The House was built in 1752 by Moses and Elizabeth Porter on a tract of land known as ''Forty Acres and its skirts.'' These acres had been owned in common by the householders in the northeast quarter of the stockaded town of Hadley when it was laid out in 1659. After the Porters' only child, Elizabeth, married Charles Phelps in 1770, the house was enlarged and refined. Since 1799 there have been no structural changes. Early family members, along with numerous artisans, servants and slaves, made ''Forty Acres'' an important social and commercial link in local, regional and national networks of the 18th century.
Who were the Porters, Phelpses, and Huntingtons? Actually, the house has three names for one interesting reason. Instead of passing from father to son, as was customary in early America, the house was owned by women for three generations. Elizabeth Porter passed the house to her daughter, Elizabeth Phelps. Elizabeth Phelps passed it to her daughter, Elizabeth Huntington. In 1855, 103 years after being built, the house went to a son, Frederic Dan Huntington.