Born in South Dedham on July 17, 1854, Willard Dean was the fourth generation of Deans to be born in the homestead at the corner of Pleasant Street and Dean Street. The land was originally a King’s grant. The house was one of the first to be built in this section of the village and featured hand-hewn and pit-sawn beams and boards. Few alterations were made to the one-and-one-half story house over some 200 years of family life. Open land when the house was built, by the end of Dean’s lifetime, the village had become a well-populated town and the buildings of the Morrill Ink Works were within sight.
, Willard Dean was left a widower in 1887 when his wife, Frances, died at the age of 39. He never remarried but continued to reside in his home alone for nearly 50 years until his death in February of 1936. At the age of 92, he was one of the oldest residents of the town at the time of his death. Dean left no surviving near relatives.