanced façade that would truly place it in the top rank of high-style houses of its period. It is best described as a 2nd period (1725-1750) house. The scale inside and out is akin to the Hunter House in Newport. The main features are its gambrel roof, interior chimney, high ceilings, excellent woodwork, and a comfortable stair hall. Mr. Overing’s rather grand country house is an interesting counterpoint to the more common and modest house of Mr. Sweet’s on the southern part of the property.

British General Richard Prescott made Mr. Overing's house his country headquarters during the British occupation of Newport during the American Revolution. It was from here that he was captured by Patriot commander Lt. Col. William Barton in an embarrassing night time raid. General Prescott was caught in only his night shirt and the patriot forces refused to allow him to dress before returning to their boats in Narragansett Bay. This story soon spread and earned General Prescott the nickname the Barefoot General. Eventually the local people began to refer to the Overing farm as Prescott Farm, an homage to this early Patriot victory.

Preservation property detailimage

Photo of the house before restoration.

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