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[DOCUMENT 105 1880. 




BOSTON, Dec. 10, 1880. 

In their fourth report, dated Sept. 1, 1880, the Record 
Commissioners announced that the City Council had appro- 
priated the sum of five thousand dollars for the publication 
of historical documents relating to Boston. This was in con- 
formity with a suggestion of the Committee on Printing for 
1879, and it is presumed that the grant will be continued 
annually. As already announced, the first of the volumes 
thus ordered is the present fifth report, and it contains a 
series of articles relating to the history of estates lying on or 
around Beacon Hill. These articles were contributed in 
1855 to the "Boston Daily Transcript" by the late Nathaniel 
Ingersoll Bowditch, under the signature of "Gleaner." 

Mr. Bowditch was confessedly the most learned conveyan- 
cer of the day. He was born at Salem, June 17, 1805, and 
was the oldest child of Dr. Nathaniel Bowditch, the distin- 
guished mathematician. In 1823, the year following the 
graduation of the subject of this sketch, his father removed 
to Boston, and Nathaniel studied law under the late Hon. 
William Prescott. From this time until his death, April 16, 
1861, Mr. Bowditch was an honored and useful citizen of 
Boston, pursuing his chosen department "of practice with un- 
rivalled skill, and accumulating treasures of information oi 
which but a small portion is here shown. In 1851 he printed 
a " History of the Massachusetts General Hospital," and in 
1857 a collection of curious facts entitled " Suffolk Surnames." 
The latter volume has been twice reprinted. 

ii CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

In 1855, Mr. Bowditch began the interesting series of 
" Gleaner " articles, which aroused a lively interest among all 
conversant with the subject. Often a single article would 
call forth the reminiscences or comments of other writers, 
and the whole collection has been for years regarded as indis- 
pensable to. any one who would write on that portion of our 
local history. 

Although the series terminated abruptly in the manner ex- 
plained on page 180 of this volume, enough had been written 
by Mr. Bowditch to make its republication a matter of pub- 
lic interest. When, therefore, the Record Commissioners re- 
ceived the munificent grant of the city, they at once selected 
these " Gleanings " as among the first documents to be issued. 

It will be seen that the portion of our territory covered by 
these notes is small ; but the articles are consecutive, and the 
treatment is exhaustive. Beacon Hill and its surroundings 
are considered, every estate is scrutinized, and the proverbi- 
al dryness of antiquarian and legal discussions is relieved by 
anecdotes of the distinguished citizens who have lived upon 
this noted territory during the past two hundred years. 

It has seemed unnecessary to attempt annotations to the 
original work. Of course the twenty-five years which have 
elapsed have produced many changes ; but these matters are 
within the recollection of the present generation, which is 
now to reperuse these sketches. 

The consent of the representatives of the family to this 
reproduction was given a number of years ago, and has 
been renewed at the present time. 

The commissioners have to announce that their sixth report 
is nearly completed, and that it will contain the Roxbury 
Land Records, together with the records of the First Church 
in Roxbury. It is intended that it shall appear among the 
city documents for 1880. 

Respectfully submitted, 


Record Commissioners. 


The following errors of the press have been noticed : 
P.. 64. (Note.) Abbott Lawrence died Aug. 18, 1855. 
P. 62. (Note.) Mr. Bowditch died in 1861 ; Mr. Savage died in 1873. 




July 6, 1855. 

It is well known that when our forefathers first came to this 
peninsula they found here a solitary settler, Mr. William Black- 
stone. Thus the Charlestown records say : 

Mr. Blackstone, dwelling on the other side of Charles Kiver, alone, to a 
place by the Indeans called Shawmutt, where he only had a cottage at or not 
far off the place called. Blackstone' s Point, he came and acquainted the 
Governor of an excellent Spring there, withal inviting him and soliciting him 
thither. Whereupon, after the death of Mr. Johnson and divers others, the 
Governor, with Mr. Wilson and the greatest part of the Church, removed 
thither. Whither also the frame of the Governor's house was carried, when 
people began to build their houses against winter, and this place was called 

Mr. Drake, in his excellent " History of Boston," quotes this ex- 
tract, and remarks that " this place was not thought of for a town 
until Blackstone urged it." He thinks that Blackstone' s Point was 
that afterwards called Barton's Point, at the northerly end of 
Leverett street, towards Charlestown, and adds: " His Point is 
more easily located than his house or his spring" and proceeds to 
suggest as not unlikely that these may have been near Poplar 

Now, the exact location of Mr. Blackstone's homestead lot is as 
definitely fixed as that of the Milldam or Western avenue. He made 
a deed to the inhabitants, of the whole peninsula, retaining this 
homestead lot of six acres. By the town records of 1735, " the re- 
lease of Mr. Blackstone, the first proprietor of the town of Boston," 
is mentioned as " now on file in the town clerk's office." The original, 
however, has never been seen by either of the historians of Boston, 


Shaw, Snow, or Drake, and is doubtless lost. Blackstone, wish- 
ing to live a more retired life and amid fewer neighbors, subsequently 
sold this reserved lot ; but no deed from him is found on record. 
In the course of time, therefore, its precise location became 
doubtful. It was, however, accidentally discovered by an inves- 
tigation of my own. In May, 1829, I was examining the titles of 
the Mt. Vernon proprietors, claimed under John Singleton Copley, 
the celebrated artist. I succeeded in tracing back his lot in part to 
a deed from one Richard Peyps and Mary his wife, of Ashon, 
Essex Count} r , to Nathaniel Williams, by a deed not found on 
record, but expressly referred to as dated January 30, 1655 ; and 
a deposition of Anne Pollard, in 1 71 1 (Suffolk, Lib. 26, p. 84) , proves 
that Blackstone sold to Richard Pepys. In 1676 is recorded a 
deed of Peter Bracket and Mary his wife, late widow of said Wil- 
liams (Suffolk, Lib. 9, fol. 325), conveying to her children, 
Nathaniel Williams three-quarters and Mary Viall one-quarter 
all that messuage, with the barns, stables, orchards, gardens, and 
also that six acres of land, be it more or less, adjoining and be- 
longing to said messuage, called the Blackstone lot, being the same 
which were conveyed to said Nathaniel by Richard Pepis, of Ashon, 
Essex County, and Mary his wife, as by their act, bearing date Jan- 
uary 30, 1655, will more fully appear. 

Mary Viall's one-quarter gets into said Nathaniel, who con- 
veys the whole lot in 1709 (Suffolk, Lib. 24, f. 103) to Thomas 
Banister as ** an orchard and pasture, containing six acres more or 
less on the N.W. side of the common with the flats ; the upland 
and flats being bounded N.W. on Charles river or a cove," etc., 
etc. " Southerly on the Common." 

Blackstone's six-acre lot, therefore, was at the lower part of the 
south-westerlj- slope of Beacon Hill, or, according to the present 
monuments, it was at the bottom of Beacon street, bounded southerly 
toward the Common, and westerly on the river. In other words, his 
fine taste led him, at the outset, to select for his abode the precise 
spot which is now the " Court-end " of the city. It must have been 
a sheltered and sunny enclosure of almost unrivalled beauty. 
Charles street was, in 1804, laid out along the water's edge, and, 
in the cellar of one of the houses easterly of that street (set off to 
the late B. Joy, one of the Mt. Vernon proprietors), is a copious 
spring, which was doubtless Mr. Blackstone's. Shaw, in his de- 
scription of Boston, p. 103, says: "Blackstone's spring is yet to 
be seen [1800] on the westerly part of the town, near the bay which 
divides Boston from Cambridge." 


I felt as proud of my delivery as a hen does that has laid an 
egg ; and it was the subject of much cackling on my part. An 
account of it will be found in the " Boston Courier" of that time. 
u The Sexton of the Old School" has also made it the subject of 
one of his later lucubrations in the "Transcript." I had every reason, 
indeed, to believe that the public mind was forever enlightened on this 
momentous topic. Judge, then, of my mortification, Mr. Editor, 
when I found the old erroneous surmises reproduced in a standard 
work by so careful and well-informed an antiquarian as Mr. Drake ! 
my " pet " discovery wholly ignored by the ver} r man of all others 
who should have known everything about it! my "credit "as 
clean gone as if I had been an original stockholder in the 




July 6, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Being at present confined to my house I am 
unable to refer to certain abstracts of my own which I well re- 
member, especially a deposition of Odlin, etc. Mr. Drake's his- 
tory, however (p. 530), supplies me with all I want, and proves, as 
I think, conclusively that Blackstone's point was the six-acre lot 
which he reserved, and that his house stood on part of it. Mr. Drake 
speaks of the four depositions, in 1684, of John Odlin, Robert 
Walker, Francis Hudson, and William Lytherland, and he repre- 
sents them as saying that they had 

Dwelt in Boston from the first planting thereof, and continuing so at this 
day (June 10, 1684) ; that in or about 1634 the said inhabitants of Boston Cof 
whom the Hon. John Winthrop, Esq., Governor of the Colony, was chief) 
did agree with Mr. William Blackstone for the purchase of his estate and 
right in any lands lying within the said neck called Boston ; and for said pur- 
chase agree that every householder should pay 6s., none paying less, some 
considerably more, which was collected and paid to Mr. Blackstone to his 
full satisfaction for his whole right, reserving only about six acres on the point 


commonly called Black stone 1 s Point, 1 on part whereof his then dwelling house 
stood ; after which purchase the town laid out a place for a training field, 
which ever since and now is used for that purpose and for the feeding of 

Now, to my apprehension, nothing can make the matter clearer 
than the above extract from Mr. Drake's own history. If it had 
been printed in the part of the volume where his surmises are made 
in favor of Barton's Point, he could not, as it seems to me, have 
failed to be himself convinced of his mistake. The Common 
(which contains about 50 acres) was very probably the residue of 
the 50 acres which had previously been granted to Mr. Blackstone, 
and which thus became revested in the town. 

One word of reply to Mr. Alonzo Lewis. 2 Mr. Blackstone's 
cottage was doubtless a slight structure, and in 1709 had disap- 
peared ; but the trees which he had planted had grown, and were 
an orchard, which of itself becomes a conspicuous monument, since 
it is the only orchard shown on the most ancient plans of Boston. 
That there were numerous other springs I admit. That there was 
an excellent spring on this spot so near the original shore that the 
fresh water bubbled forth and ran down the sand to sea, I was 
assured by an aged witness, now deceased, who was consulted as 
to the titles in that locality in the suits of the Overseers of the 
Poor against the Mount Vernon Proprietors. 


Edward Johnson, in 1630, in his" Wonder-Working Providence," 
writes: " One[on] the South side of the River, one a Point of 
Land called Blaxton's Point, planted Mr. William Blaxton." 

The Records show that " 1 April, 1633, it is agreed that Mr. 
William Blackstone shall have fifty acres set out for him near his 
house in Boston to enjoy forever." 

Blackstone sold the town, the following year, all said allotment 
except six acres, on part of which his then house stood the sale 

1 Judge Sewall, in bis Diary (vol. I., p. 186), under date of August 15, 1687, wrote 
as follows, " Went into Water alone at Blackstone's Point." This shows that the name 
was long preserved. Later on Mr. Bowditch traces the title of adjacent lots, so 
strengthening his first position, that it may be deemed to be settled that Blackstone's 
Point was at the corner of Beacon and Charles streets. W. 

2 Mr. Lewis had replied to the first article by suggesting that Blackstone's six-acre 
lot might have been at the further end of his fifty acres, and, therefore, miyht have 
been at the point called afterwards Barton's Point. Mr. S. Gr. Drake also reiterated 
his ideas in an article. W. 


not being restricted to the 44 acres, but including all his right in 
the peninsula. He received 30, raised by a town vote assessed 
Nov. 10, 1634. 

The deposition of Odlin, etc., is a well known historical docu- 
ment, which has been often printed in extenso. 3 

Blackstone probably removed from Boston in 1635. It is, at any 
rate, certain from a publication in 1641 that he had removed before 
that year. See Savage's Winthrop. Annie Pollard proves that he 
sold his reserved six acres to Richard Pepj's. This six-acre lot, 
" commonly called the Blackstone lot," is traced from Pepys in 
1655, through Williams, to Banister, 1709, and through Copley to 
the Mount Vernon Proprietors and it bounds S. on the Common, 
W. on the River. 

Now, as to the orchard planted by Blackstone. In a publica- 
tion of 1765 it is stated that many of the trees still bore fruit. 
Bonner's plan of 1722, though it has no division lines marking the 
bounds of the Common, has an arrangement of trees in rows, i.e., 
an orchard, obviously in this locality. This orchard reappears in 
Price's plan of 1733. Who can doubt that it was Blackstone's, 
Pep} T s', Williams', Copley's orchard? 

As to there being no Point at the foot of Beacon hill all Bos- 
ton has been called in print " Blackstone's Neck" and the name of 
Biackstone's Point may have been given to that projecting part of 
Boston which was nearest to his house. It is, however, a mere 
question of nomenclature, and does not at all affect the question of 
where Blackstone actually lived. Besides, no one can know that 
there was not some such projection of the original shore at the foot 
of Beacon hill as might with propriety be called a point. The 
whole space at the bottom of the Common, now used as a parade 
ground, and of which the level has been greatly raised within a few 
years, was doubtless at that time a mere marsh or beach, occa- 
sionally, if not always, covered by the full tides. If so the shore 
must have made a decided bend or sweep toward the east, imme- 
diately in front of Mr. Blackstone's homestead lot. In other 
words, there must have been & point thus formed. On the whole I 
think the " point" is " settled" where Blackstone settled, and feel 
safe in changing my signature to 

Q. E. D. 

3 The original deposition is in Suffolk Deeds, Lib. 24, fol. 406. It is printed in full 
in Shurtleffs Description of Boston, pp. 296-7. W. 



July 10, 1855. 

In 1676, after King Philip's war, Dr. Increase Mather, of Boston, 
"did by his letters procure a whole ship-load of provisions from 
the charity of his friends in Dublin." So that when Boston sent, 
by R. B. Forbes, Esq., a ship-load of provisions to Ireland, a few 
years since, it was but the payment, without interest, of a debt 
contracted by our forefathers a century and three-quarters before. 
The debt is mentioned by Drake, but not its somewhat tardy dis- 
charge. Mr. Drake, in each page of his history, has, in the notes, 
preserved copies of the miscellaneous votes passed by the town in 
each year, these being generally of too trivial a character to justify 
an insertion in the text. Thus, under the j^ear 1640, the following 
vote is recorded as passed March 30, viz. : " Ordered, That no more 
land be granted in the Town out of the open ground or common 
field, which is left between Sentry Hill and Mr. Colbron's end, ex- 
cept 3 or 4 lots to make up the street from bro. Robt. Walker's to 
the Round Marsh." On this vote he makes not a word of comment, 
and yet it was the origin of the Boston Common. Sentry Hill was 
Beacon Hill. Mr. Colbron's end or field extended from Washing- 
ton street back along Pleasant street and the water, and the street 
referred to is Boylston street. The Common originally reached to 
Tremont House, and indeed the little flower-garden at the S.E. 
corner was granted more than 190 years ago as a house-plat, out 
of that end of the Common. Rather a small-sized house-lot, by 
the way ! The granary and workhouse were erected where the 
Park-street Church and houses now stand, the street leading by 
them having been called Sentry street. The Common origin ally 
extended to Mason street ; and the whole Colonade Row block of 
houses was built on land sold off from it. On the other hand, its 
original dimensions were enlarged in 1780, by a purchase, from 
William Foster, of about two acres on Boylston street, east of the 
bury ing-ground, and between it and Tremont street. The Public 
Garden was, and as I conceive still is, part of the Common, though 
divided from it by Charles street about 1804. Surely a vote to 
which Boston is indebted for this beautiful public pleasure-ground 
should have received from its historian at least one sentence of 
mention in his text. 


Mr. Drake does indeed mention in his text that on March 31, 
1645, " there was purchased of Thomas Scotto for the use of the 
Town his dwelling-house, yard, and garden, for fifty-five pounds. 
[Cheap.] It was bounded on the north by land of Henry Messen- 
ger, on the east by Mr. Richard Hutchinson's, by the Common 
street south, and the buying- place west." But it would not have 
been amiss if he had added that this is the School-street estate, on 
which now stands the City Hall. Between this School-street land 
and the city land on Court street, on which formerl} 7 stood the 
prison and now stands the Court House, were intervening lots of 
Henry Messenger, etc., which have been subsequently acquired, so 
that the two estates are now united. And it would seem that of 
the original School-street land portions were subsequently sold off, 
on which were erected the brick buildings owned by the late John 
Lowell, Wm. Sullivan, etc., and which were again purchased at a 
much later day by the city, the land so repurchased being now laid 
out as ornamental enclosures in front of the City Hall. It is ob- 
servable that the west boundary of the deed of 1645 is on the 
burying-place. It was not until more than forty years after this 
period, under the administration of Andros, that the first Episcopal 
church, now known as King's Chapel, was erected on part of " the 




July 12, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : There is a well-known legal conundrum 
" What is that which, when it has once begun to run, never leaves 
oft running?" The answer is, "A statute of limitation." It, 
indeed, runs to some purpose. Its " might makes right." An 
unauthorized intrusion upon lands a barefaced squat it con- 
verts at last into a title, guarded by all the sacred majesty of law. 

Our citizens, as the} 7 pass by the chapel in Tremont street, see 
merely an ancient edifice, of fine proportions, belonging to one of 
our most wealthy and fashionable congregations, and in the bury- 
ing-ground adjoining they behold the resting-place of those who, 
from age to age, after having worshipped at that church, have, at 


last, been gathered together beside its hallowed walls. Nothing, 
however, can be further from the truth of history. 

Isaac Johnson was one of the most distinguished of the founders 
of Boston. His wife, the Lady Arabella, nobly born and delicately 
nurtured, sunk at once under the fatigues and privations of her 
western voyage, and died at Salem, where she landed. The place 
of her burial is not known 

" Yet still she hath a monument 
To strike the pensive eye, 
The tender memories of the land 
Wherein her ashes lie." 

Her husband died shortly afterwards (September 30, 1630). 
The grave closed, as it were, at once over them both. 

It is tradition, derived from the late Chief Justice Sewall, that 
Mr. Johnson had chosen for his lot the great square between 
Washington, School, Tremont, and Court streets, and that, by his 
desire, he was buried at the south-west end of that lot, " which 
gave occasion for the first bury ing -place of this town to be laid out 
round about his grave." It is, however, a matter of doubt where 
he was buried, and it does not appear that this whole square, or, 
indeed, any part of it, was ever actually granted to him. It is 
certain that, in the " Book of Possessions " (our Doomsday-book), 
it is subdivided among several possessors. 

Thus, Richard Hutchinson is u Possessor" of theS.E. corner lot 
on Washington street; the bury ing-place is located at the S.W. 
corner on Tremont street ; while, between them, comes the estate 
which, in 1645, Thomas Scotto sold to the town (now the City Hall 

Here, then, were buried those sturdy champions of Puritanism, 
who, dreading and detesting the thraldom of the Church of Eng- 
land, had left the comforts and luxuries of the Old World, that they 
might worship God according to their own consciences ; who 
through life had looked with almost equal aversion upon Episco- 
pacy and Popery. The feeling that prompted Endicott to cut out 
the cross from the King's colors however the policy of his act 
might be questioned really pervaded almost all minds. Fleeing 
from persecution themselves, they thought that they had the right 
to drive forth from among them, even by persecution, those sectaries 
who sought, under claim of like liberty of conscience, to worship 
God in modes which they judged erroneous. Here lie buried John 
Winthrop, " The Governor," d. 1649 ; "the famous, reverend and 


learned Pastors/' John Cotton, d. 1652, John Davenport, d. 1670, 
and John Oxenbridge, d. 1674 ; Major Thomas Savage, d. 1681-2 ; 
Major Thomas Brattle, d. 1683, and others, their wise and brave 

Mr. Cotton's burial has been quaintly described as " the most 
grievous and solemn funeral ever known upon the American 
strand ; " and an elegy is extant " on the Sudden and much 
Lamented Death and Expiration of that Worthy, Grave, Pious, 
and Everyway accomplished Hero, Major Thomas Savage, Esq'r." 

How would it have shocked these worthies on their death-beds 
could they have foreseen that their last resting-place was eventually 
to be desecrated by the intrusion of a hateful Episcopal edifice, 
within which, in still later times, under episcopal forms, what they 
would have regarded as the damnable heresy of Unitarianism would 
be inculcated ! 

In May, 1686, the first society of Episcopalians was formed. 
The old charter of the Colony having been annulled, and the politi- 
cal power being then in the hands of that denomination, on the 
arrival of Andros, in December of that year, they succeeded in com- 
pelling the Old South Society to permit them to use their building 
as often as occasion required. Drake says : " How the (Episco- 
pal) Society obtained the land on which their church stood has 
not been discovered ; 4 but it is not at all improbable that it was 

Somewhat later Mr. Bowditch obtained some light on this subject, and May 28, 
1858, he published the following in the " Transcript." 


MB. EDITOR: In an article printed in the Transcript, in 1855, I illustrated the 
doctrine of squat titles and titles by possession by the case of King's Chapel a part 
of a public bury ing-ground taken from the town for an Episcopal church, in the times 
of Andros. I had a list of all deeds indexed under the name of " Boston," and found 
no deed recorded. I still believe that article entirely accurate as to the original edifice 
and the land under it. Within a day or two, however, my attention has been called to 
a deed indexed under the names of Thomas Hancock and others, to Henry Caner and 
others, but which is really a deed of the Selectmen of Boston to the wardens and vestry 
of King's Chapel in 1748 (Suff., 76, f. 82), by which certain additional pieces of land 
are bought by said grantees for the enlargement of the church, and which deed of 
course recognizes the ownership by said wardens and vestry of the original lot. Think- 
ing that a religious society would feel relieved to learn that any part of their church 
and land had been bought and paid for, I am happy to refer them to this old deed, 
'which not being indexed under the names either of "Boston" or "King's Chapel,' 
would necessarily be overlooked by all who sought for it. GLEANEB. 

In a tract entitled "A Vindication of New England," printed in 1688, written 
probably by Rev. Increase Mather, we find these words relative to the Episcopalians 

10 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

taken by order of Governor Andros out of the common burial-place 
which was given to the town by Mr. Isaac Johnson." It is cer- 
tain that jt was built on part of that burying-place, an appro- 
priation of the spot which could not have been obtained from the 
living except under duress, and which would have been utterly re- 
pugnant to the most cherished feelings of the dead. The act, in- 
deed, could not, at first, have been regarded in any other light than 
as a flagrant wrong and insult. It is, however, now the source of 
one of the best titles in Boston, and is at least one good fruit of the 
tj'ranny of Sir Edmund Andros. 

According to the usual practice of reserving the most important 
matters for insertion in the postscript, I would mention that I, 
myself, witnessed on this spot a truly sacrilegious official act, 
perpetrated by the direction of a superintendent of the City Burial 
Grounds, now deceased. Under the very windows of the Historical 
Society, he caused many gravestones to be removed from their 
original position, and rearranged them as edge-stones by certain 
paths which he there laid out. The result is, that the tear of affec- 
tion and friendship may hereafter be shed, or the sigh of sentiment 
breathed, in a wrong locality; and perhaps the bones of a stranger 
instead of an ancestor may be piously gathered and entombed anew 
b}' a descendant, unsuspicious of so strange and inexcusable an 
outrage. In delightful contrast to this attempt to improve " The 
King's Chapel Burying Ground," let me refer your readers to a 
beautiful volume, in which it is described, by Thomas Bridgman, 
published in 1853, and entitled " Memorials of the Dead in Boston." 


of Boston: " Thus at their own charge they built an house; but can the Towns-men 
of Boston tell at whose charge the land was purchased?" From a letter of Judge 
Sewall's in Mass. Historical Society's Collections, 4th series, vol. viii, p. 517, it seems 
certain that the Council under Andres's administration took the land for the church 
building. There was no legislature then, and this act of the supreme authority of the 
colony could not be questioned. W. 



July 13, 1855. 

Mr. Drake, in his "History of Boston," p. 394, says, under date 
of Sept. 5, 1672 : " The fears of an invasion from the Dutch may 
have given rise to a stupendous project of fortifying the town. A 
circular wall was ordered to be erected, extending from one ex- 
tremity of the cove to the other, or its terminations were the Sconce, 
at the point now occupied by India wharf, on the South, and Capt. 
Scarlet's wharf, at the foot of Fleet street, on the North." " The 
circular line to be built upon was to touch the channel at the nearest 
point before the town, and between the wall and the seaward ex- 
tremities of the wharves, built and to be built, one hundred feet 
space for vessels was to be left." " This great structure fell 
gradually into decay, and it has been long since any vestiges of it 
were to be seen. Its exterior was probabty of wood. It went by 
the name of the Old Wharf as long as any of it remained." 

There are various inaccuracies in the above statements. It 
would hardly be proper to say that the Declaration of Independence 
may have been caused by the aggressions of the mother-country. 
The Sconce, or South Battery, which was one terminus of the 
structure (though I have not my plans to refer to), coincides, I 
believe, with Rowe's wharf* rather than India wharf, which it 
adjoins. The structure was not built on a circular line, but on a 
straight line or lines. It was the earliest large wharf erected in 
Boston. Long wharf did not exist till 17W). Central wharf and 
India wharf were built within the present century. Further, it was 
erected without any reference to " touching the channel." And what 
is meant by the phrase " Between the wall .and the seaward ex- 
tremities of the wharves built and to be built, one hundred feet 
space for vessels was to be left " ? The facts are, that the structure 

* Foster's wharf bounds northerly on " Sconce " lane, 13 feet wide, laid out in 1673. 
On the northerly side of this lane is Rowe's wharf, of which part was conveyed to John 
Rowe in 1764, by the executors of Jacob Wendell, and the residue (measuring 100 feet 
on Batterymarch street, now Broad street) was conveyed to said Rowo by the inhabit- 
ants of the Town of Boston, in 1785. (Suffolk, Lib. 181, fol. 258.) This was part of 
the Old South Battery estate or Sconce. The name of Batterymaroh street is derived 
from this battery, which bounded upon it. 

12 CITY DOCUMENT -No. 105. 

was a sea-wall, built across the mouth of the cove, with certain 
" gaps" or openings left for the passage of vessels. All the flats 
outside of this wall, to the channel, and also two hundred feet in 
width of the flats inside of it, or towards the town, were granted 
in fee simple to the individual undertakers who erected the struct- 
ure. And the various upland owners were restricted from wharf- 
ing out be3 T ond a circular line, which was swept along the shore 
from one terminus of the structure to the other, which " circular 
line" ranged west of much of the present Commercial street, etc. 
The consequence was, that many conveyances of wharf-estates on 
this cove, for a centmy and a half, instead of bounding on " the 
sea," or " low-watermark," bound on ^ the circular line," to which 
their right of wharfing out was thus restricted. Mr. Drake, recol- 
lecting that there ivas a " circular line " somewhere, has erroneously 
transferred it to the actual structure. The whole space between the 
" circular line " and the line of the two hundred feet of inside flats 
granted to the undertakers, was to remain in common for wharfage, 
etc., and not merely, as Mr. Drake says, "a one hundred feet 

Mr. Drake speaks of this structure as having long since " wholly 
ceased to exist" Down to the time of the erection of Central 
wharf, say fort}' years ago, a portion was standing, called the 
South Island wharf, on which were salt stores belonging to the 
proprietors of Long wharf. Over part of this Island wharf Cen- 
tral wharf was laid out. In digging for the foundations of that 
wharf branches of trees part of the " primeval forest," with the 
bark still entire, were thrown up from the bottom of the original 
structure, with the stones in. connection with which they had been 
sunk one hundred and forty years before. Another similar 
" island," lying north* of the Long wharf, was removed about 
twent}'-five years ago for the purpose of making a channel or 
water passage in common for the wharves in its vicinity. And at 
this present time (1855) one of the chief wharves of the city, 
though now of course rebuilt, is itself but a part of the Barricaclo 
of 1672, viz., the T wharf. The neck of the T, connecting it with 
Long wharf, is a part of that structure, and the T itself still main- 
tains entire and enjoys its two hundred feet of flats inside, and all 
the flats outside toward the sea, all, or nearly all, said flats being 
now covered by the present solid and substantial wharf. Here 
certainty is a very respectable " vestige" of this old enterprise. 

The name of the structure was " The Barricade," or u out 
wharf." It only acquired the name of " The old wharf or wharves " 


by lapse of time, and probably after it had fallen into decay; 
after it had got into the condition of an estate near the foot of 
State street, an ancient deed of which graphically describes it as 
" a messuage now running to despair." It is as much a misnomer 
as if the South Society had been stated to have had the prefix 
" Old " when it was first established. 

The Barricado grant gave to each "undertaker" a fee simple 
title, but it was upon the condition that he, his heirs and assigns, 
should keep in repair the part which he built. Breaches of this 
condition have gradually worked a forfeiture of almost all these 
titles, but the grant itself will always remain one of great historical 
interest. It is perhaps the most anomalous exercise of power recorded 
in our local annals; being utterly inconsistent with the prior vested 
rights of all the upland owners in that cove, who, by virtue of the 
Colony ordinance 0/1641, as construed by the present conditions of 
our Supreme Judicial Court, already owned in fee simple all the 
Jlats to the channel. 




July 14, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We have seen that King's Chapel Church origi- 
nated in something like a " squat." There is one circumstance 
respecting St. Paul's Church, equally peculiar, and perhaps not 
generally known, even to those who worship there. 

At the beginning of all things Robert Blott is found to be 
u Possessor" of a tract of land, measuring 140 feet on the high- 
way, now Washington street, and extending in depth 276 feet 
along a cross street or lane, named from him-Blott's lane, after- 
wards Willis's, or Banister's lane, now Winter street. Behind this 
lot, occupying all the residue of Winter street to the Common, was 
the possession of John Leverett, who is named as the westerly 
abutter of Blott in the " Book of Possessions." The northerly part 
of Leverett's possession, measuring 210 feet in front on Winter 
street by about 100 feet in depth, is the source of title to the blocks 
of dwelling-houses now standing thereon, four of which front on 
Tremont street, the others on Winter street. 

14 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

The southerty part of Leverett's Possession had been sold off, as 
early as 1664, to one W} r ard or Wyre, though the deed is not re- 
corded. Thus, we find that " Hudson Leverett, alias John 
Leverett," mortgaged in 1664 an half an acre of ground, bounding 
on the street north, the Common west, the land now Goodman 
Wyre's W. (evidently a mistake for S.), and Goodman Blott's 

Robert W^ard and Sarah his wife convey to John Wampas, an 
Indian, by warranty deed, dated January 28, 1666, recorded Sep- 
tember 28, 1668, in Suffolk Deeds, Lib. 5, fol. 690, a tract of land 
210 feet deep and 32 feet broad, more or less, bounded W. on the 
Common, S. on John Cross, E. on Alexander Baker (who had 
succeeded Blott) , and N. on land now or late of Leverett. 

And it is from this Indian, John Wampas, that St. Paul's church 
derives its title to the northerly portion of its estate, say 32 feet on 
Tremont street, by 210 feet in depth. 

The light of Gospel truth emanating from a truly heathen source I 




July 7, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : It is believed that the title of the First Church 
in Chauncy Place is, in one particular, entirely unique. Summer 
street, from its leading towards a mill, and from its passage by the 
Seven Star Inn (which once occupied the site of Trinity Church), 
was in ancient times known successively as " y e Mylne streete," 
and " Seven Star lane." It was at first called merely " the street " 
or highway. The " Book of Possessions," among the estates on the 
south side of this street, has the following item : " Richard 
Hollich, one house and lott, bounded with Thomas Bell, East, 
Gamaliel Waite, West, William Blantaine, South, the streete, 

From the possession of Gamaliel Wait, on the West, is derived 
the title of the store now occupied by Hovey & Co. Thomas Bell, 
named as the adjoining easterly owner, was dead in 1655, and his 
son Thomas sold to John Maryon [ i.e., Marion] a moiety of the 


estate in 1668, described as measuring 90 feet on the street, and 
bounded " with the land of Richard Hollidge West, and is there 
254 feet more or less." 

Richard Holling/iecid of Boston, planter [being the third alias 
under which this original possessor appears] and Ann, his wife, 
" being preserved to a state of old age, attended with many weak- 
nesses and infirmities, and for a valuable sum of money secured to 
be annually paid us, and the survivor of us " conveyed to Henry 
Alline and Robert Sanderson, u Deacons of the First Church of 
Christ in Boston aforesaid, whereof we are members," " all that 
our dwellyig-house and housing with the land whereupon they 
stand, yards, garden, orchard, barn, and land unto us belonging, 
situate on the southerly end of the town of Boston aforesaid, and 
butted and bounded Northeasterly on the street or highway, South- 
easterly by the land of John Marion, Sr., Southwesterly by the 
land of Phebe Blanton, widow, and Northwesterly by land of 
Gamaliel Wait " (reserving during their lives the use of the old 
house, so called, and the little garden), " to have and to hold to 
them, their successors in said office, or assigns, to the only proper 
use and behoof of said Church or Society forever," by warranty 
deed dated December 17, 1680, recorded December 20, in Suffolk 
Deeds, Lib. 12, fol. 1. 

The first church edifice erected in Boston was on the south side 
of State street. The present Brazier's building occupies part of 
the site, though the original lot projected out much farther into the 
street. The whipping-post and stocks, etc., were, one or both, 
erected in front of it. The menial and physical means of improv- 
ing the population were thus brought into immediate juxtaposition. 
After standing on this spot about nine years the church was re- 
moved, in 1640, to its second location on Cornhill square. 

By an indenture in 1807 (Suffolk, Lib. 223, fol. 131) between 
Ebenezer Preble (who had succeeded Marion) and the then 
deacons of the First Church, Chauncy place was laid out, 40 feet 
wide, almost wholly over land of the church (a triangular gore of 
land, six feet wide on the street, and running to a point at the dis- 
tance of 117 feet, being all that was contributed by Mr. Preble, 
who bought of the Society a somewhat larger triangular gore of 
land, extending from said point southerly, and lying easterly of the 
easterly line of said place). The Society then sold Benjamin Joy, 
Esq., in 1808, their estate in Cornhill square (on which he erected 
" Joy's Building ") , he agreeing to erect for the Society four brick 
dwelling-houses on the front portion of their Summer-street estate. 

16 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Behind this block of houses stands the present church, bounding 
easterly on the new court thus laid out. And a school-house was 
subsequently erected on a lot sold off on the south side of the 

The original homestead lot of Mr. Hollich appears to have been 
about 150 feet wide, and more than 250 feet in depth ; and now, 
though a quarter of an acre of it is appropriated a highway, it con- 
veniently accommodates two public edifices and four private ones. 
So that the first occupant had ample room for " swinging a cat" 
whenever he felt so inclined. 

There is probably no land in Boston, except that on which Chauncy 
Place Church stands, which is held under a direct conveyance from 
the first possessor, and .of which no subsequent conveyance has ever 
been made. 




July 19, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : There are " curiosities of law" as well as " curi- 
osities of literature." When just entering that profession which 
I regret to confess was at a remote period of some thirty years ago 
I remember hearing the following professional anecdote: A 
young lawyer had put up his " shingle," and sat waiting for his 
first client. An interesting female in black walked into the 
apartment, and submitted her case to his consideration. She was 
a widow, and the second-story apartments of her husband's house 
had been assigned to her in full of her dower or thirds in his real 
estate. The building had just been burnt up. The question sub- 
mitted was, "What had become of her dower?" This was 
decidedly a " poser." The attorn e}^ had to dig very laboriously to 
get at the foundations of this " castle in the air." What was the 
final advice given to this fair client I do not remember. 

It is often the case that an arched passageway is laid out 
through an estate, so that a portion of a house is sustained above 
it. Such are the estates at the entrance of Williams court, and of 
Disbrow's Riding-school in Washington street. I do not recollect, 
however, more than two instances in the whole city, of fee simple 


estates witJiout any land whatever attached to them. One of these 
is the lofts over the arch on India wharf, which belonged to the 
late John Lowell, Jr., at the time of his death ; the adjoining stores 
which sustain it being the property of others, one or both of them 
being subject to the easement of a stairway which forms the means 
of access to the lofts. The other instance is that of the apart- 
ments over the arch in Franklin place. Thus Charles Vaughan, 
William Scollay, and Charles Bulfinch, in consideration of five 
shillings, and for the promotion of the designs of the Massachu- 
setts Historical Society, conveyed to said Society, May 1, 1794 
(Suffolk deeds, Lib. 179, fol. 98), " the upper apartment or room 
in the centre building in Franklin place, in Boston, called the 
Crescent, with the passageway or staircase leading to the same." 
[See, also, Lib. 446, fol. 43, Suffolk deeds for conveyance of 
Vaughan to the Boston Library.] 

In contrast to houses without any laud attached to them, we 
sometimes find lands upon which no buildings stand or can stand. 
Thus opposite the last-mentioned arch is the enclosed area in 
Franklin place. This originated under the following deed : 
Charles Vaughan, retaining 6-50ths, conve3*ed to 21 grantees 
44-50ths of the block of eight dwelling-houses, east of the arch 
by deed dated May 3, 1794 (Suffolk deeds, Lib. 178, fol. 107), 
and covenants that a certain street shall be kept open, u enclosing 
in its circuit a piece of ground of semi-oval form the shortest 
diameter of which, in the centre between its extreme points, shall 
be 30 feet, ivhich said semi-oval piece of land shall be kept unoccu- 
pied by any buildings forever for the accommodation, convenience, 
and beauty of said lot of land, and the advantage of said houses." 

Buildings without land are rather unsubstantial, and land 
without buildings is rather unproductive. I should always give a 
decided preference to investments in which both are judiciously 


18 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



July 20, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Few matters of mere taste and fashion result in 
more serious inconveniences than the frequent and capricious 
changes made in the names of streets. Our original street nomen- 
clature was certainty not ver} r select, yet how interesting would it 
be to the local antiquarian to feel sure at once of the identity of 
some old Iocalit3 r from its existing name ! How man}' spots in 
London are still visited by pilgrims who delight to recall the wits 
and sages who formerly frequented them ! The memoiy of the 
great lexicographer is better perpetuated by Bolt court than it 
would be by Johnson square. 

Our Pudding Lane, so called, probably, from some primitive 
eating-house, 5 had not ceased to be an appropriate designation even 
in the days of the Exchange Coffee-house though it had long 
been superseded by Devonshire street. Frog Lane, so named from 
the ancient croakers on the Common, though now called Boylston 

5 In the notes to " John Dunton's Letters from New England in 1686," printed by 
the Prince Society in 1867, I have fully explained this name. It seems that the famous 
" Blue Anchor Tavern " fronted on Washington street and bounded south-east on 
Pudding lane. (Suff. Deeds, Lib. 21, f. 369.) The exact location is fixed by the deed 
of Mary Lidgett (Lib. 19, f. 71), of land bounded west forty feet on the highway to 
Roxbury, south by land and house belonging to Harvard College, north by Monck's 
house, etc. The store still belongs to Harvard College, and is the one occupied by 
Little, Brown & Co. The Lidgett estate, which was bought of William Avery and 
Mary his wife, widow of John Tappan, seems to include the two stores next north of 
the College property, and thus the old tavern estate would be the one next north at 
the angle in the street. The lot north of the tavern belonged to John Wiswall, whose 
daughter, Mary Ernmons, sold it in 1709 (Lib. 24, f. 241) to Elisha Cooke. It bounded 
south on the house formerly the Anchor Tavern, " now in possession of James Pitts," 
and north on house and land of said Cooke. Elisha Cooke, therefore, came next north, 
and the corner belonged .to Col. Nicholas Paige. Said Paige gave it, in December, 
1714, to Nathaniel Oliver (Lib. 30, f. 246), bounding north on King street (now State 
street) fifty-seven feet, east on John Gerrish one hundred and thirty-two feet; 
south on Cooke and Pitts; west on Cooke and Cornhill street (Washington street). 
The old lines remained with hardly a change until our times, when State street has been 
widened slightly and Devonshire street (the old Pudding lane) has been materially 

The Blue Anchor Tavern was famous in our early history, until its sale in 1703. It 
accounts most satisfactorily for Pudding lane. 



street, will, I understand, in view of the verj r latest improvements, 
be officially changed to " Squirrel avenue." Goodman Robert 
Blott ought still to preside over Winter street. When King and 
Queen streets gave place to State and Court streets, what lingering 
sense of lo} T alty to the House of Hanover caused that name to be 
retained ! Think of Queen Anne, of glorious memory ! being actu- 
ally obliged to change her name, because, by harboring females of 
bad repute, she at last lost her own character, and made her near- 
est neighbors ashamed of her acquaintance ! And, then, what an 
insignificant and unmeaning misnomer of North street was substi- 
tuted ! Look at the late preposterous extension of the name of 
Congress street through to Broad street, in violation, as it were, of 
the vested rights of Theodore Atkinson ! 

Hog Alley, indeed, is the only ancient home which I am not 
prepared to defend. It was a small alley formerly running from 
Washington street, now discontinued and making part of the 
Adams-House estate and that next adjoining. Patriotism may 
palliate, though it does not justify the merging into Washington 
street of the several streets known as Dock square, Marlboro 9 
street, Newbury street, Orange street, and the Neck. How much 
more convenient were the former subdivisions, to say nothing of 
the victories of Marlboro* and the fame of the noble House of 
Orange which these old names commemorated ! Who can now 
tell, for instance, where 343 or 789 Washington street is, without 
first ascertaining the nearest cross streets between which it is situ- 
ated ? An old gentleman once told me that he had always lived in 
the same house, but on six different streets. It fronted easterly on 
Orange street, afterwards Washington street, and bounded north- 
erly on Nassau street, afterwards Common street, then Tremont 
street, and finally Common street again, after Tremont street was 
extended through to meet Tremont road. An individual who 
devotes himself to the examination of land titles may, indeed, well 
sigh at these changes. 

It is refreshing to a lover of the past to find a few names still 
commemorating original proprietors. The area included between 
Green street and Cambridge street once converged almost to a 
mere point, called the Field Gate. By different deeds, in 1667, 
1672, and 1685, Simon L}'nde purchased nearly the whole tract 
through to Chambers street, and the same became vested by mesne 
conveyances in his son, Samuel Lynde, who, in 1691, bought the 
remaining lot, and by deed dated in 1718 (L. 32, f. 270) conveyed 
the whole to John Staniford, as bounded easterly by the highway, 

20 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

i.e., Bowdoin square, which had cut off the apex of the triangles), 
66 feet northerly on Green lane, 855 feet on a bevel line, as the 
fence runs, westerly on land of Charles Chambers, 546 feet, and 
southerly on Cambridge street, 677 feet. Through this tract of 
about six acres were laid out two highways, appropriately named 
Lynde street and Staniford street. 

There is one "oasis" in this desert, one street of which the 
name can never be changed without a violation of the plighted faith 
of the city. John Hull, who by coining the famous pine-tree shil- 
lings for the public, amassed a large private fortune, invested some 
of his residuary shillings in a pasture at the north part of the 
town, containing 1 acres, bought of Richard Dumer in 1665 
(Suffolk L. 6, f. 235). It was between Salem, Snowhill, and 
Charter streets. He died in 1683, intestate, leaving a widow and 
one daughter. His only child, Hannah, married Samuel Sewall, 
Esq., and Hull street was conveyed by them to the town in 1701 
and 1705 (L. 20, f. 265), on the express condition that it should 
alwa3*s continue to bear that name. If history had recorded noth- 
ing else of Judge Sewall, 6 I should, from this one circumstance, 
have formed a high opinion of him as a judicious and discreet per- 
son. He did, indeed, temporarily yield to the witchcraft delusion 
of 1692 ; but, at least, on the particular subject of the names of 
streets, he was decidedly in advance not only of his own age but of 
our own. 




July 21, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We will walk a little farther into the pastures, 
or "The New Fields." Going from Bowdoin square, we left 
John Staniford, in 1718, owner of all the land to Chambers street. 
Next west of this estate came Chambers' pasture. This is traced 
back directly to the Book of Possessions, where we find, p. 144, 

6 Judge Samuel Sewall will be long remembered on account of his most interesting 
and valuable Diary, covering the period from A.D. 1685 to 1730, now owned by the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. Two volumes of the three requisite have already 
been printed. W. 


" Valentine Hill, of Boston, graunted unto Mr. William Davies a 
certain parcel of land in } r e new field in Boston, being foure acres, 
more or less, bounded on ye North with James Penn, John Biggs, 
and James Penn on the West, and Robert Turner on ye East, and 
Thomas Buttolph on ye South ; and this was, by an absolute deed 
of sale, sealed and delivered before William Aspinwall, Not. Pub., 
ye 2: 6 mo. 1648." 

Robert Turner was the predecessor of Staniford. Buttolph's 
Pasture was south of Cambridge street, which did not yet exist. 

Capt. William Davies died in 1676. His son and executor, Ben- 
jamin, conveyed to his mother, Sarah, who married Major Edward 
Palmes ; and Palmes and wife, reciting this conveyance and mar- 
riage, convey to Charles Chambers, March 5, 1695-6 (Suffolk, L. 
25, f. 10), " all that our pasture of four acres," etc., bounded W. 
on widow Mynott and on James Allen, N. on said Allen, E. on 
Manasseh Beck [a predecessor of Staniford], and S., on the high- 
way leading to said Mynotfs house" (i.e., Cambridge street). 

Chambers laid out Chambers street, and in 1727 sold to Stani- 
ford a gore 14 feet on Cambridge street, 245 feet deep, lying E. of 
said street (Suffolk, L. 41, f. 214). After this he had left, W. 
of Chambers street, a square tract of land, 320 feet wide on Cam- 
bridge street by 546 feet 4 inches deep on Chambers street ; 
bounded both N. and W. on Allen ; or, in reference to other streets 
since laid out, his pasture reached on Cambridge street to a point 
70 feet W. of N. Russell street, while on Chambers street it 
reached a point 40 feet N. of Eaton street. 

Chambers died in Middlesex, 1743, devising to four grandchildren 
named Russell. James Russell, acquiring the whole, conve}*ed 
to Thomas Russell, 1778 (Suffolk, L. 164, f. 281). Thomas Rus- 
sell, after selling off the northerly feet on Chambers street, con- 
ve}*ed all the residue to Daniel Austin, Thomas K. Jones, and 
Thomas Clark, in 1794 (Suffolk, L. 178, f. 249). These grantees 
laid out F. Russell street 40 feet wide, and Eaton street 36 feet 
wide, and divided the premises into 36 lots, being a land specu- 
lation of quite venerable antiquity. In calling the street through 
this pasture Chamber street, the city has given it an absurd and 
insignificant name, in mutilations of the fair proportions of that to 
which it is realty entitled. A robbery even of a single letter is 
criminal. Official restitution should immediately be made. 


22 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 


July 23, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Resuming our walks from Bowdoin square 
into the pastures, we find that Chambers' pasture, in 1648, bounded 
north and in part also west on James Penn, the residue of the west 
line being on John Biggs ; while in the deed of 1695 to Chambers, 
Biggs has turned into " the widow Mynott," and Penn into 
"James Allen." The town granted, in 1641, to John Biggs, 1 
acres " of marsh land on centinel hill field," extending back from 
the front (i.e., Cambridge street) to a salt creek (which is now 
missing). Biggs devised to his wife Mary, who married a Mynot 
[Minot], and on her death, in 1676, her lands came to her father, 
John Dasset, Sen., who, in 1696, joins with his son, John Dasset, 
Jr., in conveying six acres to James Allen, clerk. (L. 17, f. 237, 
etc.) These six acres extended south of Cambridge street, besides 
including the north of the street. 

James Penn was a man of the highest consideration in his day, 
a ruling elder of the church. It is not strictly correct to say 
that he lived " at the Albion," but his mansion house was at that 
corner of Tremont and Beacon streets. He had an 18-acre past- 
ure in the new fields as early as 1648. Perhaps it was held under 
the grant referred to the town's order of 18, 3 mo., 1646. He 
died, and by will dated in 1671, says : u I give, etc. to Mr. James 
Allen all my pasture, being eighteen acres, more or less, lying be- 
tween Major Leverett and Captain Davis, to enjo}* after my wife's 
decease forever." Now, Capt. Davis was the predecessor of Cham- 
bers, and Leverett owned the large estate extending from Green 
street to the water, through which Leverett street was laid out by 
his heirs. 

By these two sources of title, the farm now in question gets 
united in Rev. James Allen. He made a deed of settlement in 
1706 (L. 23, f. 8), and in 1710 devised his lands in accordance 
therewith. B} r these instruments he vested in his son, John Allen, 
" all that his tract of laud or /arm, so called, containing by esti- 
mation 18 acres, lying in the new fields, which was devised to him 
by his uncle, James Penn, deceased, and two acres of his meadow 
land, part of the purchase of John Dassett, lying next adjoining to 


the aforesaid farm or lands." * It is very natural that Biggs' l 
acres should have grown a little. This 20-acre farm of John Allen 
embraced all the lands west, and also all north of Chambers' four- 
acre pasture, at the corner of Cambridge and Chambers streets, 
being situated between Cambridge street, south, the water, west, 
and the Leverett street estates north and north-east. Allen ex- 
tended Chambers street northerly through his lands, bending round 
westerly towards the water, being a 30-feet highway, known for 
many 3'ears as "Allen's highway, or Wiltshire street, now merged 
in the name of Chambers street.* Accordingly an elegant plan of 
the Leverett street lands, 1728, is recorded (Suf., L. 40, f. 9), the 
west and south-west lines of which, in all 1,406 feet 4 inches in 
extent, from Green street to the water, bound throughout on " Mr. 
John Allen's 30-feet highway." These lines indicate the exact 
bounds of the Allen farm in that direction, so that it included 
Blossom street, Friend street, Vine street, North Grove street, 
Bridge street, McLean street, late South Allen street, Allen street, 
formerly North Allen street, Poplar street, etc., the City Jail, the 
Medical College, the Hospital Grounds, etc. The whole of his 
extensive tract, except only two acres, immediately fronting on Cam- 
bridge street, being the possession of Penn. 

The entire lower part of Cambridge street was a marsh, the 
shore at this point being deepty indented. As now filled up, the 
tract will probably be thirty acres at least ; and, besides this, Mr. 
Allen owned sixteen acres south of Cambridge street. The rope- 
walks, formerly on Poplar street, and those formerly constituting 
the boundary of the estates on Pinckne} r street, though so widely 
separated, were both on part of his one continuous tract of land. 
I think it certain, therefore, that Rev. James Allen owned a far 
larger part of the territory of Boston than was ever owned by any indi- 
vidual, unless, perhaps, we except one William Blackstone. And he, 
though he had a grant of fifty acres, only retained and cultivated 
six. And it may be safely asserted that Mr. Allen's deed of settle- 
ment, in 1706, passed a title to more lands than any other deed re- 
corded in Suffolk County. 


* I do not include the part of Chamber street which runs into Leverett street, formerly 
known as Gravel street, and laid out through Leverett's land. 

24 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



July 24, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : At our last walk into the pastures, we had got 
stuck at the extreme end of the north side of Cambridge street, 
in " a parcel of marsh ground, tying in ye Centinel Hill field, con- 
taining 1J acres," etc., granted 27, 7, 1641, to John Biggs, 
" bounded with ye salt water toward the north-west, with a salt 
creeke toward the north." If we now go into the " salt water/' 
and swim to the spot forming the present south corner of Cam- 
bridge and Charles streets, we shall see, south-easterly of us, at 
the distance of 250 to 300 feet, an elliptical line of shore, no 
where reaching within 100 feet of Cambridge street, and having a 
bend outwards towards the south, after which it again bends 
inwards. This north-west edge or slope of the " Centinel Hill," 
or Beacon Hill, was occupied by a pasture of nine acres, the 
lines extending over the flats, northerly, towards Cambridge street, 
and also westerly towards the Channel. This is "Zachariah 
Phillips' Nine Acre Pasture, a name which sounds as familiarly in 
my ears as " Pemberton square." 

This pasture extends from Cambridge street, southerly, along the 
water side, till it meets the " Blackstone six-acre lot" at the bot- 
tom of Beacon street. Its east line begins on Cambridge street, 
at a point 110 feet west of Grove street, and then runs 
straight nearly at right angles, slightly converging toward Grove 
street, so that on the north side of May street its distance from 
Grove street is reduced to 66 feet. This straight line continues 
about 832 feet from Cambridge street, or to a point 266 feet south 
of May street ; then there is a jog inwards of 140 feet ; then it 
again runs south about two hundred feet farther, and then westerly 
to the sea. These last lines are on Blackstone or Copley ; the 
first long line is on the 16 acres of James Allen. 

The earliest deed found is that of Samuel Cole to said Phillips, 
Dec. 30, 1658 (Suffolk, L. 3, f. 194). It has a little twist in the 
points of the compass. It conveys nine acres, more or less, 
bounded north on Brown and on said Cole [afterwards Allen], 
on the sea south and west, and on Nathaniel Williams east and 
south. Williams owned Blackstone' 's 6 acre lot. 


Phillips, in 1672, sells to John Leverett and Sarah, his wife 
(Suffolk, L. 8, f. 98). John Leverett died in 1678. In 1707, 
one-half of this pasture was assigned to the heirs of Hudson Lev- 
erett, who, in 1725, sold to Nathaniel Hubbard (Suffolk, L. 42, f. 
65), and he to Nathaniel Byfield in 1726 (L. 42, f. 71). 

The other half belonged to the six daughters of Governor Lev- 
erett, and, after mesne conve} r ances, five-sixths became vested in 
Byfield in 1726 by deed (L. 42, f. 69), and he married the re- 
maining daughter, which got the whole title snugly unto him, since 
she " Dame Sarah Leverett, being minded to show regard, value, 
and confidence for and in said Nathaniel," conveyed to him her 
share, etc., 1718 (L. 37, f. 605). 

This pasture was divided into 59 lots, Southack and May 
streets being laid out through it parallel to Cambridge street, and 
Southack street (now called West Cedar street) being also laid 
out to run southerly along the shore. Two other streets, Hill street 
and Short street, were also laid out, which many a modern house 
has now unconsciously covered over. 

I will not specify their exact location lest I should disturb those 
occupants whose " ignorance is bliss." West Cedar street has at 
a latter day been continued northerly from Southack street to 
Cambridge street. This old plan was never recorded. Hon. Na- 
thaniel Byfield sold off 7 of these lots, numbered 7 to 14, to Nathan- 
iel Kenney ; and then (apparently forgetting this deed, which 
merely included a lot 300 feet wide on Southack street, and thence 
extending westerly to the low water, widening as it went), for love 
to his three grandsons, Byfield Lyde, Francis Brinley, and George 
Cradock, makes a deed of gift to them of the whole pasture in 1729 
(L. 44, f. 49). The}" appear to have made a verbal agreement to 
divide according to this plan, probably drawing lots from a hat 
instead of making a formal indenture ; it being " all in the family." 
This process, however convenient at the time, has since caused 
much trouble to others, if not to themselves. At a later period 
most of the northerly water lots on this plan get united in Charles 
Bulfinch, and the southerly ones in Messrs. Otis, Mason, Joy, et 
al., or the Mt. Vernon proprietors. 

The celebrated suits of the Overseers of the Poor against these 
proprietors were brought to recover some of the extreme southerly 
lots of this pasture. This debatable land extended from a little 
west of Louisburg square to the water, ranging a little north of 
Pinckney street, and reaching near Mount Vernon street. One 
Tilley had mortgaged these lots to Pemberton in 1747, who fore- 

26 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

closed in 1750, and devised to the Overseers in 1782. The pur- 
chasers of the Copley estate, or Blackstone lot, in 1795, under a 
deed which ran westerly toward the water, found a fence standing, 
fastened to an old powder house, which was proved to have been 
as far north as within twenty feet of Pinckney street. This fence 
erroneous!}' continued to the water, and included nearly all the de- 
manded premises as part and parcel of the Copley lot. And as to 
the residue of the land sued for, the acts of the Mount Vernon 
proprietors in digging down the whole hill to a great depth in 1804, 
and laying out Charles street across the same, were held evidence 
of a good title by disseisin against all persons from whom, after 
such a lapse of time, a grant would be presumed. These suits, 
between thirty and forty in number, with a great array of eminent 
counsel, were among the most important private actions ever de- 
cided in this count} 7 , and gave quite a celebrity to u Zachariah 

Phillip's Pasture." 




July 25, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: In 1708 the town of Boston conveyed to Sam- 
uel Phillips, David Jeffries, Thomas Savage, William Clark, Wil- 
liam Pa}'ne, Benjamin Pemberton, Oliver Noyes, Habijah Savage, 
Elisha Cook, Jr., Thomas Bannister, Jr., and Benjamin Fitch, a 
tract of land and flats extending across the Neck from low-water 
mark to low-water mark (Suffolk, L. 24, f. ( 106). This deed 
gives no measures, but the grant extends from the pasture of John 
Bennett and land of Daniel Epes, as far south towards Roxbury as 
" 24 feet beyond the new pavement." Not a very permanent monu- 
ment! It was really a grant of about 1,000 feet in length. Its 
north line is the present Castle street, 7 and its south line stops 

7 It may be well to mention here that the land on the north side of Castle street and 
west side of Washington street belonged to Daniel Epes. He bought it of William 
Paine, whose mother was Elizabeth Colbron, daughter of the first owner. Castle street 
is thus an important boundary, as Dea. Colbron's estate was very large, and no deed of 
division is on record. See Sparhawk v. Bullard, 1 Metcalf, 95-108. 



a little short of Dover street. It was on the condition that the 
grantees should finish a highwa}- (now Washington street), and 
" secure and keep- off the sea," which, as it would seem, some- 
times washed across the land from east to west. 

Three of these grantees (Habijah Savage, Bannister, and Fitch) 
released to the others, and in their stead Stephen Minot and John 
Noyes were admitted. And in 1709 a great indenture of division 
was made into ten lots, each of them measuring at low-water mark 
on the east side 97 J feet, and at low-water mark on the west side 
94 feet 3 inches the lines being slightly converging. The meas- 
ures on the east side of the street were 96 feet, and on the west 
side of the street 95 feet 4 inches. The indenture is recorded in 
Suffolk, Lib. 24, fol. 239. The premises thus divided, upland and 
flats, were probably fifty acres. This division is the source of all 
the modern titles within the extensive area which it embraces. 

It is a fact, though it will hardly be believed, that Castle street 
was once known as Cambridge street. Thus in the division of 
Stephen Harris' estate (Probate Records, 1774, Lib. 74, fol. 28), 
a lot is set off, bounded east on Orange street, north on Cam- 
bridge street. 

An interval of nearly eighty years passed without any further 
grant of Neck lands. But in 1785 the town conveyed to Stephen 
Gore and others a tract of land and flats 1,400 feet from north to 
south, extending 200 feet west of Washington street, and embrac- 
ing all east of that street to low-water mark. (Suffolk, Lib. 149, 
fol. 126). 

Two of the original grantees, Nathaniel Davis and Joshua 
Farrington, give place to Edward Blake and Jeremiah Williams. 
The ultimate proprietors were Robert Davis, John May, Edward 
Blake, John Parker, Joshua Witherle, Benjamin Cobb, Jr., Stephen 
Gore, Nathaniel Curtis, Ebenezer Dorr, Amasa Davis, Jeremiah 
Williams, William Boardman, William Dall, and Caleb Davis. 
This grant was on the condition of erecting certain " barriers " for 
a like purpose of excluding the tide waters, and was, perhaps, 
nearly if not quite as extensive as the first. 

An indenture of partition was made among these proprietors in 
1778, dividing their land into 14 lots on both sides of Washington 
street, the general direction being by straight lines from low-water 
mark on the east side to the line of the town land, 200 feet west 
of the street. But, to avoid a bevel, every lot has a bend in its 
lines at about 70 feet from the street, which it thus meets at right 
angles. This bend has given a very peculiar appearance to all the 

28 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

buildings which have since been erected on this long range of lots. 
The indenture is recorded in Lib. 162, fol. 100. The area included 
in this division begins a few feet south of Dover street, and ex- 
tends a little beyond the estate of the late John D. Williams, 
whose well-known partiality for a particular color is still perpet- 
uated in his green house and green store. A parchment plan of 
this division existed unrecorded for more than half a century, but 
is now bound in at the end of a modern volume (Lib. 491), being 
separated from the indenture to which it relates by 229 volumes. 

Beyond these lots, on the city lands, where we now find splendid 
dwellings and elegant public squares, there stood, }*ear after year, 
onlj- the gallows that land-mark of civilization the traveller's 
guide-post at the entrance of a great metropolis! One of its 
posts formed the boundary of " Colonel John May's lot," which 
words of ownership were accordingly painted on it. A wag added 
the words " and portion." Another anecdote is told of two friends, 
riding into town across the Neck, one of whom, looking signifi- 
cantly at this structure, jocosely observed to the other, " Where 
would 3 r ou be now if everybody had their deserts?" The reply 
was, " I should be riding into town alone!" It is said that when 
Marshall Prince was executing the sentence of the law on four 
pirates, an eminent counsellor, now deceased, went from motives 
of curiosit}' to witness the spectacle, intending to preserve a strict 
incognito. The marshal, however, happened to discover him in 
the background, and utterty disconcerted him by calling out to 
the crowd with a loud voice, " Make way, there ! make way for the 
Honorable Mr. O. ! " Mr. O., though "born great," and though 
he had also himself " achieved greatness," doubtless felt that on 
this occasion he had " greatness thrust upon him." 




July 27, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : One of the most ancient burying-grounds in 
Boston is that at Copp's Hill. It is made up of several parcels of 
land. The north-easterly part, measuring 294 feet on Charter 
street and 154 feet on Snowhill street, was sold to the town by deed 


of John Baker and Daniel Turell, dated February 20, 1659, re- 
corded November 1, 1736, Lib. 53, fol. 154. After Hull street 
was laid out by Sewall and wife, they conveyed to Joshua Gee in 
1708 (L. 25, 174) u one rodd square in which Mrs. Margaret 
Thatcher now lj*eth buried," bounded north by the burying-place, 
and on all other sides by their pasture, with no right of way ex- 
cept through the old burying-place." They, in 1711, "for the 
purpose of enlarging the burying-place," conveyed to the Select- 
men of Boston (^Suffolk, L. 26, fol. 97) a tract of land measuring 
170 feet on Snowhill street and 180 feet on Hull street , in other 
words, extending the old south-easterly line of the burying-place 
straight through from Charter to Hull street. In this deed was an 
exception of the " rodd square sold to Gee." The consequence is, 
that in the midst of this buiying-place of the town, there is a small 
square lot, which is private property, the place of interment of 
a wealthy lady, who, while living, owned a large estate in this 

This busing-ground has since been further widened on Hull 
street so as to include lots measuring 148 feet 10 on that street, 
originally sold by Sewall and wife to John Clark, Jr., in 1726 ; 
Wm. Lee, John Jackson, and Thomas Jackson in 1816. But mat- 
ters so modern cease to be interesting ! 

A word or two about Mr. Gee and Mrs. Thatcher. Joshua Gee, 
boat builder, owned a very large tract of land and flats between 
Charter street on the north, Prince street, south, Snowhill street, 
east, and extending down the hill to the sea. He died in 1724, 
and his son Ebenezer dying in 1730, the estate came wholly to 
Rev. Joshua Gee, who died in 1748, and the division of his estate 
in 1750 between his seven daughters and his son Joshua is one of 
the most important documents in the Probate Office. The Gas 
Company's works, Brown's wharf, etc., are held under it. This 
son died without issue, and the name of u Gee" thus became ex- 
tinct among us. In the suit of Rust vs. The Boston Mill Corpora- 
tion the locations of Mr. Gee's lands became important and the 
growth of some of the boundaries and contents was amusingly 
commented upon by the late H. G. Otis (who on this occasion 
was, I believe, counsel in court for the last time), as being a cir- 
cumstance which might naturally have been anticipated, as " Gee," 
in Greek, means the earth, i.e., land. 

Mrs. Margaret Thatcher was the wife of Rev. Thomas Thatcher. 
Her first husband was Jacob Sheafe, a man of note, who died in 
1658. We find that a deed was made to Thatcher and wife by 

30 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

John Everedd, alias Webb, 1 in consideration of 195 paid by her 
as administratrix of her former husband. It is dated Juty 5, 1666, 
recorded Suff., L. 5, f. 510. This deed included all the land be- 
tween Salem, Hull, Snowhill, and Prince streets, except certain 
lots on Prince street, which had been fenced in previously. Mrs. 
Thatcher died, leaving a daughter, Mehitable. wife of Sampson 
Sheafe, and Elizabeth, wife of Jonathan Corwin. Sheafe and wife 
sold to Robert Gibbs in 1697. On a division between the families 
of Gibbs and Corwin, two streets were laid out, commemorating 
the family name of Sheafe, the first husband, and Margaret, the 
Christian name of the lady herself. 

In regard to the right of way out of the u one rod square," it 
would seem that as to the occupant, at least, a right of egress is not 
so important from a place of interment as from a place of residence. 
And yet it appears that, after all, the venerable old lady, Mrs. 
Thatcher, must have walked out of this lot, since I find among 
the inscriptions in the King's Chapel Burj-ing-ground the follow- 
ing : "Here lyeth interred the body of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, 
formerly wife of Mr. J**ob Sheafe, and late ye wife of the Rever- 
'end Mr. Thomas Thatcher, aetatis 68, orbit 23d February, 1693," 
who can tell, however? " To lie like a tombstone " is a proverb ; 
and the tombstones in that bury ing-ground have been shuffled 
about so much that on a question of locality of interment their 
authority is especially apocryphal. 



July 30, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : One of the earliest trades of civilized man is 
that of a baker. How soon it may have been divided into distinct 
branches among us I cannot state. But a centuty ago there is re- 
corded a deed from a "gingerbread baker." Presiding over his 
comparatively luxurious department, he probably looked down with 
contempt on his humbler brethren who merely provided the plain 

1 This is one of the rare cases of an hereditary alias. The two names are always 
used thus linked together. 


" staff of life." It is certain that old times were golden times for 
the bakers, and, doubtless, also for their customers, for there were 
no villanous adulterations in those days. At the time of the siege 
of Boston, Ebenezer Torre}', a baker, removed to Sudbury or its 
vicinit}', and died leaving an estate of over $100,000. After the 
Revolution (say seventy years ago), six of the wealthiest and most 
respectable citizens of Boston were bakers. 

Three resided at the North End Edward Edes, John White, 
and " Deacon " Tudor ; three at the South End Samuel Smith, 
John Lucas, and Edward Tuckerman. Mr. Edes has, I believe, 
left no male descendants living in Boston. The late Professor 
"Webster was a grandson and namesake of Mr. White. Deacon 
Tudor owned a very valuable wharf estate on Ann street, near 
Lewis street. This famil}* still hold the highest social position in 
our community. The chief legatee of Mr. Smith married Joseph 
Head, Jr., Esq., and they removed from this city several years 
since. John Lucas left at his decease a very large estate, and 
made man}' public and private bequests. He owned a tract of land 
on Washington street, adjoining Lucas place. Mr. Tuckerman 
left several sons who were distinguished merchants. His estate, 
as divided in 1819, included very valuable parcels in State street, 
etc., and especially an extensive tract of land on the west side 
of Washington street, embracing all Dover street. The late Col. 
Joseph May remembered when these bakers were in the habit of 
going on horseback to Philadelphia, with specie in their valises, 
behind them, to make their purchases of flour, which were sent 
home b}' packets. This journey generally occupied from two to 
three weeks, and they had notes up in church asking for Divine pro- 
tection from its perils. 

Shade of Moll}' Saunders, I invoke thee ! There have doubtless 
been fairer faces and more graceful forms than thine, but thy gin- 
gerbread was matchless. Thou hast infused new vigor into the 
elastic step of the youthful dancer. The statesman, wearied with 
the cares of office, and the politician, burdened with the affairs of 
the Commonwealth, have found relief and solace from thy minis- 
trations. I have shaken hands with President Munroe, and even 
with President Pierce, but what were those glorious moments com- 
pared with one cake of thy " buttered gingerbread price three 
cents ! " Thy praises have been on the lips of beauty, of youth, 
manhood, and age, fifty-, aye, seventy years ago, as they are now 
upon mine. Thy name and fame have become " historical," and have 
reached from the village of Salem to the metropolis of New Eng- 

32 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

land. Such is the fitting reward of true genius and a life devoted 
to the sacred cause of humanity ! Milnefs rusks were excellent, 
and Kelt, when he tries, can do a thing or two, but thou hast ever 
been unapproachable ! Vainly do my aged heart and palate now 
yearn for thee and thy delicious handiwork ! Yet wilt thou forever 
remain associated with the most tender and cherished recollections 
of m}' childhood ! Verily thou wast a queen among the bakers of 
olden time ! GLEANER. 

P. S. Don't 3'ou think, Mr. Editor, that the Salem papers will 
republish this obituary notice of the late Miss Saunders? 



July 31, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : I fear that my subject will oblige me to ** spin a 
long yarn." The first rope-maker in Boston was John Harrison, 
A.D. 1642. His exact whereabouts is not specified by Drake, 
but can be very definitely fixed. His ropewalk, or "ropefield," 
ten feet ten inches wide, is now covered by Purchase street, begin- 
ning at the foot of Summer street. Thus the range of lot on 
High street used to extend to the water, separated, however, into 
two parts .by "Harrison's ropewalk" or "ropefield," or more 
recently by Purchase street. [See Suffolk, Lib. 5, fol. 99 ; Lib. 
12, fol. 250] In 1736 it became the property of the town, and was 
appropriated as a highway. 

Harrison owned a large tract of land of at least 340 feet in ex- 
tent on High street, measuring westerly from Atkinson street, and 
including all Prentice's wharf, and part of Russia wharf, the prin- 
cipal part of which land was divided among his children in 1685. 
Purchase street is thus rightly named, as it was in part, at least, 
purchased. Drake's History mentions that Harrison, in 1663, 
appealed to the Selectmen not to license a rival rope-maker, John 
Hey man, and remarks, that " at the last accounts it was in the 
hands of the Selectmen." 

This notice of the first rope-maker in Boston brings back to my 
affectionate remembrance the last one, recently deceased. Asso- 
ciated for several years with the late Isaac P. Davis, as a trustee 


of one of our literary institutions, I ever found him to be a man 
of cultivated intellect, courteous manners, and the most genial 
kindness of heart. Habitually possessing almost unequalled 
knowledge of passing events, and great vivacity in narrating and 
commenting on them, he was a universal favorite in society. With 
him the "rope-maker" was merged in the " gentleman." During 
the two centuries since our city was founded, that occupation has 
certainly never had a more popular living representative, nor one 
whose death though at quite an advanced age has been more 
generally and sincerely regretted. 

The estates on the west side of Pearl street, about 130 feet 
deep, are made up of seven rope- walks, or strips of land. Of these 
the two inner ones are held under Atkinson, and the others under 
Hutchinson. Thus the most west one, 20 feet by 744 feet, was 
conveyed by Theodore Atkinson and others to Edward Gray, in 
1712 (L. 26, f. 127), and became the property of John and Rich- 
ard Codman, 1793. The next lot, 20 feet by about 740 feet, was 
sold by the same grantors in 1712 to William Tilley (L. 26, f. 
126), and became vested in Mr. Davis in 1794. All the remain- 
ing lots are part of the 4J acres owned in 1668 by Eliakim Hutch- 
inson. The Commonwealth, having confiscated the estates of 
Governor Hutchinson, conveyed part to Jeffry Richardson in 1793 
(L. 176, f. 8) ; part to Samuel Emmons, Jr., and Victor Blair, 
1782 (L. 174, f. 183) ; part to Rev. Samuel Parker, D.D., 1796 
(L. 184, f. 145) ; part to Edward C. Howe, 1782 (L. 135, f. 22), 
and the residue to William and Archibald McNiell 1782 (L. 134, 
f. 27), 

The old name of Pearl street was Hutchinson street, which was 
rendered odious to our rebel ancestors by Governor Hutchinson. 
These rope-walks were burnt July, 1794, and the titles were all 
conveyed to Rev. Samuel Parker in 1796, under deeds from whom 
the present estates are held. Two acres, occupying all the west 
side of Pearl street, seems to be a snug little investment for a 
clergyman ; but, unfortunately, he officiated in this matter not as a 
proprietor but as a mere channel of conveyance, a " cat's-paw " for 
effecting a division of the estates. 

Drake mentions the burning of seven rope- walks at one time, 
which he says were " in the vicinity of Atkinson street." He 
might have mentioned more definitely that they occupied the whole 
west side of Pearl street from Milk to High street. If they did 
not bound on Atkinson street, however, they burnt it. 


34 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 


August 1, 1855. 

The plan recorded in 1726 (L. 40, f. 9), with the division of the 
11 acres of land of the Leverett heirs, by Leverett street, shows a 
rope-walk then existing there which must have ranged across the 
lands afterwards known as the Poor House, or Alms House, estate 
at the point. It was held under a lease, and has not, therefore, 
left a durable trace among the conveyances on record. And yet 
it is probable that it is, from the visible fact that one Barton was 
making ropes there, that that whole point of land acquired and 
kept for a century the name of Barton's point. This name appears 
on Bonner's plan in 1722 ; and the Barton Point Association pur- 
chased all the city lands at the bbttom of Leverett street in 1824. 
A similar instance is found in the old name of East Boston, which 
was Noddle's Island, though never owned by any u Noddle." 

That island was owned by Samuel Maverick, whose feastings, 
failings, and fines have been so amusingly shown up by L. M. 
Sargent, Esq. His name is piously commemorated b} r the " Mav- 
rick Church." 

Rev. James Allen, as we have previously stated, owned a large 
pasture south of Cambridge street. It was bought before 1700 in 
several lots, containing in all 18 acres. By his deed of settlement, 
1706, and his will in 1711 pursuant thereto, the southerly 7 acres 
became vested in his daughter Mary, wife of John Wheelwright. 
Both died, the husband in 1760. He undertakes to give to his 
son Jeremiah the piece of land " which came to me by his mother." 
The son, however, really took as heir to the mother. 

Jeremiah Wheelwright sold off to Enoch Brown If acres (Suf., 
L. 132, f. 120) (which subsequently became vested in the Mt. 
Vernon proprietors, and included lands on Pinckney st.), etc. 
He, in 1783, conveyed to Jonathan L. and Benjamin Austin a 
rope-walk lot, 24 feet by 900 feet (L. 170, f. 42). Jeremiah Wheel- 
wright died in 1784, and his devisees conveyed to Joseph Carnes 
another adjoining rope-walk, 20 feet by 900 feet (L. 189, f. 64), and 
to George and Peter Cade a third adjoining rope- walk in 1792. 


(L. 173, f. 20.) This also was 900 feet long, and it was 24 feet 
wide for 540 feet, and 1 2 feet wide for the residue. 

These three rope-walks of Austin, Carnes, and Cade, were all 
bought in 1805 by Messrs. Asa or Samuel Hammond, Samuel 
Swett, and Ebenezer Farley, who laid out the same into house- 
lots fronting north on Myrtle street, and extending back to the 
rear of the Pinckney-street lots, all of which bound north on Cade's 
rope-walk for the whole extent of 900 feet. 

Mr. James Allen had a farm of twenty acres north of Cambridge 
street and embracing Poplar street. On the south side of this 
latter street a range of three rope-walks was placed, fronting on 
Chambers street. Thus in Suffolk, L. 43, f. 159, is a plan of all 
the Allen-street lots, 1729, the north line being on John Allen's land 
or rope-walk. Thus, one 25 feet wide was conveyed by Allen to his 
son Jeremiah, 1752, who, in 1757, conveyed to John Erving ; sub- 
sequently "Tyler & CaswelPs " rope-walk. The middle one, 25 
feet wide, is traced through Wells, Winthrop, to Joseph Head, 
1805. The north one is traced through Gardner, 1737, to Joseph 
Runnell, 1785. The two south rope-walks were each 25 feet wide ; 
the north one, 30 feet wide. 

All these rope-walks becoming the property of Samuel Brown 
and William Paque, were, in 1807, laid out into a range of house- 
lots, occupying the whole south side of Poplar street from Cham- 
bers street to the sea. 

It is remarkable how extensively the initial letter P figures in 
regard to the location of these old rope-walks. Purchase street, 
Pearl street, Pinckney street, Poplar street, and the Point on 
which the Poor House was built ; and I certainly consider that the 
most provoking, perplexing, and protracted professional job which 
I ever had to undertake in my profession was that in which I 
found that, in order to get at the title of one house-lot, I was 
obliged to investigate from three to seven rope-walks. At this day, 
such an examination would be preposterous, because of no practi- 
cal importance. 

After the Pearl-street rope-walks were burnt, the town sold off a 
range of rope-walks at the bottom of the Common, which were the 
last that remained standing within the limits of the city proper. 
They were west of Charles street, fronting towards the Providence- 
depot lot, and their rear line being towards the Mildam. Restric- 
tions were imposed which secured to the public light, air, and 
prospect over these low buildings. In the mayorality of President 
Quincy they were all repurchased by the city, it being a favorite 

36 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

project of his to improve the premises in that vicinity by buildings. 
Generally succeeding in all his enterprises, this repurchase has 
been one of the most successful of his municipal undertakings, in 
consequence of the total failure of the specific project which alone 
led him to extinguish these rope-walk titles, since the city has thus 
gained the exclusive control of its beautiful Public Garden. This 
pleasure ground we owe equally to his having done what he did, and 
to his having been prevented from doing what he intended. The 
first was an arduous enterprise, which only his energy could have 
accomplished. The last was rendered almost an impossibility by 
that very energy honestly exerted in a wrong direction. 8 


8 [By an oversight the editorial note on p. 30 was neither numbered nor signed W.] 
The matter of the propriety of building on the Public Garden was long contested. The 
land was originally a strip of flats, in which rose Fox Hill ai an island. 

August 12, 1794, in a town-meeting, the question was considered of allowing the 
owners of the rope-walks destroyed by a fire on Pearl street to rebuild on the marsh. 

In September the report of a committee was accepted, granting these rope-makers 
the marsh and flats, including the whole or such part of Fox Hill as fell within the 

This grant, which was made in consideration of not building on Pearl street, was for 
a strip of land 300 feet wide and in length, extending from a line drawn parallel with 
Beacon street, and 500 feet from that street. The upper or eastern line was to run from 
the westerly end of Ridge Hill (being 500 feet from Beacon street), " directly towards 
Eliot street as far as the town's land extends on the west side of Pleasant street," leav- 
ing a " space of fifty feet between this line and the end of the rail fence projecting down 
from the burying-ground on the south side of the Common." The grantees might -vary 
the lines by relinquishing fifty feet on the east line and taking fifty feet instead on the 
west lide; or they might extend across the marsh diagonally, provided they did not 
come nearer than fifty feet to the end of the burying-ground fence, nor cross the line par- 
allel with, and 500 feet from, Beacon street. 

The town reserved " sixty feet in width across the southerly end of said piece of 
land for a road from Pleasant street down to the channel." 

The selectmen " were also authorized to lay out a road sixty feet wide from Pleasant 
street along the easterly side of these lands over the marsh towards Beaoon street, in 
order to meet a road that might be opened from West Boston bridge. 

Thus Charles street was established, and Boylston-street continuation was projected. 

The rope-walk lots were six in number, each fifty feet wide, and when bought back, 
in 1824, the first three lots measured 1,006 feet on Charles street, 1,138 feet on the west 
side. Lots 4, 5, and 6, measured 1,138 feet each. 

In 1806 the rope-walks were burned and rebuilt. In 1824 the city bought back all 
these rights. On the 26th July and 27th December of that year the town voted on the 
following questions: 

1. On authorizing the City Council to sell the upland and flats west of Charles street. 
Rejected, 1,027 to 846. 

2. In case the sale was authorized, whether the Common should be forever kept open. 
Agreed to; 1,111 for, and 737 against. 




August 2, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : After our late swim we landed on Zachariah 
Phillips' pasture, at the end of the south side of Cambridge street, 
and have seen that the earliest deed in 1658 bounds on Brown and 
on Samuel Cole, afterwards land of James Allen. Accordingly 
we find that James Brown, joyner, conveyed to Josiah Cobham in 
1666 (Suf., L. 5, f. 84) two acres, more or less, bounded south on 
Brattle, east on John Biggs, west on Phillips, north on the beach 
or river. [The water then extended up some distance east of the 
present end of Cambridge street.] 

Josiah, the son of this grantee, was dead in 1691 ; and Josiah, 
3d, his grandson, in 1697, sells to James Allen (Suf., L. 18, f. 21) 
two acres of land on west side of Boston, late in the tenure of my 
grandfather, Josiah Cobham, bounded south on land now or late 
of Thomas Brattle, Sen'r., east on John Biggs, now said Allen's, 
west on late Zachariah Phillips, and by the beach and river north- 
erly. [Cambridge street did not yet exist.] 

In tracing the title of the Allen farm on the north side of Cam- 
bridge street, we found a grant to John Biggs, in 1641, of 1 acres 
of marsh for 40 shillings (rather a low price for all the land from 

3. Whether a settlement should be made with the Boston and Roxbury Mill Co. 
Rejected, 1,404 to 420. 

4. Whether the uplands and flats should be sold south of a line from a point on Charles 
street, opposite the south-west corner of the Common (1,350 feet from Beacon street), 
running at an angle of 85 with Charles street, to the bounds of the city flats; provided, 
that the Common, and all the upland and flats lying west therefrom, should be kept for- 
ever free from buildings. This was rejected, 1,404 to 420. 

5. Whether the City Council should be authorized to lay out any part of the lands 
and flats, lying west from the Common, for a cemetery. Rejected, 1,632 to 176. 

In 1843 the question of selling the land was revived, and a pamphlet was printed 
giving the opinions of Jeremiah Mason and Franklin Dexter, to the effect that the 
rope-walk lots were part of the Common, and as such could not be sold. Mr. Bowditch 
signed a similar opinion about the land north of the Providence depot. See, also, a 
pamphlet entitled " The Public Rights in Boston Common. Being the Report of a 
Committee of Citizens. Boston, 1877." 


38 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

the water to within 70 feet of North Russell street) , which held out 
two acres. He also acquired 4 acres of upland adjoining, and his 
inventor} 7 , in 1666, mentions "4 acres of upland and 1 acres of 
marsh, 120. I do not find the grant to him of these four acres, 
though in 1644 he had liberty to fence in his marsh, and " if any 
quantity fell within the said fence above his proportion, he is to 
allow the town for it." Perhaps, therefore, he fenced in these 4 
acres at the same price. He devised to his widow Mary, who 
married a Minot, and died, as we have seen, devising to her 
father and brother, John Dasset, Sen. and Jr., who sell to said 
Allen 1696 (Suf., L. 17, f. 237), a piece of land containing 6 
acres, more or less, bounded with said James, north (i.e., his 
land on the north side of Cambridge street, acquired under James 
Penn) , south and east on Nathaniel Oliver, west on Josiah Cob- 
han. Of this purchase, 4 acres only come south of Cambridge 

Samuel Cole, after the sale in 1658 of Zechariah Phillips' past- 
ure, retained a tract which he seems to have sold to Thomas 
Brattle, but the deed is not recorded. In the inventory of Cole's 
estate (Prob. Rec., L. 5, f. 37) is this item : " A bill due from Mr. 
Brattle, 20." This I guess was the purchase-money of this land. 
Brattle died in 1683, leaving seven children, and in 1684 (Suff., 
L. 13, f. 96) there was set off to his three sons-in-law, Nathaniel 
Oliver, John A3*re, 9 and Joseph Parson, in right of their wives, 
" all that pasture-land lying in Boston near unto Gentry hill." A 
subdivision took place in 1685, by indenture (Suff., L. 13, f. 380 ; L. 
16, f. 64), by which this pasture is assigned to Mrs. Oliver. Na- 
thaniel Oliver and Elizabeth, his wife, conveyed to James Allen by 
warranty deed dated June 6, 1698 (Suff., L. 18, f. 180), "eight 
acres, etc., bounded north on the highway and on land late of John 
Dassett ; east on Davy and on Mrs. Swett, late Thomas Butolph ; 
south on the late Francis East and N. Williams ; west on land late 
of Leverett, and on land late of said Dassett." [East and Wil- 
liams owned the Copley lot on Beacon street ; Leverett owned 
Phillips' pasture.] 

Zacheus Bosworth had lands in the Book of Possessions. As 
early as 1648 he owned 5 acres in the vicinity (see mortgage, 
Suff., L. 1, f. 92), and he died seized, devising the same to his son 
Samuel, in 1655. He sold off to Richard. Cook the easterly 2 

'This name is more properly spelled Eyre, and should not be confounded with 
that of Ayer cr of Ayres, both of which are found on our records. W. 


acres, 1665 (Suff., L. 4, f. 320) ; and by deed not recorded, but ex- 
pressly referred to, he conveyed the westerly 2 acres to Humphrey 
Davie (not the distinguished philosopher). Davie mortgaged, in 
1 683 (Suff., L. 13, f. 72), to secure a marriage settlement on his wife, 
this tract called 4 acres, more or less, but which (subsequently 
shrinks again to its true proportions) , and/the mortgage being fore- 
closed, his widow conveyed to John Davie ; and John Davie and 
Elizabeth, his wife, conveyed to James Allen, by warranty deed, 
May 11, 1699 (Suff., L. 19, f. 358), "About two and an half acres 
of pasture, enclosed, bounded west on the late Samuel Coole (Cole), 
now said Allen's ; east on Richard Cook, since Elisha Cook ; north 
on land in the tenure and occupation of Joseph Bellknap, Jr., and 
on land of said James, heretofore Thomas Butolph ; south on 
Thomas Miller, now Samuel Sewall, with an highway as heretofore 

Now, these purchases of 2, 4, 8, and 2 acres, make up together 
sixteen and an half acres, and constitute Allen's one continuous past- 
ure, on the south side of Cambridge street next east of Zechariah 
Phillips' pasture. GLEANER. 



August 6, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We have shown that Rev. James Allen acquired, 
by four purchases, 16^ acres on the south side of Cambridge street. 
By his deed of settlement in 1706, and his devise in accordance 
with it (1711), he vested in his daughter, Mrs. Wheelwright (as 
we have stated) , the southerly seven acres ; the whole of which 
(except the part thereof covered by three rope-walks on M}Ttle 
street) gets united in the Mount Vernon proprietors ; the easterty 
portion by the deed of the children of Enoch Brown, in 1797, 
(Suffolk, L. 186, f. 232), and the residue or westerly portion by 
direct deed of the devisees of Jeremiah Wheelwright, son and heir 
of Mrs. Wheelwright, in 1795 (L. 180, f. 191). The easterly line 
of the Brown purchase is 77 feet west of Belknap street. 

The northerly tract, containing about ten acres, by the same deed 
of settlement and devise (1706-1711), was vested by James 
Allen in his son, Jeremiah Allen. He, about 1725, laid out the 

40 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

same into 87 lots, containing, generally, 4,000 feet each. Through 
the centre of the pasture he opened Centre street, and, at intervals 
of 200 feet on each side other streets, called respectively Grove street 
and Garden street, names doubtless then significant of the rural 
beauty of the spot. He also laid out, at intervals of 240 feet, two 
cross streets, parallel to Cambridge street, viz., Southack street and 
May street. These two last streets are continued west into Zach- 
ariah Phillips' pasture, which was divided into lots at the same 
time ; the two plans being evidentty made to conform to each 
other. Neither of them were recorded. A large proportion of 
the lots of Mr. Allen remained unoccupied and unimproved by his 
grantees for very many years. 

This pasture begins on Cambridge street, 110 feet west of Grove 
street, and extends to land late of Buttolph, (now Buttolph street) . 
It measures in front 550 feet on Cambridge street, and is in depth 
648 feet, to the ancient rope-walk, the side lines slightly converg- 
ing. At a later day. Myrtle street has been extended across the 
extreme south lots of this pasture ; so that it is now enclosed by 
four very definite boundaries, viz., Cambridge street, Buttolph 
street, Myrtle street, and the east line of Zachariah Phillips' 

This territory has been the theatre of very queer conveyancing. 
One Thomas G. Urann, in 1804, made warranty deeds at pleasure, 
for very trifling considerations, of certain portions of it which he 
found lying unenclosed and unclaimed. Some of his grantees hold 
to this day. He was at last deterred by threats of indictment from 
the further pursuit of this systematic project of land theft. In 
one single volume of Suffolk deeds [Lib. 211] will be found no 
less than forty-eight conveyances from him. A deed to him would 
be a rarity. I was some years since amused at one of his heirs-at- 
law calling upon me under the idea that he was entitled to some 
lands in this locality which his ancestors had left unconveyed. I 
told him that the only inheritance left by Mr. Urann was a minus 
quantity, viz., the obligation to make restitution to the true owners 
of lands which he had himself wrongfully appropriated. 

About a century after the death of Rev. James Allen (1802), 
and although he did not die owner of this pasture, having disposed 
of it by deed in his lifetime, a decree of the Probate Court was 
obtained, as if he had been owner at his death, and as if his estate 
had been still in a course of settlement. By this decree an assign- 
ment was made of "his estate in Cambridge and Buttolph streets, 
valued at two hundred dollars," to one of his descendants, James 


Allen, he paying to the other heirs their proportion, and by him 
a conveyance of the fictitious title thus commenced was forthwith 
made for $500. This, legal finesse effected for many lots of this 
pasture what had been accomplished as to other lots, in a more 
manly, may I not say a more honorable mode, by Mr. Urann. 

The late Mr. Otis possessed a lot, 70 by 100 feet, at the corner 
of May and Centre streets. He obtained a deed from the true 
owner of the corner lot, 40 by 100 feet, which bounded east on a 
lot belonging to the late Henderson Inches. Now, Mr. Inches, 
who bought in 1766, had accidentally mislocated his land 30 feet 
too far to the east, and his heirs, finding that they had all the deed 
gave to their ancestor, told Mr. Otis that if they ever lost the 30 
feet which had been accidentally enclosed, they should take this 30 
feet adjoining his lot, but otherwise not. Mr. Otis accordingly kept 
it as his own, and sold four house-lots, each 25 by 70 feet, so that 
all the yards and out-buildings were upon this disputed territory. 
After many years, the Inches' heirs were sued and lost their 30 
feet. They then sued Mr. Otis' grantees, who were placed in a 
very embarrassing situation, being certain of losing all the needful 
appendages to their tenements. The suits were decided in favor 
of the demandants, and Mr. Otis, paying the sum awarded by ref- 
erees mutually chosen, the titles of his grantees were confirmed 
A.D. 1833. 

The moral and legal character of this district was for a long 
time equally bad. The Hill was the Jive points of Boston. It was, 
however, purged by the official broom of President Quincy, and its 
titles and its reputation have become much improved by time. 




August 8, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Leaving Mr. Jeremiah Allen's pasture, with its 
ancient u gardens" and "groves" sadly desecrated by civilization, 
we proceed easterly, and reach Thomas Buttolph's 8-acre pasture. 
In the Book of Possessions, p. 57, "William Hudson, Sen., a lot 
in ye new field, containing about fyve acres, bounded with Richard 
Cooke on the east, Mr. Thomas Clarke west, sould to Mr. But- 

42 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

tolph p. 42." And, accordingly, in p. 42 we find " Wm. Hudson, 
Sen., granted to Thomas Buttolph fyve acres of land in the new 
field, bounded with Richard Cooke east, James Johnson west, Wm. 
Wilson south, Davis apothecary, north, and this was by a deed 
dated 26, 4, 1646, acknowledged same da} r before Mr. Winthrop, 
Governor." James Johnson's possession is described as " about 
an acre, bounded with John Biggs (our old friend) north, Francis 
Lloyle 10 west, Zach. Bosworth south, Thomas Clarke east." John- 
son seems to have acquired also Lloyle's and Clarke's lots. Thus 
we find that James Johnson conveyed to Thomas Buttolph by deed 
dated 14th, 6th, 1649, recorded 29th, 1 mo., 1654 (Suff., L. 2, f. 11), 
3 acres in Gentry field, bounded on land of said Thomas east, on 
William Davis north, on Theodore Atkinson west, and Zacheus 
Bosworth south. These two purchases vested in Buttolph the 8 
acres. Davies owned the Chambers pasture on north side of Cam- 
bridge street. 

Buttolph died in 1667, devising to two sons, John and Thomas. 
The latter died intestate, 1668, leaving a widow, Mary (who mar- 
ried Swett), and four children, Thomas, Nicholas, Mary, and 
Abigail. In 1682 John conveyed to these children his moiety. 
(Suff., L. 12, f. 274.) 

Thomas died. Abigail married Joseph Belknap, Jr. Mary 
married one Thaxter, and after his death, Robert Guttridge. In 
1701 these heirs divided the whole pasture (Suff., L. 23, f. 119), each 
having a lot of 2f acres ; the westerly part being assigned to 
Nicholas ; the middle to Mrs. Belknap, and the easterly part to 
Mrs. Thaxter, or Guttridge. This pasture extended from Buttolph 
street to Hancock street, being about 430 feet in average width, 
and in depth back it measured about 625 feet to Myrtle street. In 
1734, by indenture between the Belknap heirs and Mrs. Guttridge, 
Belknap street was laid out (Suff., L. 49, f. 98). On the west side of 
Mrs. Belknap's lot was a rope-walk, 24 feet wide, which Nathaniel 
Belknap sold to Thomas Jenner in 1733 (L. 48, f. 179) ; sold in 1771 
to Edward Games. It is & straggling rope-walk, which should have 
shown itself in my article on " Old Rope-walks." South Russell street 
was laid out in 1737 (L. 54, f. 203), through the middle of Nicholas' 
lot, by his heirs, Mary, wife of John Phillips, and Abigail, wife of 

10 The Book of Possessions has been printed for the city in the second volume of 
these reports. James Johnson's possessions are on p. 20 of the original (p. 174 of the 
printed copy). The name which Mr. Bowditch reads as Francis Lloyle, is by me 
deciphered as Francis Loyall. On p. 697 of the printed copy he stands as Francis 
Lyle; and SAVAGE records him as Lyall, Lysle, Lisle, Lioll or Loyal. W. 


Knight Leverett, or rather by their husbands. It was probably so 
named because it led in a southerly direction from Chambers' or 
Russell's pasture, or opposite to North Russell street. 

Buttolph street was laid out along or across the extreme westerly 
line of this estate, and its easterly boundary includes the houses on 
the west side of Hancock street. The westerly portion of this 
pasture, like that of Jeremiah Allen, became gradually occupied by 
our " colored brethren." Thus a lot, no less than 88J feet wide by 
117 feet deep, on the westerly side of Belknap street, bought by 
Ebenezer Storer in 1737, was conveyed by his executors to 
" Scipio." He is not styled in the deed " Africanus," but was no 
doubt lawfully entitled to that additional appellation. The deeds 
of this area show how exclusively the great names of antiquity are 
borne by this class of our fellow-citizens. Cato, Cpesar, Pompey, 
Scipio, here figure on an humbler stage than of old, in company 
with "Cuff Buffum," etc. And among the " Dinahs," and 
" Phillises," occur other female names, which though derived from 
bright colors, really indicate, at first blush, the dark skin of the 
parties, viz., Olive, Violet, Rose, etc. Our city fathers, not being 
of opinion that " a rose by any other name will smell as sweet," 
have recently merged Belknap street into the less offensive name 
of Joy street. Buttolph street has not been disturbed, except that 
with the usual official brevity, it has, like Elliot street, been cur- 
tailed of one letter, 11 and now figures as Butolph street. Hancock 
street (so named from King John, having before been named 
George street for King George) has always been occupied by white 
inhabitants, being the genteel end of Buttolph's pasture. 


"Mr. Bowditch is, perhaps, over-critical in respect to Eliot street. That street was 
laid out in 1740 through lands belonging to the descendants of Jacob Eliot, who was 
one of the brothers of Rev. John Eliot, the "apostle to the Indians." This family in 
all its branches has always used the form "Eliot"; but the Essex county Elliots or 
Elliotts, to which belonged the Boston ministers and our Mayor Eliot, have varied the 
spelling at times. 

I annex an abstract of the indenture laying out Eliot street, and also that part of our 
Tremont street which crosses it. See, also City Document No. 119, of 1879. " Nomen- 
clature of streets: " W. 

" Lib 69, fol. 63-5. 4 June 1740. Indenture between Benjamin Eliot ) stationers . 

John Eliot 5 

Rev. Jacob Eliot of Lebanon, Windham co. Conn. ; Mary w. of Jona. Willis of 
Boston, housewright, they four being the heirs of Jacob Eliot, mariner, dec d , on the 
one part 

Also John, Edward, Samuel <fc Jacob (Holyokes all), 

Mary Arnold, Hannah Burrill, widows, & Sarah w. of John Eliot, stationer: they 
seven being the heirs of Mary Holyoke widow deed who was also an heir of Jacob 

44 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



August 9, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Our earliest deed of Scottow's pasture bounded 
on Jeremiah Houchin. His executors sell in 1677 (SufF., L. 16, f. 
297) " all- that theire piece or parcel of land, situate tying and being 
in Boston, containing by estimation four acres, be the same more or 
less, being butted and bounded on the north by the highway, east 
by Mr. 'Simon Lynd, south by the land of John Turner, west by 
the land of Benjamin Gibbs." [Scottow had sold to Gibbs.] 
The grantees in this deed were Richard Middlecott and William 
Taylor. The latter died 1682, and his son and heir, of the same 
name, conveyed to said Middlecott, 1697. (Suff., L. 17, f. 351.) 

Middlecott died 1704, and a division was made 1727 (L. 42, 
f. 175), by which a 40-feet street was laid out through the pasture, 
called Middlecott street, which name it retained many } T ears. This 
pasture measured 310 feet, 8 on Cambridge street, and extended 
back on the west side 689 feet, on the east side 741 feet, and in 
the rear it measured 210 feet. The lots on the west side of Middle- 
cott street measured 130 feet on Cambridge street, and those on 
the east side 139 feet on Cambridge street ; and at the rear end of 
the pasture the lots narrowed to 85 feet on each side of this new 
street. The street so laid out was 40 feet wide. 

Here, then, was one of the finest estates in the city, and this 

Eliot & whereas the other sister & heir of Jacob E. was Abigail Davis who sold 
her right to bro. Benjamin, now they desire to make a division 

First they lay out 2 streets at nearly right angles, one to run WNW from Orange 
street to be called Eliot st; the other to run SSW from Frog Lane to Hollis at, to be 
called Holyoke st: to be described as follows. 

Eliot at. to begin 21 inches from the S.E. corner of s d Jacob Eliot's house on 
Orange st. occupied first by Paul Collins, then by John Clark & now by Benj. 
Eliot, to run in a strait line WNW 906 feet till it reaches land lately bo't by sd John 
Eliot of Abigail Davis, widow The street to be 30 ft wide. And as this 30 ft at the 
first point will run 7 feet on the land of Joseph Henderson, late of Samuel Hand, the 
s<* H. has sold a strip to the town for a street. 

Holyoke street begins at the N.E. corner of land of W m Lambert in Frog Lane & 
runs first through land of John Clough, next through the lands to be divided A then 
through land of Gov. Belcher, till it falls into Hollis at." 


spacious avenue was appropriately named for one of its earliest 
owners. Houchin street would not have been quite the thing, but 
Middlecott street was unexceptionable, a name agreeable both to 
the eye and the ear. It happened, however, that one Bowdoin, 
some 70 years ago, was placed by his fellow-citizens in that 
gubernatorial ducking -stool, in which the commander-in-chief is 
annually soaked while reviewing the "Ancient and Honorable 
Artillery." It also happened that he owned an estate on Beacon 
street. His devise (bearing the same name), in 1800, opened 
through this land a street in continuation of Mr. Middlecott's, and 
presto ! the whole street became Bowdoin street. Now, it cannot of 
course, be suspected that the living Mr. Bowdoin named this street 
for himself. The act would savor of ostentation. The selectmen, 
doubtless, thought that having accommodated Governor Hancock 
with a street, they ought in justice to do as much for his rival. In 
itself, the change was as absurd as if a boy, having a fine kite 
with an excellent bob to it, should, because it had a ribbon or bow 
added to it, be obliged to call the whole article by the name of 
this tail-piece. 

The partiality thus evinced for governors has not yet died out, 
though now, indeed, it rarely extends to such as are either officially 
personally defunct. But how appropriate would it be to confer the 
name of the governor for the time being, on the street in which he 
happened to live ! The visible splendor and dignity of our highest 
office would thus be greatly increased ; periodical changes in the 
names of streets would thus be brought about with even greater 
frequency, and in a less fitful and capricious manner than at 
present. Mt. Vernon street would become Gardner street, etc. If 
such a rule should prevail, perhaps, in a few years, Winthrop square 
would succeed as the third designation of Pemberton square, which 
has only had two names in twenty years. If it should be thought 
that in the event Winthrop place might lead to some confusion ; 
that name, conferred in honor of a dead governor, could be ex- 
changed. It is the order of nature, indeed, that the dead should 
give place to the living. Besides, it is rather an equivocal com- 
pliment to name half of a court for anybody. Otis place and 
Winthrop place could both be named for Sir William Pepperell, 
through whose estate Otis place is laid out. They could together 
be called Pepperell square. Two birds would thus be killed by one 
stone ; and then in a few years the authorities could ignore the 
origin of the name, drop off the " ell," as they did in EHiot street, 
and the residents would hail, in the director}', from Pepper square. 

46 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

The names of streets, however, are comparative!}^ unimportant, 
since we seem in a fair way to lose the reality, several streets, as 
I learn by the papers, being at once used up by the Metropolitan 


P.S. Is it true that the mayor had a present of a snapping- 
turtle, weighing forty pounds, to put into the Frog Pond? If so, 
I wish he would snap at our city functionaries for some of their 
proceedings. G. 



August 10, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : At the last advices I hailed from the west side 
of Hancock street at the easterly end of Buttolph's pasture : con- 
tinuing easterly a four-acre pasture of Joshua Scottow is next 
reached, which extends from Hancock street easterly 280 feet on 
Cambridge street, or to a point 52 feet east of Temple street, 
and is in depth back, towards summit of Beacon Hill, 660 feet, or 
just beyond the line of Derne street. This estate was probably 
sold by Thomas Scottow to his brother Joshua, 27, 4, 1648. A 
mortgage by Joshua, discharged in 1665, mentions such a deed. 
Joshua Scottow conveyed to his son-in-law, Benjamin Gibbs, Jan. 
10, 1670 (Suffolk, L. 7, f. 168). Colonel Benjamin Gibbs and 
Lydia, his wife, mortgaged the same to our old friend, Rev. James 
Allen, for 150, 1671 (Suffolk, L. 7, f. 192), who assigned it to 
Richard Wharton, by whom the mortgage was foreclosed, 1680 
(L. 12, f. 329). Richard Wharton died 1691, and his administra- 
tor conveyed to Stephen Minot the south-west moiety, or two acres, 
Nov. 24, 1697 (L. 18, f. 18), and to Isaiah Tay the north-easterly 
moiety, or two acres, Nov. 23, 1697 (L. 18, f. 17). The whole 
pasture is thus described : " A pasture on the north-west side of 
Beacon Hill, containing about four acres, bounded north-east on 
the late Jeremiah Houchin, now Richard Middlecott's, south-east 
on the late John Turner and Richard Cook, south-west on late 
Buttels (i.e., Buttolph's pasture), and north-west on the lane lead- 
ing to the pastures," (i.e., Cambridge street.) 


And here another " rope- walk" turns up, and one, too, of quite 
respectable size, viz., 44 feet 6 inches on Cambridge street, by 665 
feet deep. It was sold off by Minot in 1731 to Samuel Waldo (Suff., 
L. 46, f. 170) from the easterly side of his allotment. Waldo's heirs 
sold off to Joseph Ridgway ml 768 (Suff., 112, f. 105.) Now, the 
volumes 112 and 114 have been missing from the Registry of 
Deeds, ever since'the Revolution ; a most convenient circumstance 
for conveyancers, as it allows us to suppose ALL missing deeds to 
have been there recorded, an hypothesis which, of course, cannot 
be possibly disproved. I nryself caused this deed to be re- 
recorded in 1834 (L. 383, f. 20). It embraced all except a 30- 
feet lot at the south end, being 44 feet by 635 feet 6 inches. Across 
the west part of the old rope-walk was laid out a lane 10 feet wide, 
now well-known as Ridgway's lane. This rope-walk, and Jenner's 
rope-walk, which we found in Buttolph's pasture, added to those by 
Pearl, Pinckney, and Poplar streets, make together 14 rope-walks 
in Boston, which were probably " spinning," all at once, for a 
period of at least sixty years. 

Mr. Minot had retained almost all the lots on the east side of 
Hancock street, being throughout about 91 feet deep, to this old 
rope-walk on Ridgeway's lane. He died in 1732, and a great di- 
vision was made in 1733 among his heirs ; John Minot taking the 
north lot, of the moderate size of 217 feet on Hancock street; 
George took the next lot of 159 feet wide ; Christopher contented 
himself with only the next 85 feet on Hancock street ; while Peter 
brought up the rear with the south lot of 159 feet. All this long 
range of lots finally became vested in Jonathan L. and Benjamin 
Austin, from whom the modern titles of all the east side of Han- 
cock street, north of Derne street, are derived ; and this street 
should, I think, have been named for Scottow, Wheaton, Minot, or 

Mr. Isaiah Tay died, seized of his two-acre pasture, in 1730, and 
devised the same to his wife ; but the poor man forgetting to add 
the word " heirs" (probably from not employing an attorney), the 
poor woman lost her pastures, and it went to collateral heirs of her 
husband. In 1737 partition deeds were made (L. 54, f. 235 ; L. 
55, f. 80) by which a 30-feet street was laid out directty through 
the centre of the pasture, leaving on each side lots 52 feet deep. 
This street is now Temple street. About half of the land on the 
east side of this street (say 330 feet deep from Cambridge street) 
was subsequently bought by Joseph Coolidge, Esq., and formed 
part of the garden of his noble mansion-house estate, which, alas ! 

48 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

has forever disappeared. Having now got into some of the best 
society in Boston, I like my quarters so well that I think I shall 
stop and pass the night. I ma} r , perhaps, hereafter advise you of 
my further journey to the eastward. 


P.S. As the city fathers eagerly listen to 'all proposals for 
changing the names of streets, I beg leave to ask that Temple 
street should be changed to Tay street. A temple is a heathen 
building, which only by poetic license is applied to a Christian 
church. The present name was given to this street before it had 
any church in it or as a mere matter of taste and fane}'. 12 Now, as 
the law prevented Mr. Tay from separating this estate from his 
family and name, it ought, at least, not to separate his name from 
the estate. Tay is a word so short that it will not probably be 
Jthought necessary (as in so many other cases) to strike out a 
letter. Though if that should be thought desirable, the y might of 
course be omitted. The word itself is extremely musical. It occurs 
in the poet's lay, and rhymes can easily be found for it through all 
the letters of the alphabet. The only objection that occurs to me 
is, that to our Hibernian fellow-citizens it may suggest merely a 
well-known beverage, instead of the ancient legal martyr, whose 
fate I wish thus to commemorate. G. 


Augutt 11, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : You will remember that I was last in Middle- 
cott or Bowdoin street, having entered Mr. Coolidge's garden from 
Temple street. He purchased the northerly lots on the west side 

12 Surely Mr. Bowditch must have forgotten that Gov. Bowdoin's daughter married 
Sir John Temple, bart., whose daughter married Lt.-Gov. Thomas Lindall Winthrop. 
Temple was a Bostonian by adoption at least, his father and grandfather having lived 
at the Ten Hills Farm, and was one of our most noted citizens. Doubtles this was the 
true source of the name of the street. In this connection I may add the wish that Mr. 
Bowditch had lived to protest against the change of the name of " Lindall street," 
which commemorated a famous family here, to the unmeaning and misleading title of 
" Exchange place," in 1873. For 140 years Lindall's lane or street was known. W. 


of Bowdoin street, 1791, 1795, and 1825, which gave his estate a 
total front on that street of 368 feet 3 inches. This house and gar- 
den was altogether one of the most beautiful residences which have 
existed in our city within my memory. It was laid out into lots 
in 1834, and no less than 28 dwellings were erected on it ; while a 
large parcel of nearly 5,000 feet, with a fine old tree upon it, was 
purchased and retained by the late Dr. Shattuck, for air, light, and 
ornament, for the benefit of his estate on the opposite side of Cam- 
bridge street. This also has just been covered with bricks and 
mortar. The Middlecott estate extended back from Cambridge 
street about 166 feet south of Allston street, that street (which was 
formerly known as Somerset place), and also Bulfinch place, 30 
feet wide, having been both opened into Bowdoin street, through 
this pasture, and thence extended easterly into Bulfinch street. 

This leads us naturally to visit Bulfinch's pasture. It seems to 
have been estimated as containing four acres. It measured north 
on Cambridge street 148J- feet, on the west side 874 feet, in the 
rear 74 feet, then easterly 118 feet, and again south 23 feet, and 
then east again 673 feet to Cambridge street. It was devised in 
1665 by John Newgate to his son-in-law, Simon Lynde [Lynde 
is named as east abutter in the deed of Middlecott's pasture] , and 
as earty as 1687 was vested in his son, Samuel Lynde. Rather 
more than 100 years ago it became the property of Thomas Bul- 
finch. It remained in his family nearly 50 years, being finally dis- 
posed of in 1796-1797. 

The Revere House estate, 117 feet on Cambridge street, 184 feet 
on the west line, and 140 feet on Bulfinch street, was sold for the 
moderate sum of $7,000 in 1797, and for many years was the 
well-known and beautiful mansion-house of the late Kirk Boott, 
partner of the late William Pratt, under the firm of Boott & Pratt. 
It is rather remarkable that the private residences of both have ex- 
panded into hotels, the latter having lived in the Pearl-street 
House. Mr. Boott's mansion had a more venerable-looking ex- 
terior than its age justified, it having been originally built with 
brick soaked in a preparation of molasses, with the design of ex- 
cluding the moisture more effectually. When erected, Bowdoin 
square was the very centre and nucleus of aristocracy and fashion. 
Mr. Boott, indeed, had the offer of land in Beacon street, at a far 
less price per foot than he paid for this estate. Here resided the 
late Mr. Lyman (on the Baptist church lot), the late Joseph 
Coolidge, Jr. (where stores are now about to be built), the late 
Samuel Parkman, and various members of his family, including his 

50 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

daughters, the late Mrs. Edward Blake and the late Mrs. Robert 
G. Shaw, for whom were erected the two stone houses fronting 
easterly on Bowdoin square. Though the glory of this locality has 
now departed, as far as respects its private splendors, }*et to the 
public these are more than replaced by a hotel, which, in its ac- 
commodations and management has no superior in the United 
States, or perhaps in the world. As you, yourself, however, live 
there, it is superfluous for me to enlarge on the ability and the 
courtesy of Paran Stevens. May his receipts never be less ! 


P.S. As in duty bound we first paid our respects together to 
Mr. Blackstone, and ate some of his apples. We then strolled 
through a couple of bury ing-grounds, and looked into two or three 
churches, half-a-dozen bakeries, and about sixteen rope-walks. We 
also walked from Castle street beyond the green store on the Neck, 
to see a hanging. We have inspected the hogs in Hog alley, the 
cows on the Common, the I was on the point of writing but 
I mean the mayor, in the City Hall. We went on a sailing party 
from the " Circular Line," and landed on " island wharves," built 
by the hand of man " to traverse guns upon," where, however, we 
found more salt than saltpeter. We have even ascended into the air 
to visit an estate or two. But our chief excursion, now completed, 
has been from Bowdoin square, down one side of Cambridge street, 
and back again on the other side of the street to the point of 
departure. This we have made rather leisurely, stopping to chat 
with the neighbors as we went along. I have not myself thus far 
picked up much in these wanderings, though I will inform you, in 
confidence, that I have received an anonymous promise of some of 
" Mollie Saunders' gingerbread." If it comes, I shall indeed feel 
that I have " gleaned" to some purpose. In the meantime I dare 
say that I can get something almost as nice at the " Revere." 




August 13, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In my postscript to " Bulfinch's Pasture," I sug- 
gested a vague hope of receiving some of " Molly Saunders' gin- 


gerbread." That hope has been fully realized. I have just got a 
loud note from the old lady. It is signed " Shade of Molly Saund- 
ers." But though thus obviously coming from the spirit land, it 
was accompanied by a basket filled with the " real article," pre- 
cisely as I used to eat 40 years ago. Of this there can be no pos- 
sible mistake. Here, then, at least, is a " spirit communication " 
which cannot be explained away. It is most palpable alike to sight, 
touch, and taste. As you were the " medium " through whom this 
departed shade was apostrophized by me, a few cakes are sent to 
you in acknowledgment of your services in that capacity. If our 
deceased friend could be further persuaded to u impress" you and 
your readers with the receipt which she used while on earth, what 
an inestimable blessing would be thus conferred on mankind ! 


P.S. It appears that the old lady had to return here to do the 
baking, and in her note to me she says, very feelingly, " I could 
not make it look just as it used to, for there is no wood and no 
ovens to be seen on airth now. I wouldn't live here again for 



August 14, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : On Satdrday last, I was left at the Revere, tak- 
ing some refreshment, after our various excursions ; and then, after 
eating a little " gingerbread," I started off with renewed strength 
and spirits. Having previously visited some other of our city 
churches, I thought I would now look in upon one which stands on 
almost the extreme south end of Bulfinch's pasture (as the Revere 
does at its north end). This pasture extended a few feet south of 
the south side of Ashburton place, so that it includes the whole 
front of the houses of W. T. Andrews and J. M. Beebe, to the 
average depth of 14 feet. The east line of the Mt. Vernon Con- 
gregational Church estate coincides exactly with the east line of 
this pasture, but on the west a small purchase was made from the 
Bowdoin estate. There are few more eloquent preachers than the 
Rev. Edward N. Kirk, and he is duly appreciated by a numerous 

52 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

and attentive congregation. In the summer season, so many of our 
citizens, especially as it happens among the Unitarian and Epis- 
copal societies, retire into the county, that the churches of those 
denominations, if opened at all, present a clear case of only "two 
or three gathered together." Thus, out of 148 families belonging 
to King's Chapel, all are BOW absent except 12. But it is far 
otherwise with Dr. Kirk's society. Bulfinch's pasture is truly 
admirably represented at both ends. It makes adequate provision 
alike for physical and spiritual wants. 

This pasture, as we have seen, after extending northerly 118 
feet, made a jog outwards of 23 feet. Both these lines were on 
the estate of Cotton or Sewall, since of the late Gardiner Greene, 
who owned through to Tremont street a tract of land embracing 
the largest part of Pemberton square. Proceeding again northerly, 
the east line of Bulfinch's pasture is on land of Cyprian Southack, 
or more recently, of John Bowers, of Somerset. According^, we 
find that Howard street was anciently named Southack's court, for 
the former, and Somerset street was so named by the latter. 

This estate (next east of Bulfinch's pasture) contained two 
acres. In the " Book of Possessions " is Edward Bendall, p. 53, 
another house and garden, together with two acres of land adjoin- 
ing, bounded on Sudbury street (i.e., Tremont street) east ; Robert 
Hears north ; John Cotton south and west. Bendall sells to 
David Yeale, 1645 (Suffolk, L. 2, f. 48), whose attorneys convey to 
the use of Capt. John Wall, 1653 (ib.) He died 1670, and his 
heirs, in 1678, convey to Edward Shippen (Suffolk, L. 11, f. 195;. 
Shippen sells off to Benj. Fitch, 1702 (L. 38, f. 56) a certain tan- 
yard and land, bounded north on the highway leading to the Bowl- 
ing Green (i.e., Court street) 48 feet by 156 feet deep. He sells 
to Andrew Mariner the next westerly lot, 48 feet on said street, 
1691 (15, f. 167), and in 1702 sells all the residue to Cyprian 
Southack (Suffolk, Lib. 21, f. 14) : " All that messuage, contain- 
ing two acres, more or less, bounded on Sudbury street (i.e., Tre- 
mont street) east ; on land now or late of Sewall, south ; on land 
now or late of Samuel Lynde (i.e., Bulfinch's pasture) west ; and 
north on the way leading by the south side of the Bowling Green ; 
excepting therefrom the lots sold Mariner and the tam^ard in the 
occupation of Russell." Southack sells off to Jonathan Armitage, 
1718 (Suffolk, 33, f. 51), the remaining or westerly lot, 74 feet on 
Court street by 200 feet on the west line, so that this pasture 
measured 170 feet on Court street ; and he granted him a right in 
a new highway, 27 feet wide, laid out south of these lots, 1720 


(Suffolk, L. 35, f. 61 ) . This was Howard street. Southack's pasture, 
south of Howard street, was of an L shape, bounded north on that 
street 141 feet, west on Bulfinch's pasture 440 feet, south on Cotton 
or Sewall about 614 feet, east on Tremont row 103.3, then north 
on Robert Mears' possession, and east on other lands. Various 
changes of these boundaries were subsequently made. John 
Bowers bought, 1799-1800, a tract extending about 62 feet west 
of Somerset street, and 147 feet east of it ; and a large portion, 
therefore, of his lands was wholly east of Southack's pasture. 

The most easterly of Bowers' lots was the Howard Athenaeum. 
The rear wall of that estate is an embankment of at least 40 feet 
in height, showing the difference of level between it and the north 
estates on Pemberton square. The lots on both sides of Somerset 
street, from Howard street to the range of the north line of the 
estates on the north side of Ashburton place, are held under deeds 
from Bowers. On the east side of this street stands a block of two 
houses, built by Ebenezer Francis, Esq. (to which a third has 
been lately added). The northerly of these houses belongs to 
Dr. Charles T. Jackson, who recently received from the Sultan 
a decoration for the ether discovery. [It would seem that the 
Sultan had not heard of one Dr. Morton, whose office is in Tremont 

The southerly house in this block has also had some distinguished 
tenants. It was first occupied by the late Uriah Getting, who, in 
the construction of India wharf and Central wharf, Broad street 
and Cornhill, etc., etc., and especially by the stupendous enterprise 
of the Mildam or Western avenue, evinced an almost incredible 
genius, activity, and energy. His services, indeed, seem to be for- 
gotten by the present generation. His very name is scarcely pre- 
served except by his tombstone in the Granary Burying-Ground. 
But our local historians, through coming ages, as the future shall 
more and more develop the results of his improvements, will grate- 
fully recognize his claims as the Chief Benefactor of Boston. Sub- 
sequently to his death this house was occupied by our fellow- 
citizen William Ropes, a distinguished Russia merchant whose 
vigorous old age still shames the degenerate manhood of man} T who 
are half a century younger than himself. 13 

Daniel Webster became its tenant while he was in the full maturity 
of his glorious powers, before disappointment had darkened around 
him, and before he had ever uttered a word or done an act as a 

18 William Rojjes died March 11, 1869. W. 

54 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

statesman which any of those hearts that most honored him could 
have wished unsaid or undone. Having been one of his warmest 
admirers, I will not say more than this of the dead; yet, believing 
that but for him the fugitive slave law that accursed torch of 
civil dissension ! would not now be throwing its lurid glare abroad 
through our land ; I cannot say less. Abbott Lawrence next occu- 
pied this mansion, one whose entire career, both public and 
private, has reflected so much honor on our city, our country, and 
our age ; and whose precarious health, at this very moment, awakens 
such intense solicitude among ourselves, and has brought back echoes 
of regret from the other side of the Atlantic. 14 

The Rev. Ephraim Peabody, of the King's Chapel, one of the 
most estimable and popular of our city clergymen, for several 
years resided here, and between these two last occupants came 
your humble servant. It was the home of all the early years of my 
married life, the spot where all my professional " gleanings" were 
used up in " family expenses." I have always felt proud of having 
made one in so goodly a company. But I trust that I have ever 
cherished a proper humility. Some years since the late Sheriff 
Sumner, father of our distinguished senator, delivered a lecture on 
the duties of " Sheriff." He remarked that in England the holder 
of that office was entitled to the appellation of " High ; " " but," 
added he, demurely making a meek bow to his audience, and 
placing his hand on his heart, " it is not so in this country, and, 
in one instance at least, that title of honor is entirely declined." I 
would withdraw in an equally modest manner on the present occa- 
sion. GLEANER. 



August 15, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Having finished my call at my own domicile, we 
will look in for a moment at the next door. One of the lots of the 
Bowers' estate, on which stand three new brick dwellings, directly 
opposite the east end of Allston street, measured 80 feet on Somer- 
set street, and extended back over 215 feet on the south line. It 

14 Abbott Lawrence died August 18, 1865. W. 


was about thirty years the residence of Ebenezer Francis, who 
also purchased the adjoining mansion house of the late James 
Lloyd, south of it. On the rear of these lands (with some changes 
of boundar}^ lines), stand his present mansion house at the north 
end of Pemberton square, and the two next houses on its west 
side. With the exception of these three estates, all the lots in that 
square, and also all l>ack of the same from Tremont row to Somer- 
set street, are held under deeds of Patrick T. Jackson. On Mr. 
Francis' old mansion-house estate, at the corner corresponding 
with part of No. 10 Pemberton square, now occupied by R. M. 
Mason, Esq., stood a summer-house, on the very apex of the hill, 
seventy feet above even its present high level. The prospect from 
this building was one of very great extent, and of the most varied 
beauty. Charlestown, and many an inland town besides, were in 
full view towards the north and west, while in front lay spread 
out before the spectator the thronged streets of the city, the masts 
of its shipping, the harbor dotted with its graceful islands, and 
beyond, in the extreme distance, might be seen Nahant, etc. 

Mr. Webster, while tenant of the adjoining estate, from time to 
time came here to gaze on this magnificent panorama. 15 On one 
occasion he had some friends at dinner, and was desirous that 
they should participate in this pleasure. Accordingly, the little 
gate was opened (the erection of which had been permitted for 
these visits) and a procession appeared, headed by a servant bear- 
ing a waiter with refreshments, and followed by Mr. Webster and 
his guests. It so happened that on that day a feather bed had 
been taken to the summer-house to be opened and readjusted, 
and the process being in full operation at noon, the building had 
been left by the servants. It was, of course, now found to be pre- 
viously occupied by an assemblage of feathers, which, aided by a high 
wind, at once flew out to welcome their visitors. This unexpected 
reception was a source of much merriment. Chairs and a table 
were placed in the open air, and I have no doubt that both host 
and guests found new inspiration from the beauties of this glorious 

To those who remember these estates as they then stood, the 

IB It may be well to note here, that I possess a large painting by Salmon, represent- 
ing this view, executed early in the present century. The stand-point is apparently on 
Sandy Hill, about on the line where Ashburton place now is, and in the immediate fore- 
ground is a summer-house which I presume was the one mentioned in the text. An 
engraving will be given in the Memorial " History of Boston," soon to be issued by J. 
E. Osgood & Co. W. 

56 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

present neat and elegant buildings, and the quiet square which they 
surround, seem but a poor and paltry substitute. The excavations 
made throughout this purchase by Mr. Jackson and his associates 
were absolutely frightful. The estate of Mr. Francis, towering up 
to such a height next to them, of course, could not but greatly en- 
danger any buildings which might be erected beneath it ; and, 
indeed, it could not itself any longer be used. with safety. So the 
summer-house passed away. 

When I was in college I had petitioned at the close of my junior 
year for a room in Holworthy, instead of which I obtained one 
directly opposite to that which I already occupied. I was quizzed 
by a classmate, who suggested, as a consolation, the ease with 
which one of the "goodies" could remove my effects across the 
entry. An almost equalty short and easy removal awaited me in 
after years as a householder. Since on ceasing to occupy the man- 
sion of "glorious antecedents" in Somerset street, I was trans- 
ferred to, and still remain a tenant- at- will, of one of the new domi- 
ciles under or nearly under that ancient summer-house. 



August 16, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : The lower portion of Southack's pasture was 
known as Valley acre. Thus a deed of the Cotton, or Greene 
estate, after bounding north 311 feet back from Tremont street 
continues the line 295 feet further on the land formerly of Cyprian 
Southack, now of Mr. John Tyng, or Valley acre, A.D. 1758 (Suff., 
92, f. 52). Mr. Drake somewhere speaks of Valley acre as iden- 
tical with or part of Pemberton square, which is like speaking of 
Mt. Tom or Mt. Washington as a valley. The lots of Mr. Bowers 
were probably measured by a line along the rising surface of 
Somerset street, and, of course, fell short. A suit arose for a gore 
of land under a deed which went 100 feet from Howard street " till 
it comes to the wall of a brick stable." The case was opened by 
Rufus G. Amory, Esq., for demandant. Chief Justice Parsons 
said, "Is the land sued for beyond the stable?" "Yes, your 
Honor." " Well, then, gentlemen of the jury, you must bring in 


3'our verdict for the tenant." " But, Your Honor, I wish to argue 
the point." "I cannot hear any argument ; monuments govern 
measurements. Call the next jury." 

The same principle, thus promptly announced, has just been ap- 
plied to another estate which happened to belong to the same party. 
But there is a marked difference between the two decisions. This 
last case ( u Curtis vs. Francis") was in court from 1839 to 1855, 
and the point decided is, that under the rule o/ u monuments govern* 
ing measurements" a straight line in a deed may be broken off in the 
middle and one part detached from the other, even to the distance of 
40 feet, said detached part thence to continue in a direction vary- 
ing 15 degrees from the course at the commencement. The line in 
Curtis vs. Francis began on Sea street, " at the south-west corner 
of Capen & Drake's wharf, and from said corner running in a 
direction of about, south, 60 degrees east, bounded north on Capen 
& Drake's wharf and flats to the channel or low-water mark." 

Now, to common apprehension, this seems to be one continuous 
line from street to channel. And in a previous case (Dawes vs. 
Prentice), where the language was from Purchase street to the 
capsill of the wharf, about 114 feet, and from thence to run down 
to low-water mark," the Court say, " There is no change of course 
indicated, and the construction must be that the line below the wharf 
is to run the same course as the line of the wharf." And here again, 
to common apprehension, seems a decision perfectly in accordance 
with the natural construction which first suggests itself to the 
reader's mind. The Court, however, in Curtis and Francis, in 
effect say, " It is true that Drake's wharf is a monument as far as 
it goes, but then Drake's flats become a monument, and it appears 
to us that Drake and his neighbor mistook their lines of flats, 
though the deed in question, therefore, shall be deemed to convey 
a gore of flats, which we really think belonged to Drake, outside 
of his wharf; because the deed runs by the wharf; yet, when the 
wharf ends, the line shall be deemed to hop off to what we consider 
the true line of Drake's flats, and thence run by that monument to 
the channel. These ancient grantors and grantees would, I think, 
be ver} r much surprised if the} 7 knew that their one straight line 
had been thus transformed, and this, too, by the application of one 
of the soundest rules of judicial construction. It would, almost, 
seem that, while the first case was decided rightly in fifteen minutes, 
the last one has been decided wrongly in fifteen years. 


58 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



August 77, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : At the last advices I had fallen into some tan 
vats which I found on Court street, 122 feet east of Bulfinch street, 
and which extended 48 feet on that street. Escaping without any 
serious injury, I rearranged my toilette in some small lots of about 
137 feet on Court street, and from 50 to 60 feet deep, reaching to 
Stoddard's lane or street. All the lands east and south of this 
range of lots (extending to Tremont row, and on both sides of 
Howard street) became, in very early times, united in Simon 
Lynde, who thus unexpectedly turns up again. The extreme cor- 
ner of Tremont row and Court street was bought by him of 
Thomas Boyden and Hannah, his wife, in 1662 (Suffolk, L. 4, f. 61) , 
bounded on said Lynde south, on Sudbury lane east and north. 
Now, Robert Howen was an original possessor, and we find deeds 
of John and Israel Howen to said Lynde, 1662, 1663 (Suff., L. 4, f. 71 
and 141), conveying two-thirds and one-third of "all that land 
and ground late of my mother, Elizabeth Howen, containing half 
an acre, bounded with Robert Hears south, and some part of it 
with the street (i.e., Tremont street) easterly and eastwardly, north 
and west with the house where said Simon now dwelleth, also a 
corner bounded west with the land in occupation of Governor Endi- 
cott." We thus learn where to call on his excellency. 

Lynde died in 1687, and we find a deed of Nathaniel Newgate, 
or Newdigate, and Sarah, his wife (a daughter of said Lj'nde), con- 
veying, in 1694, this corner estate as messuage known by the 
name of " The Spring House." So that The Spring Hotel, at 
Watertown, had an ancient predecessor in Boston. Hannah, the 
only daughter of Mrs. Pordage, 16 married James Bowdoin, and in 
1748 an indenture was made to bar an entail of the part of said 
lands south of Howard street, and east of Southack's pasture [i.e., 
from the centre of Somerset street to Tremont street]. It is from 

is George Portage, or Pordage, married Elizabeth, daughter of Simon Lynde, who was 
thus an heir to part of the estate. Their daughter Hannah married James Bowdoin, 
8en r ., father of Goy. B. W. 


this source that Bowers got his title to the Howard Athenaeum 
lot, etc. 

The large estate east of the Howard Athenaeum, measuring 154 
feet on Howard street, and 74 feet onTremont street, was, in 1779, 
contracted to be conveyed to Ellis Gray, who died (see Suffolk, 
L. 148, f. 52) and became the property of Theodore Lyman, Senior, 
in 1785 (L. 154, fol. 121). This lot was designed to have been 
used by the Brattle Street Society for their church ; but by the 
present of a bell, Governor Hancock induced them to rebuild on the 
old site. The brick block on Tremont street presents now a very dif- 
ferent aspect from the beautiful green j r ard or lawn which originally 
extended in front of Mr. Lyman's mansion. Next south of this 
comes a lot 85 feet on Tremont street (by 284 feet 6 inches on the 
south line), which is held under the possession of Robert Mears. 
Mr. Mears died 1667, devising his land u as adjoining to the 
grounds of the late Governor Endicott." Part of these lands, in 
1709, gets into one John Staniford (Suffolk, L. 24, f. 146, 226) 
[who, it appears, was not contented with the six acres he had 
bought from Bowdoin square to Chambers street.] He sells to 
the Rev. Henry Harris, 1763 (Suffolk, L. 37, f. 92), whose executors 
sell, in 1734, to James Pemberton (L. 48, f. 299), in whose family 
the same remained for half a century, and whose name now 
flourishes in Pemberton square. Another part of Mears' lands is 
traced through Hodges, Ellis Gray, Colman, etc., to Dr. Samuel 
Danforth, 1785 (Suff., L. 154, f. 136). 

We have seen that Southack's pasture came out on Tremont row, 
with a front of 103 feet 3, next south of Robert Meares. This 
front part, 313 feet deep on Cotton or Sewall, 17 he sold off to John 
Jekyll in 1724 (L. 38, f. 98), and by deed of Jekyll's heirs it 
became vested in Dr. James Lloyd by deed in 1768 (L. 114, f. 137), 
which volume being now lost, it was again recorded in 1827 
(L. 315, f. 273). Having thus called upon all his neighbors, the 
Rev. John Cotton, the spiritual father of Boston, will have reason 
to feel hurt if we do not pay him an early visit. 


" At this point Mr. Bowditch brings the titles of the northerly half of the hill in 
contact with those traced on the southerly part. The Cotton or Sewall lot is traced in 
a subsequent article to this point. When SewalFs property was sold by his heirs to 
William Vassall, in 1758 (Suff., Lib. 92, f. 52), the lines were north on the heirs of 
John Jekyll 311 feet, and of Capt. Cyprian Southac (then John Tyng), on Valley 
Achor 295 feet, and heirs of Bulfinch 20 feet, the whole line from Treamount street up 
to and across Valley Achor being 626 feet, eto. W. 

60 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



August 18, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : My attention has been called to an article * in 
the " Transcript," of yesterday, signed " Valley Acre." Thatname of 
course indicates a region at the base of a hill. The line of 311 
feet from Tremont street, mentioned in the deed to which I refer as 
locating it, extends several feet west of the houses on the west side of 
Pemberton square there begins the 295 feet boundary on Valley 
acre. This last-mentioned line extends to a point about 20 feet 
east of the church in Ashburton place. Valley acre, therefore, 
embraced the lands on both sides of Somerset street, to Bulfinch street, 
etc., and extended down the hill to the low ground on Court street. 
This may not be " far from the present northern termination of the 
iron fence in Pemberton square ; " but the very definiteness of that 
landmark seems to place Valley acre on the top of the hill, in- 
stead of at and near its base, and, as I thought, justified my allusion 
to a valley being located on the summit of Mount Tom or Mount 
Washington. GLEANER. 

*To the Editor of the Transcript: As you are disposed to set all little historical 
matters right, I beg you will request Mr. " Gleaner " to set his readers right in respect 
to what is said in the History and Antiquities of Boston about " Valley acre." The 
readers of his article in the "Transcript" of to-day (16th August) may be disposed, from 
his statement, to think that the author of the History has made some important blunder 
in locating the place in question, while he does not locate it himself. Now, if you or 
your readers, and " Gleaner," too, will turn to page 593 of the History, the following 
definite statement will be found respecting " Valley acre: " " Valley acre, as appears 
from an early map of the town, was adjacent to a spur of Beacon Hill, which extended 
north-easterly from the main hill, terminating abruptly not far from the present 
northern termination of the iron fence in Pemberton square." 

It may be as difficult for any one to imagine what this can have to do with Mount 
Tom or Mount Washington, as it was for " Gleaner " to locate VALLEY ACRE. 

[NOTE. This was Mr. S. G. Drake. W.] 




August 20, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In the Book of Possessions, p. 9, is " Mr. John 
Cotton, 1 house and garden and about half an acre, with an acre 
adjoining, bounded with Sudbury streete (i.e. Tremont Row) east, 
Edward Bendall north, the Centerie Hill west, Mr. Bellingham 
and Daniel Maud south." Bendall was, as we have seen, the 
predecessor of Cyprian Southack. This possession of an acre and 
a half in the very heart of the town was a noble allotment to its 
first citizen one from whose place of residence in England our 
city derives its name. It does not savor of the small salaries 
sometimes so grudgingty paid to their pastors by our smaller towns. 
Looking directly down Queen street, or Court street (which, not- 
withstanding its later glories, for man}' a long year was known as 
Prison Lane, from the prison standing where the Court House 
does now), it rose to a great height, forming a sort of outpost to 
Beacon Hill. It soon acquired the name of Cotton Hill. 

Mr. Cotton died, and by will, proved January 27, 1652-3. he 
says, " and because the south part of my house, which Sir Henry 
Vane built whilst he sojourned with me, he by a deed gave it at 
his departure to my son Seaborne, I doe yrefore leave it unto him 
as his by right," etc. He also speaks of his wife's u house and 
garden in the market-place in Boston in Lincolnshire." This item 
does not, however, come within my present investigations. If his 
wife and children die without heirs, u or if they shall transplant 
themselves fro hence into Old England, then my will is, and I 
give the farm at Muddy River one half to the College, one half to 
the Church." 

It seems that beside his son Seaborne (quaintly so named from 
his place of birth) he left as devisees, Sarah, wife of Richard 
Mather, Mariah, wife of Increase Mather, and John Cotton, who, 
in 1664, confirmed this devise to Seaborne (Suff. 6, f. 233), and he 
sells this part to John Hull (Suffolk 6, f. 226). Their original 
parchment deed is in my possession the recent gift of my friend 
Hon. James Savage. He doubtless thinks, "good easy man" 

62 Cixr DOCUMENT No. 105. 

that if I die first it is to revert to him, 18 but I shall instruct my heirs 
to hold on. f ln 1677, Nicholas Paige bought out the residue of the 
estate (Suffolk 10, 170 and 108), bounded north in part on Simon 
Lynde (i.e. Bulfinch's Pasture), and in part on the house and land 
where Governor Endicott last dwelt, and in 1682 this also was 
bought by Mr. Hull (L. 12, f. 216). So the mint-master suc- 
ceeded the clergyman : here being another quite respectable invest- 
ment of his surplus " shillings" before mentioned. This last deed 
bounds north on Lynde in part, and in part on " the land of 
Edward Shippen, formerly the dwelling-place of Governor Endicott" 
Now, Shippen was owner of Southack's two-acre pasture. So we 
have incidentally made sure of the exact domicile of the governor, 
having, as it were, " shot him flying." 

Hull died 1683, and the division in 1684 embraced " the lands 
in Boston, former!} 7 Mr. Cotton's, at Cotton Hill, commonly so called, 
with all the buildings that now [are] or shall be erected thereon" 
(L. 13, f. 92). By this instrument, the premises, after the death 
of Hull's only daughter, Hannah, wife of Samuel Sewall, are set- 
tled on her issue. 

Richard Bellingham's possession, p. 5, is " also a garden lot, 
bounded on Mr. John Cotton and Daniel Maud north, the high- 
way, east John Coggan south." He died 1672. His only son 
and heir, Samuel, being about to marry Elizabeth Savage, widow, 
made a marriage settlement by deed to John Shelton and Edward 
Hull, 1695, and said Elizabeth appoints to said Samuel Sewall in 
1697 (Suff. 14, f. 439), " a piece or parcel of land, being on the 
side of a hill adjoining to a hill formerly belonging to Mr. Cotton." 
It is described as about half an acre, and is bounded north on said 
Sewall, east on said Sewall, and in part on land belonging to the 
First Church, etc. This I suppose to be one of the most venerable 
marriage settlements on our records. 

Samuel Sewall survived his wife, Hannah, and died 1729, and 
under division deeds (L. 45, f. 183), the premises came to his 
daughter Judith, wife of William Cooper, and after her death were 
conveyed to William Vassal 1758 (L. 91, f. 76). In 1790 
.Patrick Jeffry became owner. He married Madam Haley, widow 
of Alderman Haley of London, and sister of the celebrated patriot 
or demagogue, John Wilkes. A cabinet or secretary, and various 
articles of plate, formerly of Madam Haley, with the Wilkes 

18 Mr. Bowditch died first, April 16, 1761, aged fifty-six. His friend, James Savage, 
the venerable antiquary, though twenty-one years his senior, lived twelve years longer, 
dying March 8, 1783, aged nearly eighty-nine years. W. 


Arms, were purchased at the sale of Mr. Jeffrey's effects by 
Ebenezer Francis, Esq. Her occupation of this estate was in a 
style of splendor of equipage, and of living, etc., utterly at vari- 
ance with the puritanic austerity of its first possessor, or the 
simple dignity of his noble guest, who, having served his country 
with a self-devotion like that of the Regicides, like them died a 
martyr in her cause, by Suffering a traitor's death. 



COTTON HILL. (Continued.) 

August 21, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Rich widows who marry 3 T oung husbands too 
often find their hearts grow heavier and their purses lighter. Such 
was the experience of Madam Haley, who was worth 70,000 
guineas when she became Mrs. Jeffrey. She returned to England 
and died there in her husband's lifetime. He remained in America. 
He was, I believe, a brother of the celebrated Scotch reviewer. 
There is a form of conveyance well-known to the English law, 
called " Lease and Release," where a lease is first made for one year, 
and then the fee simple is released. A very large number of 
valuable estates in Boston and elsewhere, bought with Mrs. Jeffrey's 
money, were thus conve} r ed, and simultaneously the same were re- 
conveyed, so as to vest the titles in him and his wife, and the 
survivor. This is the chief, and indeed, almost the only instance 
that I remember in our records, of this roundabout way of effecting 
what is more simply done by our common deed. Survivorship be- 
tween husband and wife ensures a salutary control over the issue 
of the marriage, and makes it certain that the wife surviving shall 
have her own again. This circumstance satisfied me that Mr. 
Jeffrey was a man of honor. I have known the wife's estates so 
conveyed as to shift the fee directly into the husband, in which 
case the wife would only get dower in her own lands. This 
arrangement never appeared to me to be a striking proof of disin- 
terested affection.* 


August 23, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Your careful correspondent, and my very good friend " Gleaner," 
is mistaken in his opinion that Patrick Jeffrey, the second husband of Madam Haley, 

64 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Patrick Jeffrey, in 1801, conveyed to the town a strip of his land 19 
taken for Somerset street, which was extended to Beacon street 
(Suff., L. 277, f. 297), and then for $36,000 conveyed this estate to 
Jonathan Mason, 1802 (L. 203, f. 32), back to Somerset street. 
The portion west of Somerset street, i'.e., back to Bulnnch's pasture, 
or the church he sold for $12,000 to Asa Ha'mmond, 1804 (L. 210, 
f. 138). Mr. Mason conveyed for $41,000 to Gardiner Greene, in 
1803 (L. 205, f. 252). And now the original splendors of the 
estate seem to return. For nearly thirty years it remained the 
mansion of Mr. Greene, the wealthiest citizen of his day, one 
who held high public and private trusts, and was conspicuous for 
his intelligence, integrity, and good judgment. The house had no 
remarkable architectural pretensions of any kind, but the natural 
beauties of the site, improved by faste and art, made it altogether 
the most splendid private residence in the city. 

Some of the most agreeable reminiscences are associated with 
the elegant festivities of that old mansion. Belonging to one of 
our first families, Mr. Greene connected himself by marriage with 
others equally distinguished. One wife was a sister of the late 

was a brother of Francis Jeffrey, the Scotch reviewer. Francis Jeffrey was the son of 
George Jeffrey and Henrietta, daughter of John Loudoun. Their children were 
Margaret, Mary, Francis, John, and Marion.* John came to Boston, and joined his 
mercantile uncle, Patrick, who became the husband of Madam Haley, f The maiden 
name of Madam Haley was Wilkes. She was the sister of the celebrated John Wilkea, 
of the North Briton. :}: My mother was an intimate friend of this lady, during her 
halcyon days as Madam Haley, and for some time after she became the victimized wife 
of Patrick Jeffrey, who treated her with great brutality, and to escape from whose 
persecution she finally returned, in comparative poverty, to England. There is a 
sequel to the history of this unhappy lady's residence here, which I have heard related 
more than once in our family circle, and which I suppose may be relied upon as 

Mrs. Haley had a daughter, who, against her mother's wishes, became affianced and, 
in disregard of her menaces of repudiation, ultimately married to a physician of 
Boston named Brown. If I do not misremember, be had been a pupil of Dr. John 
Jeffries. He was quite respectable, but obscure and penniless. He had, I believe, ac- 
quired considerable notoriety by a dissertation on yellow fever. After his marriage, 
Madam Haley kept her word, and obstinately refused to have any commerce with the 

* Cockburn's Life of Lord Jeffrey: Vol. 1, pp. 1 and 2. 
t Ibid, p. 50. 
t Ibid, p. 50. 

19 It seems proper to premise here that William Vassall, who was the purchaser of the 
Sewall lot, was a mandamus councillor and refugee. In 1787 (Suff., Lib. 169, f. 270) he 
sold this estate to his nephew, Leonard Vassall Borland, of Boston, for 4,000. This 
sale seems to have been illegal, and in 1790 (Suff., L. 179, f. 241) John Lowell, as 
attorney for William Vassall, sold the property to Patrick Jeffrey. The exact bounds 
will be mentioned later. W. 


John Hubbard ; another (his widow, still living among us) , is a 
sister of Lord Lyndhurst, formerly Lord Chancellor of Great 
Britain. The son of the celebrated artist, Copley, and a Boston 
boy, he gained for himself entrance into the peerage, and attained 
the highest of judicial honors. He is still living 20 the Nestor of 
the House of Lords taking an active part in public affairs. No 
one could have said with more truth than himself, what was said by 
a distinguished predecessor on the woolsack, when repelling what 
he deemed an insult : " As presiding officer of this House, as 
keeper of his Majesty's conscience, as Lord High Chancellor of the 
realm, I feel myself as respectable, aye, and as much respected as the 
proudest peer I now look down upon." Only a year or two since 
Lord Lyndhurst instituted inquiries as to the operation of the 
system of Registry of Deeds in Massachusetts and New York, with 
a view to its introduction into England. His autograph note, ex- 
pressing his satisfaction with the answers which I prepared to his 
questions, I value far more than any professional fee that I ever 

The west line of Cotton's estate coincides with the east line of 

daughter or her husband. They finally settled in London, where he became very 
respectably established in good practice. 

'It must be here stated that the second marriage of his sister was exceedingly 
offensive to John Wilkes, and he was said to have expressed himself with intemperate 
severity, and even with bitterness, in regard to her and Mr. Patrick Jeffrey. 

Unable to bear any longer the harsh and ungrateful usage of a brutal husband, 
whose promises to love and to cherish had less reference to her person than to her 
property, Madam Haley returned to England. On her arrival in London, she instantly 
repaired to the house of her brother, Mr. Wilkes, and sent in word by the servant, that 
his sister, Mrs. Jeffrey, was at the door. After some delay, a chilling message was 
delivered : " Mr. Wilkes had once a sister, in America Mrs. Haley, but he knows nothing 
of Mrs. Jeffrey." After this cruel repulse, she retired to Borne private lodgings in the 

There is an old, homely, distioh 

A son is a son, till he gets him a wife 

A daughter, a daughter all the days of her life. 

The imputation conveyed in the first line, I personally know to be false. With a 
few unnatural exceptions, the averment in the second may be true. Ere long, the 
tidings of the mother's arrival reached the ears of Mrs. Brown and her husband. They 
instantly repaired to the lodgings of this unhappy lady, not to oppress her broken 
spirit and subdued and softened heart, by a formal tender of of their services, but im- 
pulsively to rush into her arms, to ask her forgiveness, to take her forthwith to their 

20 John Singleton Copley, born at Boston, May 21, 1772, was the son of the distin- 
guished artist of the same name. He was Lord Chancellor, 1827-1830. He was twice 
married, but left only daughters at his decease, Oct. 12, 1863. His sister, Mrs. Greene, 
died Feb. 1, 1866, aged 95, leaving numerous descendants. W. 

66 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Bulfinch's pasture, i.e., of the Church estate in Ashburton place. 
Its north line ran 630 feet in a straight course to Tremont row, in- 
cluding the house-lots on the north side of Ashburton place, and 
the whole central portion of Pemberton square, embracing the 
fronts of all the houses on its west side, south of Mr. Francis' 
lands, and corresponding portions of the houses on its east side, 
both north and south of the entrance from Tremont row. Cotton's 
estate (with Bellingham's united 21 in the Sewall family), measured 
east on Tremont row 163 feet, or nearly to the south line of the 
present entrance to the square. It had various jogs outward on 
its southerly line, greatly enlarging its contents, adding perhaps 90 
feet more to its average width, for a depth of over 300 feet. The 
possession of Daniel Maud, measuring 137 feet on Tremont row, 
by about an average depth of 80 feet, was also bought by Mr. 
Greene. Hezekiah Usher sold it to Thomas Scotto, 1645, (L. 2, 
f. 193), " bounded west and north on Mr. John Cotton." It passed 
through Leblond, Erving, Brimmer, Bowdoin, Waldo, Walcott, 
Winthrop, and was conveyed to Mr. Greene for $31,000 in 1824, 
(L. 293, f. 196). This gave Mr. Greene in all a front of 300 feet 

abode, to cheer her declining years, to make up for the time that had been lost, by re- 
doubling their efforts to make her happy! In the home of this devoted daughter 
Madam Haley passed the rest of her days. During her residence here, her town house 
was on " Pemberton's hill," and her country house on Milton hill, the situation 
occupied subsequently by the Hon. Jonathan Russell. SIGMA. - z 

We sent a proof of the above to " Gleaner," who has furnished the following 

" I stated it merely as my belief that Mr. Jeffrey was brother of the Scotch Reviewer, 
and admit that " Sigma" is right in making him out an uncle. I cannot but regret 
that one who, by his conveyances, seemed so considerate as to the right of the old lady 
in case she should survive him, should have so brutally tried to break her heart and kill her 
off in his lifetime; thus, as it were, defeating the manifest intent of the instrument which 
he had executed." GLEANER. 

21 This phrase is a little obscure. In his next article, Bowditch seems to trace all of 
Bellingham's front lots without touching Hull or Sewall. Probably he refers to the 
fact that Sewall bought part of Bellingham's back lot, Oct. 11, 1697 (Lib. 14, f. 439). 
It was, adjoining to the hill formerly belonging to John Cotton, and was bounded north 
by Sewall; east partly by Sewall and partly by land belonging to the First Church, 
now occupied by Mr. John Bay ley ; south by land lately of Humphrey Davie, and west 
by land lately of Capt. John Wing. It was about half an acre. W. 

22 Most Bostonians will remember that " Sigma " was the well-known signature of 
Lucius Manlius Sargent, who wrote many antiquarian notes for the " Transcript," a 
part of which were republished in 1856 under the title of " Dealings with the Dead. 
By a Sexton of the Old School." W. 


on Tremont row. He died in 1832, and his 90,000 feet of land are 
appraised at $142,000, say at $70,000 per acre. 

Pemberton square was laid out in 1835, just twenty years ago. 
Had it been named Cotton place, for the old clergyman, it would 
have been thought that Mr. Jackson so named it because he was a 
distinguished manufacturer. If called Vane place, that name, 
however spelt, seems to be associated with qualities of mind not 
the most respectable. Faneuil place would have become Funnell 
place. It was at first christened Phillips place, its southerly 
portion being held under deed of Jonathan Phillips to Mr. Jackson. 
But as there was a prior " Phillips place " within a few rods, old 
Mr. Pemberton was called in, who once owned on the extreme out- 
skirts of the square, at its north end. Bellingham place would 
have been much more appropriate, or even " St. Botolph's square," 
the old town of Boston, in England, deriving its name from this 
patron saint. A "jingo tree," the only one in this part of the 
country, was successfully removed to the Boston Common, by the 
Beacon-street mall, nearly opposite Mrs. Greene's present residence, 
where its dark glossy foliage must often remind her of the departed 
grandeur and beauty of her old homestead. 




August 22, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We have seen that Gardiner Greene's estate was 
made up of parts of the original possessions of Cotton and Belling- 
ham, and also the little Maud possession. Other portions had been 
sold off by Mr. Bellingham, and one of those became vested in 
Rev. John Davenport, who, dying in 1670, and his son John in 
1676, the ultimate heirs conveyed for 170 to Robert Sanderson, 
Senior, Henry Alline, and Joseph Briclgham, deacons of the 1st 
Church of Christ in Boston, A.D. 1693 (Suf., 16, f. 133), " all 
that certain messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances and 

68 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

land thereto belonging, situate in said Boston, bounded at the east 
end with the street or highway leading from Prison lane (i.e., Court 
street) up to the Common or training field, on the west end with 
land heretofore appertaining to Richard Bellingham, Esquire, de- 
ceased, of which this land hereby granted was once a part ; on the 
south side with the garden and land of the late Humphrey Davy," 
etc., the north boundary being in part on land of the late John 
Hull. 23 

This lot measured 68 feet in front, 62 feet in rear, 156|- feet on 
north line, 137 feet on south line. Its location is just about in 
the centre of the lots on Tremont row (south of the entrance to 
Pemberton square), and it includes the back portion of three estates 
on the east side of Pemberton square. It remained the property of the 
church for nearly a century, being conveyed in 1787 to Sampson Reed 
(L. 160, f. 166.) It became the property of Wm. Phillips in 1805, 
at a cost of $15,000. Upon this lot stood a most ancient looking 
building, with windows of very small panes of glass. 24 I have heard 
it stated, and have reason to believe it true, that when it was 
pulled down a chair was made from some of its timbers for the 
late Hon. Judge Davis, as possessing great antiquarian interest 
under the idea that it was in this house that Sir Harry Vane so- 
journed. It was within one of being the right house, but a miss is 
as good (or as bad) as a mile, in such matter. I trust that it has 
not been presented to and officially accepted by the Historical 
Society as a genuine article. Few who drop in at Mrs. Mayer's to 
take an ice, have any idea how venerable is the source of her land- 
lord's title. And I certainly regret the necessity of depriving so 
pleasant a locality of any of its ancient honors. 

Mr. Bellingham had still retained a lot 140 feet on Tremont 
street, 120 feet in rear, with an average depth of 325 feet quite 
a pretty residuum. This he conve}'ed to our friend Humprey Davy, 
1663, by deed not recorded till after 47 years. (L. 25, f. 166.) 
" A parcel of land being part of an enclosure lying and being in 
Boston between the old burying-place highway east, the land and 
orchard of Joshue Scottow south, the ground or orchard of Davis, 

23. Part by garden of Robt. Howard, deceased, now appertaining to Gabriel Barnon. 


24 Shaw says that Gov. Bellingham's house stood on the spot where Faneuil built. 
But this seems an error, as the north lot of Bellingham (sold to the church) had the 
house on it, and the lot sold Davie is land only. Hence, we may presume that this old 
house was Gov. Bellingham's, and that Davie built his own stone house, which he sold 
to Faneuil. W. 


widow, west, and the land of said Bellingham, being the other part 
of said enclosure, north." 

We met with Mr. Davie among the pastures south of Cambridge 
street, and by the same mortgage to secure a marriage settlement, 
1683 (L. 13, f. 72), and foreclosed, the title to both estates got 
vested in his widow. She conveys to her two sons, 1706-1710 
(Suff., 23, f. 9, 10), having at the last date picked up a third hus- 
band. And here I take occasion to remark, that invariably if a 
woman own a large landed estate, she is sure to keep getting mar- 
ried from time to time, as often as death affords an opportunity, 
thus making great embarrassments in tracing titles. These two 
Davies conveyed it for 800 to Andrew Faneuil, 1710 (L. 25, f. 
168), with "a stone dwelling-house" thereon, who died in 1737, 
devising to Peter Faneuil, of immortal memory. On his death in 
1742, the inventory appraised his "mansion-house, garden, out- 
houses, and yard, at 12,375." So that it was doubtless a fine old 
mansion, worthy of such an owner, and such it continued to be 
during its whole subsequent occupancy by the Phillips family. In 
1 772 it became the property of John Vassall, who being an un- 
fortunate " conspirator," the commonwealth pocketed 2,400 by 
selling to Isaiah Doane, 1783 (L. 141, f. 2). Wm. Phillips bought 
it in 1791 (L. 169, f. 125). 

These two estates, thus united in William Phillips, embrace 
about the southerly two- thirds of Tremont row and all the houses 
which front north on Pemberton square. Wm. Phillips devised 
these estates to his son William, 1804, who died 1827, devising 
them to his son Jonathan ; they, at this latter date, being appraised 
at $90,000. They were sold to Patrick T. Jackson, in 1835, for 
$115,000. He paid for the Greene estate $160,000 ; for the Lloyd 
or Jekyll estate, $42,000 ; for the Bordman estate on Somerset 
street, $20,000 ; for the Bartlett or Lawrence estate on Somerset 
street, 834,205. These different purchases, with the expenses of 
grading, etc., must have exceeded $400,000, a speculation at that 
time of unexampled magnitude. TFe, however, have lived to see a 
single individual (President Quincy) , at the advanced age of more 
than 80 years, undertake with characteristic energy, and carry 
through to a most successful conclusion, a private enterprise, in 
which, however, he engaged solely from the most public-spirited 
motives, which involved at the outset, as the first cost of the land, 
an expenditure of 8561,000, and upon which land he has erected 
various elegant warehouses, thus far surpassing all the associated 

70 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

enterprises of the capitalists who, through the agency of Mr. Jack- 
son, bought and laid out Pemberton square. 25 




August 24, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: Leaving the homestead of Peter Faneuil, on 
which every Bostonian must look with interest, we come next to 
the Pavilion and the Albion, or the estates at the corner of Tre- 
mont row and Beacon street. John Coggan, in 1658, died seized 
of an orchard in Tremont street, measuring 76 feet in front, 69 feet 
8 inches in the rear, bounded north on Richard Bellingham or 
Faneuil 322 feet, and south on James Penn, the ruling elder. [It 
is under this will that Harvard College acquired a tract of Marsh 
in Chelsea, known as Coggan's marsh for 175 years, and finally 
sold, I believe, to Dr. Edward H. Robbins.] In his inventory, 
this orchard is appraised at 30. Coggan's executrix sold to 
Joshua Scotto, 1659 (L. 3, f. 347), and he to Col. Samuel Shrimp- 
ton, 1670 (L. 6, f. 214). Shrimpton owned Noddle's island. He 
and his wife, Elizabeth, convej^ed to John Oxenbridge, 1671 (L. 6, 
f. 275), " all that orchard and garden which I lately bought of Mr. 
Scotto, and which he bought of Mr. Coggan's executrix, with a 
dwelling-house thereon, built by said Scotto, bounded on James 
Penn south, Richard Bellingham north, James Davis west, and the 
street east, containing half an acre (with a gore of land bought of 
Elder Penn by said Scott) ." After a deed and reconveyance, 1672, 
1673 (L. 7, f. 334; L. 8, f. 238), Rev. John Oxenbridge, pastor 
of the First Church, died seized, and by will proved, January 9, 

25 The reference is to Josiah Quincy, the earlier mayor of the name. He was the 
originator of the plan by which the great market was built, and the city became the 
owner of a wharf at the end thereof. When it was decided to sell this wharf, Mr. Quincy 
remonstrated ineffectually. He believed in its prospective value, and most unexpectedly, 
as he said, he became its purchaser at auction, tempted thereto by the low price. He 
offered it back to the city at cost the next day, but the offer was declined. It is believed 
that the profit proved equal to hie expectations. Mayor Quincy died July 1, 1864, aged 
92 years. W. 


1674, devised to his daughter Bathshua, wife of Richard Scott, and 
on certain contingencies to the First Church. 

The inventory values this dwelling-house, orchard, and garden, 
at 550. Another daughter, Theodora, married Peter Thacher. 
Humphrey Davy, as attorney of Scott and wife, conveyed to said 
Peter, 1683 (L. 12, f. 356), and certain children of said Peter re- 
lease to him, 1706-7 (L. 34, f. 218), as bounded east on the back 
street leading from Prison lane to the Common. In 1707 it was 
conveyed to Samuel Myles (L. 24, f. 98), who sold to George 
Cradock, 1728 (L. 42, f. 284), and he to John Jeffries, 1733 (L. 
47, f. 302), who devised the same in tail to Dr. John Jeffries, son 
of David Jeffries, under whom the title came to Samuel Eliot. Dr. 
Jeffries, besides his more substantial professional reputation, ac- 
quired much celebrity by ascending in a balloon. This tract came 
within a very few feet of Somerset street, and embraced the 
Pavilion Hotel and the court and hall adjoining and behind it ; 
also the rear moiety of John L. Gardner's estate on Beacon street, 
and most of the rear moiety of the club-house estate adjoining. 

James Penn, the ruling elder, owned at least as early as 1658 
the corner lot, measuring 70 feet on Tremont street, and bounded 
south on Beacon street. The west boundary was on James Davis. 
Now the fee of Somerset street and land west of it, and also a small 
gore east of it, are conveyed, in 1677, by Mrs. Davis, to her son-in- 
law, John Wing, as bounded east in part on Davie, i.e., the 
Phillips estate, and in part on James Allen. James Penn, by will 
dated in 1671, devised to said Allen " an enlargement of his 
ground to the pear tree," so that Allen must have acquired part of 
Penn's land before that date. Penn devised to his kinsman, Col. 
Penn Townsend, his " dwelling-house and land," extending from 
Tremont street 150 feet on Beacon street, to Allen's land. Town- 
send's executor sells, 1750, to Samuel Sturgis (L. 84, f. 8), and 
after passing through John Erving, Jr., Gilbert Deblois, Nathaniel 
Coffin, and John Amory, the premises came to Samuel Eliot, and 
were for many years his well-known mansion-house estate. It em- 
braced the Albion and the block of brick houses west of it. The 
deed to Sturgis bounds south on the lane leading to the almshouse. 
Rather a humble original designation, by the way, for what is now 
the first street in Boston ! 26 

2 The Almshouse was on the corner of Park street and Beacon street, the latter being 
of course the "lane leading to" it. The Granary occupied nearly the whole side of 
Park street, and the town lot butting on the graveyard reached as far as the Athenaeum 
lot. W. 

72 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Rev. James Allen by his deed of settlement, in 1706, and his 
will in 1710, so often referred to, vests in his son Jeremiah all that 
mansion-house and land wherein I now dwell, bounded south on 
the street leading towards the Common, east on Penn Townsend 
and on Peter Thacher, north on said Thacher, and west on Thomp- 
son. On Jeremiah's death, in 1741, the same was settled by indent- 
ure, in 1747, on his son Jeremiah (L. 77, f. 79), who died in 1755, 
leaving several children. Among them were James (on whom it was 
settled in 1784 as " a stone house and land belonging to it, situate in 

street, 550 Prob. Records, 83, f. 551), and Jeremiah, 

well-known as high sheriff of the county, who bought the same of 
his brother, 1789, 133 feet on Beacon street (Suffolk, 193, f. 142). 
Sheriff Allen died in 1809, and the celebrated law case, "Exparte 
Allen" (as to period of time within which courts will grant license 
to sell real estate of deceased persons), had its origin in this 
locality. This stone house was a very remarkable edifice in its 
day. It embraced the front land of Mr. Gardner's house and of 
the club house. 

The late David Hinkley, in 1810, became purchaser of all this 
Allen land, excluding a gore sold off to Mr. Eliot, and including 
the rear lands which had been bought of Eliot. He tore down the 
stone house, purchased new stone, imported glass, etc. But the 
war coming on, an entire stop was for a time put to his arrange- 
ments for building. Afterjthe war he proceeded to erect the present 
double stone mansion. Having charged on his books $100,000, he 
carried the remaining items of their cost to profit and loss. It was 
conjectured that each house and land cost him not less than $75,000. 
The easterly of these houses was sold in 1820, for $40,000 ; in 
1827, for $30,500, and in 1828, for $29,000, at which price it was 
purchased by Joseph Peabody, Esq., of Salem, as a residence for 
Mrs. Gardner. 

The westerly house was occupied by Mr. Hinkley during life, and 
afterwards was owned and occupied by the late Benjamin W. 
Crowninshield until his death, when it became the club-house, so 
well known to " Young America" for its elegant appointments; 
or, as deserted wives sitting at home might prefer to call them, its 
seductive attractions.'* 1 

Often as I walk along Tremont row, the din of travel is hushed, 

27 Since then, as is well known, this club-house has been sold, and is now the head- 
quarters of a flourishing religious association. The Somerset club, with an enlarged 
list of members, has obtained another and equally famous " stone house," the former 
residence of Hon. David Sears. W. 


the gay and bustling throng disappears ; I am again among the 
days of old, in that quiet " backstreete leading from Prison lane," 
which meets " the lane that leads to the almshouse." On the one 
side of me are those beautiful enclosures of orchard and garden 
the homes of Cotton, Davenport, Oxenbridge, and Penn ; while, on 
the other side (then as now) , I behold the silent burial-place where 
those three faithful pastors were at last laid side by side together. 
There was not then a lovelier spot within the limits of Boston. 
There is not one more hallowed by the memories of those who, in 
their day and generation, were its noblest citizens. 


P. S. In meeting again the Thacher family, I would remark, 
that in a late article 28 I suggested that Mrs. Margaret Thacher, 
buried in King's Chapel burying-ground, in 1693, appeared by a 
deed in 1708, to be a tenant of a lot u one rodd square," on Copps 
hill. My friend George M. Thacher, Esq., disturbed at the idea 
that this lady had such a troubled conscience as not to have lain 
quietly in her grave, at my suggestion examined the deed referred 
to, and finds there, Mary instead of Margaret. This mistake of 
transcribing must have been from the fact that my mind reverted 
to one who was a distinguished person in her day, thus slighting 
another as to whom I was, and am " a know-nothing." Like 
General Jackson, I honestly assumed the responsibility of removing 
the deposits. Events proved him to have been in the right, and me 
to be in the wrong. G. 




August 25, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Tearing myself away reluctantly from the club- 
house, we will walk into James Davis's two-acre pasture, adjoining. 
We find that Johannah Davis, his widow, conveyed to her son, 
John Wing, 1677 (Suff., 10. f. 218), " all that parcel of ground, 
containing two acres, near Century hill, bounded west on John 
Fair weather, north on land late in the tenure of Mr. Cotton, or his 

26 'Ante, p. 30. W. 

74 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

assigns, east on Mr. Humphrie Davie and Mr. James Allen, (i.e., 
the club-house, etc.) This pasture was of a most peculiar triangular 
shape. Its front on Beacon street was only 13 feet. The west 
line was 279 feet, and in the rear it widened to 295 feet. It ex- 
tended back within two or three feet of Ashburton place. This 
north line reached 163 feet east of Somerset street, and yet 
Somerset street, as now laid out, actually cuts off half of what little 
front the pasture originally had, leaving only a width of 5 feet on 
Beacon street, west of Somerset street. 

John Wing mortgaged the same (with other lands) to John 
Richards, who is known as the worshipful John Richards, perhaps 
because he was Treasurer of Harvard College. This mortgage was 
made to him in 1677, as attorney of Major Robert Thompson 
(Suff., 10, f. 219) . Thus we get at once among the " Upper Ten." 
Major Robert Thompson always resided in England. It appears 
that he had a son Joseph, of Hackney, who had a son Joseph, of the 
Inner Temple, London, who was ancestor of William Thompson, 
of Eltsham. These lands, with various others of great value, seem 
to have been entailed by the " major," and to have been so inherited 
for eighty years. In 1758, proceedings were had to bar the entail 
(L. 93, f. 125), and the various estates were then conveyed in fee 
simple. This pasture was purchased by Joseph Sherburne, in 1759 
(Suff., 93, f. 193), who sold off a gore to William Vassall (the 
predecessor of Mr. Greene), in 1768 (L. 118, f. 170). After his 
decease the premises became the property of Jerathmiel Bowers, 
who, dying in Bristol County, transmitted the same to his son John 
Bowers. We have before seen that John Bowers bought all the 
lands north of Mr. Cotton's, and he thus acquired all the land 
south of Mr. Cotton's, and opened Somerset street through his 
estates, both from Howard and from Beacon streets, the street 
being extended by the town across Jeffrey's or Cotton's intervening 

Under this title are derived the two estates on the east side of 
Somerset street, which were 'included in the Pemberton square 
speculation, also a triangular Jgore of the club-house estate, while 
on the west side of the street it includes most of the Church estate, 
and of the houses on Ashburton place north of it, and also a narrow 
portion of the houses south of it. Of the two lots east of Somerset 
street, the southerly one, 120 feet 8 inches wide, is traced through 
Bowers and Dr. Thomas Bartlett, to John Hubbard, in 1817, and 
from him, in 1834, to Abbott Lawrence, who conveyed to Patrick T. 
Jackson. The north lot, 50 feet wide on the street, is traced through 


Bowers, Isaac Rand, Jr., James Lloyd, Jr., Asa Hammond, and 
Eobert Turner, to William H. Bordman, in 1814, who died seized 
in 1826, and whose heirs conveyed to Mr. Jackson in 1835. This 
house is doubtless well-remembered by many besides myself, as 
the scene of the agreeable weekly receptions of our accomplished 
townswoman, Mrs. H. G. Otis. 

Through the southerly of these two lots is laid out the present 
outlet from Pemberton square into Somerset street, the portion 
south of that avenue being purchased by the late Mr. Crowninshield, 
as an addition to his estate on Beacon street. 

Mr. Jackson became also the purchaser of the rear part of the 
lands at the north end of Pemberton square, on which he erected a 
large and elegant dwelling-house, for his own occupation, now be- 
longing to John A. Lowell, Esq. The view from the north win- 
dows of this mansion is, I think, the finest in the city. Mr. Jackson 
after this sale resided in a much smaller house on the east side of 
the square, and at his death owned and occupied that on the west 
side, now belonging to Joseph' Coolidge, Esq. 

Sixty-eight first-class brick dwelling-houses and stores were 
erected on Pemberton square and the streets adjoining, and thus 
the taxable property of the city was greatly increased. We have 
got the " almighty dollar" instead of a natural eminence with its 
terraces or " hangings" (as they are called in the deeds), which, 
like the Boston Common, was a daily gratification to our 
citizens, and on which strangers stopped to gaze with admiration 
and delight. 

Mr. Lawrence was one of Mr. Jackson's associates in this enter- 
prise. And in bidding a final adieu to this locality, I cannot for- 
bear to acknowledge my deep professional indebtedness to the early 
and long-continued patronage of them both. And among the 
dearest treasures of memory will be the consciousness that I have 
always enjoyed the personal friendship alike of him who was 
so suddenly withdrawn from us, in the midst of his usefulness, 
several years since, and of him upon whom the grave has just 
closed amid the regrets of our community and of the nation. 


76 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 


August 27, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: My friend " Sigma" caught me tripping a day 
or two since, in the opinion that Patrick Jeffrey was a brother of 
the Scotch Eeviewer, and he proceeded to narrate so beautiful an 
episode of the filial conduct of a daughter of Mrs. Jeffrey (by her 
first husband, Alderman Haley), that I felt really glad of my mis- 
take. There is a little maxim, however, very much acted upon in 
life, called " Tit for tat," and I must confess that I take no slight 
satisfaction, malicious though it be, in disclosing some important 
inaccuracies in the story which he has told so well. 

Dr. Samuel Brown, who received a prize for an essay on yellow 
fever in 1799 or 1800, did not marry a daughter of Mrs. Patrick 
Jeffrey. He married Nancy Jeffries, the daughter of Dr. John 
Jeffries, by a first marriage. This marriage was opposed indeed, 
not however by Madam Haley or Mrs. Jeffrey, but by the bride's 
step-mother, Mrs. Jeffries. Dr. Brown and his wife did not go to 
England, and of course he did not get into successful practice in 
London. On the contrary, being afflicted with what was called a 
fever sore, his leg was amputated a few years after his marriage, and 
the operation proved fatal in a short time. His beautiful but unfor- 
tunate wife did not long survive him. They left two daughters, 
who were adopted by Mrs. Stone, of Windsor, Vermont, a sister 
of Dr. Brown. In that town these two ladies still reside, the one 
single, the other married. Dr. Brown was one of the earliest con- 
verts to Swedenborgianism in Boston. 

It is possible that Madam Haley had a daughter who married 
some other "Brown," and that they behaved in the exemplary 
manner so touchingly described by "Sigma." His anecdote is too 
good not to be true.* GLEANER. 


August 29, 1855. 

MY DEAR " GLEANER: " This is all very fine. But there is another saying, which 
both of us might well wear, for a phylactery " ranis' horns if I die for it" The tenor 
of your brief notice would lead one to suppose, that /also had a " malicious satisfac- 




Augutt 28, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: Leaving " Major" Thompson's triangular past- 
ure, we come upon an extremely large estate of Robert Turner, 
which must have extended on Beacon street from a point five feet 
west of Somerset street to and behind the State House land, to a 
point 19 feet east of Hancock street. In tracing the Cambridge 
street pastures of Middlecott, etc., we find that they bound south 
on Turner. 

tion," in having " caught " you " tripping." Not at all. You were desirous of being 
historically accurate; and, I supposed you would be pleased to be set right, even in a 
matter of trivial importance ; and, in return for my kindness, you avow that you have 
a " malicious satisfaction " in pointing out the errors of my story! Well, I do believe 
the devil is in everybody. 

Now, dear " Gleaner," it is oruel of you to interfere with me, when I try to be 
pathetic, who never interfere with you, when you labor so very hard to be facetious! 
But you have spoiled my story; and you know, I dare say, how much easier it is to 
mar an interesting tale, than to make one. 

In the outaet, I stated, very courteously, that you were mistaken, in your " opinion," 
that Patrick Jeffrey was the brother of the Scotch reviewer. You admitted your error; 
but, by way of rams' horns, appended the remark, that you only stated as your " belief." 
Subtle this, rather : your " belief," but not your t( opinion ! " 

Now, what have I done ? I have put nothing forth as " Historical." I have recited 
a narrative, which I heard many years ago; which I certainly believed to be true, and 
of which I simply said, I supposed it might be relied on. If you are right in your state- 
ments, and I dare say you are, the combinations of my tale clearly resemble some which 
may be found on the pages of Heathen mythology; and all, I can say is, that, since you 
own that you have enjoyed BO much " malicious satisfaction," in breaking it up, you 
are welcome to the pieces. 

In another article of yours, my dear " Gleaner," you allude to a slight mistake 
which you made between the names of Mary and Margaret. I was reminded, by this 
misnomer, of an inscription which I read, in 1840, upon a marble monument, in Nor- 
folk, Virginia. It was rather an expensive concern, and erected over the grave of the 
wife of Captain Kennedy, of the United States Navy. After stating the name, age, 
relation, time of departure, etc., of the deceased, at the bottom were the words, 
" Erratum, for Margaret, read Martha" I am not quite sure as to both of these names, 
but well remember the erratum, the first I fancy, that ever figured, eo nomine, on a 

Yours truly, SIGMA. 

78 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

William Pell, in 1655, sells to Robert Turner (Suff., L. 2, f. 154) , 
1J acres of land between said Robert's land east, said Robert's 
land and land of Thomas Millard south, Jabez Heaton west, and 
Jeremiah Houchin north. [Houchin owned Middlecott's pasture, 
through the centre of which runs Bowdoin street.] Jabez Heaton, 
in 1655, sells to said Turner (Suffolk, L. 2, f. 153) 1 acres in Centery 
Hill, between the land of said Robert east and south, the land of 
Millard south, the land of Edward Hutchinson, Senior, west, the 
land of Joshua Scottow north, and Jeremiah Houchin north. 
[Scottow owned the pasture east of Hancock street.] John 
Leverett, in 1663, conveys to said Turner (Suffolk, L. 9, f. 308) one 
acre of land in the new field bounded on land late of Nathaniel 
Eaton east, on Thomas Millard south, on Bosworth west, and on 
Scotto north. Nathaniel Eaton married Elizabeth, widow of Wil- 
liam Pell. [Bosworth owned 5 acres, the easterly moiety of which, 
extending from 77 feet west of Belknap street to 19 feet east of 
Hancock street, he sold to Cooke.] 

We thus get four acres into Robert Turner, the deed in 1658 
bounded in part on land already his. The other southerly abutter, 
named in the foregoing deeds, Thomas Millard, is the source of 
title to the State House and land west of it, so that the land already 
Robert Turner's must have been the whole front part of the land 
on Beacon street to the State House. It is therefore, not 
unlikely that Turner may have owned in all as much as eight 

He died in 1664, and his will contains various devises to his 
children. To Joseph he gives a parcel of ground on the Century 
Hill, to be in breadth at the front 3 rods, and lie next to my son 
John's division, and to run through up to Mr. Houchin's (i.e., 
Middlecott pasture). Also to my son Fairweather a house and 
land on Centurie Hill, "formerly delivered into his possession;" 
also a strip of ground about 3 rods in breadth adjoining to Mr. 
Lyne's (i.e., Lynde or Bulfinch's pasture). 

My will is that Ephraim shall have a share at Center Hill next 
to my son Fayerweather, to be 4 rods broad at the (groat?) and 
run through with other divisions. Also to John he gives " a por- 
tion next to Ephraim's 3 rods broad equal to Joseph's." He then 
gives certain legacies to be paid out of the rents or sales of the 
Center Hill and other lands. The inventory mentions "the house 
confirmed to Fairweather and land, 200. The new frame and all 
the land at Century Hill, 200. 

Penelope, executrix of Robert Turner, in 1666, conveyed to said 


Ephraim (Lib. 5, f. 188) f of an acre, bounded south-easterly on the 
highway to the Common (i.e., Beacon street), north-west on Jere- 
miah Houchin (i.e., Middlecott pasture), north-east on said Ephraim, 
south-west on John Turner. She also conveyed to said Ephraim, in 
1667 (Lib. 5, f. 40), another f of an acre, bounded south-easterly on 
the highway to the Training place (i.e., Beacon street,) south-west 
[north-west] on said Houchin, and on Joshua Scottow, [who owned 
the 4-acre pasture west of Middlecott's] , north-east on said 
Ephraim, south-west on Joseph Turner. In this deed are recited 
the devises in the will of her husband, and it is stated that this 
conveyance is an enlargement of Ephraim's portion, and that the 
alterations made by her deeds to the children were such as tended 
to the satisfaction of all the brethren. [Her deeds, numerous and 
complicated as they are, have certainly not proved equally satisfac- 
tory to posterity.] She conveyed to her son Joseph, 1670 (Lib. 6, 
f. 200) , all that division that lyeth next the hill, as now divided ; 
bounded with the Common, south, 5 rods and 6 feet ; on John Tur- 
ner, 31 rods and 5i feet ; on Jere. Houchin' s pasture, north, 4 rods 
and 3 feet, and on said John Turner, east, 29 h rods and 3 feet, 
with a new dwelling-house on it and said Joseph conveyed to said 
John, 1671 (Lib. 7, f. 313), about half an acre, bounded north on 
Houchin, deceased ; south on my land, bordering on Centery hill, 
west, and on said John, east. Said Penelope conveyed to said 
John, 1670 (Lib. 6, f. 206), 2 acres of land at Centre hill, bounded 
on Joseph Turner, east ; on Richard Cook, west [i.e., a line 19 feet 
east of Hancock street], Joshua Scottow, north, and Thomas 
Millard, south, with a parcel of land k a rod broad and 30 rods 
long, bounded east on said John, west on said Joseph, north on 
Scottow, south on the Common, bordering also on the highway going 
up to the top of the hill, on the top of which hill lyeth a parcel of land 
belonging to the town of Boston, i.e., 6 rods square. Ephraim Tur- 
ner conveyed to John Fairweather, 1681 (Lib. 13, f. 450), all my 
parcels of land at Beacon Hill, between the land of said Fairweather 
and my brother John Turner. 

The result is, that John Fairweather by devise and conveyances 
gets some large portions of this estate, the easterly of which 
measured, as we shall find, about 260 feet on Beacon street, by 490 
feet in depth. 

In conclusion, I feel that I owe an apology for the unrelieved 
dulness of this article, and trust that my next may prove more 
lively and interesting. In the meanwhile, as an antidote, buy and 
read " Sydney Smith's Life." GLEANER. 

80 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 


August 30, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In my last article, we leave in John Fayerweather 
(1664-1681), among other lots of hia deceased father-in-law, Rob- 
ert Turner, a tract of 260 feet on Beacon street, located 5 feet west 
of Somerset street. We have seen that immediately east of that 
street David Hinckley erected a costly double stone mansion, both 
parts of which have always been occupied by some of our wealthiest 
citizens. In the easterly one, Benjamin Wiggin, brother of the 
London banker, Timothy Wiggin, resided for several years. His 
wife (Miss Fowle, of Watertown), was the most beautiful woman 
of her day. It was in her honor that Robert Treat Paine, the poet, 
offered the sentiment, "The fair of other towns, the Fowle of 
Watertown." The estates west of Somerset street we shall find to 
have belonged to other citizens of the very highest consideration. 

John Fayerweather convej^ed, in 1703, the westerly part of his 
land to Jonathan Pollard (L. 21, f. 251), " a lot bounded south on 
the highway to the Common 135 feet, west on Gamaliel Rogers 
(who had succeeded John Turner), 490 feet 8 inches, north on 
Middlecott and Lynde 161 feet, east on Sewall (i.e., Cotton Hill 
estate), 119 feet, south on my homestead, 73 feet, east on the same 
to the highway." Pollard, in 1709 (L. 24, f. 258) , sold the same to 
Samuel Lynde (who thus owned through from Cambridge street to 
Beacon street). Lynde, retaining a portion- in the rear as an en- 
largement of his, afterwards Bulfinch's, pasture, conveyed the 
residue to John Barnes in 1721 (L. 35, f. 189). After various 
deeds and reconveyances, Barnes died seized in 1739, and, in 1746, 
his executors conveyed to William James (L. 72, f. 22). In 1756, 
it was conveyed by Hon. John Erving to James Bowdoin. Both 
the grantor and grantee were at the very head of the aristocracy of 
Boston 100 years ago. Bowdoin also acquired of Bulfinch a gore 
of land in the rear. 

John Fayerweather died in 1712, seized of the easterly part of 
his land, 124 feet wide on Beacon street, by about 300 feet deep ; 
appraised at 230. The easterly moiety, 62 feet on Beacon street, 


became vested in William Holberton and wife, 1712-1727, whose 
heirs in 1740 convey to Benjamin Green (L. 62, f. 42). It became 
the property of Joseph Sherburne 1745 (L. 74, f. 143). Sherburne 
owned the two-acre pasture east of it, to which this purchase formed 
an addition, giving him in all 67 feet on Beacon street. The title 
is derived from him through Jerathmeel Bowers and his son John, 
to David Sears, 1803, and, having been for many years his man- 
sion-house estate, is now covered by two elegant and costly brick 
dwelling-houses, erected by his son and heir, Hon. David Sears, 
so well-known as one of our most wealthy and public-spirited 
citizens. 29 

The westerly moiety (62 feet on Beacon street) was conveyed to 
Samuel Sewall, in 1731 (L. 46, f. 7), who failed in 1742, when it 
became the property of Edward Bromfield (L. 65, f. 164), whose 
executors, in 1763, conveyed the same to William Phillips (L. 99, 
f. 210). He died seized, in 1804, devising to his son William, on 
whose death, in 1827, it became the property of a grandson. It is 
under this title that the Freeman Place Chapel and the two houses 
in front of it are held. All these successive owners have been 
among the first families in our city. 

The Bowdoin estate is one of great interest and importance, and 
will be hereafter separately noticed. The houses of Lieut. Gov 
ernor Phillips and of Governor Bowdoin were both placed back 
from the street, being approached by a high flight of stone steps. 
At a dinner party once given by the latter a rain occurred, and the 
weather becoming cold the steps were found to be entirely covered 
with ice. Under any circumstances there would have been almost 
a certainty that life or limb would be put in jeopardy by an attempt 
to walk down; and the guests had probably done justice to the 
generous wines of their host, a circumstance which tended to in- 
crease the difficulty. At last they all concluded to sit down on the 
upper step, and so hitch along from step to step in a perfectly snfe, 
though, it must be confessed, in a somewhat ungraceful manner. 
Probably, indeed, there never was an occasion where so many of 
our first citizens voluntarily took such low seats ; or where the 
dignity of small clothes, silk stockings, and cocked hats was 
sacrificed to necessity or expediency in a more amusing manner. 


29 Hon. David Sears died January 14th, 1871, aged 83 years. 

82 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



August 32, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In this country, when a very complicated affair 
is spoken of, it is said that " it would puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer." 
I am inclined, however, to doubt the justice of the compliment 
if it be one which is here implied. In sound legal attainments 
and exact logical acumen the late Jeremiah Mason has, I think, 
never been surpassed. And when professional chicanery was to be 
resisted, no one could wield more effectually than he, in the cause 
of truth and justice, the most subtle contrivances of the law. We 
learn that in the middle ages Schoolmen debated whether two or 
more spirits could stand on the point of a needle. The affirmative 
of this proposition is abundantly proved every day among us, as a 
practical matter, in legal decisions respecting our estates and 
property. In a recent article I alluded to two adjudications, both 
of them good law ; one, that if a line runs l>y Mr. A's wharf, and 
thence to low-water mark, it must be straight throughout, because 
no change of course is indicated. In the other, a line running by 
Mr. A's wharf and flats to low-water mark was held not to be a 
straight line, although one express course was prescribed through- 
out its whole extent. 

In 5 Pickering's Reports, 528, Hayden vs. Stoughton, it was 
decided, under a will proved in 1806, that a devise to a town for 
the purpose of building a school-house was a devise on condition 
that the estate vested accordingly in the town, and that on a sub- 
sequent breach of condition the estate passed to the residuary 
devisee, and not to the heir, there being an interest in the testator 
not specifically devised, depending on the performance or non- 
performance of the condition. The Court adopt as good law an 
English decision of Chief Justice Willes, confirmed in a subsequent 
case of Doe vs. Scott, and they thus state the rule, viz. : " That 
if the testator has not given away all his interest in the land, so 
that if he were to die immediately, something would remain undis- 
posed of, it is to be presumed that he intended to give the remainder 
in such lands to the residuary devisee." And Judge Putnam says : 


" It is clear that the testator did not dispose of his whole interest 
to the inhabitants. The inhabitants might not choose to perform 
the condition, and so might forfeit their interest. The testator 
might have limited over that interest specialty, i.e., he might have 
made a further specific devise of it to some one else on breach of 
condition. If he had done so, there can be no doubt that it would 
have been a good limitation of his remaining interest. He made 
no limitation over. The inhabitants became seized of the fee- 
simple conditional, and the contingent interest not otherwise disposed 
of was disposed of by the residuary clause." 

In 21 Pick. Rep., 215, Austin vs. Cambridgeport, a testator 
had by deed granted an estate on condition that it should always be 
used for church purposes, and then died, and by will, proved in 
1819, devised one-fourth of all his remaining estate to his widow. 
A breach of condition occurred in 1833. She sued and recovered 
the estate thus devised to her. The court cite with approval this 
earlier case, and remark that the right of the testator was " a con- 
tingent possible estate." They then add : " That such an interest 
is devisable in England, seems well established by the case of Jones 
vs. Roe, 3 T. R., and the cases there cited. Chancellor Kent 
states the rule to be that all contingent possible estates are devis- 
able," etc. And accordingly they say: "It is a contingent 
interest in the testator, not disposed of by any other part of the 
will, and therefore falls within the residuary clause disposing of all 
the estate not before devised." 

But in the Brattle-street parsonage case just decided, Mrs. Lydia 
Hancock, by will proved in 1777, devises her mansion-house estate 
on condition that it should always be occupied as a parsonage. On 
breach of such condition she directs that it shall " revert to her 
estate" and proceeds specially to devise the same over to Governor 
Hancock, and also makes him her general residuary devisee. To 
me this case appears (to use an elegant expression) to run on all 
fours with those above alluded to, yet the Court decide (as elabor- 
ately reported in the newspapers), that such a devise over is too 
remote, and therefore void in law ; that nothing passes to such 
devisee, and that such limitation over being too remote and void, 
carries the condition with ft, and thus the church gets the absolute 
title free of all condition. How these decisions can stand together 
is to me inexplicable, unless they had been put upon the special 
construction of the particular statutes of devises in force at the 
different periods, when the testator died, which seems to be ex- 

84 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

pressly negatived by the approving quotations of the general 
doctrines of the English law and of Chancellor Kent. 

Further, there is a legal maxim, that " surplusage does not 
vitiate ; " and another that the law aims rather to preserve than 
destroy, and acts on the Latin adage " ut majis valeat quam 
pereat." Now, observe how beautiful an application of these rules 
is made in this last decision ! A testator makes a devise which is 
void or a nullity. The rule respecting surplusage would, at least, 
one would suppose, prevent its having any noxious effect. But not 
so. Had the testator not undertaken to make this void devise, his 
heir-at-law would have an unquestionable right to recover the estate 
on breach of condition ; but the mere nugatory attempt to devise it 
away from the heir-at-law is construed not so as to preserve his 
right, but, on the contrary, is held to destroy it. Perhaps even 
the mere making of a residuary devise (unavoidable though it 
seems to be) would be equally fatal. The only rule, indeed, prac- 
tically illustrated by this decision is the Scripture one, "To him 
that hath shall be given." In other words, to the church to whom 
the testatrix meant to give only a qualified interest, the law has given 
the whole. 

It is undoubtedly true that if an absolute fee-simple estate is de- 
vised to one, and on a certain contingency the same estate is de- 
vised to another, such executory devise over must be upon a 
contingency to happen within a limited time (a life or lives in being 
and 21 years, etc., after), otherwise it will be too remote and void. 
On the other hand, a conditional fee-simple may be granted or 

September 3, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: The case of the proprietors of the church on Brattle square vt. 
Moses Grant et aL, which your correspondent, " Gleaner," favored with a notice in your 
paper of last Friday, under the appellation of the " Brattle Street Parsonage Case," 
and the decision which, unfortunately, fails to receive his approval, was argued before 
the Supreme Court in March, 1853. The opinion, " as elaborately reported in the 
newspapers," was printed from the original manuscript of Judge Bigelow, and may, 
therefore, be considered as authentic. The reasoning of "Gleaner" upon the law, as 
stated by him, although plausible, shows to one who understands the case that he 
neither comprehends the principles of the cases on which he comments, nor the de- 
cisions which he condemns; but as the estate is shortly to be sold, and his public de- 
nunciation of the " opinion" may possibly have an injurious effect upon the sale, it is 
proper, perhaps, to make a slight effort towards the reestablishment of the Supreme 
Court in the good estimation of the community, now so seriously shaken by two as- 
saults from " Gleaner." 

The case of the parsonage received during the two years it was under advisement 
the special attention of each judge, as well as their united consideration in frequent 


devised, and whenever (at however remote a period) the condition 
is broken, the heirs at law (or devisees as it would seem) may re- 
cover back the estate as being an interest remaining in the testator 
or ancestor. Such, at least, I think, was the belief of the profes- 
sion, and the doctrine of our courts, prior to the Brattle-street 
parsonage case. In view of -the directly opposite results arrived at 
under circumstances seemingly identical, it must be confessed that 
the laws of the land, upon which our dearest rights of person and 
property depend, are composed of filaments of the most gossamer 
fineness. These remarks are preliminary to some account of the 
Bowdoin estate, which presented a most conspicuous legal battle- 
field about a dozen years ago. 



September 3, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : There has never been in our city a better battle- 
field for legal ingenuity than the Bowdoin estate. I have men- 
tioned that John Erving, in 1756, conveyed to James Bowdoin. 
In order not to facilitate too much the business of conveyancing, I 
will not state where the deed is recorded. Several hours may be 
profitably spent in looking for it, and several hours more will, I 
think, be required for finding the deed to Mr. Erving. The deed 

consultation. There was no disagreement amongst the Court upon the final result. 
Neither the Chief Justice, whose service on the Bench for more than twenty-five years 
has so established his judicial reputation, both at home and abroad, for profound and 
accurate knowledge, that neither the " highest living authority on estates," nor 
any other authority, can shake it, nor that member of the Court whose deep knowledge 
of the principles and doctrines of the common law was well established while " Gleaner" 
was using up his gleanings " to pay family expenses," nor either of the other four 
able lawyers who compose the Court, and who have increased upon the bench the repu- 
tation they brought with them from the bar, dissented from the principles or result of 
that decision. It is therefore submitted to the public that the decision of the Court is 
at least as likely to be correct as that pronounced against it in the article alluded to. 
In many matters connected with estates, the authority of " Gleaner," it may be admit- 
ted, is conclusive. But when a title depends upon the construction of a deed, as in 
Curtis vs. Francis, or upon principles of the common law not the subject of frequent 
investigations, as in the Brattle-street case, there is not much hazard of error in assum- 
ing that the Supreme Court of Massachusetts may be correct in the law which they de- 
clare especially as they carry into the decision of a case no pride of opinion upon a 
preconceived theory. Z. 

86 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

to Bowdoin conveyed a lot 137 feet on Beacon street, bounded 
west on land late of widow Rogers, now of John Spooner, 490 feet, 
&c. It also included the lower lot of Middlecott's pasture, bound- 
ed west on Middlecott or Bowdoin street 78 feet. Dr. Bulfinch 
conveyed to Mr. Bowdoin a gore of land in 1772, for the record of 
which a like long search may be instituted. The main lot was 
bounded on the westerly line about 40 feet east of Bowdoin street. 

Governor Bowdoin died in 1790, devising to his widow for life, 
with remainder to his son, James Bowdoin, who purchased of D. 
D. Rogers (1803-1807, L. 206, f. 261 ; L. 219, f. 226), two strips 
of land, the north one measuring 156 feet, and the southerly one 
110 feet, on Bowdoin street. After which his land bounded south 
on Beacon street 177 feet 6 inches west on Bowdoin street, 110 
feet north on other lots sold off by Rogers, 42 feet west on the 
same, 200 feet, south on the same 40 feet 6 inches, west again on 
Bowdoin street about 257 feet, north in the rear on Samuel Park- 
man's estate at the southerly corner of Allston street, 90 feet 10 
inches, east on Bulfinch's pasture, and on the Phillips estate to 
Beacon street. The north part of this land is the source of title 
to the block of four houses on Bowdoin street. 

The residue, or his mansion-house estate, he devised, in 1811 , to 
his nephew, James Temple Bowdoin, for life, with remainder to his 
issue successively in tail-male. In 1836 conveyances were made 
to bar the entail, and vest the land in said James Temple, for life, 
with remainder to his son of the same name, in fee simple. Now, 
James Temple, Senr., was born in London, in 1766, and subse- 
quently naturalized here, and his son was born in Rome, in 1815. 
I have in my volumes copies of elaborate opinions of Mr. Justice 
Jackson, of Mr. Webster, and of the late Wm. C. Aylwin, as to 
the question of alienage of entail of conditions of residence in 
this country, annexed to the devise in tail, of the effect of the 
deeds for barring the same, etc. James Bowdoin, a son of the 
late Thomas L. Winthrop, died without issue. He was the next 
subsequent devisee in tail before the ultimate devise to Bowdoin 
College. And now came the tug of war between James Temple 
Bowdoin, claiming to have barred the entail, and the College deny- 
ing his title in toto. 

An array of learned counsel were employed on each side. Pos* 
session was the important point, as the premises were vacant, and 
accordingly one morning a wooden edifice appeared, the fany 
growth of the night, tenanted by an adequate supply of hired men 
to guard its precincts. On a subsequent night it vanished as sum- 


marily as it came, to the great amusement of the public, who en- 
joyed the sport as they would have done a street fight between two 
canine opponents, though this one was conducted with entire good- 
humor and urbanity. At last a compromise was made (1843). 
Joint deeds were given, the College receiving three-tenths of the 
proceeds. This estate embraced six houses on Beacon street, five 
on the south and four on the north side of Ashburton place, and 
also the New Jerusalem Church ; and it may be remarked that resi- 
dents in this neighborhood can within the distance of little more 
than one hundred feet have their choice of four kinds of preaching, 
Baptist, Scotch Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Sweden- 

Governor Bowdoin was a man of great ability and firmness, who 
rendered the Commonwealth important service, under very trying 
circumstances. The suppression of Shay's insurrection devolved 
upon him, and of course, in certain quarters, entailed upon him 
much odium. His antagonist, Governor Hancock, was the popu- 
lar idol of the day ; but posterity has, I think, rendered a more 
just and discriminating verdict as to the relative merit of these two 
chief magistrates. On one occasion they both appeared to advan- 
tage. Governor Bowdoin. offered to give his large lot at the corner 
of Tremont Row and Howard street to the Brattle-street Societ}', 
for the erection of a church. Governor Hancock, and with him a 
majority of the society, decided not to accept the gift. He there- 
upon subscribed 200 for rebuilding on the old site, and Governor 
Hancock gave, besides a bell, the sum of 1,000 towards the same 
object. GLEANER. 



September 4, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: Your correspondent " Z." seems to regard me 
as quite presuming, in expressing a doubt of the correctness of 
certain decisions of our Supreme Court. He dwells with much 
emphasis on the indisputable talent and learning of its several 
members, and announces the long period of time which they had 
devoted to the consideration of the case alluded to. Admitting 
that there is a province in which I may legitimately form and 
express an opinion, that might be entitled to some weight, he yet 

88 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

considers that I wholly transcend that province when I undertake to 
judge what land is conveyed by a deed, or what title passes by a 
will. I really conceive that with these two deductions there is 
nothing left for a conveyancer, these being the two fundamental 
matters of inquiry involved in every investigation which he is 
called upon to make. 

I deem it the right, aye, more than that, the duty of every 
loyal member of the profession fairly and candidly to criticise any 
legal decision which he shall think erroneous, from however high 
a tribunal it may emanate ; and although it may happen to be 
founded on a deliberation of two, or even of fifteen, years. I cer- 
tainly yield to no one in respect for the law or its ministers. As 
to the Judge who delivered the opinion specially commented upon 
I will say that I have alwa3 7 s felt for him a sincere personal regard, 
that, although the youngest member of the Court, I think him 
one of the ablest, and that, considering the decision as emanating 
from them all, I do not believe that the views arrived at could 
possibly have been stated with greater legal precision, clearness, 
or accuracy. It was a master-piece of technical reasoning. 

In the case of Curtis vs. Francis x I conscientiously believe that 
no person ever did read, or ever can read, the deed in question with- 
out the most entire and absolute conviction of the actual intent of 
the grantor to sell, and of the grantee to buy, a tract of land in- 


Mr. EDITOR: " Gleaner" informs us that he shall die in the faith that the case o 
Curtis vs. Francis will be overruled one of these days. I will not inflict on your readers 
an argument against this opinion of " Gleaner's." Such a discussion would be quite as 
amusing, and, perhaps, as profitable, as a history of the Cambridge-street pastures. The 
case has not yet been reported ; but if " Gleaner's " own statement of the point decided 
is correct, it is very apparent that he will be the solitary martyr to his faith. Why 
" Gleaner" should travel so far out of his path to attack the decision in the Brattle- 
street Church case was, at first, mysterious. It is no longer so. 

We remember the old story of a traveller down east, who, one day, saw a child sitting 
on the roadside, blubbering over a hay -cart upset in the highway. " Why don't you 
call your father instead of whimpering over your misfortune ? " said the traveller. " I 
would," replied the boy; " but the of it is, that dad is under the load." 

No one doubts the right of " Gleaner," or any other competent person, " fairly and 
candidly to criticise any legal decision which he shall think erroneous;" but sarcasm and 
ridicule are unbecoming weapons to use against such a tribunal as the Supreme Court 
of Massachusetts, especially in criticising a decision where " no labored examination 
of authorities" had been made by the critic, and his knowledge of the case is, by his 
own confession, exceedingly superficial. 

The opinion of the late Mr. Justice Hubbard upon the will of Mrs. Hancock, to which 
" Gleaner"" so complacently refers, I have always been informed was not at all upon the 
point of the validity or invalidity of the devise. It was only that the interest of each 


eluded within parallel straight lines. I believe that such is the 
legal effect of the conveyance, that (as I have said elsewhere) a 
line is one line, and that a line broken off in the middle, and one 
part detached from the other, is as impossible in the true construc- 
tion of a deed as in a proposition of Euclid. I shall die with un- 
altered convictions on this point. I have, therefore, clearly and 
unequivocally expressed them. This decision, I am persuaded, 
ought to be, and eventually will be, overruled. If I know my own 
heart, I should have expressed the like disapproval of it had its 
effect been to put into Mr. Francis's possession an estate of $50,000 
instead of depriving him of it. 

In relation to the Brattle-street parsonage case I had never been 
consulted directly or indirectly. I had merely heard that the 
estate was devised on condition. I had formed no " preconceived 
opinion" on the question involved, except, indeed, such as arose 
from the satisfaction which I felt when I learnt how the case had 
been decided. My entire sympathy and good wishes were with the 
Society. But it seemed to me, on reading the decision, that, like 
the other case, it was founded on erroneous application of a sound 
rule of law. I have made no labored examination of authorities. 
I have merely referred to two prior adjudications, and presented 
certain general views which happened to occur to me as showing 
the nice and shadowy distinctions known to the law of the land. I 
had never conversed with any of the parties or counsel opposed to 
the Society. I am now, however, authorized to state that a written 

heir, whatever it might be, was transferable by assignment. This information may be 
erroneous; but something better than hearsay will be required to prove that " Gleaner " 
is justified in boasting of so illustrious a predecessor. 

It is true that some years since a bill was filed by the deacons of the church, praying 
for leave to sell the parsonage estate, and that the bill was dismissed. " Gleaner's " great 
" respect for the law and its ministers " will be gratified by learning that the dismisgal 
of the bill was not predicated " on a directly opposite construction of the will from that 
to which the same Court have now arrived," nor yet upon a mere matter of form. The 
Court thought they had no authority to order a sale of the estate and a reinvestment of 
the proceeds upon the same condition. 

I do not and never did doubt " Gleaner's " paramount authority upon some matters 
connected with estates. But, as I said before, without denying the value of his opinions, 
there are other points in conveyancing, as to which, in my very humble judgment, 
the authority of the Supreme Court, it is not impossible, may be full as great, if not 
greater than that of their critic. Certain it is that the deliberate opinion of these six 
able judges, who separately and together.for two years carefully considered and thoroughly 
understood this difficult and important cause, cannot be impaired in public estimation 
by sneers and sarcasms, however distinguished the source whence they proceed. In 
the present instance the " vigor of the critic's bow " by no means equals the " venom 
of his shaft." Z. 

90 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

opinion exists, in their possession, drawn up by the late Mr. Justice 
Hubbard, before he became a member of the Bench, which adopts 
the precise construction of this devise, at which I arrived without 
knowing that " I was following in the footsteps of so illustrious a 
predecessor." " Tliat each of us should have adopted the same 
"plausible view" is a coincidence by which, I confess, that I feel 
much grati/ied. 

Still further. Only a few years ago a bill was brought in behalf 
of the same church, for leave to sell this very land. The bill was 
dismissed by a formal decree. The opinion then delivered has 
never been published, and its precise grounds are unknown to me. 
It would seem that it must have been on a directly opposite con- 
struction of the will from that to which the same Court have now 
arrived, unless it turned upon some matter of form, which can 
hardly be supposed, as a Court of Equity will always allow any 
amendment in matters of form which will enable them to do jus- 
tice between the parties. 

I had not, of course, the slightest wish or intention of prejudic- 
ing the sale of the estate. I supposed that the rights of all per- 
sons interested had been finally and irrevocably fixed by a decision 
to which all had been made legally parties, and that the law was, at 
least, well settled as to them and as to this parcel of land, as fully 
as it is in a capital case after the accused has been acquitted or 

Infallibility is the attribute only of the judgment-seat of God. 
Alread} 7 there exists a large volume devoted to the enumeration of 
" cases doubted and overruled." 

We have no Judge Kane in this latitude. Imprisonment in the 
.sacred cause of human freedom, under the odious doctrine of con- 
tempt of Court, an imprisonment perpetuated by judicial etiquette 
has made the jail of Passmore Williamson the most honorable 
abode in Pennsylvania. The ermine of Massachusetts has upon it 
no such spot or blemish. Her judges need no champion cer- 
tainly not one who resorts to personalities. They may, indeed, 
well challenge the just criticism of the world. Far distant be the 
day when they shall feel themselves above listening to the honest 
sentiments of even the humblest citizen ! GLEANER. 




September 6, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In a recent article we have seen that the doctrine 
of contempt of Court, when enforced by an arbitrary and unprin- 
cipled Judge, is as utterly subversive of personal liberty as was the 
Bastile, with its lettres de cachet, in the worst days of the French 
monarchy. But the subject has its comic as well as its serious 

The late Sheriff Henderson and Mr. James Allen, a descendant 
of the Rev. James, were particular friends. On a trial of great 
interest Mr. A. had taken his seat within the bar, and others fol- 
lowed his example, so that the Court ordered it cleared for the 
-convenience of the attorneys. The sheriff spoke to Mr. Allen, 
and then returned to his seat. He, however, presuming on his 
acquaintance with the sheriff, did not move, but began making 
knowing grimaces at him, deprecating his farther interference. 
Instead of treating it as a joke, the sheriff exclaimed to the Court, 
" May it please Your Honor, I am insulted ! " " How? And by 
whom ? " " Mr. Allen is making up mouths at me ! " "Who saw 
him ? " "I," said a bystander. * ' Mr. Clerk, swear him." The 
witness was sworn, and testified accordingly. The Judge said, 
" Mr. Sheriff, commit Mr. Allen for contempt of Court." He was 
accordingly taken off to a lockup, which already contained two 
thieves and vagabonds. They swore that he should not come in 
unless he treated. He was thus mulcted with a supplementary fine, 
after which he enjoyed their agreeable society till the hour came 
for the adjournment of the Court, when he was brought in, placed 
in the malefactor's seat, suitably reprimanded, and discharged. 
He doubtless went home deeply impressed with a sense of the 
majesty of the law, the vindication of which had required a resort 
to these dignified proceedings. He made no more smiling grimaces, 
at least for that day. In becoming a wiser, he became also a 
sadder, man. GLEANER. 

92 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



September 7, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We have already seen that John Fa} T erweather 
held and disposed of a lot 260 feet on Beacon street, and 490 feet 
deep, held under his father-in-law, Robert Turner or about 3 
acres. There was still left of this Turner estate, between the 
Bowdoin estate and the State-House lot, a tract measuring 190 
feet on Beacon street, 490 feet on the east line, 140 feet in the 
rear, and westerly 571 feet on the highway leading to the monument 
and on Beacon hill (i.e., the entrance of Mt. Vernon street) ; 
the contents, according to the estimate of the deeds, being 2f 
acres more. John Fayerweather, not satisfied with his other lot, 
takes a portion of this also. Thus he and his wife convey to 
Benjamin Alford, 1685 (L. 13, f. 329), three-fourths of an acre, 
bounded south on the Common^ west on the highway leading to the 
hill, north and east on John Turner. Alford' s executrix for 350 
conveys to her son John Alford, 1715 (L. 32, f. 94), with a slight 
perversion of the points of compass, bounded east on the training 
field, south on the way leading to Beacon hill, west and north on 
Gamaliel Rogers' s heirs. John Alford makes a trust settlement 
by way of jointure, 1718 (L. 33, f. 95). John Alford, of Charles- 
town, sells to William Molineaux, 1760 (L. 95, f. 233), bounded 
in front on Bacon street 100 feet, then runs north a little east 367 
feet [bounded by a highway leading to Beacon Hill. ED.], then 
east bounded on John Spooner 78 feet, then south to the street 
342 feet [this side also bounded on Spoooner. ED.] a plan 
being recorded. William Molineaux built a mansion-house, quite a 
splendid one for those days, and died 1774. It was appraised at 

The Commonwealth, in 1782, conveyed the same to Daniel 
Dennison Rogers, as the confiscated estate of Charles Ward 
Apthorp. (1782, L. 135, f. 6.) Said Charles Ward Apthorp, as 
administrator of Molineaux, brought an ejectment to try title as 
late as 1780, but unsuccessfully. (Suffolk, 175, f. 67.) 

This land bounded both north and east on the land of John 


Turner. He died in 1681, empowering his executor to sell his 
14 house and land at the upper end of the common or training field, 
and the land at Beacon hill ;" who accordingly sold to George Monk, 
1681 (L. 12, f. 114), a dwelling-house and two acres of land, at 
the upper end of the Common, bounded south-east on the Common, 
and running back to Mr. Middlecott's land, and from the corner 
post of Mr. Fayerweather to Mr. Wharton's land. (Middlecott 
and Wharton owned pastures on Cambridge street.) 

Monk sold to Gamaliel Rogers, 1690, (L. 14, f. 403), bounded 
south-east on the highway between it and the almshouse 90 feet, 
then south-westerly on Ben. Alford 340 feet, south-easterly on same 
76 feet, then on Col. Samuel Shrimpton 204 feet, " by a parcel of 
posts on the side of Beacon hill," in the rear on Mr. Middlecott, 
etc., 140 feet, and then 490 feet on Fayerweather (i.e., the 
Bowdoin estate), Thus we find that as early as 1690 the alms- 
house (in which our distinguished townsman, George Ticknor, now 
lives) had been built on part of the Common. Gamaliel Rogers 
died 1709. His executrix sells to Ebenezer, 1739 (L. 59, f. 139), 
who conveyed to Margaret Hurst 1739 (L. 73, f. 28), 
and the title passing through Joseph Gerrish, Charles Paxton, and 
John Spooner, gets into Thomas Bromfield 1763 (L. 99, f. 237), 
and, being subsequently traced through Barlow Trecothick and 
John Tomlinson, Charles Ward Apthorp, James Ivers, this lot, 
like the other, gets united in Daniel Dennison Rogers. 

He laid out Bowdoin street in continuation of Middlecott street, 
selling off lots fronting 200 feet on the east side of that street, and 
the remaining lands north and south of those lots to James 
Bowdoin, whose large ownership on that street, as we have seen, 
afforded the town the opportunity of robbing Mr. Middlecott, by 
changing the name of his street into Bowdoin street. The land 
west of Bowdoin street was retained by Mr. Rogers. He erected 
upon it the mansion-house which he continued to occupy till his 
death. It is the source of title to all the block east of the State 
House, and also to sundry houses toward Derne street. 

One of the houses east of Bowdoin street, built on land sold by 
Rogers, became the property of the late Thomas J. Eckley. It 
remained vacant for very many months, no tenant being found who 
would pay the rent demanded. An amusing incident happened 
from this circumstance. Certain females, of something more than 
doubtful character, took possession in a quiet manner, without 
paying any rent, and held their nightly orgies unsuspected. At 
last one of their visitors got by accident into the next adjoining 

94 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

house, and so alarmed its quiet and orderly female inmates that 
an explanation ensued, and the domicile which had been honored 
by these temporary occupants became again vacant. 




September- 9, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : If my arrow, after hitting its mark (as I think 
it did), glanced off and hit your correspondent (Z.) I can only 
say that I did not know that he was there, and assure him that he 
need be under no apprehensions from " the venom of the shaft." 

No one laughed more heartily than myself at his amusing alle- 
gory. I think the following, though certainly devoid of the like 
humor, is more in accordance with the facts. " Father" wanted to 
send a valuable load, and, like everybody else, employed Shaw & 
Co.'s Express, who are known to be trusty, intelligent, and experi- 
enced persons. His intention was that it should be taken to the 
end of Drake's wharf, and thence over a bridge built many years ago 
in the same straight line, and communicating with the flag -staff on 
Castle island. The driver thought he saw this bridge ranging in a 
southerly instead of an easterly direction from the end of the 
wharf, and, from this mistake of monuments, drove overboard. 
I happened to be looking on, and, instead of scolding or " blub- 
bering," forthwith tried as hard as I could to rescue the goods. 
But the vehicle upset about forty feet south of the wharf, and, the 
wind and tide being against me, I was obliged to abandon them to 
the sharks in that vicinity. 

Seriously, Z. doubts that Mr. Justice Hubbard ever gave a writ- 
ten opinion as to the Brattle-street parsonage case adverse to the 
last decision of the Court. The columns of a newspaper are not 
the best vehicle for publishing such a document ; but I assert, as a 
person of veracity, that this will was submitted to him for an 
opinion as to what title was in the Society, and what title was in 
John Hancock, and who were entitled under him to claim the es- 
tate, and in what proportions, in case the condition should be 
broken. His opinion occupies three closely written pages. The 
result at which he arrives is, that the title of the church was on a 


valid condition; that the devise over was a " conditional limita- 
tion," and the right under it vested in John Hancock. He pro- 
ceeds to consider the descents, deeds, and devises since his death, 
and examines their legal bearing upon the title and estate thus 
given to Mr. H. The Court have decided that there is no condi- 
tion legally annexed to the ownership of the Society, that John 
Hancock and those claiming under him have not, and never have had, 
any title to this land. Z.'s position then seems to be this, that 
Mr. Hubbard did not mean to say or imply that in his opinion the 
Hancock heirs had any title whatever ; but that this opinion, elabo- 
rate and learned as it is, was devoted to considering in whom and 
where nothing vested ; whether nothing could be lawfully conveyed 
or devised ; whether or not Mrs. Perkins inherited one-third undi- 
vided of nothing, etc. I never met with anything to beat this, 
except, perhaps, a deed of a moiety of a house, where, among the 
privileges granted, was an undivided half of the right of arching 
over a certain passage-way. 

Further, Hon. Simon Greenleaf, in 1842, had this will submitted 
to him for an opinion. His reputation as Professor of Law in 
Harvard College, and as author of some of the best text-books in 
the profession, obtained for him the offer of a seat on the Bench 
of the Supreme Court, which, however, he declined. He too, it 
would seem, saw nothing too remote in this devise to John Han- 
cock, which made it void in law ; since he also has given a 
written opinion as to who will, in his judgment, be entitled to this 
land under this will, as heirs of John Hancock, on breach of the 

Z. has reconciled, to his own satisfaction, the first and the last 
decisions of the Court itself in regard to this estate, their disa- 

September 10, 1865. 

MB. EDITOR: "Gleaner" having solemnly asseverated that the late Mr. Justice 
Hubbard did give a written opinion upon Mrs. Hancock's will, such doubtless was the 
fact. It would be uncourteous to say that " Gleaner" cannot understand a plain propo- 
sition, yet there is only one alternative by which to account for his ludicrous perver- 
sion of what he is pleased to call my " position" in reference to this opinion. His 
manifest misapprehension of a very plain statement, added to the evident fact that he 
neither comprehends the judgment which he praises so highly, nor yet the law of the 
case, are not calculated to create confidence in the accuracy of his statements as to the 
contents of a written opinion. There is this farther reason for doubting his correctness, 
viz., that Judge Hubbard sat at the hearing of Grant et al. vs. Hancock et al., which 
he would hardly have done had he previously given, as counsel, an opinion covering 
every point of controversy arising out of the will. If " Gleaner" would substantiate 

96 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

vowal, in the one case, of any jurisdiction to order a sale and re- 
investment of proceeds, and their exercise of such jurisdiction in 
the other case. I wish he would also try his hand at reconciling 
the two published decisions, to which I shall call his attention in a 
few days. If he can do so I shall indeed cheerfully admit the 
vigor of Ms bow. He is desirous to see the opinion of Mr. Hub- 
bard. I am desirous to see the first opinion of the Court, about 
which he seems so well informed. How happens it not to have 
been published? Is there not a law that all decisions shall be 
published, and within a limited time? Did the Court feel dissatis- 
fied with the decision, and intend subsequently to modify or 
reverse it? GLEANER. 


September 10, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: The following are the twopublished decisions of 
the Supreme Court to which I promised to call Z.'s attention. 

In the case of Tyler vs. Hammond, 11 Pick. Rep., 193, March 
term, 1831, for the recovery of very valuable land in Boston, it 
was decided by the Supreme Court that " where a deed of land de- 
scribes it as bounding on a road, but sets forth metes and bounds 
which plainly exclude the road, no part of the soil and freehold of 
the road passes by the grant." Mr. Justice Wilde, in delivering a 
very learned and satisfactory opinion, accordingly says : "If by 

his boast of such a predecessor, let the opinion speak for itself. I, for one, have no 
confidence in his account of it. 

After all, unless "Gleaner" deems himself justified in exclaiming with Falstaff, 
" The laws of England are at my command. Happy are all they which are my friends 
and woe to my Lord Chief Justice," it is really of no consequence whether Judge 
Hubbard and Mr. Geeenleaf did or did not give the opinions attributed to them. The 
Supreme Court settle the law. They have made a masterly judgment in this case, 
after hearing arguments and bestowing great and unusual deliberations upon the points 
of it. Public confidence on the correctness of their decision is not to be shaken by the 
opposite opinions of counsel, however eminent, even though indorsed by " Gleaner." 
Moreover, as 

None ever felt the halter draw 
With good opinion of the law, 

or its ministers either, this confidence is still less likely to be diminished by the sneers 
or sarcasm of one, or even of a score of unsuccessful litigants, who, under the pretence 
of candid criticism, have the bad taste publicly to exhibit their vexation. Z. 


the terms of the description the road is necessarily excluded, it is 
equivalent to an express declaration that no part of the road is ' 
intended to be conveyed; and it is perfectly clear that the fee in the 
road cannot pass as appurtenant to the land adjoining. 1 ' The law 
on this point was thus settled after the fullest advisement and con- 
sideration of all opposite opinions and dicta, and, I may add, in 
exact conformity with common-sense. 

Twenty years pass away. This decision is acted on without the 
slightest hesitation as sound law, and innumerable conveyances 
are made and construed with reference to it. At last comes the 
case of Newhall vs. Ireson et al., 8 Gushing Rep., 595, November 
term, 1851, when we find the same Court deciding that "a deed de- 
scribing the boundary line of the land conveyed as running northerly 
a certain distance to a hightvay, and from thence upon the highway 
passes the land to the centre of the highway, ALTHOUGH the distance 
specified by actual measurement carries the line only to the southerly 
side of the highway." The case of Tyler vs. Hammond was referred 
to in the argument. Chief Justice Shaw cited the language of the 
deed under consideration as " running northerly 7 poles to the 
county road, and from thence upon the road 22 poles to the first- 
mentioned bound," and then says: "The ordinary construction of 
such a deed to the highway, and from thence upon the highway, would 
carry the land to the middle of the highway. Such is the established 
presumption governing the construction of a deed in the absence of 
controlling words." He makes various other references, but does 
not cite the case of Tyler vs. Hammond. He adverts to the fact 
that the measurement only reached to the southerly side of the 
road, and adds : " But the Court are of opinion that this fact does 
not rebut the strong presumption that boundary on a highivay is ad 
Jilum vice. The road is a monument, the thread (i.e., centre) of 
the road in legal contemplation is that monument or abuttal." And 
accordingly the Court hold that the actual measurements of the 
deed are controlled by the fact that in legal presumption it meant 
to run, and did run, to the centre of the road. 

I apprehend that your correspondent Z., who thinks it hardly 
allowable for third persons to differ from the Court, will be rather 
embarrassed by the evidence thus afforded that, within the short 
period of twenty years, the Court has differed thus totally from itself 
in the enunciation of a general principle of law, constantly acted 
upon in the daily transactions of the community, and this, too, 
without expressly overruling the former case, or even, indeed, al- 

98 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

hiding to it in the most incidental manner, or indicating the least 
consciousness of introducing any new doctrine. 

As the law on this subject stands by the latest decision, a 
grantor selling an estate bounded south on State street will be 
deemed to convey to the centre of the street, a doctrine which, 
I think, will surprise some who are in the habit of congregating in 
that locality. If a grantor lays out a street through his own land, 
and, meaning to retain the fee of it, sells off lots on each side 
bounded north and south on the street, he will discover that he has 
unwittingly parted with the fee of the street also, and may thus be 
most seriously embarrassed ; since if he wishes to use the same 
highway as a means of access to his other lands he may find him- 
self legally a trespasser on the soil where he thought himself a pro- 

And now, Mr. Editor, I gladly leave the barren field of legal 
criticism to visit the sunny slope of Beacon hill. 



September 11, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : As our citizens pass along Bowdoin street they 
may notice a block of three houses at the corner of Bowdoin place, 
the first of which is owned and occupied by one whom we all 
delight to honor, President Quincy. Few probably are aware of 
the interest which attaches to this precise locality. Among the 
lots sold by D. D. Rogers, this estate, 80 feet front and rear, was 
in 1802 conveyed by him to William Thurston (203, f. 86) . There 
have been some subsequent, but very slight, changes of boundary 
between him and Mr. Rogers. This land adjoined the extreme 
summit of Beacon hill. His west line was on the lot 6 rods 
square, in the centre of which stood the beacon or monument 

The exact location of the beacon and of the 99 feet square within 
which it was erected is easily pointed out. If a person should 
walk from Park street northerly into Mt. Vernon street, and con- 
tinue 60 feet northerly of the north line of that street (where it 
takes a westerly direction) he will come to the south line of this 
reserved lot of the town. In other words, the south line of 99 


feet is exactly 60 feet north of Mt. Vernon street. The northerly 
line is exactly 159 feet north of Mt. Vernon street. The westerly 
line comes about a dozen feet inside of the reservoir and of the 
houses south of it ; and the east line coincides with the west line 
of Thurston's and Rogers' land, i.e., with the east line continued 
of that part of Mt. Vernon street which runs north from Beacon 
street. Temple street is now laid out through this monument lot, 
leaving, as above stated, a gore of about 12 feet of it west of 
that street. The monument itself must have stood on the east side 
of Temple street, about 6 feet south of a point opposite to the south- 
east corner of the reservoir. 

Mr. Thurston, in 1804, erected on his estate a house, from 
which he could literally look down upon all his fellow-citizens. It 
stood in about the centre of his land from north to south, while it 
was but two feet distant on the west from the monument lot. It 
was approachable only by steps, and it was even found necessary 
to hoist up all his wood, etc. In the 12th Mass. Rep., 220, is a 
very celebrated law case of Thurston vs. Hancock from which 
it appears that the defendants in 1811 dug down their land on the 
west 60 feet below the original level, and the earth fell in, leaving 
.bare his cellar wall, etc., and rendering his house itself unsafe, so 
that it had to be taken down. His damages were laid at $20,000. 
The decision was, that " no action lay for the owner of the house 
for damage done to the house ; but that he ivas entitled to an action 
for damage arising from the falling of his natural soil into the pit so 
dug." A ver} y learned opinion was given by Judge Parker. It was 
founded on the idea that Mr. T. must have known that his next 
neighbors " had a right to build equally near to the line, or to dig 
down the soil for any other lawful purpose ; " and that, " from the 
shape and nature of the ground, it was impossible to dig there 
without causing excavations." 

This opinion has always been unsatisfactory to many of the pro- 
fession. The town had owned this 99 feet square on the summit 
of the hill, with the 30-feet way to it, for the purpose of sustaining 
a beacon, and as a spot accessible to all citizens and strangers. 
It could not reasonably have been supposed that for any sum of 
money, much less that for a mere mess of pottage, the town could 
have been induced to part with the one object that made it indis- 
putably the queen of all the cities on this continent. This area on 
the summit of the hill having been retained for these high public 
objects, the adjoining individual owners would have held their 
lands subject to the easement that this area and the way to it 

100 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

should forever remain unmolested ; and, but for the suicidal act of 
the town itself in selling the same, I conceive that we never could 
have been deprived of this, the crowning glory and beauty of our 
metropolis. Mr. Thurston was, I think, entitled to damages, and 
vindictive damages too, against parties using their adjoining lands 
for a purpose which neither he nor any one else could reasonably 
have anticipated, a purpose which, though not prompted by any 
special malice against him, ought to have been regarded as indi- 
cating a general malice against the whole community, and therefore 
to have been visited with the most severe punishment. 


XL, VI. 


September 12, 1855. 

" None ever felt the halter draw 
With good opinion of the law." 

MR. EDITOR : Your correspondent (Z.), abandoning argument, 
has closed the discussion between us by the above discourteous 
quotation. I will, however, use it as a text for a few remarks on 
the subject of " Hanging." While John Hancock was Governor 
of the Commonwealth Rachel Whall was hung in Boston for high- 
way robbery. Her offence consisted in twitching from the hand 
of another female a bonnet, worth perhaps 75 cents, and running 
off with it. The most urgent applications for her pardon were un- 
successful. I mention this not to the disparagement of the Gov- 
ernor. He doubtless acted from a sense of duty, thinking it best 
for the community that the laws of the land, however frightfully 
severe, while they were laws, should be executed. A lad of 18 years 
of age was hung in Salem for arson during the administration of 
Governor Strong, similar appeals in his favor being considered and 
overruled. Yet the intelligence and the humanity, alike of the 
Executive and of the Council, notwithstanding the result arrived 
at in both these instances, were unquestionable. 

Within the same period a gentleman of this city saw a girl of 
17 hung in London for stealing a silver cream-pitcher. Edward 
Vaile Brown was hung in Boston for burglary committed in the 
house of Captain Osias Goodwin, in Charter street, and stealing 


therefrom sundry articles. I once owned a set of the Old Bailey 
Trials (1775, 1825), embraced in a series of perhaps 50 quarto 
volumes. The earliest of these volumes contained the details of 
the trial of the unfortunate Dr. Dodd, for forgery, whose touching 
appeal for mercy, here recorded, was fruitlessly enforced by the 
splendid eloquence of Johnson. In a later volume, long after the 
commencement of the present century, eight separate capital con- 
victions are recorded as one day's job of a single tribunal, the cul- 
prits being all boys and girls between the ages of ten and sixteen, 
and their offences pett} r thefts . 

One case I remember of peculiar judicial atrocity. A young 
girl of 17 was indicted for stealing a roll of ribbon worth three 
shillings. The prosecutor's testimon}' was to this effect: "The 
prisoner came into my shop and bought some ribbon. I saw her 
secrete this piece also. I personally knew her, and was on the 
most friendly and sociable terms with her. When she left the shop 
I accompanied her, and offered her my arm, which she accepted. 
We chatted together. As we reached the corner of a street lead- 
ing to the Bow-street office, I turned toward -it. She said she 
was going in another direction, and bade me good morning ; I 
said to her, 'No ! you are going with me ! I saw you steal a piece 
of my ribbon!' She immediately implored me, for God's sake, to 
overlook it, and restored to me the article. I said to her that I 
had lost many things in this way, and was resolved to make her 
an example that I was determined to have her life!" And he 
got it. I can never forget how my blood boiled as I read the testi- 
mony of this cold-hearted wretch. In view of the judgment of a mer- 
ciful God, far rather, it seemed to me, would I have been in the plztce 
of that poor, frail, erring girl, even on the scaffold, than in the 
place of her heartless accuser. 

I rose from the perusal of these volumes horror-struck with the 
continuous record of inconceivable legal cruetty. It seemed to 
me that the 70,000 hangings in the reigns of Henry VIII. were 
matched by an equally long list of persons condemned to be hung 
in the reign of George III. Since this time much has been done 
in England bj' Romilly, Brougham, Mackintosh and Sydney Smith, 
and as much perhaps more by kindred philanthropists on this 
side of the Atlantic. Hanging has, indeed, become a raritj T with 
us ; but within even the last year I have seen a little boy, who, for 
week after week, had been tenant of a cell in our jail, for the atro- 
cious offence of throwing a snow-ball at Abby Folsom ! And 
another, who, coming here from Lowell the day before, was tempted 

102 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

in the morning by an open baker's cart, and snatched from it a 
small roll of bread as an extempore breakfast. Their respective 
fines were $2 each and costs, which the} 7 , of course, could not pay. 
This circumstance gave me an edifying impression of the equality of 
the law, as it bears on rich and poor. I sent these two urchins on 
their way rejoicing ; but others have, doubtless, taken their places 
every week since. 

The world has, indeed, grown wiser and better in some respects ; 
but in the criminal law there is a noble battle-field of humanity 
yet to be fought and won. GLEANER. 

P. S. I am in favor of hanging everybody who places an ob- 
struction on a railroad, as I would shoot a dangerous wild beast. 


September 13, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We have disposed of 5J acres of Robert Turner's 
land. There remains lj acres more, being Beacon Hill itself 
with the monument. This lot now measures south on Mount Ver- 
non street, about 284 feet ; west, b} T a line 19 feet east of Hancock 
street, 287 feet ; northerly, in rear on narrow strips of land sepa- 
rating the premises from Derne street, 244 feet ; and east, on land 
ofD. D. Rogers. 

John Turner was one of the devisees of his father, Robert, and 
had acquired portions b} 7 deeds from the executrix, etc. He, in 
1673, sells to Samuel Shrimpton (8, f. 329) a small slip of land, 
in breadth 23 feet front, bounded on the Common, south, and in 
length 180 feet, bounded on said Samuel, west, and on the way 
leading up from the Training field to Centry Hill, on the east 
side, and running from the east corner in front on a north line 182 
feet. This is a gore of the State-House estate, bounded east on 
the highway to the monument, i. e., Mount Vernon street. John 
Turner died 1681, and his executors, as we have seen, sold two 
acres east of said Mount Vernon street, or the monument highway, 
to George Monk, in 1681. On the same day they sold to said 
Shrimpton (12, f. 353) "all that land upon and by the side of 
Beacon Hill, bounded on said Shrimpton and on Elizabeth Cooke, 
widow, or Humphrey Davie and others, on several points and 


quarters, reserving unto the town of Boston their privilege and 
interest on the top of said hill and passage from the Common 

Col. Samuel Shrirnpton thus acquired all Beacon Hill and a gore 
of the State-House lot, the deed of said gore bounding on the resi- 
due of said State-House lot, etc., already his. Besides these es- 
tates and Noddle's Island, he owned the Union-bank building, and, 
from that circumstance, Exchange street was for many years 
known as Shrimpton's lane. He was decidedly one of the greatest 
men of his day. He died, and by will, proved February 17, 
1697-8, devised to his wife Elizabeth for life, the residue of his 
estate, with power to dispose thereof among her relations by deed 
or will. She married Simeon Stoddard and died 1713, devising to 
her grand-daughter, Elizabeth Shrimpton, various other estates for 
life, remainder to her heirs in tail, etc. Her inventory appraises 
" the pasture joining to Beacon Hill, 150." [Decidedly cheap for 
the State-House lot, and about two acres north of it !] She mar- 
ried John Yeamans in 1720, and died leaving an only child, Sluite 
Shrimpton Yeamans, who, in 1742, becoming of age, barred the 
entail (L. 66, f. 271-272), and vested the fee in his father. The 
deeds, besides mentioning the particular estates devised in tail, 
included "all the lands, etc., in Boston, Rumney marsh or else- 
where, of which Mrs. Yeamans was tenant in tail by force of said 

John Yeamans dying, the estates became again his son's, who, 
in 1752, conveyed to Thomas Hancock (81, f. 168) " a piece of 
land near Beacon Hill, containing two acres, late the estate of my 
great-grandfather, Samuel Shrimpton, bounded south on the Com- 
mon, west on said Thomas Hancock in part, and in part on Com- 
mon land; then turns and is bounded north on Common land, then 
west on Common land, then north on Common land, then east on the 
street or highway leading from the Common to Beacon Hill." Now 
there were about 75,000 feet of land, or nearly two acres, in the 
State-House lot, and the above description evidently proceeds on 
an erroneous idea that the Common lands of the town included nearly 
all Beacon Hill. But we have seen the old deed of 1670 to John 
Turner, by which the town right is limited to six rods square, and 
the highwa}- leading to it. And, from the selectmen's minutes of 
January 17, 1753, we find, that on petition of Thomas Hancock, an 
investigation was had of the town's rights, which were then, also, 
in like manner limited to the six rods square, and the thirty feet 

104 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

The result is that Thomas Hancock thus obtained all Beacon Hill 
one hundred years ago, without paying one cent for it, and he and 
those coming after him retained possession by pasturing cows 
there. These ruminating animals, while quietly chewing the cud 
in that splendid cattle-field (where, by the way, they must have 
been the observed of all observers), also silently eat up the inher- 
itance of poor Shute Shrimpton Yeamans and his heirs. One of 
these very heirs, a high officer of the Commonwealth (General 
William H. Sumner), as he looked at them, year after year, from 
the State-House windows, was probably wholly unconscious that 
the}' were feeding at his expense. The language of the deed to 
Hancock, seeming to recognize the ownership of this hill by the 
town, it became the subject of protracted litigation, in which the 
inhabitants were at last defeated, and while the Hancock heirs and 
the town were quarrelling for what belonged to neither of them, 
the true owners were placidly looking on in a blissful state of 
ignorance. GLEANER. 




September 14, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In our last article we reached the extreme west- 
erly end of Robert Turner's estate, or a point 19 feet east of 
Hancock street. We have seen that Thomas Hancock, in 1752, 
commenced his title to this spot on Beacon Hill, which was per- 
fected by the grazing of cows. The will of Mr. Turner devised, 
as before stated, to his sons, Ephraim, Joseph, and John, and his 
son-in-law, John Fayerweather. Ephraim sold out wholly to Fay- 
erweather ; and we have minuted one deed of Joseph to John Tur- 
ner, bounded south on Joseph's remaining land. This residue also 
seems to have been subsequently acquired by said John Turner. 
Of the whole estate of the testator, the easterly 3 acres are finally 
held under Fayerweather (being the Sears, Phillips, and Bowdoin 
estates) . The middle 2J acres, partly under him and partly under 
John Turner (being the Rogers estate) , while the Beacon Hill lot 
of If acres, and a respectable gore of the State-House lot (say 2 
acres more) , are held exclusively under said John Turner ; so that 


the entire estate of Robert Turner hglds out 7f acres, or, as I sup- 
posed, about 8 acres. 

Sigma and I are both descended from a common ancestor, 1 and 
one, too, who lived long after Adam and Eve (Hon. John Turner, 

September 17, 1865. 

MT DEAR GLEANER : I heard a skilful physician say, a few days ago, that nothing 
would keep you still but being etherized. By the way, you may remember that you 
very kindly presented me with a copy of your volume containing your account of the 
ether controversy. You, doubtless, remember that I praised it highly, and told you 
that I had no just notions of the powerful effects of ether until I read your work, for 
the very first five pages put me asleep. One or two of your late articles in the " Tran- 
script," taken at bedtime, may, possibly, answer as well. How you keep yourself 
awake while writing them is a mystery to us all. 

You say that you and I are descended from a common ancestor, John Turner. I 
know it; I am glad of it; for I have always thought you a very clever fellow, though 
as obstinate as the devil. This old gentleman not the devil, but John Turner 
was, as you say, a man of note in his time. His style was the Hon. Col. John Turner. 
Saltonstall in his history, and Felt in his annals, tell us, that this John Turner com- 
manded in the battle of Haverhill, so called, against the French and Indians, in 1708. 
He was my great-grandfather, born Sept. 12, 1671. I have heard my mother say, that 
her father, son of the Honorable John, for several years preserved some half-a-dozen 
scalps taken in that battle. The father of the Honorable John was John Turner, a 
merchant of Salem, born in 1644, and who died in 1680. This is the John Turner 
BO often mentioned in the records of Salem, as the lessee of Baker's island for 
1,000 years. His house, in which he died, Oct. 9, 1680, was standing in 1835, at the 
corner of Essex and Beckford streets. I am happy to have descended from such an- 
cestors; for they were the ancestors of one of the greatest men of our. country, and 
for whom it has ever been my pleasure to express the most cordial sentiments of affec- 
tionate respect your honored father. 

It is at this point that you break loose from what I have always supposed, upon 
excellent authority, to be the true genealogy of the Turner family, and insist upon 
having a shoemaker your ancestor; and you say that I do not believe in the shoemaker, 
but aspire to something ultra crepidam. No, my dear "Gleaner," I do not believe in 
the shoemaker, but I do believe that, if we have a shoemaker for our ancestor, and 
you and I continue much longer to spin such long, dry, and hard-twisted yarns for the 
"Transcript," the public will be very sorry that we did not stick to the last. 

Upon the matter of ancestry I have ever been of the opinion expressed by Matthew 

Heralds and nobles , by your leave, 

Here lie the bones of Matthew Prior, 
The son of Adam and of Eve; 

Let Bourbon and Nassau go higher. 

The poor boy who replied to the inquiries of the police judge, that he never had 
any father and mother, but was washed ashore, is more likely to find favor with the 
people than one who in our country makes a parade about his ancestors. 

This matter can be of no possible interest to the public ; but, since you have dragged 
it in by the head and shoulders, there is no course left for me but to drag it out by the 
neck and heels. My mother, who died in 1813, at the 'age of seventy, was the daughter 

106 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

of Salem). He was one of His Majesty's Council in Provincial 
times, and altogether the great man of that " rural district." It is 
with much regret that I confess my inability to claim also a descent 
from the owner of this very respectable pasture. In these times, 
perhaps, it is some consolation that he was a vintner. Our ances- 

of John Turner, a merchant, who died in 1786, who was the son of the Hon. John 
Turner, who died in 1742, who was the son of John Turner, who died in 1680, all of 
Salem. I always understood her to say that the baptismal name John had been in 
her family for many generations, and that the ancestors of her grandfather came from Barba- 
does. Felt, in his " Annals of Salem," edition of 1827, thus notices, under the date of 
October 6, 1690, the death of her great-grandfather: " John Turner had deceased lately. 
He was son of John Turner, merchant, who died at Barbadoes, 1668. * * * He also 
left children, John, Elizabeth, &c. He served as selectman. He was a respectable 
merchant. His estate was estimated over 6,788. His death was a public calamity." 
A copy of the church records in Salem, furnished me in 1845 by Henry Wheetland, 
Esquire, exhibits this entry: "John Turner: his wife, Elizabeth, joined the church in 
Salem 19.9 (i.e., September 19) 1637; merchant, born at Barbadoes, where he died, 

Several years ago, my dear Gleaner, you suggested this fancy about the shoemaker. 
I gave you my views, in writing; a copy of my letter is now before me, concluding 

Si quid novisti rectius istis, 
Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum. 

You never replied, and I supposed you were satisfied. And now you have broken 
out again, in the same spot. It must be the pustule maligne. To draw such things to 
a head and have done with 'em, I have heard that nothing was more effective than an 
application of shoemaker's (your ancestor's) war. 

You claim relationship with Mrs. Puzzlem. You are right, no doubt of it. You 
must be a Puzzlem; for, with my best efforts, I cannot find out your meaning in that 
paragraph. Your object, I think, must be to persuade the public that I am the writer 
of the Puzzlem letters, and thus shift the responsibility from your own shoulders. If 
you consider this just, you must have a strange way of construing the golden rule. 
Very dry of late especially your last thirteen articles. 

Very truly, your friend and kinsman, 

GLEANER AND SIGMA. Our well-known contributors are having a little corre- 
spondence together, as will be seen by reference to the first page. The former, having 
seen Sigma's communication, wrote the following: 

" Whether I was right in supposing that I stood in the shoes of Robert Turner, 
' shoemaker,' and in my consequent determination to stick to him like cobblers' wax, 
or whether I may lawfully go to Barbadoes for an ancestor, the public will not 
probably think worth discussion. As to Mrs. Puzzlem, she evidently wishes to be 
incognita, and I certainly do not think it polite to raise a lady's veil without her 
permission. While, on the one hand, I am sure that no face resembling mine would 
be found beneath it, I think that her general gait, air, and manner, notwithstanding her 
veil, prove that you and she were both rocked in the same cradle. I am delighted to 
learn that my ether pamphlet produced in any quarter a soothing effect. It had quite 
an irritating influence in other circles, which led to much denunciation and the copious 
shedding of ink." 


tor I apprehend to have been a " shoemaker ," Robert Turner, who, 
by the way, owned a very pretty real estate on the west side of 
Washington street, a little north of Court street, part of which 
was the Simpkins estate, now belonging to Mrs. Bangs. This 
" shoomaker," by his will, seems to have been on very friendly 
terms with his neighbor, Mr. Joshua Scottow, whom we also meet 
with as the next neighbor of the "vintner." In regard to my 
cousin " Sigma," it is worthy of remark, that, notwithstanding all 
attempts to trip him up, he is sure at last (after oscillating about 
a little) to be found on his feet as firmly as ever. Mrs. Polly P. 
Puzzlem I take to be exactly as near a relative of mine as Sigma 
is. If I am right in my conjectures she owns a great deal of real 
estate, and her present name is a striking confirmation of my re- 
mark that widows, having land, keep getting married ; since she 
has borne this name so recentl} T that I am satisfied her son Paul 
must be the issue of a former marriage. Sigma, by the wa} r , does 
not believe in the "shoomaker." In the matter of ancestry he 
aspires ultra crepidam, or bej'ond the cobbler's last. 

Thomas Hancock was one of our wealthiest citizens, and deserv- 
edly of the highest consideration. In his lifetime he gave the town 
500 for founding a hospital, which was thankfully accepted and 
misapplied. Of this donation I was not aware when I prepared a 
history of the Massachusetts General Hospital ; and the honor 
justly due to him was therefore not bestowed. I gladly make the 
amende honorable now, though in an anonymous and ephemeral 
manner. He died in 1764, and among numerous bequests, evinc- 
ing great public spirit and liberality, he gives to his widow, Lydia, 
10,000 sterling; also, " the mansion house wherein I now dwell, 
with the gardens, yard, and land belonging to it, and all the houses, 
out-houses, edifices, and buildings adjoining, or anyways appertain- 
ing to the same as now improved and occupied by me, and also 
the lands near it I bought of Messrs. Yeamans and Thompson, and 
the house and land I bought of Ebenezer Messenger adjoining to 
my garden. I also give unto her all my plate and household furni- 
ture of every kind, and my chariots, chaises, carriages, and horses ; 
and also all my negroes, all which she is to hold to herself and her 
heirs forever," &c. To Harvard College, 1,000 ; to the Society 
for Propagating the Gospel, 1,000 ; to the town, 600," &c. This 
devise to the widow included all the State House and lands west of 
it to Belknap street, and all Beacon Hill north of it (between 6 and 
7 acres) ; so that she was undoubtedly the richest widow that had 
ever lived in Boston, and, strange to say, she remained single. 

108 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Mrs. Lydia Hancock [born Henchman] died in 1777, devising 
the famous Brattle-street Parsonage estate and making many 
other legacies, and constituting her nephew, Governor John Han- 
cock, sole residuary legatee and executor, who thus became owner 
of this princely inheritance, where he resided personally till his 
death, in 1793. I can easily realize the feelings which induce his 
nephew and namesake still to retain in its original condition his 
stone mansion-house and what is left of this great estate. Amid 
the modern destruction of old landmarks such a conservative act 
is truly refreshing. 

But I am not yet quite ready to make a call at His Excellency's 
mansion, as I have not entirely finished my inspection of the hill 
which at that time rose in such picturesque beauty behind it. 




. September 15, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: We left His Excellency John Hancock in 1793 
dying seized of Beacon Hill. The Hancock title I should charac- 
terize exclusively by words beginning with d. Its descents, 
devisers, deeds, divisions, and dowers, with its doubts, difficulties, 
and defects, make it the very d 1. It is truly the Sebastopol, I 
may, perhaps, say the St. Helena, of conve} r ancers. Questions of 
legal construction, of great delicacy, constantly occurring and 
seemingly never ending, and the most complicated and embarrass- 
ing legal proceedings, mark it out conspicuously above all other 
estates in Boston as the one most to be dreaded by a novice, who 
has just put up his sign, and announced to a confiding public that 
he is ready to examine titles. If he ever hears the last of it he 
will be more fortunate than myself. The late John R. Adan, who 
was an eminently practical man, for 3 r ears before his death adopted 
and acted upon the maxim that he would never examine a title that 
came through anybody named Spear, a rule which, from analogy 
of name and reason, he extended to Spurr. I have seen him 
gravely decline a retainer, alleging this ground of action, though 
the Mr. Spear in question assured him that he was not of the 
family of Governor Hancock, and that his title would be found 
extremely simple. 


The Governor died without issue, leaving a widow, a mother 
(who, by a subsequent marriage, had become Mrs. Perkins), a 
brother Ebenezer, and twelve children of a deceased sister, two of 
whom successively married Samuel Spear. One of these wives of 
Mr. Spear left seven chilren, who each claimed l-252d part. So 
minute was the share of each, that on a partition, in 1819, of the 
Beacon-street lands, each of these children had a strip set off 
measuring less than 18 inches on Beacon street in wid,th by 80 feet 
in depth. Three of them were females, and with dresses of the 
present dimensions they certainly would have found it impracti- 
cable ever to make an entry upon their lands. 

Mt. Vernon street was laid out across the Hancock estate a few 
years after the Governor's death, in continuation of the lower part 
of the street which had been laid out by the Mt. Vernon proprie- 
tors. Temple street stopped a few feet south of Derne street, or 
at the north base of Beacon Hill, which was the boundary of Tay's 
pasture. I do not propose to inflict upon you a detail of all the 
horrors and perplexities of this title. I will only select a speci- 
men. A very elaborate partition was made in 1819 of this Beacon- 
Hill lot ; each of the said Spear children here getting a strip of land 
measuring less than two feet four inches on Mt. Vernon street by 
60 feet deep. 

There was assigned to Thomas Hancock, a non compos son of 
Ebenezer Hancock and one of the devisees of Mrs. Perkins, a 
tract of 17,392 feet, being full half of the present reservoir lot. It 
was bounded west on land of the Commonwealth, north on land of 
Joseph Blake, east on the lot set off to Ebenezer Hancock, his 
father, south on other lots set off to said Ebenezer, to John, who 
was brother and guardian of said Thomas, and on a lot left undi- 
vided for the respondents ^and, strange to say, there was no 
way to get to it. Was the partition void? If valid, there was 
of course a way of necessity somewhere; but over what lot? It 
would obviously nearly ruin the lot subjected to such easement. 
Shall it be over John's lot, whose duty it was to have protected 
his ward's rights ? Or shall the residuary lot be destroyed ? These 
pleasant interrogatories suggested themselves to me when I first 
made a professional acquaintance with this title. Brick houses 
had been erected, and were owned and occupied by Charles G. 
Loring, Charles P. Curtis, and Thomas B. Curtis, Esqs. ; and the 
city had bought and built a brick school-house behind these houses 
on the large lot of Ebenezer Hancock. The erection of the reser- 
voir has ended all difficulty as to any way of necessity, as this 

110 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

back lot became incorporated with the adjoining lands by which 
it was separated from Derne and Hancock streets. Before this 
event Thomas Hancock would have found it as hard work to make 
a legal entry into his large lot, as his young relations would have 
found in getting into their small ones. The above is a " sample 
brick " of this legal edifice. 

Mr. Tay's street was subsequently extended to Mount Vernon 
street. I understand that the name of Temple street was selected 
as one of the names in the family of Governor Bowdoin, whose 
daughter was Elizabeth, Lady Temple, wife of Sir John Temple. 
He, as well as his father-in-law, was distinguished as a statesman 
and patriot. And we have seen that the heir in tail of the Bow- 
doin property was James Temple Bowdoin. So that His Excellency 
was accommodated with two streets, to say nothing of Bowdoin 
square, etc. And here I must be permitted to say a word or two 
more on the nomenclature of streets, upon which I have so often 
and, I fear, tediously dwelt already. Beacon street seems to have 
been so named because it did not lead to the beacon. Mount Ver- 
non street (as it ranged from east to west) was 300 feet nearer to 
it, and thus had a better right to have been so called. But Tem- 
ple street, as extended, actually hit the monument and knocked it 
over, and therefore was not named for it. 

The town conveyed to John Hancock and Samuel Spear, in 1811, 
the six rods square on which the monument stood, and all right in 
the highway leading to it, 30 feet by 60 feet (L. 238, f. 177), say 
11,600 feet, for the miserable pittance of 80 cents per foot ($9,300.) 
The monument was then a substantial structure, with inscriptions 
on its four sides. These are still preserved at the State House. 
My locomotive powers are still somewhat limited, and I shall not, 
therefore, at present visit and copy those inscriptions. I trust that 
they will preserve for the remembrance of a grateful posterit} r the 
names of those who, when they erected it, meant that it should 
stand for ages ; and I regret that I cannot consign to deserved in- 
famy the names of those who so disgracefully turned an official 
penny by selling it. Such persons would sell a family graveyard ! 

An intelligent merchant of this city, who came here in 1787, a 
boy of 11 years old, remembers that this monument was not then 
erected. There was at that time a stone basement, on which rested 
four horizontal timbers crossing each other in the centre. From 
this centre rose as high a mast as could be procured, which was 
further supported by braces. It was surmounted by a tar-barrel, 
which, being set on fire, in case of danger, was to be a beacon to 


the country around. There was an apparatus of ladders for as- 
cending to this tar-barrel ; but, fortunately, it was never found 
necessary to give this warning signal. The hill was of a very pe- 
culiar conical shape, and the boys were accustomed to throw their 
balls up as far as possible towards its summit, which rebounded 
from it as from a wall. My boyhood was passed elsewhere. It is 
one of my especial sources of regret that I never saw Beacon Hill. 




September 17, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : The British metropolis was once unpleasantly 
startled by the rumor that an aged libertine, the Duke of Queens- 
bury, daily recruited his exhausted and diseased frame by milk- 
bathing, and that the milk, after it had been thus used, was dis- 
tributed by the dealers among their customers. In asking you, 
Mr. Editor, to walk with me into the Beacon-Hill reservoir, I trust 
that we shall not cause a like alarm among the consumers of " Co- 
chituate." I fancy, indeed, that the visit will be found entirely 
harmless to them and to ourselves, since the neighbors assure me 
that it is quite a dry place, and that the reservoir is a massive 
granite structure for holding water theoretically. 

We have already walked around most of its area. The main 
body of it is built on the Hancock title. On the north it includes 
narrow parcels of land, derived from Joshua Scottow's four-acre 
pasture, which it would be a useless labor to trace back, step by 
step, to its parentage. On the west side, however, we "meet with 
a strip 19 feet wide, which separated the Hancock estate from 
Hancock street. To this we will now direct our attention. 

In tracing the title of the 16J-acre pasture of Rev. James Allen, 
on the south side of Cambridge street, the south-easterly 2 acres 
are found to have been bought by Mr. Allen of Mr. Davie, being 
the westerly moiety of a 5-acre pasture of Zacheus Bosworth. 
The easterl}* moiety of that 5-acre pasture had been sold by his 
son, Samuel Bosworth, to Richard Cook, 1665 (Sun . L. 4, f. 320). 
These 2 acres are bounded with Humphrey Davie westerly, with 
Thomas Buttolph, Sen., and Joshua Scottow's land north, with land 

112 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

of the widow Turner and of Thomas Miller [Millard] easterly, with 
land of Knight, with the highway and said Miller southerly, being 
the moiety of the land devised to me by my father. 

This tract extended westerly to a line 77 feet west of Belknap 
street, and easterly to a line 19 feet east of Hancock street. On 
the north it reached to the pastures of Scottow and Buttolph (i.e., 
to Myrtle street), and on the south to the estates fronting on the 
Common, and to a " highway," of which particular mention is 
made below. This Mr. Cook was progenitor of one of our first 
families. He died in 1671, and this land became the property of 
his son Elisha, who died in 1715, leaving two children, Elizabeth 
and Elisha, and on a division in 1715 (Probate Records, 19, f. 
287), there was set off to Elisha " the pasture land adjoining Bea- 
con Hill ; bounded east on Joseph Thompson ; south on Jeremiah 
Allen, west on Belknap, north on Shrimpton." [Shrimpton owned 
Beacon Hill, Thompson owned on the Common, Belknap had suc- 
ceeded Buttolph, etc.] Elisha Cook, in 1731, sold off to John 
Daniels (45, f. 236) a strip of land bounded north on Williams 
19 feet, south on my land 19 feet, east on Yeamans 361 feet 2, 
west by the highivay 361 feet 2. One Jacob Williams then owned 
the extreme lot of the Scottow pasture. So that Cook extended 
Hancock street through his pasture. It was at first called Turner 
street, and then George street. 

W. H. Montague, Esq., of this city, a few days since, showed 
me a plan of the town taken in 1769, under the official patronage 
of Governor Burnett, which I believe to be unique and of great 
value.- Its margin is filled up with details of much historical inter- 
est. On this plan is laid out George street, which begins and runs 
south from Cambridge street, and then makes a westerly jog in the 
general direction of Mount Vernon street, and then runs into Bea- 
con street by the present Belknap street, the north part of the pres- 
ent Belfcnap street not being connected with this southerly part, 
so as to make one street as at present. In other words the north 
end of Hancock street and the south end of Belknap street, connected 
by a jog (in the neighborhood of Mount Vernon street) , then con- 
stituted one continuous highway from Cambridge to Beacon street, 
and the only one then existing. 

To my great delight there appeared on this plan an orchard, 
obviously the same one as on Bonner's plan of 1722. But, owing 
to its location in reference to George street, and the size of the 
plan, it became possible to fix its position very definitely. Tow- 
ards its south-easterly extremity was a house, and it is, I think, 


clear, that this house and orchard were the estate of our friend 
Humphrey Davy, on the south-east end of Rev. James Allen's pas- 
ture, the title to 1 4-5ths acres of which was finally derived to the 
Mount Vernon proprietors, under deeds of Enoch Brown's heirs. 
This accounts for the name of Davis's lane, which by Bonner's plan 
ran diagonally through what is now the State House lot, and passed 
westerly along the south end of this Cooke's pasture, terminating 
at the Davy estate, or 77 feet west of Belknap street. If, there- 
fore (of which there seems to be no doubt) , this was the orchard 
planted by Mr. Blackstone, it was not retained by him in the 6- 
acre reservation (which he made when he sold his 50 acres, etc., 
to the inhabitants), as the 6-acre lot was wholly west and south- 
west of this locality, since this orchard must have been by Pinkney 
and Mt. Vernon streets, beginning west of Belknap street. 

My pleasure at looking round in Mr. Blackstone's orchard was 
somewhat damped by finding on and near this 19-feet strip, 
another nest of ropewalks. I really feel, indeed, that I owe an 
apology for introducing to 3*our notice, at this late day, other 
edifices of this description, so inexcusably overlooked in my pre- 
vious gleanings. In my next article I shall show that one of them 
has attained to a position of higher honor, and been owned by 
proprietors of greater distinction than any other ropewalk to which 
I have heretofore called your attention. 



September 18, 1855, 

MR. EDITOR : In our last article we left in John Daniels, 1731, 
a tract of land (part of Cook's pasture) measuring 361 feet 2 on 
the east side of Hancock street, and 19 feet deep. The northerly 
portion of this land was sold off, and became the property of 
" Box and Austin ; " the southerly part was sold to Ebenezer Mes- 
senger, 1734, bounded east on Yeamans, south on the children of 
Eben and Rebecca Messenger (Lib. 48, f. 213). In 1743, Daniels 
conveyed to John Henderson 312 feet by 19 feet (Lib. 68, f. 32), 
who died in 1747 ; and on a division, in 1762, there were set off to 
Nathaniel Green and Annabell, his wife, in her right, "the rope- 

114 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

walks near Beacon Hill, now improved by H. Inches ; also the 
house and land, now occupied by Mr. Gain, near the rope-walks." 
(Probate Records, Lib. 60, f. 194) . Green and wife convey to Gov- 
ernor Hancock in 1765 (Lib. 105, f. 222) 120 feet by 19 feet. Green 
died. His widow, of course, married again. Her second hus- 
band, Richard Boynton, died in 1795 ; and she, while a widow, 
sold to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in 1798 (Lib. 194, f. 
74), the residue bounded westerly on Turner street, 192 feet, 
east on land lying between the premises and Beacon Hill 192 feet, 
north on the late John Box, and south on land of which Governor 
John Hancock died seized. 

Elisha Cook, besides extending Hancock street through his 
pasture, also extended Belknap street from the south line of his 
pasture, but not through it northerly, so as to connect it wholly 
with that portion of Belknap street which communicated with 
Cambridge street. To this was given the elegant name of Clap- 
board street. Cook sold off to John Daniels a rope-walk, measur- 
ing on west side of Hancock street 25 feet, and extending back 
261 feet, to land of Wheelwright (who had succeeded Davy 
1736, L. 52, f. 152). Cook died seized of two other rope-walks, 
together measuring 44 feet on Hancock street, and extending back 
westerly about 270 feet. They bounded north on Myrtle street, 
and on the division of his estate, accepted in 1763, they were 
set off to Mary, wife of Richard Saltonstall (Probate Records Lib. 
62, f. 261) . These three rope-walks west of Hancock street formed 
a barrier separating Clapboard street from the northerly part of 
Belknap street. At a later day the street was continued through 
them. Such extension had not taken place when the plan of 1769 
was made. All the lots west of Clapboard street became the 
property of Mason, Otis, &c., the Mount Vernon proprietors, 
except one small lot of 25 feet front and rear, the property of 
Middleton and Glapion. Pinckney street is opened through a 
portion of these lots ; and the present lines of Mt. Vernon street 
(formerly called in succession Olive street and Sumner street) 
cut off some of the southerly part of Cook's pasture. The title of 
many of these lots of Cook's pasture gets into Thomas Hancock. 
Thus Ebenezer Messenger conveyed to him, 1775 (Lib. 87, f. 76), a 
lot measuring 75 feet on the east side of Hancock street or Turner 
street, etc., partly held under Cook. Elisha Cook was a man of 
great wealth and high standing. He owned all the south side of 
State street from Kilby street to low-water mark, probably of itself 
now worth all of a million of dollars ; also the large estates on 


School street, on both sides of Chapman place, which was long 
known as Cook's court. 

This rope-walk, east of Hancock street, was bought by the Com- 
monwealth, not, however, with any view of going into that 
business. It was used as the residence of the Messenger of the 
State House, there being a narrow dwelling-house erected on it, 
with a yard in front tying along the street. Here for many years 
lived Jacob Kuhn, the honest, vigilant, and courteous guardian of 
the neighboring official edifice. It was he who, when a young lad, 
was passing along the Granary burying-ground, shortly after Mr. 
Adino Paddock had caused a row of young trees to be set out on 
the sidewalk. He took hold of one of these slender saplings, and 
thoughtlessly began to shake it (a feat, by the way, which would 
now be of difficult performance). In a moment Mr. Paddock 
darted out from his house opposite, and served him as he had 
served the tree. Mr. Kuhn was the agent for collecting the bills 
of the old Aqueduct Corporation. He presented, on one occasion, 
a bill to the late Dr. Bowditch, which he paid accordingly. The 
next day Mr. Kuhn called and said, " In paying the bill yester- 
day, you made a slight mistake." Dr. B. said, " How can you 
tell what I gave you?" u I alwa} r s tear off the blank paper at 
the edge of the account, write on it the name of the party, and 
pin to that paper the particular bills in which it is paid. I did so 
with your bill, and am sure that you made a mistake." Dr. B. 
said, "I am satisfied, and will cheerfully correct the error." 
" But," said Mr. Kuhn, "the mistake is in your favor. You 
gave me a 850 bill instead of a $5." Dr. B. then said, "It is 
delightful to me to meet with a man who is so exact and methodi- 
cal in his business habits, and who at the same time is so per- 
fectly upright. You must keep the $45, and purchase some dress, 
etc., for your wife, telling her, from me, that she ought to feel 
proud of her husband." 

The rope-walk now constitutes the westerly lateral support of 
the Beacon-Hill reservoir, an edifice which cost half a million of 
dollars. A high destiny, and worthy of its dignified ownership. 
No other rope-walk can ever hope to compete with this. Though 
the last, it is not the least in our list of the rope- walks of Boston. 

Our graceful, conical hill, with the monument that surmounted 
it for its protection and embellishment, has long since ceased to 
exist. It is fitly replaced by the Beacon-Hill reservoir. The 
Roman aqueducts are among the grandest vestiges of ancient 
civilization. This structure will, to coming generations, be as 

116 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

noble a memorial of the genius, science, and enterprise of the 
present age. We have, indeed, lost a majestic pinnacle reared b} T 
the God of Nature ; but there has arisen in its stead a glorious 
creation of human wisdom and beneficence. GLEANER. 

P.S. On applying to James W. Baldwin, Esq., respecting the 
details of the reservoir building, a very elegant plan was cour- 
teously prepared for my use, by Mr. Richards, which, while it 
impresses me forcibl}' with the ingenuity of the arrangements, I 
find it impossible accurately and adequately to describe. The 
lateral walls are double, the outside one being over 3 feet thick, 
and the inner one being of varying width from 5 to 3 feet. The 
vacant space between them is over 7 feet in width from the base to 
about the height of the arches on Derne street. These two walls 
are united together at the top, and also at the bottom. The 
width of the Derne-street arches is over 20 feet in the clear. The 
depth of the foundation, and the height of the building, and the 
thickness of the immediate basin of the reservoir above the 
arches, I am unable to state. 



September 21, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In our Beacon-Hill researches we have already 
found the deed of John Turner to Col. Samuel Shrimpton in 1673 
(L. 8, f. 329), embracing the east gore of the State-House lot, 
bounded " on the way leading up from the Training field to Gentry 
Hill on the east side," and "on land of said Samuel, westerly." 
We have also seen that the executrix of Robert Turner sold, in 
1670, the Beacon-Hill lot behind the State House, bounded south 
on Thomas Millard. He was an original possessor of land in this 
vicinity, having half an acre bounded with the Common south, 
Richard Truesdale west, Thomas Scottow east; and he bought 
in 1681 of Zacheus Bosworth one acre, bounded with Edward 
Huchinson north, the Common south, Thomas Millard east, and 
said Zacheus west (Possessions, f. 76). In a deed of 1661 (L. 
10, f. 212) a lot west of the State-House land is conveyed as 
bounded both east and west on Thomas Millard. 

Millard died in 1669. His inventory is " a small parcel of land 


lying on the side of the Century Hill and fronting the Common, 
20." This small parcel was the whole of the State-House lot ex- 
cept the gore which had been bought of Turner. " John Lake and 
Thomas Blighe, administrators of Thomas Millard, gave posses- 
sion by turf and twig" of the premises, and also " of the land by 
Century Hill " to Samuel Shrimpton, attorney of Alice Swift, 
sister, &c. of said Millard, Oct. 18, 1672 (L. 8, f. 308). On 
Feb. 23, 1673-4, the administrators acknowledged that possession 
was so delivered because the estate had been recovered out of 
their hands. "The adjoining westerly lot is convej-ed 1679 (L. 
11, f. 212), as bounded east on land late of Millard, since in the 
'tenure of Shrimpton ." 

Now I really hope that Col. Shrimpton dealt fairly with Miss 
Alice Swift, and did not keep to his own use that which he 
received possession of u by turf and twig," merely as her attorney. 
I am, however, unable to furnish any record evidence of his integ- 
rity in this matter. He must stand upon his general reputation, 
which was that of a man of honor. It is at any rate now too late 
for the good lady to oust the Commonwealth. Nor do I think 
that Mr. Davy, whose lane used to run diagonally from the south- 
east to the north-west corner of this lot, can now disturb the 
territory by any ancient right of way to his pasture. 

In a former article we have referred to the deaths of Mr. Shrimp- 
ton, 1698, and of his widow, Mrs. Stoddard, in 1713. We have 
seen that his grand-daughter, Elizabeth Shrimpton, married John 
Yeamans, 1720, and died, leaving a son, Shute Shrimpton Yea- 
mans, who, in 1742, joined with his father in leaving an entail 
created by Mrs. Stoddard, and supposed to include this lot; and 
we have also referred to his final deed (after his father's death) to 
Thomas Hancock, 1752 (L. 81, f. 168). This deed was for the 
consideration of 220, lawful money of Great Britain. So that 
the State-House lot, and all north of it nearly to Derne street 
(excepting the town's lot, on the top of the hill), is held under a 
deed of a century ago, at the cost of eleven hundred dollars. It 
would now be worth eleven hundred thousand dollars. A thousand- 
fold rise of value, even in a century, is very fair for such an old 
place as Boston. 

We have also seen the death of Thomas Hancock, in 1763, 
devising to his wife Lydia, and her devise in 1777 to Governor 
John Hancock, who died seized in 1793. Among the items in his 
inventory is " the pasture adjoining the garden and Beacon Hill, 
between the mansion house and D. D. Rogers, 3,000." In 1795 

118 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

this pasture was conveyed to the inhabitants of Boston. Thus 
Mary Perkins (the mother of the Governor) conveyed her right 
for 84, 444.44 (L. 180, f. 116); Ebenezer Hancock, his brother, 
made a deed precisely similar, for the same consideration (L. 180, 
f. 117) ; and the widow released her right of dower (Ib., f. 118), 
etc. It is needless to enumerate any other conveyances. So that 
60 years ago the whole State-House lot was valued at $13,333.33, 
or thirteen thousand dollars. It is described as " Governor Han- 
cock's pasture, beginning at south-east corner of his garden, and 
running easterly on Beacon street 243 feet 3 inches to the corner 
of a street or passage-way leading up to Bacon hill, thence run- 
ning north on said passage-way towards said hill 249 feet more or ' 
less, then running on a westerly course on another passage-way 
leading round said Beacon Hill 235 feet 3 inches, to the north-east 
corner of the garden, then running on a line with the garden about 
371 feet to the first bounds." These two passage-ways are the 
present Mount Vernon street, which runs north, and then bends at 
a right angle westerly. 

The conveyance from the town of Boston to the Commonwealth 
is dated May 2, 1795 (L. 182, f. 144). It is in consideration of 
Jive shillings, etc., and is declared to be made "in fee-simple 
forever for the purpose of erecting buildings and finishing thereon 
a State House for the accommodation of all the legislative and 
executive branches of government, and such other public build- 
ings or offices, with their appurtenances, as may be necessary and 
convenient, and may be required for the suitable accommodation 
of the several departments of government." In the face of the 
manifest intention of this deed it is somewhat amusing to re- 
member the grave deliberations that have been held year after 
year about moving the seat of government somewhere else, and at 
the same time pocketing the proceeds of this estate, as the absolute 
property of the Commonwealth. 





September 25, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: Next west of the State House, on " Governor 
Hancock's pasture," came His Excellency's mansion house and gar- 
den, being the large area between Beacon street, Belknap (or Joy) 
street, Mt. Vernon street, and State-House lot. The original pos- 
sessor seems to have been Zacheus Bosworth, who, as we have seen, 
sold off in 1651 to Thomas Millard one acre (part of the State-House 
lot) , bounded with the Common south, said Millard east, and said 
Zacheus west (Possessions, p. 76). By his will, dated 23, 5th 
month, 1655, proved August 30th, Bosworth devises to his 
daughter Elizabeth 2 acres of land with a mare, or else the barn 
with a piece of land to it, to be laid out by my overseers." (Probate 
Records, 1, f. 112.) 

John Mors and Elizabeth, his wife, conveyed to Richard Knight 
and his brother-in-law, John Wing, June 7th, 1661 (L. 10, f. 
212), two acres of land in the Century field, formerly devised by 
Zacheu,Bosworth to his daughter, the said Elizabeth, bounded on 
the Common south, on Thomas Millard east and west, on Samuel 
Bosworth north (Samuel Bosworth owned and sold Cook's 2- 
acre pasture north of this land), reserving a ten-feet way for 
Samuel Bosworth from the Common. Thus the Beacon-street end 
of Belknap street was at first a mere matter of private accommo- 
dation for Mr. Samuel Bosworth to cart hay off from his pasture. 

John Wing mortgaged his moiety to the worshipful John 
Richards, for the use of u the Major," Robert Thompson of Lon- 
don, in 1677 (L. 10, f. 219), and Knight mortgaged his moiety to 
the same worshipful grantee, in his own right, in 1679 (L. 11, f. 
212), this deed bounding east on land late of Millard, since in the 
tenure of Samuell Shrimpton. Peaceable possession was given in 
1684, so that the title became absolute. The worshipful John 
died in 1694 ; one item of his will is, "I give to Mr. John Alford, 
son of Benjamin Alford, all that piece or parcel of land lying near 
Beacon Hill, which I bought of Richard Knight, now in the* 
occupation of said Benjamin, I having formerly given it to his said 
son John, but he hath no deed of it." 

120 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

At the Inferior Court of Common Pleas, October Term, 1717> 
partition was had by John Alford of his moiety against Joseph 
Thompson, of London, as owning the other moiety, and the east- 
erly half of the land was set off to Alford. In 1732 he sells off a 
small lot to Ebenezer Messenger, 20 feet by 58 feet (Lib. 49, f. 248) 
in which is subsequently conveyed to Mr. Hancock. He conveyed 
1735 to Thomas Hancock (Lib. 51, f. 117) " a lot near Beacon Hill 
bounded south-east on the Common 135 feet 4 inches, south-west 
on John Thompson, of London, 341 feet, north-west on the high- 
way 155 feet, and north-east on Col. Samuel Shrimpton (i.e., the 
State-House lot) 263 feet." For this lot of an acre on Beacon 
street, on which stands the stone mansion, Mr. Hancock paid 
1,000 in good bills of the Provinces. 

The\Thompson moiety tumbled about from heir to heir, under 
the English entail created by the major, to which I have referred 
in the case of his two-acre pasture by Somerset street. William 
Thompson, of Eltsham, England, the ultimate heir in tail, barred 
the entail in 1758 (L. 93, f. 124, 125), and, by Andrew Oliver, 
his attorney, conveyed to said Thomas Hancock, in 1759 (L. 93, 
f. 158), "all that tract of land set off to Joseph Thompson on 
partition with John Alford, in 1717, October Term of the Court 
of Common Pleas, measuring 135 feet southerly on the Common, 
and northerly in the rear 93 feet on Elisha Cook, west on land of 
Samuel Sewall, or a lane between it and the premises, and east on 
the lot set off to Alford." So that Mr. Samuel Bosworth's 10-feet 
alley had reached the dignity of being, perhaps, a lane. It had 
not yet attained its full-grown glories as Joy street. And for this 
acre Mr. Hancock paid 150 sterling more. 

At these trifling prices Mr. Hancock acquired all the land 
west of the State House to Joy street. He devised, as we have 
seen, in 1763, to his widow Lydia, who died in 1777, devising to 
her husband's nephew, Governor Hancock, who died seized in 
1793 of this great estate thus cheaply acquired. GLEANER. 




September 25, 1855. 

I am much gratified to have been in any way the cause of the 
interesting communication of T. B. 1 I was not aware that the 
monument on Beacon Hill was planned by the late Charles Bui- 
finch. He has, however, left a far more imposing specimen of 
his taste as an architect. The State House was planned by him, 
though I have always been informed that the wings were originally 


September 24, 1865. 

SIR: As you have ingenuously confessed in one of your articles that you never 
saw Beacon Hill, you will permit one who saw it often, and had, as a child, a familiar 
acquaintance with its dandelions and buttercups, to tell you something about it. It 
was, at my earliest recollection, in its full glory, surmounted by a graceful column, 
on whose top perched a gilded eagle, and on whose base were those inscriptions which 
I am still young enough to go to the State House to copy, as I mean to do, for this 
article, before I have done. But let us go back to the time when the hill was as 
described by your ancient friend ; when there was, in place of the column, a stone 
basement, on which rested four horizontal timbers, crossing each other in the centre. 
From this centre rose a mast, holding on its top a tar barrel, which in case of danger was 
to be set on fire, to be a beacon to the country round. This preparation was adapted 
to a time of war, but it was happily never needed; when the war ended, the beacon 
was but a remnant of things that had been. Thus it remained till about four years 
after the war, when a young gentleman returned from Europe who had been passing a 
year in England, France, and Italy, led thither not by motives of business, but what 
was then unusual, by a love of art, particularly that art which, in a young community 
is the most practically useful Architecture. This young gentleman, Charles Bulfinoh, 
was the son of that Bulfinch whose name, as the owner of the pasture, has found a 
place in some of your communications. On his return home he immediately begun 
to put in exercise those tastes for architectural improvement which he had carried 
with him abroad, and nourished by all that he saw. The first idea that occurred to 
him was to remove the unsightly timbers of the old beacon from their conspicuous 
site, and replace them with a handsome column, resembling at an humble distance 
those he had seen in London, Paris, and Home. How the funds were obtained I do 
not know, but presume the method that has been so often used since was employed, and 
a subscription paper passed round; and am equally well satisfied that in that case, as in 
later ones, the prime mover in the scheme had to take all the trouble and make up 
all deficiencies himself. 

The monument, designed by Mr. Bulfinch, and built under his superintendence, 
bore on its pedestal tablets of slate, with inscriptions written by him. On two sides 

122 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

designed to have been of greater length than the present, as com- 
pared with the centre and the dome. Whatever may be its 
architectural defects, however, it is a great ornament to our city, 
and produces a very striking and agreeable effect when first seen 
from a distance. The recent addition on its north side has made 
the edifice bulge out in that direction in a manner which the 
neighbors doubtless consider unsightly, however convenient it 
may be for the occupants, and however well it may, on the whole, 
accord with the rest of the structure. (The stone embankment 
wall on the east side of the State House has been the most costly 

the principal civil and military events of the Revolution, with their dates, were in- 
scribed. On the third and fourth sides one read as follows: 

that train of events 

which led 
to the American Revolution, 

and finally secured 

Liberty and Independence 

to the United States, 

this column is erected 

by the voluntary contributions 

of the citizens 

of Boston, 



While from this eminence, 
scenes of luxuriant fertility, 

of flourishing commerce, 

and the abodes of social happiness, 

meet your view, 

forget not those 

who by their exertions 

have secured to you 

these blessings. 

The column stood till about the year 1808, when at last the suit between the 
Hancock heirs and the town was decided in favor of the former, and it became certain 
that the hill must be dug down, with the exception of a limited space in the centre. 
It seemed useless for the town to retain this square pile of earth (for such it would 
have been), bounded with perpendicular sides, and therefore it was sold to share the 
fate of the rest. This is, according to my recollections, the reason why the town 
parted with what, if it could have been preserved entire, would have been, as you 
Bay, a unique and unrivalled ornament. But the times were hard, embargo 
and commercial restrictions had crushed the trade and damped the spirits of the 
community. The liberal and public-spirited individual through whose agency the 
monument had been erected had fallen a victim to the derangements of the times, 
and, in the enterprise of Franklin pi ce, had made shipwreck of his fortunes. No 


item in our State expenditures. It was undermined by the frost, 
and had to be replaced in the most substantial manner. The 
estimates of this wall were, I believe, about $6,000. His Ex- 
cellency, in his message, incidentally suggested that the cost had 
someivhat exceeded the estimate. It was, I believe, over $20,000.) 
I regret very much to see that there is any intermeddling with the 
foundations of the main building. Nothing indeed, now, even of 
the most fundamental character, is held sacred. I sincerely hope 
that the State House will not share the fate of the monument. 


other stood ready to redeem the hill from its fate by buying up the Hancock claim, 
and the hill fell, and the monument disappeared, leaving only the tableti, which still 
meet the visitor's eye as he prepares to ascend to the lantern on the top of the State 
House, a spot from which a view similar to that which used to be commanded 
from the top of Beacon Hill may still be seen, with its " scenes of luxuriant 
fertility," etc. 

At my earliest recollection the appearance of the hill was this: a grassy hemi- 
sphere, so steep that one could, with difficulty, mount its sides, descending with a 
perfectly regular curve to the streets on the south, west, and north. On the east it 
had been encroached upon, and the contour was broken. Just opposite the end of 
Coolidge avenue, on Derne street, there was a flight of wooden steps, ten or fifteen in 
number, leading part way up the hill. After that one had to climb the rest of the 
way by aid of the foot-holes that had been worn in the surface, along a wide path 
worn bare by the feet, to the top, where there was also a space of some fifty feet 
square, worn bare of sod. In the midst of this space stood the monument. De- 
scending by the south side, one followed a similar rough gravel path to another 
flight of plank steps, leading down the level of Mt. Vernon street, and terminating at 
about the position of the front of No. 13 Mount Vernon street, the first house of those 
facing south. 

The sport of batting the ball up the hill and meeting it again on its descent was 
played by some ; but it was not so easy a game as one would at first suppose, on account 
of the difficulty of maintaining one's footing on the hillside, which was so steep as 
to require some skill even to stand erect on it. The appearance of the hill in winter 
I do not recollect; but I think it must have beer^ generally bare of snow, from its 
elevated position, and I do not recollect having ever seen sleds used on it. But you 
can ask C. P. 0., or T. B. C., or G. H. K., or Dr. R., or Marshall F., and they can 
correct or confirm my impressions on this point. T. B. 

[THE MONUMENT ON BEACON HILL. The account of the Beacon Hill monument, on 
the first page, will be read with much interest. A portrait of Mr. Charles Bulfinoh, 
the gentleman alluded to, taken while he was in Europe, at the age of twenty-six, is 
now on exhibition at the Athenaeum . Note in the Transcript.'] 

124 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



September 28, 1855. 

Mr. EDITOR : As long as America shall continue to hold a 
place among the nations of the earth the memory of John Hancock 
will endure. Few men during life have been more highly lauded, 
or more bitterty assailed. To an entire disregard, and even a 
culpable neglect, of exactness in money matters, he united great 
liberality, both public and private. While Harvard College was 
dunning him in vain for a settlement of accounts as its late treas- 
urer, he appropriated several hundred pounds sterling to purchase 
an elegant carpet and other articles in London, which he generously 
presented to that Seminary. And I suppose there is no doubt 
that eventually he repaid to it, at least, as much as the amount of 
his indebtedness. So remiss was he in regard to his own affairs 
that some very valuable real estate was actually taken from him 
under levy on execution. But his official signature nobly repre- 
sented Massachusetts on the most important document in the his- 
tory of our country. 

James Bowdoin was originally chosen a delegate to the first 
Continental Congress. It was a glorious post of duty and respon- 
sibility, one which the whole previous and subsequent tenor of 
his life alike shows that he would not have shunned or evaded. 
The avowed reason for declining was doubtless the true one, the 
infirm state of his wife's health. [See address at Bowdoin College, 
1849, by Robert C. Winthrop, a great-grandson of Governor Bow- 
doin.] Upon how slight a circumstance sometimes depends the 
gain or the loss of the highest prizes of life? Mr. Hancock was 
chosen as his substitute, and achieved for himself that immortality 
which might otherwise have been his rival's. 

When the French fleet visited Boston a grand entertainment 
was given to its officers at the Governor's mansion. It was a 
breakfast, or, as it would now be called, a matine*e. Believing that 
all good citizens would be glad to contribute, the Governor issued 
a summary order that all the cows on Boston Common should be 
milked to furnish supplies for the occasion. I am not aware that 
any action of trespass was ever brought against His Excellency for 
this truly arbitrary confiscation of private property. 


These festivities on shore were reciprocated upon the water by 
our gallant allies. As the wife of His Excellency was seated at the 
table, on which was spread an elegant collation, on board the vessel 
of the French commander, he requested her (without any reason as- 
signed) to ring a small bell which he handed her, or to do some 
other slight act which he designated. She did so. This was the 
preconcerted signal for a general salute from all the guns of the 
fleet. She was startled alike out of her official dignity and per- 
sonal propriety by the deafening peal of artillery that immediately 

Governor Hancock thought that, as the Chief Magistrate of 
Massachusetts, it was not for him to take the first step, even when 
" The Father of our Country " visited us. He felt that his dignity, 
or, more properly, the dignity of the sovereign State which he 
represented, would be compromised by his making the first call, 
even on Washington. His Excellency, however, speedily dis- 
covered his mistake, and certainly took, or was supposed by the 
public to have taken, an ingenious mode of correcting it. Swath- 
ing his limbs in flannels, the victim of a sudden attack of the 
gout, he caused himself to be carried to visit the President, who, 
whatever may have been his private convictions, could not hesitate 
to -accept and excuse the tardy civilities of such a suffering invalid. 
Thus, singularly enough, it was by den} T ing himself the use of his 
natural legs that His Excellency got upon his legs again in this 
matter of etiquette. Washington and his suite were detained 
several hours upon the Neck, and, the day being very chilly and 
disagreeable, many people became ill with what was called 
the " Washington Cold." The President's dinner also grew cold 
(at S. S. Pierce's grocery store, at the corner of Tremont and 
Court streets) ; but a supplementary fish, of great excellence, being 
obtained at the last moment, was served up in the most approved 
and satisfactorj* manner. The non-arrival of a fish once caused 
the despair and suicide of a French cook ; the arrival of this fish 
saved an American landlord, under even more desperate circum- 
stances, when he was doubtless making divers sentimental ejacula- 
tions, though he would not, probably, at last have resorted to 
such a tragical proof of loyalty. 

It is, however, due to His Excellency to state that he was really 
a frequent martyr to the gout. My informant, 80 years old, 
remembers that on one occasion he opened the session of the 
Legislature by a speech delivered with great dignity and effect, 
although from a seat which was almost a couch, his limbs being on 

126 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

this occasion wrapped in flannels, from the bona-Jide necessities of 
the case. And it may be that such was the real cause of his 
dilatory call on Washington, the popular opinion to the contrary 

When President Jackson visited Boston I was a young man, 
and had just discovered the delights of horsemanship. I had 
never been made to embrace mother earth by either of the various 
processes of stumbling, rearing, halting, or sh} r ing. These 
saddening experiences came later in life. Seized, therefore, with 
a fit of equestrian patriotism, I determined to join the cavalcade 
which was to escort the city's guest from the Neck. I was mount- 
ed on a fine spirited horse, and we were duly formed in a line, 
in front of which the procession was to pass. Just as the Presi- 
dent was approaching us, the noise of the music and the shouts 
excited and alarmed my steed, and, after sundry demonstrations, 
which I, at least, regarded as very serious, he finally became quiet, 
with his tail exactly where his head should have been, and vice 
versa. In the earlier part of these performances I had great 
difficulty in preserving my own centre of gravity, and the specta- 
tors, to a man, lost their gravity at its conclusion. I was aware 
that by thus turning my back upon him I was treating the head of 
the nation with apparent discourtesy. But on reflection I became 
satisfied that my presidential visit had not proved more embarrass- 
ing and awkward to myself, or the source of more amusement and 
ridicule to lookers-on, than did Governor Hancock's visit to Wash- 
ington ; and that, with the best intentions, each of us was merely 
the unhappy victim of a little want of tact, and that I had one 
great advantage over His Excellency, viz., nobody knew who I 

Dorothy, the widow of Governor Hancock, survived him nearly 
40 years, or till 1830. She married again, and is better known 
to us as Madame Scott. The whole of this mansion-house estate (ex- 
cept a triangular gore between Mount Vernon place and street) 
was assigned to her as her dower, as was also Hancock's wharf. 
Evicted from this latter very valuable estate as lately as 1817, 
under foreclosure of a mortgage made jn 1774, for only 1,650 13s. 
5d., she attempted to obtain a new assignment of dower; but the 
Court refused it, because she had given her express assent to the 
original assignment (13 Mass. Rep., 162, Scott vs. Hancock). 
This is one of a series of perhaps a dozen lawsuits in our Reports 
relative to lands of Governor Hancock. 

I trust that for many a spring yet to come that old stone man- 


sion will continue to stand, and the lilac-bushes to blossom in the 
green enclosure on which it fronts. Long life to its now aged 
proprietor, whose laudable pride of ancestiy has hitherto preserved, 
for the gratification alike of the community and of himself, this 
interesting domestic memorial of the First Signer of the Declaration 
of Independence! 




October I, 1855. 

Mr. EDITOR : The estate of Governor Hancock on Beacon 
street and hill (say 3J acres) would now, undoubtedly, be worth 
a million and a half of dollars. It would not be interesting to the 
public, or professionally expedient, for me to enlarge on the non 
compos proceedings, sales by guardians of minors, and by admin- 
istrators, executory devises, and sundry other like matters, which 
form the legal history of this spot. 

In 1815 Beacon street was widened by cutting off from this 
estate a strip, which was 17 feet wide at the State-House land, and 
20 feet wide at a point 92 feet 6 from Beiknap street. A plan is 
recorded in L. 250, f., 76. 

Mt. Vernon place and the 20-feet way behind it have been laid 
out through this land ; and Mt. Vernon avenue, or Hancock avenue 
(or Cato alley, as it has been jocosely called, from its affording a 
convenient access across the Common to and from the northerly 
end of Beiknap street) , was laid out by mutual agreement between 
the Commonwealth and these proprietors. There is no other range 
of houses in Boston, that I know of, whose entire value depends on 
light, air, and prospect enjoyed merely by sufferance, t.e., over 
the land of the Commonwealth. Should that land ever be covered 
by buildings these residences would become houses on a ten-feet 
alley, and the name above suggested would then be signally appro- 
priate, as they would probably be occupied by the present denizens 
of the lower part of Beiknap street. 

There now stand upon these Hancock lands many of the most 
desirable residences in the city. Thus, west of the Hancock man- 
sion, on Beacon street, are the four elegant dwellings of Samuel 

128 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

A. Eliot, of Mrs. Gardner Greene, of Mrs. George Parkman, and 
of J. Bowdoin Bradlee. In the rear of these, on the south side of 
Mount Vernon place, are seven others, the corner one of which, on 
Belknap street, was owned and occupied by the late Hon. Theo- 
dore I/rman, the munificent founder of the first reform school in 
the Commonwealth. On the north side of said place, and fronting 
on Belknap and Mount Vernon streets, are six more houses, the 
first owned and occupied by George "W. Lyman, Esq., who is, or 
was, also proprietor of several of the others. There are seven 
houses on the avenue or " alley." Back of -the State House, on 
the north side of Mount Vernon street, is an elegant block of seven 
costly residences, extending from Hancock to Temple street, all 
which, except a strip of the westerly house, come under this title. 
On the same street (easterly of Temple street) are two houses of 
smaller size and cost ; and on the east side of Temple street 
another block of eight houses of the same character. These two 
last ranges of houses cover, as we have seen, the site of the monu- 
ment, and the chief part of the six rods square around it, there 
being only a small portion of it on the west side of Temple street. 

The result is, that on the Hancock estate, besides the State 
House and most of the Reservoir, there have been laid out four or 
five streets or ways, on which stand, in all, say forty brick dwell- 
ing-houses. The grounds belonging to the old stone mansion 
house, will eventually I trust, however, at a distant day 
afford space enough for three more as elegant residences as can be 
built in the city. A magnificent estate truly, and yet acquired b}^ 
the ancestor of the Hancock family within about a century (1735, 
1752, 1759), at a cost of 1,000 province currency, 150 sterling, 
and 220 lawful money of Great Britain ; and if " Inquirer " is right, 
as he probably is, in estimating the 1,000 at only $333, the 
total cost would have been only slightly above two thousand 

In view, alike of the two public edifices which have been erected 
on it, and of the distinguished public services of its former pro- 
prietor, it never has been and never can be surpassed in interest 
by any private estate within the limits of Boston. It is, indeed, a 
coincidence no less striking than agreeable, that on one and the 
same homestead should stand, as it were side by side together, 
the edifice of our State sovereignty, and the mansion of him whose 
signature was first affixed to our national charter. 





October 4, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Who ever heard of " Sewall's Elm -Pasture," or 
of Coventry street, Sewall street, and Bishop Stoke street? Some 
of your readers, who are in a state of ignorance on these points, 
may, perhaps, be glad to be enlightened. 

West of Bosworth's passage-way to his pastures, afterwards 
Belknap or Joy street, came a 5-acre pasture, derived under Rich- 
ard Truesdale and Thomas Millard. In Book of Possessions (f. 
62) Richard Truesdale's possession is three-fourths of an acre, 
bounded on the Common south, Nathaniel Eaton north, Bosworth 
west, and Thomas Millard east. 

Thomas Millard's possession was half an acre, bounded with the 
Common south, Richard Truesdale west, Thomas Scottow east 
and north. Zacheus Bosworth's possession (f. 73) was two acres 
in the new field, bounded with the Common south, Richard Trues- 
dale east, Jane Parker west, Wm. Wilson and John Ruggles north ; 
also 1 acres bounded with Thomas Millard south, James Johnson 
north, Edward Dennis east, and Richard Sherman west. Bos- 
worth, as we have seen, conveyed to said Millard one acre, 
bounded with Edward Hutchinson north, the Common south, 
Thomas Millard east, and said Zacheus west, October 10, 1651, 
being part of the State-House lot, and transmitted to his 
daughter the whole two acres of the Hancock land west of the 
State House. For practical purposes, notwithstanding the 
deficiency of contents as stated in the Book of Possessions, the 
title is safe under the two following deeds to the whole land there- 
by conveyed : 

Richard Truesdale and Mary his wife to Thomas Deane deed 
May 14, 1667 (Lib. 5, f. 234). Three acres more or less, bounded 
on the Common south, on Thomas Millard north and east, on 
Francis East west, on Thomas Brattle and Humphrey Davy north- 

Thomas Miller conveyed to said Deane, May, 1668 (Lib. 5, f. 
249) , 3 acres bounded on the Common south-west, on Richard Cook, 
Humphrey Davy, and Thomas Brattle north-west, on the highway 

130 CITY DOCUMENT No 105. 

leading to Richard Cook's north-east [i.e., Joy street], and on 
said Deane south-westerly. 

These two purchases would seem to be 6 acres, but Thomas 
Deane and Ann, his wife, sell the same to James Whetcombe, Feb. 
11, 1672 (Lib. 8, f. 62) as five acres, more or less, bought partly 
of Truesdale and partly of Miller, bounded south-westerly on the 
Common, on Cook, Deane, and Brattle north-west, on Francis 
East west, on the highway from Cook's to the Common north-east- 

Whetcomb conveyed it to Wm. Hawkins as early as 1678, and 
Win. Hawkins and Anna, his wife, conveyed to Ephraim Savage, 
1690 (L. 15, f. 46), as ''formerly purchased by said Hawkins of 
James Whetcomb." Ephraim Savage and Elizabeth, his wife, con- 
veyed to Samuel Sewall, April 2, 1692 (L. 15, f. 183), as five 
acres, more or less, bounded south on the Common 28 rods 9 feet, 
west on Francis East 27 rods, north on Cook, Davie and Brattle 
33 rods, and east on the lane leading to Mr. Cook's 22^ rods. 

Hon. Samuel Sewall was husband of Hannah, daughter of Hull, 
the mintmaster. She died, and he mortgaged to Joseph Wads- 
worth, town treasurer, the west part of this pasture, in 1721 (L. 
35, f. 201), to secure an annuity of 5, pa}^able every 2d of April, 
for the use of the school in Pond street, of which Charles Angier 
is now master, not far from where John Sanford kept school, to 
which Hannah, the wife of his youth, and mother of his children, 
used to go, and whom she used to mention with pleasure. Lest 
the residents on Beacon street should feel alarmed as to this rent 
charge of 5,1 will mention that it was released by the town to his 
heirs. He married Mary, widow of Robert Gibbs, 1721 (Suffolk, 
Lib. 36, f. 59), and died seized of this pasture in 1729. 

This pasture may be set down as an investment of some of Mr. 
Hull's " shillings," though not made by himself personally. Con- 
sidering the number of them which Judge Sewall received with 
his wife, and which made him one of our wealthiest citizens, the 
donation above mentioned was not, in itself, a munificent endow- 
ment of our public schools, nor, viewed as a parting tribute of 
affection to the memory of the wife of his youth, when, in his old 
age, he was just taking another helpmate, can it be considered as 
involving any very lavish expenditure. 





October 8, 1854. 

MR. EDITOR: Judge Samuel Sewall died, as we have seen, in 
1729. By the law, as it stood till l the eldest son took a double 
share. He left three children : Samuel, the eldest son ; Joseph ; 
Judith, the wife of William Cooper ; and the four children of a 
deceased daughter, Elizabeth, wife of Grove Hurst, viz. : Mary, 
wife of William Pepperell, Jr. ; Elizabeth, wife of Charles Chauncy ; 
Hannah, wife of Nathaniel Balston ; and Jane, wife of Addington 
Davenport. These heirs selected referees to divide this pasture into 
lots, and they then drew for a choice, and executed mutual releases 
(1 732) . There was laid out a 35-feet street parallel to Beacon street, 
and 170 feet north of it, which street extended westerly from Bel- 
knap street 464 feet. There were also opened two streets run- 
ning northerly from Beacon street, 25 feet by 170 feet deep. The 
first of these was 160 feet west of Belknap street, and was called 
Bishop Stoke street; the other was 160 feet further west, and was 
called Coventry street. 

All these streets I consider to have been virtually, perhaps actu- 
ally, only streets on paper. They had no outlet into other lands, 
but merely served as access to the several lots into which this pas- 
ture was divided. They have had no existence, in fact, for cer- 
tainly the last 60 years. Part of Bishop Stoke street, indeed, 
now comes within the lines of Walnut street. 

" Sewell's elm pasture," which began as six acres and shrunk 
up to five acres, proved on survey, in 1732, to hold out only 4J 
acres. It measured 440 feet on the Common or Beacon street, and 
thence extended back, the easterly line diverging, and on the 
north forming a very irregular line on Allen's 16^-acre pasture 
(afterwards Wheelright's, and finally bought by the Mt. Vernon 
Proprietors) . Its greatest depth from Beacon street was at about 
the centre, where it measured 490 feet. Some idea of its general 
dimensions may be formed by considering that the present square 
between Beacon, Belknap, Mt. Vernon, and Walnut streets, con- 
stitutes just about the easterly half of this pasture. 

1 Blank in the original. W. H. W. 

132 CITY DOCUMENT No. 108. 

Without going into the detail of the various deeds of these lots, 
the general result is, that all west of Walnut street, as now laid 
out, gets united in John Singleton Copley, partly by deeds of Dr. 
Sylvester Gardner, in 1770, and partly by deed of John Williams, 
in 1773; there being intervening deeds by Peter Lucee, 1744; 
Benjamin Bagnal, 1744; Hon. John Erving, 1752; Nathaniel 
Cunningham, 1783, and his son, Nathaniel, 1751. These purchases 
of Copley included, also, a gore east of Walnut street, which was 
subsequently conveyed by him, 1800 (194, f. 116), to Dr. John 
Joy, in whom all the other lots east of Walnut street likewise get 
united in 1791-1798. 

Great confusion exists among some of the series of deeds of this 
easterly moiety of the pasture, and in 1792 a deed was made to 
said Joy by John Williams, executor, for 100 (L. 171, f. 255), 
.which was a mere pretended title. Some time after Mr. Joy 
had bought and paid for it, it is said that Mr. Williams asked him 
if he did not want to pay 100 more for another deed, and on Mr. 
Joy's asking what he meant, told him that he had still got as much 
title left as he had originally conveyed. This very deed, however (as 
affording a distinct basis of a possessory title), became ultimately 
of great value ; since it quietly cured all informalities and deficiencies 
in the deeds of the true owners. A fine plan of this estate of Dr. 
Joy, in 1799, accompanies an indenture recorded Lib. 192, fol. 
198. A small gore of land south of Mount Vernon street comes 
under Allen or Wheelwright. All the residue of Joy's land is from 
SewalPs pasture. His whole lot finally measured 172 feet on 
Beacon street, 457 feet 4 inches on Walnut street, 305 feet 1 inch 
on Mount Vernon street, and 355 feet 3 inches on Joy street, being 
about 100,000 square feet. 




October 11, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Titles to real estate forfeitable by breach of con- 
dition are by no means uncommon in Boston, being, however, 
chiefly held under deeds made during the present century. Thus 
all .North and South Market streets, Park street, Colonnade row, 
and a large proportion of all the lands on the Neck and elsewhere, 


convej'ed by the city, are on condition. All Winthrop place is 
held under conditional deeds of George Bond. The large Barton 
Point estate is held under such deeds from the Barton Point Asso- 
ciation. The whole great area of the old Mill Pond lands was so 
conveyed. The lots upon Broad, India, and Central streets, with 
the other streets in that vicinity, were so conveyed by the Broad 
Street Association, or by individuals. The entire marginal lots, 
and many others, at East Boston are also subject to conditions. 

There is great inconvenience as well as danger from such titles. 
For instance, one large tract is conveyed at East Boston on condi- 
tion that no ferry shall be established. Fifty separate house-lots 
are sold off with warranty, making no mention of the condition, 
the parties supposing that it is inapplicable to any except the re- 
maining water-lots ; and yet a breach by this remaining owner 
might work a forfeiture of the whole original tract, and destroy the 
titles of his innocent grantees. In one court in this cit} T , a tract, 
on which now stand seven dwelling-houses, is conveyed by one 
deed, with a like joint condition as to the style of building, mak- 
ing each proprietor liable for the acts of half-a-dozen neighbors. 
And this is especial!} 7 " true of many of the city lands on the Neck. 
It not unfrequently happens that the mention of the condition (even 
when made merely of the one particular lot) gets omitted in later 
deeds by mistake, and thus a party may ruin himself unconsciously 
by some little violation. 

In Gray vs. Blanchard (8 Pick. Rep., 284) land was conveyed 
on the condition that " no windows shall be placed in the north 
wall of the house aforesaid, or of any house to be erected on the 
premises within 30 years from the date hereof," and the breach of 
this condition forfeited the entire estate. 

How great a risk may be run from this cause will be apparent by 
considering the following adjudication : 

In 8 Gushing, 150, Millett vs. Fowle, it was decided by the 
Supreme Court that the expression in a deed u four feet from the 
northerly side of the building," means four feet from the extremest 
part of the building, and therefore from the eaves. In other words 
that eaves, as they project over the front or side of a house, are the 
extremest part of that/roni or side of the building. 

Now, there are many long ranges of estates in Boston, where, 
for the purposes of uniformity, conditions were originally imposed, 
the breach of which would work a forfeiture. One of these condi- 
tions always prescribes the front of the houses (as that the front 
of every building erected shall be 6 feet or 10 feet back from the 

134 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

line of the street) . The main walls are accordingly placed on that 
exact line. Under the above decision, if the eaves, or as it would 
seem even the window-sills or caps project an inch, it works a for- 
feiture, because the extremest part of the front of the house must be 
at the distance prescribed. 

I verily believe, therefore, that every estate in Boston, which has 
heretofore been conveyed on such a condition (and the city are mak- 
ing such conveyances every day) , has been forfeited under the above 
decision. Or, in other words, that the above decision strictly carried 
out would defeat many hundred honest titles. 

It is undoubtedly a sound rule of law that in all cases of reasona- 
ble doubt a deed is to be construed most strongly against the 
grantor. This has been applied, and I think rightly, in an extreme 
case (Saltonstall vs. Long wharf), where a little store lot, 18 feet 
on State street, was conveyed, bounded east on the sea or flats, and 
the deed was held also to pass all the flats to low-water mark along 
the whole south side of Long wharf, because, by the use of two 
words, one of which passed the flats, and the other which excluded 
them, a reasonable doubt arose as to the grantor's intent, making 
this rule of construction applicable. But it seems to me that in the 
class of cases above referred to there is no such reasonable doubt of 
the intent. The side the front the wall of a house means 
the main, general line of such side, front, or wall, not those little 
pett} T projections, such as window-caps or sills, always added for or- 
nament ; or the more indispensable eaves, required alike for the effect- 
ual support of the roof, and the symmetrical finish of the structure. 

I have thus far considered the above decision as erroneous on 
general grounds, and even assuming that the Court were correct in 
holding eaves to be part of the side of the house over which they 
project. But Webster's Dictionary defines " eaves " to be " the 
edge or lower border of the roof of the building which overhangs 
the walls and casts off the water that falls on the roof." In like 
manner, Johnson and Walker's Dictionar} r , as improved bj* Todd, 
defines eaves as " the edges of the roof which overhang the house," 
quoting Shakespeare for this meaning. I have not thought it 
necessary to consult any other lexicographical authorities. 

Under these definitions, of course, a line running 4 feet from the 
side of a building is not to be measured from the eaves, which are 
not a part of the side of the building, but of the roof. In other 
words, our Supreme Court, as lately as 1851, have decided that 
" eaves " in law means a part of a house wholly different from what 
it means by the standard dictionaries of the English language. 


Within the past 3*ear, indeed, quite a number of elegant new 
houses on the Neck were found to be accidentally forfeited to the 
city because their bow-fronts projected over the prescribed line, 
and on application the forfeiture was released. 

Latterly conditions have justly become very unpopular, and 
restrictions are imposed instead. This is the case with Pembertdn 
square, Edinboro' street, the South-Cove lots, etc., where the par- 
ties may enter and remove the building, or resort to equity to 
compel a specific performance of the agreement. Courts lean 
strongly against conditions, as is indeed abundantty proved by the 
late case of the Brattle-street Parsonage. While it seems by the 
case of Austin vs. Cambridgeport, etc. (21 Pick., 215), that if a 
condition be created by deed, the grantor may lawfully devise such 
interest, and a subsequent breach will give the estate to his devisee, 
such devise not being too remote, and therefore void. And yet in 
the latter case, where a testator, by one and the same instrument, 
first creates a like condition, and then devises his remaining right, 
such devise over is too remote, and therefore void, though to common 
apprehension the ultimate devise is exactly equally remote in each 
case ; and though wills are avowedly construed more tenderly and 
charitably, as to the intent of the testator, than deeds are, because 
they are often made in extremis and without the aid of counsel, 
and the use of inartificial language is therefore overlooked in view 
of the manifest general intent. 

A law passed prohibiting all conditions, or all forfeitures for 
breach of condition, would, I think, be a good one. GLEANER. 

P.S. Worcester, in his new model dictionary, is as much behind 
the age as his predecessors. He defines " Eaves" as " the edges 
of the roof of a house." 



October 15, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Dr. Joy was desirous of getting a house in the 
country, as more healthful than a town residence, and he selected 
this locality as "being country enough for him." There were, 
indeed, then but two houses west of the square, which he purchased 

136 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

one of them occupied by Charles Gushing, Esq. the other by 
"Master" Vinal, both standing on the Copley estate. The bar- 
berry bushes were flourishing over this whole area, as they now 
do on the hills of West Roxbury. And he was right in believing 
that nowhere else could he inhale purer breezes than those which 
were wafted across the Boston Common and the river that then 
washed its borders. There were then no noxions exhalations 
from the u Back Bay ; " and they do not, indeed, even now, reach 
as far as this favored spot. 

The prices paid by Dr. Joy were 100, 66 13s. 4d., $500 and 
337, or about $2,000. There now stand on this land twent}'-two 
dwelling-houses, among which are many of the very finest in our 
whole city. Its whole present value cannot be less than half a 
million of dollars. Dr. Joy sold off all the westerly and most of 
the northerly portions, retaining for his own occupancy the south- 
east part of the estate, measuring 97 feet on Beacon street, and 
254 feet 7 inches on Belknap street, now called Joy street. On 
this he erected a modest and graceful wooden dwelling-house, 
which was eventually removed to South Boston Point, where it is 
still, or was recently, standing, on land of Benjamin Adams, Esq. 
Here he lived till his death, in 1813. He left a widow, Abigail, 
and two children, Joseph G. and Nabby ; and, in 1833, this 
reserved lot was sold by his heirs for $98,000, and upon it were 
erected three dwelling-houses on Beacon street and the four 
southerly houses of the block on Joy street. 

The corner estate on Beacon and Joy streets (land and build- 
ing) is supposed to have cost Israel Thorndike $90,000. It was 
subsequently purchased by the late R. G. Shaw for $50,000, and 
was the mansion-house estate occupied by him at his decease. It 
has been since bought by Frederick Tudor for $70,000, who still 
owns and occupies it. The adjoining house on Beacon street 
belonged to the late Samuel T. Armstrong, in whose mayoralty it 
was, I believe, that the iron fence was completed around the Com- 
mon, and whose signature, as Lt. Governor, gave validity to a 
new code of laws, the Revised Statutes of the Commonwealth, in 

The only natural productions of New England, as has been well 
said, are ice and granite. It is to the wisdom and intelligence, 
and above all to the indomitable energy and perseverance, of Mr. 
Tudor, that the first of these articles has become a mine of wealth 
to the community, far more precious than the richest " placers" 
of California. It is, I believe, a favorite theory of political econo- 


mists that a nation is on the road to ruin when the value of its 
imports exceeds that of its exports. But the fallacy becomes 
manifest when a cargo of Mr. Tudor's ice worth almost nothing 
here except the labor of collecting it is sent abroad to the pant- 
ing and perspiring denizens of the tropics, or to refresh the natives 
of even distant India, and is there exchanged for a precious 
freight of costly spices and merchandise. 

I remember to have heard with much interest an account of the 
first shipment of ice to India, from the gentleman who went with 
it as supercargo. He described the naive astonishment of the 
natives as they took into the palms of their hands little particles 
of ice, and watched them slowly melt away, the proceeding 
being apparently conducted as cautiously as if they had been 
handling live coals, and the formal entertainment given by the 
Governor General, Lord William Bentinck, as an appreciative 
acknowledgment to those who had thus placed within the reach 
of a great nation one of the most delightful luxuries of a bountiful 

All honor to Mr. Tudor for his great discovery ! May his own 
prosperity always keep pace with the ruinous consequences which 
it has entailed upon New England. 

Nor was Mr. Shaw a less remarkable man in his way. Ever 
extensively and actively engaged in commerce, cautious when he 
seemed to be most bold and daring, he displayed a uniform 
sagacity which, in its results, was as advantageous to himself as it 
was to the community. The public spirit which he displayed 
through life was also manifested by munificent charitable be- 
quests and endowments, which will make his name known and 
honored long after the wealth that he won for his heirs shall have 
passed away, and the memory of his useful career as a citizen shall 

be forgotten. 




October 20, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : My last article closed with a brief allusion to 
the late R. G. Shaw, Esq. It is well known that, before his death, 
he became a convert to spiritualism. While he showed his accus- 

138 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

tomed shrewdness in all business transactions, he yet implicitly 
believed that he had daily communications with deceased relatives, 
and derived from this belief the greatest satisfaction and consola- 
tion. That such a man should have arrived at such a result would 
of itself imply that he must have witnessed phenomena that tended 
to justify it. These phenomena may, perhaps, be satisfactorily 
explained by another hypothesis. President Mahan has recently 
published a very able volume, having this object, and in which he 
considers as incontestable the facts testified to by so many credible 
persons, and many of which he had himself witnessed. 

Within the past year circumstances led me to take much inter- 
est in this subject. Designedly omitting to read anj^thing in rela- 
tion to it, I determined to observe for myself. The use of a pencil to 
point at the letters of the alphabet having been suggested in some 
quarters as a source of unconscious error (inasmuch as a person 
may involuntarily pause longer upon the right letter than upon 
others, a circumstance of which an intelligent and observing 
medium might take advantage) , I latterly dispense with entirely, 
in the following manner : A printed card contained the ( letters of 
the alphabet in three lines of 8 letters each. I asked that the raps 
should be made 1, 2, or 3 for the line at which I was to look, and 
then, after a slight pause, that further raps should be made, from 
1 to 8, for the particular letter meant in that line. The effect was 
as if the particular letter had been at once called out viva voce 
without any instrumentality of my own . 

I have in this way often obtained a series of pertinent and coher- 
ent answers to mental questions, without a single mistake, through 
a session of two hours. This demonstrated to my satisfaction that 
a power of thought-reading existed somewhere, residing in, or 
proved by, the agency which caused the raps, whatever that agency 
might be. Whether this is a mesmeric or a spiritual manifestation 
is the question discussed in Mr. Mahan' s volume. He adopts the 
former theory. Whatever may be the true explanation the inves- 
tigation is one of intense and absorbing interest. 

As far as my own experience goes, the raps have always pur- 
ported to come from the spirits of deceased persons, in natural 
terms of relationship or endearment, and in their accustomed 
modes of expression ; sometimes from persons long since dead, who 
had not been in my thoughts for }-ears. I have never been able to 
get anj r as from living persons. Mr. Mahan, however, has a mass 
of testimony to the contrary. These raps (as from particular 
spirits) I have always found marked by individual peculiarities 


signally appropriate, and identifying them from all others, by loud- 
ness or gentleness, rapidity or slowness, by their prolonged or 
abrupt character. One spirit, indeed, always announced himself 
by a creaking, corkscrew rap in the leg of the table, thus distin- 
guishing himself from all others by as marked a characteristic as 
those which had made him preeminent among his fellow- men 
while living. I have sometimes said mentally, " Will all who have 
been present rap together?" and immediately there has ensued 
such a tattoo of all these various raps as was truly astonishing, the 
corkscrew being clearly noticeable among and above them all. 

The mesmeric theory supposes that you get, as it were, a mere 
reflection of your own thoughts, belief, or wish, and in a vast 
majority of cases such is undoubted!}' the fact ; but the answers 
which I have obtained have been sometimes wholly unexpected. 
Thus, one day last winter, I was passing through Washington 
street, and inadvertently went along the sidewalk of a building from 
which persons were breaking off masses of ice and frozen snow. 
One of these masses fell, and, hearing cries of warning, I shrank up 
close to the wall, and it just grazed my shoulder and elbow, and then 
shivered to pieces on the sidewalk. I felt that I had had a narrow 
escape from certain death. I was then on my way to Mr. Hay- 
den's, where I went immediately. No one else was present. I said 
mentally, ' ' What happened to me as I was coming here ? " The 
alphabet spelt out, " You came near being killed." " How?" 
" By a fall of ice from the roof of a house." " How did it happen 
that it did not fall upon me and kill me ? " The spirit purporting 
to respond was my father's. The answer began, 4k / prote " 
I had supposed that it would state the act of mine which saved me ; 
but when it began with these letters I supposed it would be, " I 
protest I don't know" The answer actuall}' given was, " J pro- 
tected you." " How ? " " By slanting off the ice." This led to a 
series of questions and answers as to the power of spirits over 
matter, etc., etc. 

So, also, at a session in company with a distinguished clergy- 
man of this city, I asked of a certain u spirit," purporting to be 
present, whether a certain other was there also. 1 rap, or no. 
" Can you get him?" 3 raps, or yes. " Do so, and as soon as he 
comes, both of you rap." In a few minutes their raps were heard 
accordingly. In the meantime another spirit was communicating, 
and had just finished a sentence with the word " oncle." I 
remarked aloud to my friend, " You see it is all right except one 
letter." I then turned to communicate with the spirit sent for. 

140 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Immediately many raps were heard of the same faint and rapid 
character as those of my late correspondent. The medium said, 
11 The one you have been communicating with wishes to say some- 
thing more." Whereupon, resuming that communication, the 
alphabet spelt out " u," and then left off.. I said " Proceed." 1 
rap, or no. I said, "Is that all?" 3 raps, or 3'es. I reflected 
for a moment, and exclaimed, " Oh, you mean thatw is the right 
letter where I said one letter was wrong ? " Immediately affirma- 
tive raps came several times repeated. I said, " Then rap back- 
wards from the end of your communication, once for each letter, 
till }*ou get to the wrong letter, and I will strike it out and sub- 
stitute u." 5 raps then came, and I changed the o to u. 1 then 
said, "Is it now right?" and got the same cordial affirmative. 
When " u" came, .1 had not the slightest idea that it was to be a 
correction o/"o." 

This exceptional class of cases is also discussed in Mr. Mahan's 
volume ; but, on the whole, I became satisfied that, although Mr. 
Shaw may have arrived at an erroneous conclusion, the premises 
upon which he acted were by no means a mere absurd delusion ; 
but that he, like myself, had witnessed a mystery of nature worthy 
of the most careful and exact scientific investigation. 

All my articles have been about land, and perhaps this brief 
visit to the spirit land may be allowable as one of the series. You 
will, I trust, at air^ rate, excuse me for what you may perhaps, 
regard as mere idle speculations, unworthy even of a 




October 25, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : The most westerly of the three houses on Bea- 
con street, built on the land sold by Dr. Joy's heirs, in 1833, is 
that owned by B. C. Clark, Esq., an active and intelligent mer- 
chant, the author of an interesting pamphlet respecting Hayti, 
with which country he has extensive business relations. West of 
his house comes a large lot which Dr. Joy in his lifetime sold to 
the late Uriah Cotting in 1806 (L. 216, f. 16). It measured in 
front 75 feet on Beacon street, and extended 248 feet on Walnut 


street, widening in the rear to 104 feet. I have in a former 
article briefly alluded to Mr. Cotting, who lived and died in the 
house in Somerset street there spoken of. When he made this 
purchase of Dr. Joy he supposed himself, and on reasonable 
grounds, to be one of the wealthiest of our citizens, and accord- 
ingly began the foundations of a magnificent mansion, with a 
free-stone front, occupying the whole site of the two houses be- 
longing to the late Samuel Appleton and the late Benjamin P. 
Homer. It would have surpassed any house even now existing 
among us, and at that time there was no edifice that could have 
borne the slightest comparison with it for splendor and elegance. 
The lower story was ahead} 7 constructed, when the embargo, 
followed by war, took place. Rents declined ; real estate fell 
exceedingly in value, and he found himself comparatively, 
at least a poor man. He at once took down the building, and 
selling off to Mr. Homer the westerly moiety of the land (and of 
other lands which he had bought behind it), he erected on the 
residue the elegant mansion now standing, and which he sold to 
Mr. Appleton for $30,000, in 1818 (L. 259, f. 244), the lot being 
43 feet in front and 330 feet deep. His health soon afterwards 
began to fail, and he died of a rapid consumption in 1819 ; and 
such still continued to be the depressed state of all kinds of prop- 
erty that his estate eventually proved insolvent. 

I will mention an anecdote relating to this house and to its 
original and recent ownership. On the death of the widow of Mr. 
Cotting, one of the most estimable and exemplary of women, 
which happened but a few years ago, I published in the " Boston 
Courier " a notice of the services of Mr. Cotting, detailing various 
extensive improvements which he had planned and executed ; 
and I concluded by suggesting that perhaps some of our wealthy 
citizens, whose own fortunes had been increased by a participation 
in his enterprises, might be willing to contribute something to 
replace to his daughters a small annuity which their mother had 
hitherto received under the will of the late Edward Tuckerman, 
and which thenceforth ceased. The article was copied by another 
of our chief journals, and its closing suggestion approved. I 
waited first upon Mr. Appleton. He told me the circumstances of 
his purchase of this house, saying, " I meant to deal at the time 
liberally with Mr. Cotting, and offered him the amount of what 
I . thought its actual value, telling him that he might take six 
months to find any other purchaser who would give him more. In 
a few days, however, he came back and accepted the offer, admit- 

142 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

ting that nobod}* else was willing to give so much. He expressed 
his great satisfaction at selling it, and his obligation to me for 
what he himself considered a full and adequate compensation." 
Mr. Appleton did not end by saying, " So }-ou perceive that there 
is no reason why / should be thus called upon." " But," he said 
to me, u the estate is now worth more than double that price, 
(perhaps $75.000), and I will head your paper with $500." This 
was more than I had hoped for, though I had never been refused 
by him in my life, but, on the contrary, had always found him a 
most " cheerful giver." Another gentleman, who had been in- 
timately associated with Mr. Cotting, at once added his name for 
the same sum. Hon. David Sears and others subscribed various 
amounts in a like liberal spirit, and I was in the " full tide of suc- 
cessful experiment," when I received, from the young ladies 
interested, instructions to proceed no farther, lest that should 
be yielded to my solicitations which would not have been 
spontaneously offered as a tribute of respect for their father's 

Mr. Cotting is buried in the Granary burying-ground. The 
forthcoming volume of Mr. Bridgman, in relation to this place 
of interment, will doubtless be as accurate in its facts and as 
beautiful a specimen of letter-press and typography as his similar 
volume on the King's Chapel burying-ground, and I cordially 
advise all who are interested in "historical gleanings" to sub- 
scribe for it at once. I am glad that it will preserve in a perma- 
nent form what I feel indeed to be but a slight and inadequate 
tribute to the memory of perhaps the most distinguished citizen 
who has been laid to his rest in that field of death. 

Mr. Appleton died in this house, July 12, 1853, aged 87 years. 
In youth a village school-master, in manhood an eminent mer- 
chant, he found in acts of daily beneficence the best solace for 
the infirmities of age. Simple habits, uncompromising integrity, 
and a noble public spirit, won for him the confidence and regard of 
the community ; and death gently closed a life that had been pro- 
longed and blest by the kindest offices of domestic affection. He 
bequeathed a large part of his great wealth for purposes of litera- 
ture, science, charity, and religion. A mural tablet in the King's 
Chapel will appropriatel} 7 record his virtues ; but to this spot, where 
he lived so long, happy in making others happy, a spot hallowed 
by the grateful prayers of the widow and the orphan, the annalist 
of Boston will point with pride as the home of Samuel Appleton. 





October 30, 1855. 

MR, EDITOR: In our last article we mentioned that Mr. Cot- 
ting sold to the late Benjamin P. Homer, in 1816, the south-west 
corner lot of Dr. Joy's land. It measured 32 feet on Beacon 
street, and 200 feet on Walnut street (L. 250, f. 283). He sold 
the rear lot, measuring 66 feet 6 inches on Walnut street, to N. P. 
Russell, Esq., 1814 (L. 243, f. 273), which also subsequently 
became the property of Mr. Homer. Mr. Homer had rather more 
than his share of the old streets. A strip of 15 feet in width of 
old Bishop Stoke street takes half the width of his lot, and old 
Sewall street runs across his rear. If these easements could now 
be enforced, his lot would certainly be sadly curtailed of its fair 

He was one of the u solid " men of Boston, and at his death, in 
1838, was one of our oldest merchants. His will contained pro- 
visions which called for judicial construction, and there are at 
least three printed decisions in our reports growing out of it 
(2 Met. Rep., 194 ; 5 Met., 462, and 11 Met., 104). The Legisla- 
ture also have been appealed to, more than once, to cut the Gor- 
dian knot which the law could not untie. One clause of his will 
was as follows: " And 1 do hereby expressly authorize and em- 
power my executors, or such of them as shall take upon themselves 
the probate of this will, to sell and convey and execute good and 
sufficient deeds to convey all or any of my real estate." He 
appointed two executors, both of whom proved the will and 
assumed the trust ; but one of them immediately found that he had 
personal interests incompatible with this official position, and 
forthwith resigned his trust, and the other acted alone in the entire 
settlement of the estate, except only in this first act of proving the 
will. A statute expressly authorizing a resignation of an executor 
was passed March 24, 1843. The Court, in the case before them, 
did not find it necessary to consider the validity of this resignation, 
but they did decide that, if the resignation was valid, the power of 
sale could not be exercised by the other executor. In arriving at 
this result they adopted the strictest literal construction of the 

144 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

words, " take upon themselves the probate of this will," which 
might perhaps fairly and liberally have been considered as equiva- 
lent to u taking upon themselves the settlement of my estate" or 
'* those who shall be the acting executors of my will for the time 
being." For the testator certainly had little confidence in them 
both jointly and in each of them separately. Looking back upon 
the past professional anxieties and perplexities, though I certainly 
should not say that I wished that Mr. Homer had never lived 
(since that would have involved the loss of several pleasant young 
neighbors, belles of the rising generation), I can yet truly say 
that I have more than once wished that he ivas still, living. 

On the rear purchase of Mr. Homer, stood the house in Walnut 
street, of which the late Dr. George Parkman was tenant at 
the time of his murder. Posterity can hardly overestimate the 
intensity of the excitement awakened in the community by his 
tragical fate, and by the judicial proceedings which ensued. If I 
should select the two occasions of a public character which I have 
found more deeply interesting than any others, I should refer, 
without hesitation, to the hour when the lovely and accomplished 
daughters of Professor "Webster, sustained, as they obviously 
were, by an entire conviction of his innocence, gave with mingled 
calmness and sensibility their modest and touching testimony in 
his behalf; and that more awful hour, when, nearly at the dead 
of night, we had assembled on the same spot to hear the verdict 
rendered, which consigned to an ignominious death one who had 
been the instructor of our earlier days, and with whom we had 
since continued to be on pleasant terms of social acquaintance 
and friendship. The moon was shining serenely and bright as I 
went forth from that sad scene ; having looked for the last time on 
a fellow-being who, surrounded by the happiest domestic influ- 
ences and affections had yet justly forfeited his life ; not, how- 
ever, I was willing to believe, for a deliberate, preconcerted, and 
cold-blooded murder, but for an act, originally done, as I was 
persuaded, under the sudden impulse of deadly passion ; but 
which, when done, was concealed by a resort to the most fright- 
ful expedients of which we have any account in the annals of 
criminal jurisprudence. 

There was a redeeming grace in the final conduct of Webster, 
which much softened the popular feeling against him ; when his 
appeal for executive clemency had been made, and made in 
vain ; when he knew that in a few brief days he must cease 
to be numbered among the living, he addressed a submissive 


and penitent letter to an amiable and excellent clergyman, the 
near relative 'of his victim, asking through him the pardon of those 
into whose social circle he had brought such deep affliction. He 
asked him as a minister of the God of mercy to imitate his Divine 
Master, by showing mercy ; as a man to forgive a dying fellow- 
man, as he would himself hope to be forgiven. And he at last met 
his fate, not with the indifference of a hardened ruffian, but with 
a dignified self-possession, a sustained fortitude and resigna- 
tion, such as only true repentance (it would seem) could have 





November 2, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: The north-west corner lot, 60 feet on Mount 
Vernon street, and 103 feet 6 on Walnut street, was sold by Dr. 
Joy to John Callender, in 1802, and his heirs conveyed to him a 
lot adjoining (35 feet 11 inches on Mount Vernon street), in 
1821. Mr. Callender was for many years the well-known clerk of 
the Supreme Court. In his 3<ounger days he was a person of 
much grace and elegance, and traditionally reputed to have been 
as good a dancer as one of Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chancellors. 
He was a person of much wit and humor. When the full Court 
at Washington reversed a decision of Mr. Justice Story, by which 
he had claimed jurisdiction in cases of policies of insurance as 
being maritime contracts, he was dining with the Judge, and, 
doubtless quite to his annoyance, began to joke about the topic, 
playfully suggesting to him that he had better bring a bucket of 
salt water into his court-room to sustain the jurisdiction. 

When Mr. Callender built his house the level of Walnut street 
was very many feet higher than at present. The authorities cut 
down the street, leaving him up in the air. He was put to much 
expense in consequence, though his building did not actually begin 
to tumble into the pit, as Mr. Thurston's did. Like him he 
resorted to the law, and with the like success. The result was the 
source of anj'thing but a placid demeanor on his part. Though 
himself a sworn officer of the law, I really believe that he was 

146 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

led to entertain serious doubts as to its being " the perfection of 
human reason." 

The north-east lot, bounded 120 feet on Mount Vernon street, 
and 100 feet 8 inches on Joy street, was sold by Dr. Joy in 1802 
to Anna Dummer Perkins, wife of Thomas Perkins, Esq., and 
daughter of William Powell, Esq. She was sister of Mrs. Jona- 
than Mason, one of the original Mount Vernon proprietors. Dr. 
Joy, in 1805, also sold to her the next 30-feet lot on Joy street. 
On the latter lot stands the dwelling-house now occupied by Henry 
B. Rogers, Esq., whose wife was one of her daughters, and who is so 
well known in this community as connected with our chief chari- 
table and reformatory institutions, and who was some years since 
an Alderman of the city. . On her original lot was erected a fine 
brick dwelling-house, of large and elegant proportions, in which 
she resided till her death, a smaller house being erected on the 
westerly side of the lot as the residence of another daughter, Mrs. 
F. C. Loring. The mansion house itself has just given place to 
three new dwellings erected by Wm. Gray, Esq. 

It is under a contract between Mr. Perkins and Mr. Thorndike 
that the block of houses on Joy place was set back from the street. 
I trust that my friend, Mr. Lewis W. Tappan, will not think me too 
personal in remarking that the whole front of his house and part of 
that of his southerly neighbor stand on and over the fee of old 
Sewall street. This need be no source of alarm or uneasiness. 
Indeed I am inclined to think that an ancient SQUAT is rather better 
than any other title. There can be no question that from the 
beginning of the century to 1831, when Tyler vs. Hammond was 
decided, the law, as before acted on and as then settled, would have 
given the soil and fee of this old street to the heirs of Judge 
Sewall. It is equally certain that in 1851, by the decision of 
Newhall vs. Ireson, it would have been held that the deeds to Dr. 
Joy, bounding, as they do, north and south on that street, each 
passed to him a good title to the centre of the street ; in other 
words, that his title had all along been perfect. Both these cases 
related to public highways ; but I am informed that in ah unpub- 
lished case recently decided (Morgan vs. Moore) the Court adhered 
to the last decision, yet refuse to apply it to private ways, so 
that, after all, Judge Sewali's heirs perhaps would again come 
uppermost. But, happily above and beyond all these fluctuating 
adjudications, there was a certain fence put up more than forty } T ears 
ago by Dr. Joy, which no adverse claimant can now jump over or 
knock down. 


The doctrine that a deed bounding on a street, which is a 
visible, actual monument, really runs to an imaginary legal line 
or monument in the centre of that street (a monument, by the 
way, which the Court in 1831 declared had never existed, although 
in 1851 they say that it had always existed), seems to me founded 
on a misconception of what a monument is. I believe that the 
rule of "monuments governing measurements" is founded on the 
idea that a deed should be construed by its language in reference 
to actual visible landmarks, such as fences, walls, or streets. In 
1831, if a deed bounded by or on a public street, square, or com- 
mon, in each case it included no part of such street, square, or 
common. In 1851, the Court, in the exercise of their judicial dis- 
cretion, saw fit to decide that a deed bounding on a street should 
convey a fee simple title to the centre of the street. Why should 
not the same rule be applied to all public squares or areas? Is it 
not, indeed, quite possible that a conveyance of land bounding on 
Boston Common may legally give to the grantees liberal yard- 
room in front of their lots, even to the centre line of the Common 
itself? Such a decision would, a priori, be no more surprising than 
a change of doctrine which has already occurred in relation to 

abuttors upon streets. 




November 6, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In our walk down Beacon street we have now 
reached the greatest estate in Boston, or The Copley Title. This 
is made up of three chief divisions. The easterly portion is com- 
posed of the various lots which together constitute the westerly 
moiety of Sewall's Elm Pasture. This portion is about 2 acres, 
and is bounded east on Dr. Joy's land, now Walnut street. It 
extends on Beacon street more than 260 feet, including the stone 
mansion-house estate of Hon. David Sears, and a gore of the 
original garden lot of Mr. Otis, west of it. The westerly boundary 
of this portion is a line which meets Mount Vernon street at a 
point about 175 feet west of Walnut street, running diagonally 

148 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

through the lots on both sides of Chestnut street, which formerly 
belonged to Madame Swan's trustees. 

Next west of Sewall's Elm Pasture came a 2i-acre pasture of 
Francis East, also united in Copley. This extended on Beacon 
street to just about the east line of Spruce street, and the west 
boundary of East's Pasture extended in a bevelling line to Mount 
Vernon street, which street it intersected a little west of the divi- 
sion line between the two elegant mansions of Messrs. John E. 
and Nathaniel Thayer. These pastures of Sewall and East were 
bounded in the rear by irregular lines extending into, and in some 
parts to or slightly beyond the north line of, Mount Vernon street. 

Finally comes the Blackstone six-acre lot. This bounds south 
on Beacon street to the original channel, which was many hundred 
feet west of Charles street, or about to the lowest long block of 
dwelling-houses now completed on the Mill Dam. On the east 
line it extended along East's Pasture, and beyond it on land of 
Allen, or Wheelwright, and to within a few feet of Pinckney 
street, to a point which is nearly in the range of the westerly 
part of the School-house estate, at the corner of Centre street ; it 
thence extended along in the direction of Pinckney street westerly, 
so as to include all Louisburg square, till it met a line about 50 
feet west of the west line of Louisburg square, where it was 
bounded on the pasture of Zachariah Phillips, on which pasture it 
afterwards bounded northerly by a line running to the water. 

The dimensions of the southerly lots of Zachariah Phillips's 
pasture are so loosely given by the deeds that the extreme 
southerly line of that pasture and, of course, the extreme north 
line of the Blackstone, or Copley lot, cannot, perhaps, be stated 
with precision ; but it extended at least as far as, and probably 
north of, Mount Vernon street. And, as we have stated in an 
earlier article on Phillips's Pasture, the Copley deed, which ran 
along towards the water by a line at most 20 feet south of 
Pinckney street, was made, by a certain ancient fence, and the 
possessory acts and claims under it, to run to the water, and to 
sweep across all these southerly lots of Phillips ; or, in other 
words, the Copley grant was extended by disseisin to a continuous 
north line, ranging but a few feet south of Pinckney street. 

The result is, that the estate held under John Singleton Copley 
embraces all that extensive territory between low-water mark on 
the west, the Common south, Walnut street east, and Mount Ver- 
non street north, as far as the east line of the house of William 
Sawyer, and then including that house and the land behind it, and 


all Louisburg square, etc., west of it. It extends, by a northerly 
line nearly coinciding with Pinckney street, to low-water mark. 
The 6 acres of Blackstone, the 2 of East, and the 2 of Sewall, 
make a total of 11 acres of upland; and if to this we add the flats, 
a large portion of which have been filled up for over 40 years, 
there is a grand total of certainly not less than 20 acres, and, cov- 
ered as it now is with splendid private residences, it far surpasses 
in value even the magnificent estate of Governor Hancock, with 
its costly public edifices. 




November 9, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : Before proceeding to make any remarks on the 
particular houses standing upon the Copley lot, it will be more 
convenient to trace the several purchases made by him, and which 
were included in his sale to the Mount Vernon proprietors. 

We have already stated that he acquired the westerly moiety of 
Sewall's Elm Pasture, or about 2 acres, by deeds, in 1770-1773, 
swallowing up or fencing in all Coventry street and the westerly 
part of Sewall street. The westerly lots of this Sewall land are 
included in the deed of Dr. Silvester Gardiner to Copley, July 5, 
1770 (L. 117, f. 129), the boundary being westerly, on land of 
said Copley, 467 feet 8 inches, and north-west, on land of Jeremiah 
Wheelwright (i.e., the Allen pasture), 127 feet 4 inches. The 
earlier deeds of these same lots among the Sewall heirs, 1732 (L. 
47, f. 192-194), bounded west on land of Banister. 

Now, next west of this Sewall land came the original possession 
of Francis East, who must have owned as early as 1667, being 
named as an abuttor in a deed recorded in Lib. 5, fol. 234. In 
the town records is the following entry: "July 1, 1678. In 
answer to the desire of Francis East to have recorded in the 
Towne book a tract of land containing about 3 acres, bounded 
with Capt. Brattle north [he sold to Allen, &c.] ; the tOwne's 
Common, south; the land of Nathaniel Williams, west [i.e., the 
Blackstone lot], and the land of William Hawkins, Sen. (Haw- 
kins owned Sewali's Elm Pasture), on the east, which was formerly 

150 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

a towne grant, and no record appearing, having been long in pos- 
session of said East, now ordered that this record be made thereof." 
(Boston Records, Lib. 2, fol. 116.) 

It would seem that Francis East died, leaving a son Samuel, who 
died seized of this pasture in 1693. His widow, Mercy East, as 
administratrix under license of the Superior Court of Judicature, 
at term 1693, sold the same to Thomas Banister, by deed dated 
Nov. 24, 1694 (L. 17, f. 23), "two acres and near an half , bounded 
east on Samuel Sewall, south on the Common, west on Capt. 
Nathaniel Williams (i.e., Blackstone lot), north on Nathaniel- 
Oliver (who sold to Allen), measuring on the east side 26 rodd 
and 11 feet, on the south side 12 rods 13 feet, on the west side 35 
rodd and 11 feet, and on the north side 14 rodd and 8 feet." Sam- 
uel East, as eldest son of the intestate, released to said Banister 
all his right by deed, indorsed on and recorded with the above. 

The definite measurements in this deed have enabled me to fix 
with precision the lines of this pasture, notwithstanding it comes 
in the centre of Copley's estate, and the westerly lot purchased by 
Copley has no measurements whatever. If this deed had given no 
measurements it could only have been a matter of " guess" what 
was the exact westerly boundary line of this pasture, or, in other 
words, the exact easterly line of Blackstone' s 6-acre lot. Mr. 
Banister, the grantee in this deed, acquired also the Blackstone 
lot, making his whole ownership 8J- acres. And the title from 
him I shall trace down, after first getting that purchase into him, 

in a subsequent number. 




November 12, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : In our last article we traced into Thomas Banis- 
ter, in 1694, the East Pasture of 2^ acres, bounded west on land 
of Nathaniel Williams. Now, we long since called upon William 
Blackstone, and have seen that the town granted to him 50 acres, 
and that when he sold out to the town all his right in the same 
and in all lands on the peninsula, he retained to himself a 6-acre 
lot, which he subsequently sold to Richard Pepys, while the town, 


in 1640, passed a vote not to grant any more house-lots within 
certain limits ; the consequence of which vote was the Boston Com- 
mon, which was doubtless, in great part, the residue of the 50 
acres granted to Blackstone. We have also referred to the cele- 
brated depositions of Odlin and others (and of Anne Pollard, 
1711, L. 26, f. 84). 

From the deeds of Cole to Phillips, 1658, and of Phillips to 
Leverett and wife in 1672, of the Zachariah Phillips pasture in 
the rear, it is certain that in 1658 this 6-acre lot belonged to 
" Nathaniel Williams," and tKat, in 1672, in was " in the occupa- 
tion of Peter Bracket, or other successors of Nathaniel Williams, 
deceased." In 1638 there is a town grant in the new field near 
Mr. Blackstone's (Records, f. 24, and 27. 12. 1642). William 
Colbron and Jacob Eliot are appointed to view a parcel of land 
toward Mr. Biackstone's beach, which Richard Peapes [i.e., Pepys] 
desires to purchase of the Towne, whether it may be conveniently 
sold to him. (Vol. 4. f. 64.) 

Richard Pepys and Mary, his wife, of Ashon, Essex County, 
conveyed to Nathaniel Williams, b}^ act dated January 30, 1655, 
expressly referred to in the deed of 1676, hereinafter mentioned. 
Williams died, and his widow Mary married Peter Bracket before 
March 6, 1664 (see deed in 4, f. 264), and Peter Bracket and 
Mary, his wife, late widow of Nathaniel Williams, in consideration 
of her natural love to Nathaniel Williams and Mary Viall, chil- 
dren of said Mary by her first husband, conveyed to them, three- 
quarters to said Nathaniel and one-quarter to said Mar} T , by deed 
of gift, April 14, 1676 (L. 9, f. 325), "all that messuage with 
the barnes, stables, orchards, gardens, and also that six acres 
of land, be it more or less, adjoining and belonging [to said 
messuage, called the Blackstone lot, being the same which 
were conve} T ed to said Nathaniel by Richard Pepys of Ashon, 
Essex County, and Mary, his wife, as by their act, bearing date 
Jan. 30, 1655, more fully will appear." 

There being no description in this deed, the land might be at 
Barton Point as well as at Beacon street ; but independently of 
the depositions referred to, the deeds of the adjoining pasture of 
Zechariah Phillips in 1658-72 fix the lands of Nathaniel Williams 
in 1658, and in occupation of Peter Bracket, etc., in 1672, to be 
in this precise locality. 

I am sorry to say that I have never succeeded in getting Mrs. 
Viall's one quarter part into her brother by an}^ deed on record. 
But, as few men are so depraved as to rob a sister, I am charitable 

152 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

enough to believe that he bought her out honestly, though he may 
have omitted to record his deed. At any rate, his present suc- 
cessors will probably feel that they are now, as a practical matter, 
reasonabty safe under the following deed, viz. : 

Nathaniel Williams, and Sarah his wife, in consideration of 
130 in the present current money, conveyed to Thomas Banister ' 
by warranty deeds Jan. 29, 1708-9 (L. 24, f. 103), all that his, 
the said William's, certain orchard and pasture land, containing in 
the whole, by estimation six acres, or thereabouts, be it more or 
less, situate, lying and being at the lower or north-westerly side of 
the Common, or Training Field, in Boston aforesaid, being en- 
closed and within fence, and the flats lying against the same down 
to low-water mark. The said upland and flats being butted and 
bounded on the northerty side in part by Charles river or a cove, 
and partty by the lands of John Leverett (i.e., Phillips pasture) 
and James Allen, on whom also it abuts to the northeast, bounded 
easterly in part by land of the said James Allen, and partly by 
the land of the said Thomas Banister, (i.e. East's Pasture), and 
southerly by the Common or Training Field, or however otherwise 
the same is bounded or reputed to be bounded ; together with all 
the trees, stones, fences, banks, ditches, waters, and water-courses 
therein or thereabout, and belonging thereto, rights, members, 
hereditaments, profits, feedings, privileges, and appurtenances 

Seventy-two dollars an acre for upland, with the flats thrown in, 
is rather cheap for land on Beacon street, even 150 years ago. 




November 16, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: In 1709, we have seen that Thomas Banister 
had purchased both the East and the Blackstone lots, making to- 
gether 8 acres of upland. The name of "Mount Pleasant/' so 
familiar to our Roxbury neighbors, was given also to this estate. 

I once saw a ver} T large and accurate plan in the possession of 
the Mt. Vernon proprietors, made 60 or 70 years ago, which was 
entitled by the surveyor in large and elaborate letters, a plan of 


4 'Mount Hoardam." This struck me as a very ingenious and 
modest way of conforming to the then popular momenclature of 
the spot, without giving offence u to ears polite." 

Banister died leaving a will dated Jan. 25, 1708-9, and codicil 
dated July 13, 1709 ; and his wife died in 1711. By his will he 
devises to his three sons, Thomas, Samuel and John, " and if 
either die without heirs lawfulty begotten in wedlock, I will their 
share or proportion to the surviving sons or son and their heirs for- 

Besides these three sons the testator left an only daughter, 
Mary, wife of Giles D} r er. John died without issue in Great 
Britain, June 30, 1714. Thomas died Sept. 12, 1716, leaving issue 
five sons and a daughter, and Samuel died without issue Feb. 28, 

In 1713 Samuel and John had made Thomas their attorney (L. 
28, f. 151), who for himself, and "as such attorney," after the 
death of one constituent, and by deed not executed in the names 
of either constituent, conve} r ed to Giles Dyer (28, f. 152), who 
covenanted to reconvey on certain payments (Ib., f. 153). Said 
Thomas, for himself, and " as attorney of Samuel," reciting the 
death of John, conveyed to said Dyer, Dec. 10, 1714 (L. 28, f. 
242), other lands ; " also the one moiety or half part of all that 
tract or parcel of land in the town of Boston aforesaid, bounded 
easterly on the Common or Training Field, containing by estima- 
tion about eight acres, and known by the name of Mount Pleasant, 
in the tenure or improvement of John Langdon, butcher." Did he 
have a slaughter-house on the premises ? 

And Giles Dyer, reciting these two deeds of Thomas Banister 
to him, for 1,000 consideration conveyed to Samuel, June 21, 1717 
(L. 32, f. 1), " all the housing lands, tenements and real estate 
granted and sold to me the said Giles Dyer in and by the said two 
deeds" (except other land). I am sorry to say that I find two 
mortgages of Samuel Banister, one for 250 in 1716, (L. 32, f. 
1), the other for 200 in 1719 (L. 33, f. 261), both undischarged. 
He made a final mortgage for 1,850 to Nathaniel Cunningham by 
warranty deed, Dec. 28, 1733 (L. 48, f. 53), under foreclosure of 
which the absolute title was claimed by Cunningham. 

The description in the deed to Cunningham was as follows : 
" All that his the said Samuel Banister's certain tract or parcell of 
land which is now improved as a garden, and enclosed within fence 
with the dwelling-house thereon standing, situate, tying and being 
at the lower or north-westerly side of the Comon or Training 

154 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Field in Boston aforesaid, containing in the whole, by estimation, 
eight acres and an half or thereabouts, and be the same more or 
less, and the flatts tying against the same down to low- water mark. 
The said upland and flatts being butted and bounded as folio weth, 
viz. : southerly or south-easterly on the Comon or Training Field ; 
on the north-westerly side in part by Charles river, or a cove, and 
partly by the lands of the late John Leverett, Esq., and Mr. 
James Allen, both deceased, their heirs or assigns, on whom also, 
it abutts to the north-east, and easterly by land of the heirs or 
assigns of the late Samuel Sewall, Esquire, deceased, or how- 
ever otherwise butted and bounded," &c. 

Nathaniel Cunningham died, and by will, dated Ma} r 1, 1740. 
proved December 27, 1748, made his son Nathaniel residuary 
legatee, who was appointed administrator with the will annexed, 
and died in 1757, Peter Chardon being administrator. His inven- 
tory mentions " a house, land, and pasture at the bottom of the 
Common, occupied by Mr. Chapman and others, containing 8| 
acres, 250" (L. 53, f. 61). So that less than a century ago 
land in Beacon street (flats thrown in) was worth but 97 dollars 
an acre. 



[COPLEY'S TITLE. Continued*] 

November 19, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: We left in Nathaniel Cunningham, deceased, 
under the administration of Peter Chardon, 1757, the 8 acres of 
upland, with the flats, composed of the East pasture of 2 acres 
and the Blackstone 6-acre lot. Under the will of the old owner, 
Thomas Banister, who had devised, in 1709, in tail to his three 
sons, with cross remainders on their death without issue, claims 
were repeatedly set up. Thus, in July, 1750, John Banister, Sam- 
uel Banister, and Wm. Bowen, and Francis, his wife, grandchild- 
ren of said testator, bought an ejectment against Cunningham, 
which was decided in favor of tenants ; and in August following 
the jury on appeal gave the same verdict. In February, 1753, the 

i This title is supplied by me, as the original is styled simply " Historical." W.H. W. 


same demandants brought a writ of review before the Superior 
Court, and in August following the jury found a special verdict ; 
and in March, 1754, the Court, after a full hearing, gave judgment 
in favor of the tenants. In January, 1765, John Banister brought 
his writ of ejectment, which was carried to the Superior Court by 
demurrer, and dropped by his death, which took place Nov. 10, 1767. 

And now, during the lull that ensued, as is alleged, " on Jan- 
uary 18, 1769, Peter Chardon, Esquire, as executor of Nathaniel 
Cunningham, executed a deed of conveyance to John Singleton 
Copley of these premises." No such deed, however, is found on 
record ; and, more than that, the proceeds of the estate were not 
accounted for in the Probate Office by Mr. Chardon, as adminis- 
trator, with the will annexed. 

On March 29, 1769, John Banister, of Newport, brought an 
ejectment against Ephraim Fenno. At the Inferior Court of 
April, 1769, said Copley was vouched in as defendant, and the 
case was carried by demurrer to the Superior Court, and decided 
in Copley's favor. 

The late Hon. Robert T. Paine, on January 81, 1809, gave his 
deposition in perpetuam for Messrs. Mason & Otis, in which he 
states that " in 1769 he was counsel for Mr. Copley in this last 
suit ; that he preserved a bundle of minutes, among which is the 
statement of title (of which the particulars are above noticed, in- 
cluding the mention of the deed to Copley) , which he has no doubt 
was given him by said Copley or by Samuel Quincy, his counsel, 
and which he has no doubt is a true abstract of Copley's title as 
derived from Thomas Banister, and was prepared from the docu- 
ments to be used in said trial ; that he believed the question of 
title under Cunningham was not in dispute, but was acknowledged, 
and it was expected that the cause would turn upon the question of 
cross remainders, under Thomas Banister's will, and that the 
cause was determined in favor of Copley ; that he knew the 
premises in 1760, and pastured his horse there; that Ruth Otis, 
wife of James Otis, was living iu Boston, and he an eminent law- 
3'er, knowing the demand of Banister, and arguing a case aris- 
ing under the same will, and that from and after the verdict of 
Copley, I always understood that the premises were his property 
till I heard that he had sold them, so that they came to the pos- 
session of Messrs. Mason & Otis" (221, f. 107). This Banister 
family owned a valuable estate on the south side of Winter street, 
which, from that circumstance, was long known as u Banister's 

156 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

It will be remembered, also, that the deeds of the westerly lots 
of Sewall's elm pasture, bought by Cople} T in 1770, bounded west 
on this land, as then belonging to said Copley. It will also be 
remembered that there are two volumes of deeds missing, in one 
of which we may charitably suppose Mr. Copley's deed to have 
been recorded. Another valuable tract of the Leverett-street 
lands, formerly belonging to the same Mr. Cunningham, is also 
held under a deed from Mr. Copley, in 1771 (L. 119, f. 191), 
though there is the same absence of any deed to him. 

This want of any record title in Copley, as to these whole 8 
acres, eventually proved a very serious source of trouble to his 
grantees. GLEANER. 



November 23, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : We left John Singleton Cople} T the owner in 
1769-1773 of the whole three estates held under Sewall, East, 
and Blackstone, making together 11 acres of upland, with the 
flats ; there being this little omission, that he had no deed on 
record of 8 acres out of the 11, with all the flats ; or, as perhaps 
it may be better stated, a record title to only the easterly 2 acres 
out of 20 acres of upland and flats. Mr. Cople}' was the most dis- 
tinguished portrait-painter of America, unapproached by any 
successor except Stuart. The exquisite satin of his ladies' dresses 
and delicate tints of his luscious fruits gave great additional value 
to paintings which have preserved, in the most life-like manner, 
for the delight of a distant posterity, the fair and intelligent faces, 
the lovely or manly forms, of a past generation. 

Mr. Copley removed to England, and Gardiner Greene, Esq., 
was his agent. Messrs. Jonathan Mason and H. G. Otis made a 
contract for the purchase of this estate, through the agency of Mr. 
Greene. When the deed was sent out for execution, Mr. Copley 
had ascertained that the State House was to be located near his 
estate, which, of itself, greatly enhanced its value ; changing its 
character from mere pasture land on the outskirts of Boston, to a 
central estate, extremely desirable for residences. He felt that 


important information had been withheld from him and from his 
agent, and refused to sign the deed. A bill in equity was brought 
to enforce the contract for sale. He probably found that there 
was no chance of escape, and the result was that he executed a 
letter of attorney to his son, since Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, 
dated in October, 1795, which was recorded February 24, 1796 
(L. 182, f. 182). 

A gentleman of this city, now among its senior members, men- 
tioned to me a few days since, that a lady, now deceased, once 
remarked to him that she attended a ball at the house of the late 
D. D. Rogers, before her marriage, and that young Mr. Copley 
was present. That house, like all its neighbors, stood at some 
distance from the street, and was approached by a high flight of 
steps. On this occasion the same difficulty occurred as at Gov- 
ernor Bowdoin's dinner-party ; but, of course, a } T oung lad}' in a 
ball-dress could not resort to the same mode of escape as did the 
guests of His Excellenc}". On the contrary, notwithstanding the 
devoted services of her future husband, she made an involuntary 
and decidedly precipitate descent towards the street, a circum- 
stance which had impressed this occasion distinctly on her memory. 

Mr. Copley's son and attorney came out to this country, having 
recently completed his professional studies, and said Copley, " now 
of George street, Hanover square, in the Kingdom of Great Brit- 
ain, Esquire," acting by said attorney, for the consideration of 
$18,450 conveyed to said Mason and Otis by deed of release 
(reciting a previous lease for one year, being what is known as a 
conveyance of lease and release), dated Feb. 22, 1796, recorded 
in Lib. 182, fol. 184. 

No deed of any lands in Boston within a century will compare 
with this in importance. The description is, " All that tract or 
parcel of land situated in the westerly part of Boston aforesaid, 
bounded as follows : Southerly by a line abutting on the Common 
or training-field, running from the southern extremity of a fence 
erected b}^ Doctor Joy ; easterly by the said fence of said Doctor 
Jo}~ ; northerly by a line running from the northern extremity of 
the aforesaid fence ; north-westerly 85 feet or thereabouts, abutting 
on Olive street ; then by a line running south-westerly 1 20 feet or 
thereabouts, abutting on land formerly belonging to Jeremiah 
Wheelwright, Esquire ; then by a line running north-westerly 220 
feet or thereabouts, and abutting on land formerly belonging to 
said Wheelwright ; then by a line running north-westerly 217 feet, 
abutting on land formerly belonging to said Jeremiah Wheelwright ; 

158 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

lastly by a line running north-westerly towards the water, together 
with all the flats lying before the same, down to low-water mark, 
&c., &c., or however the same may be butted or bounded." No 
reference to title, and no statement of contents. 

Taking into consideration the upland and flats both, this pur- 
chase is at a considerably less rate than $1,000 per acre. Indeed, 
I have very little doubt that it conveyed at least 13 or 14 acres of 
upland, since his description towards the water being construed as 
meaning to the water, and being confirmed by a fence erected 
accordingly, carried the line, as we have before stated, across the 
rear lots of Zachariah Phillips's pasture, and formed a basis of a 
desseisin title to quite an additional number of acres of upland and 
flats, though it also contained the germ of one of the most cele- 
brated and important lawsuits known in our day. 

Copley personally executed a confirmatory deed, with release of 
dower, dated April 17, 1797 (L. 191, f. 168), which is not 
acknowledged. It is made to Mason and Otis and Mr. Joseph 
Woodward, who for $5.00 released to them by deed in 1817 (L. 
255, f. 246). 

The description in this deed from Copley is as above, except 
that the corner of Dr. Joy's fence is said to be 185 feet from 
George, orBelknap, street, and that said fence runs at right angles 
with the southerly line of said Joy's land on Beacon street. 

Thus it seemed that this great purchase was consummated in a 
manner satisfactory at least to the purchasers ; but there was 
further tribulation and anguish in store for them. The litigation 
of the middle of the last century was to be again renewed on the 
same extensive scale, breaking out, however, in a new spot, the 
want of any deed to Copley. GLEANER. 


[COPLEY'S SALE. Continued.^ 
November 26, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : As the law stood when Messrs. Mason and Otis 
made the Cople} 7 purchase, a "writ of right" to defeat a title 
might be brought by a claimant at any time within sixty years 
(Statute, 1786, ch. 13). On March 2, 1808, a statute was passed 

1 New title. W.H.W. 


(Statute, 1807, ch. 75), that, from and after January 1, 1812, the 
sixty years should be reduced to forty ; and thus the law continued 
till January 1, 1840, when the Revised Statutes made a further 
change, b}' reducing the limitation of forty j'ears to twenty 3 r ears 
(with certain savings). All these changes are in the right direc- 
tion, a remark by no means true of all recent legislation. 

The statute of 1807, above referred to, besides the change of the 
period of limitation, introduced also an entirely new provision, and 
one of great importance as a matter of public polic} 7 , and entirely 
equitable in its bearings, viz., the "betterment law," by which a 
partj r who had had six years' possession and had made valuable 
improvements, or "betterments," should, on failure of title, be 
entitled to compensation for his improvements. 

This betterment law was nominally asked for as being especially 
necessary in respect to lands in Maine ; but it was, in fact, in- 
tended to apply to the Copley estate. The proprietors were daily 
giving warrant}' deeds, and in case of an ultimate eviction the 
constantly increasing value of the lands would make the final 
measure of damages very severe to the warrantors, and it would 
be utterly ruinous to them if purchasers could come upon them also 
for the whole cost of their improvements. If this real object had 
been disclosed, the Legislature would have refused to rich posses- 
sors in Boston, the protection which they readily granted to poor 
squatters in Maine, viz. : a wise enactment applicable alike in both 
cases. The provisions of the betterment law have since been 
further extended, so as to protect any person buying in good faith, 
under a title believed to be good, and making immediate improve- 
ments. The strong motives of self-interest on the part of these 
proprietors, and their adroit management, thus directly led to great 
improvements in the law of the land. 

These proprietors were doubtless well aware, from the beginning, 
of the want of any deed to Copley from Cunningham's adminstrator. 
And the same discovery was also seasonably made by his heirs at law. 
Suits were accordingly commenced to dispossess Copley's grantees, 
and great alarm and anxiety resulted therefrom. The late Abra- 
ham Moore, Esq., was by marriage nearly connected with the 
claimant, and Mr. Otis, availing himself of his personal good offices 
and assistance, at last succeeded in obtaining a full release. This, I 
have always understood, was effected without the slightest sus- 
picions of her counsel. I have been told, indeed, that Mr. Otis 
went into court, and in his blandest and most courteous manner 
moved that the suits should be dismissed. The opposite counsel 

160 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

naturally wished to know upon what specific grounds he made this 
unexpected motion. He suggested, in reply, the very conclusive 
one, of a full release in his pocket from the demandant herself. 
This, though not drawn up with the technical formalities of special 
pleading, proved probabty as effectual a "rebutter" as was ever 
submitted to the decision of a court. 

The claimant, Susanna Cunningham, was understood to have 
made an agreement with George Sullivan, Esquire, and Mr. Mur- 
ray, by which they were to carry on' the suits for her, and were to share 
largely in the expected " plunder." These gentlemen were fearful 
lest she should be tampered with, and took possession of her, keep- 
ing her secluded in Mr. Murray's estate on the North River, with 
as much vigilance as was shown of old in regard to the golden 
fruit in the garden of the Hesperides. But the fates were against 
them. The genius of Mr. Otis prevailed. Into this Eden the 
tempter entered as of old. The lady eloped from her legal guar- 
dians, as many a lady has done before and since ; and she parted 
at last, not indeed with her heart and hand, but with her title and 
estate, by an unconditional surrender. Those who had bargained 
for her claim thus lost their share of the expected profits, and had 
the pleasure of paying their own expenses. Everybody was 
pleased at their disappointment. 

Susanna Cunningham, of New York, in consideration of five 
dollars, quitclaimed to said Mason and Otis, and to Benjamin Jo}', 
" all the right, title, interest, demand, or estate, which I have or 
may have by an} T ways or means whatsoever, in and to a certain 
tract of land in Boston, containing by estimation 8 acres, bounded 
southerly by Beacon street, northwesterly on Charles River in part, 
and partly by land formerly of John Leverett and Mr. James 
Allen, northeast and northerly by land formerly of said Leverett, 
of James Allen, and Nathaniel Oliver, and easterly partly on land 
formerly of Samuel Sewall, now John Vinal's, and parti}* by laud 
of said James Allen, together with all the flats lying before the 
same to low-water mark, or however the same may measure or be 
bounded, the said land being the same which said Mason and Otis, 
and Joy, or one of them, or persons claiming under them, or some 
of them, now hold in their actual occupation, and are the same 
lands conve} T ed to said Mason, Otis, and Joy by a deed from John 
S. Cople}'', to hold to them, their heirs and assigns, according to 
their own deeds, agreements and partitions among the mselves." 

This deed is dated, acknowledged; and recorded August 17, 
1812 (L. 240, f. 250). 


That was a happy day for these purchasers. They doubtless all 
slept the more soundly the next night than they had for some time. 
It is generally believed, however, that/ve dollars does not express 
the exact sum paid to quiet this claim. It has been suggested that 
quite a number of thousands of dollars were really paid, and that 
even Mr. Moore had a very respectable fee for his services. It 
may, at least, be safely said, as in the case of the State-House wall, 
" the cost somewhat exceeded the estimates." GLEANER. 


[COPLEY'S LAND. Concluded. 1 ] 
November 30, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : The Copley purchase bounded in the rear almost 
wholly on Allen's pasture, large portions of which became also 
vested, as we have seen, in the same purchasers, partly by deed of 
Enoch Brown's heirs, and partly by the deed of the devisees of 
Jeremiah Wheelwright. In Lib. 192, fol. 198, is a great plan of 
all these purchasers, the dotted lines of which show the lines of the 
Copley deed, as claimed to run; and from this survey it appears that 
these three purchases together gave the proprietors a tract of 
land bounded southerly on Beacon street, 850 feet 8 inches ; east- 
erly on Dr. Jo}*'s land (or Walnut street), 457 feet 4 inches ; south 
on Dr. Joy's land (or Mt. Vernon street), 305 feet 1 inch; east- 
erly again on Belknap street, 236 feet 1 inch ; then north on one 
of the lots of Cooke's pasture, 77 feet ; easterly again on ditto, 83 
feet 9 inches ; and then north by a general straight line to the 
water. This last line coincides with the rear line of the estates on 
the north side of Pinckne}' street, as subsequently laid out. 

On this plan appears the old powder-house, near the north-west 
corner of the tract, and two dwelling-houses fronting towards Bea- 
con street, near its south-easterly corner. One of these houses was 
formerly occupied by Copley. For several years they had been 
occupied ; the -first by Charles Gushing, Esq., and the other by 
" Master Vinal." The Gushing house is the source of title to the 
block now owned and occupied by Messrs. Nathan Appleton and 
Henderson Inches ; while "Master Vinal" is represented by Hon. 
David Sears. 

i New title. W.H.W. 

162 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

One very observable fact is, that on this plan the lots of Zecha- 
riah Phillips's pasture, which should have been delineated at its 
north-westerly corner, do not appear. Not only is the Copley lot 
extended to the water, instead of towards the water, but the 
extreme north line of the whole plan, or the south line of the rope- 
walks of Swett, Farley, and Hammond, is extended beyond the 
west end of the rope-walks, in the same direction, to the water. 
In other words, the pasture bought of Wheelwright's devisees is made 
to sweep across these lots, precisely as the Copley estate is made to 
do; and this although the deed of Wheelwright's devisees did not pre- 
tend to run towards the water, but bounded westerly on these Phillips 
lots. The lots of Zechariah Phillips's pasture, the existence of 
which is thus ignored on the plan, were likewise ignored in fact. 
The Latin maxim was acted on, De non apparentibus et de non 
existantibus eadem est lex." 

As one and another of the owners of these lots came forward 
and claimed their rights they were settled with. Thus Samuel 
Swett sold one lot in 1803 (L. 207, f. 115). The heirs of Tilley 
quit-claimed in 1814, etc. (L. 410, f. 155-156 ; L. 249, f. 136), the 
lots subsequently sued for by the Overseers of the Poor, claiming 
under foreclosure of mortgage made by the ancestor ; and William 
Donneson conveyed one lot even as lately as 1828 (L. 338, f. 
213). These proprietors also purchased very many of the water- 
lots of Zechariah Phillips's pasture, lying north of the range of 
their original purchase, so that they were separated from Cam- 
bridge street only by Mr. Bulfinch's land. 

The Mount Vernon proprietors were Jonathan Mason and H. G. 
Otis, each three-tenths, and Benjamin Joy two-tenths ; while the 
remaining two-tenths were held by General Henry Jackson, and 
more recently by Wm. Sullivan, as trustees of Hepsibah C. Swan, 
wife of James Swan, Esq., and subject to her appointment. Va- 
rious partitions were made by mutual releases, by indentures of 
division, and by order of court. A partial division was made by 
the indenture recorded with the plan above referred to, on which 
appears, for the first time, Walnut street, Chestnut street, Mount 
Vernon street (west of Belknap street) , and Pinckney street. The 
indenture laj'ing out Louisburg square, etc., was made in 1826 
(L. 312, f. 217, etc.). A large division of the lands, east and 
west of Charles street, etc., had been made in 1809, by order of 
court, as per plan at the end of Lib. 230 ; and another, of the 
lands west of Charles street, and north of the Milldam in 1828, 
the plans being recorded at the end of L. 330. 


On the first old plan of L. 192, the sea came up to a point 850 
feet west of Dr. Joy's fence, or to a point 143 feet east of the east 
line of Charles street. This would reach to the easterty corner of 
the house next east of Mr. John Bryant's, on Beacon street ; and 
accordingly, Mr. Bryant informs me, that when he dug his cellar 
he came to the natural beach, with its rounded pebble stones, at the 
depth of three or four feet below the surface. The barberry bushes 
speedily disappeared after this Copley purchase. Charles street 
was laid out through it, and lots sold off on that street in 1804. 
The first railroad ever used in this country was here employed, an 
inclined plane being laid, down which dirt-cars were made to slide, 
empt3 T ing their loads in the water at the foot of the hill. It was 
not, however, until Mr. Otis himself became mayor that the final 
improvements of digging away May street and the adjoining lands, 
and reducing the hill to its present grade, were completed. On 
this occasion, I remember one "black" tenement perched up in 
the air, at least 15 feet above its old level. These final measures, 
though certainly important to the public convenience, happened 
also to be very beneficial to the Mount Vernon Proprietors, afford- 
ing another instance in which their interests and those of the com- 
munity, being identical, were advanced by one and the same 
instrumentality. GLEANER. 



December 4, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : On the Copley estate live, or have lived, a large 
proportion of those most distinguished among us for intellect and 
learning, or for enterprise, wealth, and public spirit. I do not 
propose to be guilty of the impertinence of saying much about 
private individuals because they happen to live in a certain locality. 
I shall merely mention a few incidents and facts which occur to 
me. The easterly part of Copley's estate is, as we have stated, 
composed of 2 acres of Sewall's Elm Pasture. Sewall street, as 
laid out in 1732, would extend west of Walnut street about 200 feet, 
and would destroy the out-buildings of about the first eight or ten 
houses on Chestnut street ; and, though Mr. Sears is one of the 

1 New title. W.H.W. 

164 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

last of our citizens whom we would feel inclined to send to or put 
in " Coventry," I am sorry to sa}" that Coventry street, as laid out 
in 1732, runs nqrth from Beacon street 140 feet west of Walnut 
street, and would therefore pass directly through his elegant estate. 
The Massachusetts General Hospital has two free beds for surgical 
cases, to be forever supported from the income of Mr. Sears' 
bounty, who also contributed generously to the enlargement of its 
buildings in 1846. Desirous that his children, during his life, 
should enjo} 7 the benefits of his wealth, he has displayed towards 
them and their families a liberality unsurpassed in this community, 
while, at the same time, he has never overlooked or disregarded 
any just claims of the public. I should, therefore, be truly sorry 
that he should be rendered houseless by this venerable highway. 

The outstanding fee of or easements in these ancient streets will 
not, however, probably ver} r seriously affect the present market 
value of an} r of these estates. 

The Mount Vernon Proprietors sold, in 1804, to Richard C. 
Derby, a lot measuring 73 feet on Chestnut street, and extending 
back on land of Otis 150 feet to Olive or Mount Vernon street, 
on which he erected a mansion-house fronting on Chestnut street, 
which he occupied for many } T ears. Mount Vernon street, when 
actually laid out, proved to be about 165 feet from Chestnut street 
at this spot. There was consequently a gore of land on Mount 
Vernon street, in front of the stable built by Mr. Derby, on what 
he supposed to be the line of that street, and which the measure- 
ments of his deed did not cover. This surplus gore of land must 
have been peculiarly unsightly to the Mount Vernon Proprietors, 
as it kept constantly before them, probably, the only instance in 
which they had parted with more than they intended. This estate 
was sold in 1846 to the Messrs. Tha}*er, whose two freestone 
houses were erected fronting on this latter street. A remarkable 
change was thus wrought, since only a few years ago horses were 
groomed and carriages washed amid the litter of a stable, where 
are now two of the most lofty vestibules and magnificent drawing- 
rooms in Boston. 

It has been said that an absent-minded fellow-citizen, when trav- 
elling, once bought his own boots. It is certain that two of our 
most intelligent citizens, formerly residing in Beacon street, deliber- 
ately bought their own houses. One of them had on various occa- 
sions spoken about selling his estate, and a broker, one da}', said to 
him, " Oh, it is very well for you to talk in this way. You dare 
not name a price which you will be willing to take." The owner, 


piqued by this challenge, instantly replied, "Yes, I will. I will 
take $50,000." "I will give it," was the equally instant and 
appalling rejoinder. The owner, of course, could not refuse to sign 
a written agreement, thus making himself legally responsible. But 
the unwillingness of a member of his family to remove led him to 
propose a reference in regard to the question of damages, and the 
result was that he remained in his own house at the price of ten 
thousand dollars. He, as may be easily believed, never offered it 
for sale again. After his death it became the property of Hender- 
son Inches, Esq. Another gentleman himself repented of a sale 
on sober second thought, and voluntarily rescinded the contract at 
the same cost. His house is now owned by William H. Prescott, 
the historian. 

Mr. Otis erected an elegant mansion on Mount Vernpn street, 
which he occupied for some 3^ears. It was subsequently sold to 
the wife of Col. Benjamin Pickman, of Salem, for $29,500 (in 
1805, L. 211, f. 156), who, altering his mind as to his intended 
removal to this city, sold it for $18,700 (in 1806, L. 217, f. 232), 
to John Osborn. It was for man} 7 years the residence of Mrs. 
Gibbs, widow of the distinguished Newport merchant, who bought 
it of Mr. Osborn in 1809, for $28,500 (L. 230, f. 179 ; L. 234, 
f. 262), and her daughter, Miss Sarah Gibbs, became the owner, in 
1828, at a cost of $25,950. Samuel Hooper, Esq., bought of her 
in A.D. 1845, for $48,000 (L. 544, f. 233), and after selling off 
the house-lots on Pinckney street, sold the residue for $70,000 to 
the Misses Pratt, in 1853. Though thus curtailed, it is still one of 
the finest private residences left in the city. 

East of this mansion is a block of buildings, erected 30 feet 
back from the street, under an agreement in A.D. 1820, imposing 
mutual restrictions between the late owners, Benjamin Joy and 
Jonathan Mason, deceased (L. 269, f. 304) ; and a like restriction 
in a deed of Mr. Swan's lot in 1832 (L. 358, f. 2). The first 
house in this block stands, indeed, partly on Miss Gibbs's lot, and 
was the residence of her brother-in-law, Rev. William Ellery 
Channing, who has a world-wide celebrity as a theologian and 

On the west of this Otis mansion is a large lot, on which stand 
two houses fronting on Mt. Vernon street, besides smaller houses 
in the rear, fronting on Pinckney street. This was sold in 1805 to 
Charles Bulfinch (L. 214, f. 18), who in 1806 divided the front 
into two lots, by deeds (L. 215, f. 147 ; L. 217, f. 69). The east- 
erly of these two houses was built by Stephen Higginson, Jr., and 

166 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

is owned by William Sawyer, Esq., one of our oldest retired mer- 
chants, formerly a partner of the late Thomas Wiggles worth. With 
him resides his sister, Mrs. George G. Lee, the well known author- 
ess. The other house was built and formerly owned and occupied 
by General David Humphre} T s, whose widow, a native of Portugal, 
at an advanced age married a French Count Walewski (about A.D. 
1830). At her request, the late Hon. John Pickering "gave her 
away," much to the amusement of his friends. He advised her to 
secure her property to her separate use. She, however, declined 
doing so, remarking: "It is delightful to us women to feel our- 
selves dependent for everything on the man we love." Her senti- 
mental bridal illusions were, however, speedily dissipated, as in 
the similar case of Madam Haley. Her husband, doubtless, took 
a more matter-of-fact view of the ceremony, and 'perhaps was even 
then thinking of this land. At any rate, she soon died, and this 
estate, converted into cash, was remitted to Paris (L. 351, f. 34 ; 
L. 373, f. 23), to replenish the finances of " the Count." 




December 7, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR : The first dwelling-house on Beacon street held 
under the Copley title is that at the corner of Walnut street, 
owned and occupied by the family of the late Thomas Dixon. By 
the great indenture of division in 1799 (L. 392, f. 198), it was 
assigned to Jonathan Mason, who, in 1804, sold the same to John 
Phillips (L. 208, f. 223). He died in 1823, and his heirs in 1825 
conveyed to Thomas L. Winthrop, who died 1841, when his exec- 
utors conveyed to Mr. Dixon. This estate was, therefore, for 
many years in succession, the mansion-house estate of Mr. Phillips 
and of Mr. Winthrop. 

No office in this country is hereditary except, as it would seem, 
that of Register of Deeds, which, in this country, has been held by 
grandfather, father, and son (Henry, William, and Henry Alline) , 
whose next immediate predecessor (Ezekiel Goldthwait) was the 
lineal ancestor of the wife of the present incumbent. This tenure, 
during four generations, of an elective office, indicates some sub- 


stantial merits as the basis of popular favor. 1 In like manner 
one of our earliest governors was John Winthrop. Another, 
equally distinguished, was James Bowdoin. The late Thomas L. 
Winthrop, a lineal descendant of the former, and who married the 
granddaughter of the latter, was himself elected for seven succes- 
sive years (18261832) Lieut-Governor of the Commonwealth. 
His son, the late Greiiville Temple Winthrop, who some years 
since closed a retired life in a neighboring town, was formerly 
commander of that well-known corps, the Boston Cadets. On an 
intensely cold election day the company was not Reasonably ready 
to attend upon his Excellenc} 7 " Governor Lincoln, at the conclusion 
of the services at the Old South Church. The undignified haste 
with which they left their snug quarters and pleasant refreshments 
at the Exchange Coffee House, and ran along the streets to over- 
take the Commander-in-Chief, afforded much innocent amusement ; 
but, as a breach of military etiquette, the indignity could not be 
overlooked. The result was a court-martial, and the proceedings 
led to a voluminous publication in two octavos, which a friend 
once playfully pointed out to me as u Winthrop's Works." 

Distinguished as was the late Lt.-Governor Winthrop* in his 
lifetime, he will hereafter be better known as the father of a more 
distinguished son, Robert C. Winthrop, who, under the doctrine of 
hereditary descent, based upon merit, may well aspire to the same 
high position which has been so honorably filled alike by his 
paternal and maternal ancestors. 

However much our views may differ on the subject of slavery, I 
do not believe that the interests of the character of our old Com- 
monwealth would suffer at his hands. So, too, the late John 
Phillips, for ten successive years the President of our State Senate, 
and though selected, from his personal popularity, above all others, 
to be the first Ma} r or of Boston, will be nay, is already chiefly 
remembered as the father of Wendell Phillips. As an advocate in 
any event of disunion, I totally dissent from his views ; but much 
should be pardoned to an honest zeal in a righteous cause. As 
long as a slave shall tread upon that soil which of all others in the 
world seems especially consecrated to freedom, aye, long after 

1 Mr. G old th wait's first signature as Register is to a deed recorded Nov. 6, 1740, L. 
60, f. 77, and his last to a deed recorded Jan. 17, 1776, L. 127, f. 31. It is a remark- 
able fact that both he and his immediate successor died in office blind. I shall gladly 
continue to vote for our present competent and courteous Register until he becomes 
blind, a disability which I sincerely hope will never befall him. I am convinced that 
while he has his eyes the public willnot find a more faithful servant. 

168 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

that foul stigma shall have been effaced from our national char- 
acter, as God, in his merc} T , grant that it speedily may be, 
without civil dissensions and fraternal bloodshed ! the classic 
erudition and the dignified eloquence of Sumner, the graceful 
delivery, the fervid oratory, the sometimes too impassioned de- 
nunciations of Phillips, will have made their names household 
words as among the foremost of those who in any age or country 
have vindicated the cause of oppressed and degraded humanitj^. 
I rejoice to believe that the coldness, the bitterness, the social 
proscription of to-day will be amply atoned for hereafter by the 
gratitude of a united, happy, and free people. 

It is a remarkable circumstance that the estate should have been 
derived by the great anti-slavery champion b}^ regular conveyances 
from Jonathan Mason, one of the few Northern men whose votes 
established the Missouri Compromise. And nothing indicates 
more strongly the subsequent retrograde movement of the nation on 
this subject than the fact that we are now seeking, and probably 
seeking in vain, to procure even a restoration of this veiy compro- 
mise, which, when it was first forced upon us, was regarded with 
universal and unmitigated detestation. We bartered away our 
birthright, and have lost even the poor pittance for which we 
bargained. GLEANER. 



December II, 2855. 

MR. EDITOR : Next west of Lt. -Governor Winthrop's house is 
that of Hon. Nathan Appleton. As an associate of the late 
Francis C. Lowell and P. T. Jackson, he participated largely in 
the creation of the great manufacturing interest of New England, 
and is probably now as well informed in relation to that subject as 
any one among us. As a member of Congress, he was opposed to 
Henry Lee, who advocated free trade in opposition to " the Ameri- 
can system." In m3 r father's household were four voters. He 
himself was a warm partisan of Mr. A., but two of us "young 
Americans " could not be convinced \>y his arguments, and so the 
entire famity turned out at the polls and exactly neutralized each 

1 New title. W.H.W. 


other. Mr. A. is a brother of the late Samuel Appleton, and the 
famity name still preserves its ancient brightness. Of his two 
elder daughters one is married to the son and biographer of Sir 
James Mackintosh, the Governor of St. Christophers, the other to 
the poet Longfellow. At the last commencement of Harvard 
College, Mr. Appleton received the honorary degree of Doctor of 

Elizabeth, wife of Charles Gushing, Esq., in 1796 acquired a 
lot 73 feet on Beacon street by 165 feet deep (L. 184, f. 90), and he 
purchased the adjoining 25-feet lot, 1804 (L. 210, f. 25). Their 
children conveyed in 1816 to Nathan Appleton and Daniel P. 
Parker (252, f. 69), who erected two elegant brick mansions. 

Mr. Parker was an active and successful merchant, and at his 
death owned one of the finest vessels in the port, to which he had 
given the name of his friend and neighbor, Samuel Appleton. He 
was for several }-ears a trustee of the Massachusetts General 
Hospital. He left one son, Henry Tuke Parker, and two daughters, 
the eldest of whom is the wife of Edmund Quinc} 7 . 

Mr. Gushing was a well-known citizen, the Clerk of the Courts ; 
and the testimony of his son of the same name a gentleman of 
intelligence and high standing was of great importance to the Mt. 
Vernon Proprietors in the suits brought by the Overseers of the 
Poor. He remembered that Copley's fence joined on the old pow- 
der-house, thus establishing an ancient monument. 

The stone mansion of Mr. Sears was originally a much lower 
building, having only one bow in the centre, instead of two bows or 
projections. It fronted on a yard or carriage-way, laid out on the 
easterly side of his lot. It was a very graceful and beautiful 
building, and a great ornament to the street. He subsequently 
erected an additional house on the east, covering the whole front of 
his lot, and also making radical changes in the original structure. 
On this lot of Mr. Sears, behind the old house, stood a barn, which 
was converted into a temporary hospital for the wounded British 
officers after the battle of Bunker Hill. When Mr. Sears was 
digging for the foundations of his house, the workmen came, at a 
depth of several feet under the surface, to a gigantic moccasined 
foot, perhaps 2 feet long, broken off at the ankle, and carved from 
a kind of a sandstone not found in this vicinity, which he pre- 
sented to the Boston Athenaeum, where it now is not. 

" Master Vinal" would doubtless be much gratified to find that 
his humble wooden house has attained to such high distinction in 
these later times. And even Mr. Copley would admit that the 

170 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

houses of Messrs. Sears, Parker, and Appleton have more than 
made good the two domiciles which are delineated in all the dignity 
of yellow paint, with doors, windows, and chimneys, on the origi- 
nal plan of the Mount Vernon Purchase (in Lib. 192). Except 
the old powder-house, we have seen that only these two houses 
appear on a plan of an estate containing a million of square feet, 
upon which now stand probably five hundred houses. 

After Mr. Otis had sold his mansion house on Mt. Vernon street, 
he removed to an elegant and spacious house which he erected on 
Beacon street, next west of Mr. Sears's, and here he lived till his 
death. His lot was 120 feet front by 165 feet in depth. The 
easterly portion was a fine garden. Land at last became so valu- 
able that he did not feel justified in retaining for a mere matter of 
sentiment this beautiful enclosure, which had long pleased all ej'es, 
and decided to convert it to a more substantial use. He accord- 
ingly, in 1831, sold the easterly part to Mr. Sears, for $12,412.5.0 
(L. 356, f. 227), who proceeded to erect a house, and on the west 
part Mr. Otis himself erected another. The bow of Mr. Otis's 
mansion house, which originally projected into the garden, still 
projects into this house, though this encroachment is ingeniously 
disposed of and concealed by its interior arrangements. When the 
houses were erected on this garden there was found what had the 
appearance of an old well, entirely filled up with beach sand. 
Its existence was before unknown. The foundations of the new 
buildings were constructed by arching it over. And perhaps, after 
many a year yet to come, it may again astonish the spectators. 
The mansion house itself, after Mr. Otis's death, was conveyed to, 
and is now owned by, Samuel Austin, b} T whom it has been thor- 
oughly renovated. There is, perhaps, on the whole, no more 
desirable residence in Boston. Mr. Austin paid for it the sum of 

There probably has never lived in Boston any individual with 
finer natural endowments than Mr. Otis. Possessing a noble 
presence, a beautifully modulated voice, great readiness and self- 
possession, and a cultivated intellect, he has rarely, if ever, been 
surpassed in the divine gift of eloquence. Nor was he less agree- 
able and fascinating in the intercourse of private life. His brilliant 
repartees, his graceful compliments, his elegant manners, made 
him as distinguished and successful in the social circle, as his 
talents and intelligence did at the bar and in all the business 
relations of a long and active life. A single anecdote will illus- 
trate his instant readiness : a friend and his wife were one day 


approaching him in the street. The wife noticed some derange- 
ment of her husband's dress, and stopped to adjust it. As Mr. 
Otis reached them, she turned round, and, struck with the faultless 
neatness of his costume, exclaimed to her husband, "There, 
look at Mr. Otis's bosom." Mr. O. immediately bowed and said, 
" Madam, if your husband could look within this bosom, he would 
die of jealousy" Had Mr. Otis been less absorbed with the care 
of his own concerns and interests, there was no honor in the gift 
of his fellow-citizens which they would not have bestowed upon 
him by acclamation. 

He died in 1848, leaving three sons and one daughter. Several 
of his children had died during his lifetime, three of whom left 
issue. He had strong domestic affections, and the kindest feelings 
existed between him and those employed in his household. He 
rightly thought that that relation involved something more than 
mere service on the one side and wages on the other. I have heard 
him spoken of with great regard by one who for many years was 
a frequent inmate of his dwelling, employed in labors of needle- 
work. In his last will is the following item : " I give to Deborah 
Hastings, my faithful nurse, two hundred dollars, and a suit of 
mourning at the discretion of," &c., "handsome, suitable for her 
condition in life, and not too extravagant." GLEANER. 



December 14, 1855. . 

MR. EDITOR : There is no name among us more entitled to 
honorable commemoration than that of Lowell. It has still one 
venerable living representative, the survivor of a past generation, 
Rev. Charles Lowell, D.D., who is father of the distinguished 
poet, James Russell Lowell, and of Mrs. Samuel R. Putnam, a 
lady as unaffected and pleasing as she is talented and learned. 
One of Dr. Lowell's brothers, the late Hon. John Lowell, was in 
early life at the head of the Suffolk Bar, and eventually the most 
distinguished agriculturist in New England. He was for many 
years a member of the Corporation of Harvard College, as his son 

x New title. W.H.W. 

172 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

John Amory Lowell is now. Another brother, the late Francis C. 
Lowell, devoted himself with the utmost enthusiasm to the estab- 
lishment and development of our manufactures. A great city 
sprang into existence, the future emporium of this branch of our 
national industry, and, b} T adopting his name, has gratefully recog- 
nized him as its virtual founder. 

I have alluded in a former article to the rapid rise in value of 
lands in Boston. The same remarks are even more strikingly 
applicable to lands in Lowell. A single farm of 100 acres was 
bargained for at the outset (1819-22) at from $15 to 820 per acre. 
Nine out of the ten owners conve}*ed accordingly. The tenth 
died, and in the delay of getting license to sell to raise enough to 
pay his debts, the f of his & sold in 1824 for $3,206.89. This 
sum paid all his debts, and a new license became necessary to sell 
for the benefit of his heirs, and their J of T V was sold for $4,742. 
When I was examining the titles in Lowell, in 1831, Mr. Kirk 
Boott informed me that this farm, without any improvements, 
could not be worth less than $15,000 per acre, or, in other words, 
that its value had increased, in ten 3 r ears, from about $1,500 to 
$1,500,000, or a thousandfold. 

I was employed to examine all the titles in Lowell, from the 
circumstance that an individual was engaged in trying to discover 
defects, and to extort money from the Corporation. I one day 
received a note from Mr. Boott, that this person pretended that a 
valid claim existed for the whole of this farm, because, when it 
was conveyed, in 1782, by Benjamin Melvin, and Joanna, his wife 
(L, 84, f. 277), she was a minor ; that both husband and wife had 
lived till within the past few years, and therefore her heirs were 
not }'et barred. It of course became of great importance to find 
out whether or not she was a minor in 1782. I knew that there 
was a large trunk full of papers in the Probate Office, which had 
never been recorded, because the fees had not been paid. I deter- 
mined to examine every paper. In doing so I found her choice of 
a guardian in 1772, specif3 T ing her age to be then 15 years, which 
proved conclusively that she must have been 25 years old at the 
time of her conveyance. I procured a certified copy of this docu- 
ment, and there was no more trouble or alarm on that subject. 

One very curious, mistake of title I discovered and caused to be 
corrected, in regard to the valuable Kurd estate, then so called, 
since belonging to the Middlesex Company. It contained several 
acres, and was sold in 1827 for 855,000. In 1822 it belonged 
wholly to Thomas Kurd. He conveyed to his brother William in 


1822 (L. 248, f. 388), one-half part of all my right, &c., in and to. 
These words were servilely copied in the two next deeds, each of 
which was intended to convey the whole interest of the grantor. 
Thus William, instead of selling ^, sold J to Joseph Hurd in 1824 
(L. 268. f. 208), and Joseph reconveyed to Thomas in 1826 
(L. 268, f. 236), only |- instead of the which he supposed that he 
was selling. Three-eighths of the whole land were thus left out- 
standing, merely .from supposing that moiety had no meaning. 
I once met with a like curious defect in a title in Boston, caused 
by its being supposed to mean any fractional share whatever. A 
series of deeds conveyed one undivided moiety or quarter part, &c., 
which, on the rule of construing a deed, in case of doubt, most 
strongly against the grantor, of course made him legally sell twice 
what he meant, and the later grantees were left in a forlorn and 
destitute condition. In L. 258, f. 233, of Suffolk Deeds will be 
found a case where a grantor sells four moieties of a parcel of land 
as being all that he owned himself, " and also all the right of my 
dearly beloved wife Abigail." 

At the death of Francis C. Lowell, in the year 1817, he left four 
children, a daughter, who married her cousin, John Amory 
Lowell, and three sons. One of these was John Lowell, Junior. 
Possessing a considerable estate, he married a lad} r of large for- 
tune, who died leaving him two children. He purchased a house 
in Beacon street, part of the Copley lot, as an investment on their 
account. A guardian is only permitted to invest in real estate 
under previous' license of Court. This had not been obtained. 
A question was raised, therefore, as to the allowance of the 
account. Both the children died by sudden and severe disease 
within a few days, and the father, as heir of the survivors, became 
entitled to all the property which had been held in trust for his kite 
wife. By his will, dated Nov. 8, 1832, he established that admi- 
rable foundation, The Lowell Institute. He never married again ; 
but this document provides minutely for a possible wife and chil- 
dren, and, in default of any such immediate claimants, appropri- 
ates a moiety of all his estate to this public use. By a second 
codicil, dated April 1, 1835, "from the top of the palace of 
Louxor, in the French house at Thebes," he gives his final direc- 
tions as to this Lecture-Fund Trust. The time-defying pyramids, 
by their massive grandeur, inspired Napoleon to address to his 
troops that stirring appeal which history will never allow to be 
forgotten. And the same associations perhaps led the American 
traveller to consummate, among the glorious remains of ancient 

174 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

Egypt, a cherished purpose, of which the effects will, perhaps, be 
as enduring as the monuments of the Pharaohs. May the ever- 
increasing intelligence of the citizens of Boston, through coming 
generations, be the appropriate memorial of his wisdom and 
philanthropy ! 

I remember but one other will which states any peculiar circum- 
stance attending its execution. The late Redford Webster, father 
of Professor Webster, appended to his signature, in 1832, the 
following: " With Mr. Eliot's bad pen in the dark shop." Not- 
withstanding this trivial remark, the testator was a person of 
superior intelligence. 

Mr. Lowell's house has since his" death become the property of 
his brother, Francis C. Lowell, who for several years ably presided 
over the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company, one of 
the largest of our monej^ed institutions, and whose active services 
and ready aid have been freely rendered to the charitable estab- 
lishments of our city. Their youngest brother, the late Edward 
Jackson Lowell, was a classmate of my own at Harvard College. 
None who had previously borne the name were purer in character, 
more brilliant in talents, or governed by higher impulses and 
nobler views of life and duty. He died of consumption in 1829, 
one of the earliest taken and best beloved of our band of brothers. 




December 18, 1855. 

MR. EDITOR: Hon. Jonathan Mason died in 1831, leaving a 
numerous family, who are among our most estimable and respected 
citizens. Of his two sons, Jonathan and William P., the latter 
was for several years reporter of the decisions of Judge Story, 
though he has now retired from the profession. Of Mr. Mason's 
daughters one is wife of Hon. David Sears ; one is the widow of 
the late Patrick Grant ; one was wife of Samuel D. Parker, the 
distinguished criminal lawyer ; one was first wife of Dr. John C. 
Warren, and mother of his equally distinguished son, J. Mason 
Warren ; and one is mother of the late Dr. Samuel Parkman, 

1 New title. W.H.W. 


whose private worth, and whose eminence as a surgeon, make his 
recent death a loss to our whole community. 

Mr. Mason and Mr. Otis were, as we have seen, the two chief 
Mount Vernon Proprietors, and Mrs. Hepsibah C. Swan, wife of 
James Swan, Esq., was one of their associates. She was a lady 
of great personal beauty, of strong impulses, and of a most marked 
and decided character. Mr. Swan was at Paris during all the 
fearful events of the old French Revolution. He sent home to this 
country many beautiful pieces of tapestry and rich furniture, 
purchased from the spoils, probably, of royal palaces and noble 
residences, some of which are still possessed by his descendants. 
Many have long since been disposed of. A massive silver soup 
tureen was bought by my informants very many years ago. If its 
mate could have been procured, the two would readily have brought 
$1,000. Comparatively useless of itself, he eventually sent it to 
the East Indies, where it was sold for $300. At a period long 
subsequent its companion was disposed of at auction in Boston. 
A pair of andirons, of elegant and elaborate workmanship, were 
sent from Paris, which for many years enjc^ed a golden reputation. 
They became the propert}' of the late George Blake, and after his 
death were discovered to be brass gilt. 

Mr. Swan also remitted large sums of money, which were in- 
vested (for the use of his wife, and subject to her power of appoint- 
ment) in two-tenths of all the Mt. Vernon lands, and in numerous 
other of the most valuable parcels of real estate in our city. At 
last, his speculations, which for a time had been so successful, 
proved ruinous, and he became deeply insolvent. Sinbad could 
not shake from his shoulders the old man who took possession of 
them. " Old Vans" till his death persecuted the Codmans, and 
Mr. Swan had his " Picquet." He was imprisoned in the jail at 
Paris by his inexorable creditors, and there he continued to live, 
year after year, and there, I believe, he died, unless, perhaps, 
shortly before his death, released by some act of grace. He, at 
any rate, did not get back to this county. Let it not be supposed, 
however, that his life was a miserable one. Though he was, from 
compulsion, a domestic man, and his excursions were unpleasantly 
restricted, nobody lived in greater style, or had more elegant 
entertainments. He, however, certainly saw less of his family 
than most of us would have deemed desirable. His wife died in 
1829, and he died in Paris in 1831. 

Repeated attempts were made to get at the estates in this 
country as having been purchased with his creditors 1 funds ; but 

176 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 

they were unsuccessful. His wife lived here, with an elegant 
establishment in the city (now Benjamin Welles' house, in Chest- 
nut street), and a beautiful summer residence in Dorchester. In 
the garden of this latter mansion is still to be seen the enclosure 
in which lies buried General Henry Jackson, the original trustee, 
who had charge of her property and affairs. Many amusing and 
striking anecdotes are told of this lady. She had (besides a son, 
who finally died without issue) three daughters, one of whom 
married the late John C. Howard, and died leaving several chil- 
dren. Two of her daughters are now wives of two of the most 
distinguished divines in this vicing, Rev. Francis Way land, D.D., 
late President of Brown University, and Rev. Cyrus A. Bartol, of 
the West Church in this city. 

Another daughter of Mrs. Swan married the late William Sulli- 
van. She was one of the most refined, amiable, and lady-like 
persons in the whole society of Boston ; and her husband was 
equally distinguished for his elegant manners and kind disposi- 
tion. His considerate notice of the young, his thoughtful atten- 
tions, his graceful and elegant hospitality, and the charming 
societ}* of his beautiful and accomplished family, made his house 
truly delightful to all friends and visitors. One of his daughters 
married the talented artist, Stewart Newton, and is now the wife 
of Mr. Okey, of New York. One of his sons, an estimable young 
man, who inherited the pleasant manners of his parent, died long 
since, an esteemed classmate of my own. A feeling of regret 
comes over me as I remember that both parents were called upon 
at last to endure peculiarly distressing maladies, and that this 
delightful household, by death and removal, has entirely passed 
away from among us. There has, indeed, been seldom, if ever, 
gathered within the walls of any of our mansions a more agreeable 
and attractive famity, or one of which a more affectionate remem- 
brance will be longer or more widely cherished. 

Mr. Sullivan was a man of cultivation and refinement. He 
published an interesting volume, entitled, " Familiar Letters on 
Public Characters." At the bar he was a pleasing speaker, and 
he took a high rank in his profession. He was deficient, however, 
in method and exactness. His conveyances, though often drawn 
up with accurate technical language, had occasionally some one 
point of law or fact overlooked or disregarded, which made the 
instrument fatally defective. Thus the first three houses in Colon- 
nade row (those owned by the late Amos Lawrence, William 
Lawrence, and Jeremiah Mason, and a part of the fourth house, 


owned by James T. Austin) became, by appointment of Mrs. ' 
Swan, the estate of Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan, and of Mr. and Mrs. 
John T. Sargent, and of Mrs. Howard, in 1811 (238, f. 227). A 
conveyance was drawn of them forthwith, in which Mr. Sullivan 
and Mr. Sargent were grantors, and their wives merely joined at 
the close of the deeds to release dower, Mrs. Howard being wholly 
omitted, A.D. 1811 (238, f. 235). This mistake was discovered 
and corrected as to each of these bouses, in succession, in 1822 as 
to Mr. Austin's house (L, 277, f. 15), in 1831 as to Amos Law- 
rence (L. 352, f. 117), and as to Mrs. Williams, or Mr. Mason's 
(L. 355, f. 25), and in 1839 as to Mr. Lawrence's house (L. 442, 
f. 244). 

Though it would have been supposed that as soon as the mistake 
had been pointed out in regard to one of these estates, Mr. Sulli- 
van, as a business man, would have been led to look for the like 
error in relation to the others, precisely the same mistake occurred 
in regard to quite a valuable lot of land on the north side of 
Bromfield street, crossing Montgomery place, which was conveyed 
by James Swan, in A.D. 1807 (L. 219, f. 277), though the fee was 
in his wife. In this case death intervened before the mistake was 
discovered, and $4,191.60 was paid to the heirs, who now owned 
the estate because their mother did not put her name into the right 
part of the deed, A.D. 1831 (L. 353, f. 75). 

The remaining daughter of Mrs. Swan married in succession 
John Turner Sargent, Esq. (brother of Sigma), and Rev. Dr. 
Richmond ; and after the death of the latter she, by permission of 
the Legislature, resumed the family name of her first husband. 
She still occupies her mother's mansion at Dorchester. In early 
life she was pree'minently distinguished for beauty. I remember 
to have seen a private letter, dated about 60 } r ears ago, addressed 
to an eminent lawyer of this city, then resident elsewhere, speak- 
ing in terms of the utmost enthusiasm of the charms of " Kitty 
Swan." Her name was "Christiana Keadie," a name which, 
peculiar as it is, is still perpetuated in the person of an attractive 
granddaughter, whose companions address her with the same 
sociable " feline" epithet. There were three sons, one of whom, 
John T. Sargent, is well known as a minister at large in this city. 
Another, Hemy J. Sargent, has a cultivated musical taste, and 
not long since published a volume of poems. He is father of the 
young " Kitty," to whom he recently dedicated quite a graceful 
and pleasing song. GLEANER. 

178 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 



January 12, 1850. 

MR. EDITOR: On Wednesday, July 7th, 1824, just before two 
o'clock, the bells of Boston rang an alarm of fire, and instantly a 
dense mass of black smoke was seen to overhang the entire city. 
I have always been an amateur at fires. If the calamity must 
happen, I like to be present, to behold what sometimes proves to 
be a most magnificent spectacle. I was then a young man, in my 
teens, and hastening from 'Change to the corner of Park street, 
I saw at once that a most furious and destructive conflagration had 
commenced. The wind was blowing a hurricane from the north- 
west. When I reached the bottom of the Beacon-street Mall, a 
stream of fire was pouring through the passage-way west of Mr. 
Bryant's house, from carpenter shops and other combustible 
premises on Charles and Chestnut streets. 

The flame was of the full width of the passage-way, and it was 
curling round into the front windows of Mr. B.'s house, which was 
then nearl}' finished and ready for occupancy. The out-buildings 
and fences of all that range of dwelling-houses were then of wood, 
so that the fire was also making its fearful approaches in the rear. 
I have never seen, before or since, any similar occasion of a more 
appalling character. The hasty removal of household furniture, 
much of it being thrown from the windows, which were broken out 
for the purpose ; the panic of the occupants, as they and their 
children were obliged to fty, some at a notice of a few minutes ; 
the crackling of the flames, the intense heat, the falling of the 
walls of one dwelling-house after another, as the fire proceeded 
along the street ; the shouts of the firemen ; the mass of specta- 
tors filling the bottom of the Common and the rising ground in 
its centre, the jets of flame often springing over a space of several 
feet, the burning fragments borne aloft over our heads to remote 
parts of the city ; the magnitude of the danger which led to the 
covering with wet blankets of houses even as distant as Mr. Otis's 
and Mr. Sears's, formed together an aggregate of sights and 
sounds which can never be forgotten. 

As those houses which at first were not thought in great danger, 
one after another, took fire and were consumed, owners who 
originally decided not to have their furniture moved were at last 
obliged to remove it so hastily that much was ruined, and much 


more was necessarily left behind. In some instances old family 
portraits and inherited articles of furniture, rendered invaluable by 
the associations of a lifetime, were thus reluctantly surrendered. 
On the other hand a tin-kitchen was saved, and its viands cooking 
for dinner were protected from the danger of being overdone. 

Extensive removals were made from several houses, which were 
eventually saved, as in the case of Mr. William Appleton's and 
others. The Common presented a curious medley of miscellaneous 
articles, the shabbiest household utensils side by side with ele- 
gant drawing-room carpets and ornaments. Bottles of wine which 
had not seen the light for twenty 3^ears were suminaril}- decapi- 
tated without any ceremonious drawing of corks, and the Juno or 
Elipse vintage was probably never quaffed with greater relish than 
when it refreshed the parched throats of the exhausted firemen. 
Other amateurs, without having their apology, imitated their 
example, and the scene assumed rather a bacchanalian character. 
One gentleman, desirous of withholding further fuel from this con- 
flagration, locked up his wine-cellar, and left its contents to be at 
least harmlessly consumed. 

Seven dwelling-houses on Beacon street, east of the passage-way, 
were burnt, besides the entire range of buildings between the 
passage-way and Charles street. The fire was at last success- 
fully checked at the house of the late Mr. Eckley. I sup- 
pose that it always happens that in a large fire somebody's policy 
has just expired. This was, I believe, the case with the late Mr. 
Henry G. Rice. To many besides him that was a very sad and 
discouraging day. Mr. Bryant had the advantage over his neigh- 
bors of not being incommoded b}- any furniture or family, as he 
had not yet taken possession. It is satisfactoiy to reflect that all 
the pecuniary loss then sustained has, undoubtedly, been much 
more than made good by the greatly enhanced value of real estate 
in that vicinity. And, independently of all the direct and per- 
petual advantages, of the most inestimable character, derived by 
our citizens from the Boston Common, it should never be forgotten 
that it was solely owing to the existence of this open space on this 
occasion that the entire southern portion of our city was not 
destroyed. The range of trees at the foot of the Beacon-street 
Mall rendered a truly important service. Suffering the flames of 
martyrdom, they died at their post of dut} r . 

A burning cinder lodged in ni}' eye, causing a violent inflamma- 
tion, and bringing to an abrupt close my meditations on this 
striking spectacle, and a like inflammation of the same organ now 
brings to a like abrupt close the speculations of GLEANER 

180 CITY DOCUMENT No. 105. 


The closing lines of the last article may be classed among 
involuntary prophecies ; for this proved to be the real close 
of this amusing and instructive series of notes. On January 
4, 1856, Mr. Bowditch had printed an article relating to 
Benjamin Joy, and especially noticing his sale of land to the 
McLean Asylum in Somerville. Certain expressions therein 
called forth a sharp letter from Mr. John B. Joy, a son of 
the gentleman criticised. Mr. Bowditch in reply disclaimed 
any intention to reflect upon the family, and was again assailed 
by Mr. Joy. This brought forth an answer, and then a last 
retort from Mr. Joy. It has not seemed best to reprint any 
part of this controversy . 

Unfortunately this trivial dispute seems to have entirely 
quenched Mr. Bowditch's willingness to continue his work, 
and the articles came to an abrupt conclusion. It will always 
remain a source of regret that the public was thus deprived 
of further information upon our local antiquities from one so 
competent to communicate it. w. H. w. 


Adams, 136. 
Adams House, 19. 
A dan, 108. 
" Africanus," 43. 
"Albion, The," 22, 70, 71. 
Alford, 92, 93, 119. 120. 

Allen, 21, 22, 23, 24, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 
43, 46, 71, 72, 74, 91, 111, 112, 132, 148, 149, 
150,152, 154, 160. 
Alley, Cato, 127. 
Alley, Hog, 19, 50. 
Alline, 15, 67, 166. 
Alms House, 34, 35, 71, 93. 
America, 63, 65, 124, 156. 
Amory, 56, 71. 
Anchor Tavern, 18. 
Andrews, 51. 
Andros, 7, 9, 10. 
Angier, 130. 

Appleton, 141, 142, 161, 168, 169, 170,179. 
Apthorp, 92, 93. 
Armitage, 52. 
Armstrong, 136. 
Arnold, 43. 
Ashon, 2, 151. 
Athenaeum, 71, 123. 
Athenaeum, Boston, 169. 
Atkinson, 19, 33, 42. 

Austin, 21, 34, 35, 47, 83, 113, 135, 170, 17T. 
Avenue, Coolidge, 123. 
Hancock, 127. 
Mt. Vernon, 127. 
Squirrel, 19. 
Western, 1, 53. 

( Ayer, 38. 
Ayre, 38. 

( See Eyre. 
Ayres, 38. 
Aylwin, 86. 

" Back Bay," 136. 
Bagnall, 132. 
Baker, 14, 29. 
Baldwin, 116. 
Balston, 131. 
Bangs, 107. 

( Banister, 2, 5, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155. 
) Bannister, 26, 27. 
Barbadoes, 106. 
Barnes, 80. 
Barnon, 68. 

"Barricade, The," 12, 13. 
Bartlett, 69, 74. 
Bartol, 176. 
Barton, 34. 

Barton Point Association, 34, 133. 
Barton's Point, 1, 4, 34, 133, 151. 
Bastile, 91. 
Bayley, 66. 

Beacon-street Mall, 178, 179. 
Beck, 21. 
Beebe, 51. 
Belcher, 44. 
Bell, 14. 

Bellingham, 61, 62, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70. 
Bellknap, 39, 42, 112. 

Bendall, 52, 61. 

Bennett, 26. 

Bentinck, 137. 

Bigelow, 84. 

Biggs, 21, 22, 23, 24, 37, 42. 

Blackstone, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 23, 24, 50, 113, 148, 
149, 150, 151, 152, 156. 

Blackstone lot, 2, 5, 26, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152. 
six acre lot, 2, 3, 24, 148, 150, 154. 
Neck, 5. 
Point, 1, 3, 4, 5. 

Blair, 33. 

Blake, 27, 50, 109, 175. 

Blanchard, 133. 

Blantaine, 14. 

Blanton, 15. 

Blaxton, 4. 

Blaxton's Point, 4. 

Blighe, 117. 

Blott, 13, 14, 19. 

" Blue Anchor Tavern," 18. 

Boardman, 27. 

Bond, 133. 

Bonner, 5, 34, 112, 113. 

" Book of Possessions " 14, 20, 38, 41, 42, 52, 

Boot, 49, 172. 

Borland, 64. 

Boston, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 
. 17, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 37, 38, 41, 43, 
44, 47, 48, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 
67, 68, 71, 73, 76, 79, 80, 90, 96, 100, 103, 
107,108,115, 117, 118, 124, 126, 127, 128, 
132, 133, 134, 142, 143, 147, 152, 153, 154, 
155, 156, 157, 159, 160, 164, 170, 173, 174, 
175, 176, 178. 

Boston Courier, 3, 141. 
Library, 17. 
Records, 150. 
and Roxbury Mill Co., 37. 

Bosworth, 38, 42, 78, 111, 116, 119, 120, 129. 

Bowditch, 4, 9, 37, 42, 43. 48, 59, 62, 66, 115. 

Bowdoin, 45, 48, 51, 58, 66, 80, 81, 85, 86, 87, 
92, 93, 104, 110, 124, 157, 167. 

Bowen, 154. 

Bowers, 52, 53, 54, 56, 59, 74, 75, 81. 

Bowling Green, 52-. 

Boyden, 58. 

Boynton, 114. 

Box, 113, 114. 

Bracket, 2, 151. 

Bradlee, 128. 

Brattle, 9, 37, 38, 129, 130, 149. 

Brattle-street Parsonage Estate, 83, 84, 85, 89, 
108, 135. 

" Brazier Building," 15. 

Bridge, West Boston, 36. 

Bridgham, 67. 

Bridgman, 10, 142. 

Brimmer, 66. 

Brinley, 25. 

Broad-street Association, 133. 

Bromfield, 81, 93. 

Brougham, 101. 

Brown, 24, 34, 35, 37, 39, 64, 65, 76, 100, 113, 

Brown University, 176. 



Bryant, 163, 178, 179. 

Bulfinch, 17, 25, 49, 59, 80, 86, 121, 123, 162, 


Bullard, 26. 
Burnett, 112. 
Burrill, 43. 
Butolph, 38, 39. 

Buttolph, 21, 40, 41, 42, 111, 112. 
Byfield, 25. 

Cade, 34, 35. 
Csesar, 43. 
California, 136. 
Callender, 145. 
Cambridge, 2. 
Cambridgeport, 83, 135. 
Caner, 9. 
Carnes, 34, 35, 42. 
Gas well, 35. 
Cato, 43. 

Chambers, 20, 21, 22. 
Channing, 165. 
Chapman, 154. 
Chardon, 154, 155. 
Charlestown, 1, 55, 92, 155. 
Chauncy, 131. 
Chelsea, 70. 
Church, Baptist, 49. 

Brattle St., 88, 89. 

England of, 8. 

Episcopal, 9. 

First, 14, 15, 16, 62, 66; 67, 70, 71. 

First Episcopal, 7. 

Maverick, 34. 

Mt. Vernon Congregational, 51. 

New Jerusalem, 87. 

Old South, 167. 

Park Street, 6. 

St. Paul's, 13, 14. 

Trinity, 14. 

West, 176. 

City Burial Grounds, 10. 
Council 36, 57. 
Hall, 7, 8, 50. 
Jail, 23. 

Clark, 21, 26, 29, 44, 140. 
Clarke, 41, 42. 
Clough. 44. 
Cobb, 27. 
Cobhara, 37, 38. 
Cockburn, 64. 
Codman, 33, 175. 
Coffin, 71. 

Coggan, 11, 40, 62, 70, 141, 142, 143. 
Coggan's Marsh, 70. 
Colbron, 6, 26, 151. 
Cole, 24, 37, 38, 39, 151. 
College, Bowdoin, 86, 87, 124. 

Hazard, 18, 124. 

Medical, 23. 
Collins, 44. 
Colman, 59. 

Common, 2, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 18, 35, 36, 37, 50, 
60, 67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 79, 80,92, 93, 102, 
103, 112, 116, 117, 119, 120, 124, 127, 129, 
130, 131, 136, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 
153, 154, 157, 178, 179. 
Commonwealth, 33, 87, 92, 100, 104, 109, 114, 

115, 117, 118, 127, 128, 136. 
Continental Congress, 124. 
Cook, 26, 38, 39, 46, 79, 111, 112, 114, 120, 129, 


Cooke, 18, 41, 42, 78, 102. 
Coole, 39. 

Coolidge, 47, 48, 49, 75. 
Cooper, 62, 131. 

~ pley, 2, 5, 24, 26, 38, 65, 132, 148, 150, 155, 
' 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 162, 163, 166, 169, 

Copley Title, 147, 149, 166. 
Cornhill, 53. 

Corporation, Aqueduct, 115. 
Corporation, Boston Mill, 29. 
Corwin, 30. 

Getting, 53. 

Cotton, 9, 52, 53. 56, 59, 60, 61, 62, 65, 66, 67, 

73, 74. 

Council, His Majesty's, 106. 
County, Bristol, 74. 

Essex, 2, 43, 51. 
Southacks, 52. 
Suffolk, 23. 
Windham, 43. 

Common Pleas, 120. 

End, 2. 

House, 7, 61. 

Inferior, 155. 

Inferior Common Pleas, 120, 155. 

Probate, 14, 40. 

Superior, 150, 155. 

Superior of Judicature, 150. 

Supreme, 84, 85, 87, 88, 89, 95, 96, 97, 

133, 134, 145. 
Court, Bolt, 18. 
Court, Cook's, 115. 
Court, Williams, 16. 
Coventry, 164. 
Cradock, 25, 71. 
Crescent, The, 17. 
Grose, 14. 

Crowninshield, 72, 75. 

Cunningham, 132, 153, 154, 155, 156, 159, 160. 
Curtis, 27, 57, 85, 109. 
Gushing, 97, 133, 136, 161, 169. 

Dall, 27. 

Danforth, 59. 

Daniels, 112, 113, 114. 

Dasset, 38. 

Dassett, 22, 38. 

Davenport, 9, 67, 73, 131. 

Davie, 39. 66,68, 69,71, 74. 

Davies, 21, 42, 69. 

Davis, 22, 27, 32, 33, 42, 44, 68, 70, 71, 73. 

Davy, 38, 68, 71, 113, 114, 117, 129. 

Dawes, 57. 

Deane, 129, 130. 

Deblois, 71. 

Dennis, 129. 

Derby, 164. 

Dexter, 37. 

Dinahs," 43. 

Disbrow, 16. 

Dixon, 166. 

Doane, 69. 

Dodd, 101. 

Doe, 82. 

Donneson, 162. 

Door, 27. 

Dorchester, 176, 177. 

Drake, 1,2,3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 32, 33, 56, 57, 60. 

Drake's flats, 57. 

Drake's (History), 32. 

Dublin, 6. 

Dumer, 20. 

Dunton, 18. 

Dyer, 153. 

East, 38, 129, 130, 148, 149, 150, 152, 156. 

East Boston, 34, 133. 

East Indies, 175. 

East lot, 152. 

Eaton, 78, 129. 

Ebenezer, 93. 

Eckley, 93, 179. 

Edes, 31. 

Egypt, 174. 

( Eliot, 43, 44, 71, 72, 128, 151, 174. 

I Elliots, 43. 

( Elliotts, 43. 
Eltsham, 74, 120. 
Emmons, 18, 33. 
Endicott, 8, 58, 59, 62. 
England, 54, 61, 63, 64, 65, 67, 74, 76, 83, 96, 

101, 120, 121, 156. 

England, New, 9, 18, 31, 136, 137, 168, 171. 
England, Old, 61. 



Epes, 26. 

Episcopalians, 9. 

Erving, 35, 66, 71, 80, 85, 132. 

Essex County, 2, 43, 151. 

Euclid, 89. 

Europe, 121. 

Everdd, 30. 

Eyre, 38. See Ayer, Ayre. 

Exchange Coffee House, 167. 

Fairweather, 73, 78, 79. 

Falstaff, 96. 

Faneuil, 68, 69, 70. 

Farley, 35, 162. 

Farrington, 27. 

Fayerweather, 78, 80, 92, 93, 104. 

Felt, 105, 106. 

Fenno, 155. 

Field, Gentry, 42. 

Field, Century, 119. 

Field, Training, 102, 116, 152, 153, 154. 

Field Gate, 19. 

Fitch, 26, 27, 52. 

Folsom, 101. 

Forbes, 6. 

Foster, 6. 

Fowle, 80, 133. 

France, 121. 

Francis, 53, 55, 56, 57, 63, 66, 85, 88, 89. 

Freeman Place Chapel, 81. 

Frog Pond, 46. 

Gain, 114. 

Garden, Public, 6, 36. 

Gardiner, 149. 

Gardner, 35, 71, 72, 132. 

Gas Company's Works, 29. 

Gee, 29. 

Gerrish, 18, 93. 

Gibbs, 30. 44, 46, 130, 165. 

Glapion, 114. 

Goldthwait, 166, 167. 

Goodwin, 100. 

Gore, 27. 

Granary, 71. 

Granary Burying Ground, 53, 115, 142. 

Grant, 84, 95, 174. 

Gray, 33, 59, 133. 

Great Britain, 65, 117, 128, 153, 157. 

Green, 81, 113, 114. 

Greene, 52, 56, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 74, 128, 156. 

Greenleaf, 95, 96. 

Guttridge, 42. 

Hackney, 74. 

Haley, e2, 63, 64, 65, 66, 76, 166. 

Hammond, 35, 64, 75, 96, 97, 146, 162. 

Hancock, 9, 45, 59, 83, 87, 88, 94, 95, 99, 100, 
103, 104, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 114, 117, 
118, 120, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 
129, 149. 

Harris, 27, 59. 

Harrison, 32. 

Hnrrison's ropewalk or ropefleld, 32, 

Harvard College, 70, 74, 95, 107, 124, 169, 171, 

Hastings, 171. 
Haverhill, 105. 
Hawkins, 180, 149. 
Hayden, 82, 139. 
Hayti, 140. 
Head, 31, 35. 
Heaton, 78. 
Henchman, 108. 
Henderson, 44, 91. 113. 
Hesperides, 160. 
Heyman, 32. 
Higginson, 165. 
Hill, Bacon, 118. 

Beacon, 2, 4, 5, 6, 46, 60, 61, 79, 92, 93, 
98, 102, 103, 104, 107, 108, 109, 111, 
112, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 
121, 123, 127. 

Bunker, 169. 

Hill, Center, 78. 

Centerie, 61. 

Centery, 22, 24. 

Centinel, 78, 79. 

Centre, 79. 

Centurie, 78. 

Gentry, 38, 102, 116. 

Century, 73, 78, 117. 

Copps, 28, 73. 

Cotton, 61, 62, 63, 80. 

Fox, 36. 

Milton, 66. 

Pemberton's, 66. 

Ridge, 36. 

Sandy, 55. 

Sentry, 6. 

Valentine, 21. 
( Hinckley, 80. 
I Hinkley, 72. 
Hodges, 59. 
Holberton, 81. 
Hollich, 14, 16. 
Hollidge, 4. 
Hollinghead, 15. 
'Holworthy, 56. 
Holyoke, 43. 
Homer, 141, 143, 144. 
Hooper, 165. 
Hospital Grounds, 23. 
Houchin, 44, 46, 78, 79. 
House of Hanover, 19. 

of Orange, 19. 
Howard, 68, 176, 177. 
Howard Athenaeum, 53, 59. 
Howe, 33. 
Howen, 58. 

Inches, 41,114, 161,165. 

India, 137. 

Inferior Court of Common Pleas, 120, 155. 

Inner Temple, 74. 

Ireland, 6. 

Ireson, 97, 146. 

Island, Baker's, 105. 

Castle, 94. 

Nodle's, 34. 

Noddle's, 70, 103. 
Italy, 121. 
Ivers, 93. 

Jackson, 29, 53, 55, 56, 67, 69, 70, 73, 74, 75, 

86, 126, 162, 168, 176. 
Jail, City, 23. 
James, 80, 91. 

( Jeffrey, 63, 64, 65, 66, 74, 76, 77. 
\ Jeffry, 62. 
Jeffries, 26, 64, 71, 76. 
Jekyll, 59, 69. 
Jenner, 42. 

Jenner's rope- walk, 47. 
Johnson, 1, 4, 8, 10, 42, 101, 129. 
Jones, 21, 83. 
Joy, 2, 15, 25, 132, 135, 136, 140, 141, 143, 145, 

146, 147, 157, 158, 160, 161, 162, 1<53, 165, 

Joy's Building, 15. 

Kane, 90. 

Keadie, 177. 

Kelt, 32. 

Kennedy, 77. 

Kenney, 25. 

Kent, 83, 84. 

King's Chapel, 7, 9, 13, 52, 54, 142. 

King's Chapel Burying-ground, 10, 30, 73, 


Kirk, 51, 52. 
Knight, 112, 119. 
Kuhn, 115. 

Lake, 117. 
Lambert, 44. 
Lane, Banister's, 13, 155. 
Blott's, 13. 



Lane, Davis, 113. 

Frog, 18, 44. 

Q-reen, 20. 

Prison, 61, 68, 71, 73. 

Pudding, 18. 

Ridgway's, 47. 

Sconce, 11. 

Shrimpton, 103. 

Star Seven, 14. 

Sudbury, 58. 

Willis, 13. 
Langdon, 153. 

Lawrence, 54, 69, 74, 75, 176, 177. 
Lebanon, 43. 
Leblond, 66. 
Lee, 29, 166, 168. 
Leverett, 13, 14, 22, 23, 25, 34, 38, 43, 78, 151, 

152, 154, 160. 
Lewis, 4. 
Lidgett, 18. 
Lincoln, 167. 
Lincolnshire, 61. 
Little, Brown & Co., 18. 
Lloyd, 54, 59, 69, 75. 
London, 18, 62, 65, 74, 76, 80, 86, 100, 119, 

]20, 121, 124. 
Longfellow, 169. 
Loring, 109, 146. 
Loudoun, 64. 
Louxor, 173. 

Lowell, 7, 17, 64, 75, 101, 168, 171, 172, 173, 174. 
Lowell Institute, 173. 
( Loyal, 42. 
! Loyall, 42. 

Lioll, 42. 
! Lisle, 42. 
\ Lloyle, 42. 
I Lyall, 42. 
I Lyle, 42. 
ILysle, 42. 
Lucas, 31. 
Lucee, 132. 
Lyde, 25, 58. 
Lyman, 49, 59, 128. 
Lynd, 44. 

Lynde, 19, 49, 52, 58, 62, 80. 
Lyndhurst, 65, 157. 
Lyne, 78. 
Lytherland, 3. 

Mackintosh, 101, 169. 
Mahan, 138, 140. 
Maine, 159. 
Mariner, 52. 
( Marion, 15. 

Maryon, 141. 
Marlboro', 19. 
Marsh, Rumney, 103. 
Mason, 25, 37, 55, 64, 82, 114, 146, 155, 156, 

157, 158, 160, 162, 165, 166, 168, 174, 175, 


Massachusetts. 65, 85, 88, 90, 114, 124, 125. 
Massachusetts General Hospital, 107, 164. 
Mass. Hospital Life Insurance Co., 174. 
Mather, 6, 9, 61. 
Maud, 61, 62, 66, 67. 
Maverick, 34. 
May, 27, 28, 31. 
Mayer, 68. 
McNeill, 33. 
Mears,52, 53, 58, 59. 
Melvin, 172. 

Messenger, 7, 107, 113, 114, 120. 
Metcalf, 26. 

Middlecott, 44, 45, 46, 49, 77, 80, 93. 
Middlesex, 21. 
Middlesex Company, 172. 
Middleton, 114. 
Mildam, 1, 35, 53, 148, 162. 
Millard, 78, 79, 112, 116, 117, 119, 129. 
Miller, 39, 112, 129, 130. 
Millett, 133. 
Mill Pond, 133. 
Milner, 32. 

( Minot, 22, 27, 38, 46, 47. 

} Mynot, 22. 

( Mynott, 21, 22. 
Missouri Compromise, 168. 
Molineaux, 92. 

( Monck, 18. 

| Monk, 93, 102. 
Montague, 112. 
Moore, 146, 159, 161. 
Morgan, 146. 
Mors, 119. 
Morton, 53. 
Mount Hoardam, 153, 
Mount Pleasant, 152, 153. 
Mt. Tom, 56, 60. 
Mt. Vernon Lands, 175. 

Mt. Vernon Proprietors, 2, 4, 5, 25, 26, 34, 
39, 109, 113, 114, 131, 146, 149, 152, 162, 
163, 164, 169, 170, 175, 176. 
Mt. Washington, 56, 60. 
Muddy River, 61. 
Munroe, 31. 
Murray, 160. 
Myles, 71. 
Mynot, 22. 
Mynott, 21, 22. 

See Minot. 

Nabby, 136. 

Nahant, 55, 138. 

Napoleon, 173. 

Neck, the, 19, 26, 27, 28, 50, 125, 126, 132, 

133, 135. 

New England, 9, 18, 31, 136, 137, 168, 171. 
Newgale, 49, 58. 
Newgate, or Newdigate, 58. 
Newhall, 97, 146. 
Newport, 155. 
Newton, 176. 
New York, 65, 160, 176. 
Norfolk, 77. 
North Briton, 64. 
North End, 31. 

Odlin, 3, 5, 151. 

Okey, 176. 

Oliver, 18, 38, 120, 150, 160. 

Osborn, 165. 

Osgood, 55. 

Otis, 25, 29, 41, 75, 114, 147, 155, 156, 157, 

158, 159, 160, 162, 163, 164, 165, 170, 171, 

175, 178. 
Oxenbridge, 9, 70, 73. 

Paddock, 115. 
Paige, 18, 62. 
( Paine, 26, 80, 155. 
I Payne, 26. 
Palmes, 21. 
Paris, 121, 166, 175. 
Parker, 27, 33, 99, 129, 169, 170, 174. 
Parkman, 49, 86, 128, 144, 174. 
Parson, 38, 56. 
Pasture, Allen's, 41, 113, 149, 161. 

Allen's 16^ acre, 131. 

Bosworth 5 acre, 111. 

Bulfinch, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 62, 64, 66, 
78, 80, 86. 

Buttolph's, 21, 43, 46, 47, 112. 

Buttolph's 8^ acre, 41, 42, 43. 

Chambers, 20, 22, 23, 42, 43. 

Cooke's, 113, 161. 

Cook's, 113, 114. 

Cook's 8 acre, 119. 

Davis 2 acre, 73. 

East's, 148, 150, 152, 154. 

Hancock's, 118, 119. 

Lynde, 78. 

Middlecott, 49, 77, 78, 79, 86. 

Phillips, 38, 148, 152. 

Phillips, Zachariah, 26, 37, 38, 39, 
40, 151, 158, 162. 

Phillips, Zachariah, nine acre, 24. 

Russell's, 43. 



Pasture, Scottow's, 44, 112. 

Scottow's four acre, 111. 

Sewall's, 132. 

Sewall's Elm, 129, 147, 148, 149, 156, 


Sewell's Elm, 131. 
Southack's, 53, 56, 58, 59. 
Southack's two acre, 62. 
Paque, 35. 
Pavilion Hotel, 71. 
Paxton, 93. 
Peabody, 54, 72. 
Peapes, 151. 
Pearl-street House, 49. 
Pell, 78. 

Pemberton, 25, 26. 59, 67. 
Penn, 21, 22, 23, 38, 70, 71, 73. 
Pennsylvania, 90. 
Pepis, 2. 

Pepperell, 45, 131. 
Perkins, 95, 109, 118, 146. 
Pepys, 2, 5, 150, 151. 
Peyps, 2. 

Philadelphia, 31, 82. 
Philip, 6. 
Phillips, 24, 25, 26, 37, 42, 67, 68, 69, 71, 81, 86, 

104, 148, 151, 162, 166, 167, 168. 
Pickering, 82, 83, 96, 133, 135, 166. 
Pickman, 165. 
Pierce, 31, 125. 
Pitts, 18. 
Place, Ashburton, 35, 51, 53, 60, 66, 74, 87. 

Bellingbam, 67. 

Bowdoin, 98. 

Bulfinch, 49. 

Chapman, 115. 

Chauncy, 14, 15. 

Cotton, 67. 

Exchange, 48. 

Faneuil, 67. 

Franklin, 17, 122. 

Funnell, 67. 

Joy, 146. 

Liicas, 31. 

Montgomery, 177. 

Mt. Vernon, 126, 127, 128. 

Otis, 45. 

Phillips, 67. 

Somerset, 49. 

Training, 79. 

Winthrop, 45, 133. 
Pollard, 2, 50, 80, 151. 
Pompey, 43. 
Pordage, 58. 
Portage, 58. 
Portugal, 166. 
Powell, 146. 
Pratt, 49, 165. 
Preble, 15. 
Prentice, 57. 
Prescott, 165. 
Price, 5. 
Prince, 28. 
Prior, 105. 

Providence Depot, 35, 37. 
Probate Office, 29, 155, 172. 
Probate Record, 27, 38, 72, 112, 114, 119. 
Putnam, 82, 171. 
Puzzlem, 106, 107. 

Queensbury, 111. 

Quincy, 35, 41, 69, 70, 98, 155, 169. 

Railroad, Metropolitan, 46. 

Rand, 44, 75. 

Reed, 68. 

Registry of Deeds, 47, 65. 

Revere House, 49, 50, 51. 

Rice, 179. 

Richards, 74, 116, 119. 

Richardson, 33. 

Richmond, 177. 

Ridgway, 47. 

River, Charles, 1, 2, 152, 154, 160. 

River, North, 160. 

Robbins, 70. 

Roe, 83. 

Rogers, 80, 86, 92, 93, 98, 99, 102, 104, 117, 146, 


Rome, 86, 121, 126. 
Romilly, 101. 
Ropes, 53. 
Round Marsh, 6. 
Row, Colonnade, 6, 132, 176. 
Row, Tremont, 19. 
Rowe, 11. 

Roxbury, 18, 26, 152. 
Ruggles, 129. 
Rumney Marsh, 103. 
Runnell, 35. 
Russell, 21, 52, 66, 143. 
Rust, 29. 

Salem, 8 ; 20, 31, 32, 72, 100, 105, 106, 165. 
Salmon, 55. 

Saltonstall, 105, 114, 134. 
Sanderson, 15, 67. 
Sanford, 130. 
Sargent, 34, 66, 177. 
Saunders, 31, 32, 50, 51. 
Savage, 9, 26, 27, 42, 61, 62, 130. 
Savage's (Winthrop), 5. 
Sawyer, 148, 166. 
Scipio, 43. 
Scollay, 17. 
Sconce, 11. 

Scotch, Presbyterian, 87. 
Scotch, Reviewer, 66, 76. 
Scott, 70, 71, 82, 126. 
( Scotto, 7, 8, 66, 70, 78. 
| Scottow, 44, 46, 47, 68, 78, 79, 107, 111, 112, 

116, 129. 
Sears, 72, 81, 104, 142, 147, 161, 163, 164, 169, 

170, 174, 178. 
Sebastopol, 108. 
Seven Star Inn, 14. 

Sewall, 4, 8, 10, 20, 29, 39, 52, 53, 59, 62, 64, 
66, 80, 84, 120, 130, 131, 146, 148, 149, 150, 
154, 156, 160. 
Shakespeare, 134. 
Shattuck, 49. 

Shaw, 2, 50, 97, 136, 137, 140. 
Shaw &Co.'s Express, 94. 
Shawmutt, 1. 
Shay, 87. 
Sheafe, 29, 30. 
Shelton, 62. 
Sherburne, 74, 81. 
Sherman, 129. 
Shippen, 52, 62. 
Shrimpton, 70, 93, 102, 103, 112, 116, 117, 119, 


Shurtleffs (Description of Boston), 5. 
Sigma, 66, 76, 77, 105, 106, 107, 177. 
Simpkins, 107. 
Smith, 31, 79, 101. 
Snow, 2. 
Society, Brattle St., 59, 87. 

Episcopalians, 9. 

Historical, 10, 68. 

Mass. Historical, 10, 17, 20. 

Old South, 9, 13. 

Prince, 18. 

Propagating Gospel, 107. 
Somerset, 52. 
Somerset Club, 72. 
Southac, 59. 
Southack, 52, 56, 61. 
South Battery, 11. 
South Boston Point, 136. 
South Cove lots, 135. 
South End, 31. 
Sparhawk, 26. 
Spear, 108, 109, 110. 
Spooner, 86, 92, 93. 
Spring House, 58. 
Spurr, 108. 
Square, Bowdoin, 20, 22, 49, 50, 59, 110. 



Square, Brattle, 84. 
Cornhill, 15. 
Dock, 19. 
Hanover, 157. 
Johnson, 18. 

Louisburg, 25, 148, 149, 162. 
Pemberton, 24, 45, 52, 53, 55, 56, 
59, 60, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 74, 75, 

Pepper, 45. 
Pepperell, 45. 
St. Botolph's, 67. 
Winthrop, 45. 
Staniford, 19, 20, 21, 59. 

State House, 77, 78, 92, 93, 102, 103, 104, 107, 
110, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 
122, 123, 127, 128, 129, 156, 161. 
Stevens, 50. 
St. Christophers, 169. 
St. Helena, 108. 
Stoddard, 103, 117. 
Stone, 76. 
Storer, 43. 
Story, 145, 174. 
Stoughton, 82. 
Street, Allen, 21, 23, S3. 
Allen North, 23. 
Allen South, 23. 
Allston, 49, 54, 86. 
Ann, 31. 
Atkinson, 32, 33. 
Bacon, 92. 

Beacon, 2, 4, 22, 24, 36, 37, 38, 45, 49, 
64, 67, 70, 71, 72, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 
80, 81, 86, 87, 92, 99, 109, 110, 112, 
118, 119, 120, 127, 130, 131, 132, 
136, 140, 143, 147, 148, 151, 152, 
154, 158, 160, 161, 163, 164, 166, 
169, 170, 173, 178, 179. 
Batterymarch, 11. 
Beckford, 105. 

Belknap, 39, 42, 43, 78, 107, 112, 113, 
114, 119, 127, 128,129, 131,136,158, 
161, 162. 

Bishop Stoke, 129, 131, 143. 
Blossom, 23. 
Bow, 101. 

Bowdoin, 45, 48, 49, 78, 86, 93, 98. 
Boylston,6, 18,36. 
Brattle, 85. 
Bridge, 23. 
Broad, 11, 19, 53, 133. 
Bromfield, 177. 
Bulfinch, 49, 58, 60. 
Butolph, 43. 
Buttolph. 40, 42, 43. 
Cambridge, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 
27, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42, 44, 46, 
47, 49, 50, 69, 77, 80, 93, 111, 112, 
114, 162. 

Castle, 26, 27, 50. 
Cedar, West, 25. 
Central, 133. 
Centre, 40, 41, 148. 
Chambers, 19, 20, 21, 23, 35, 59. 
Charles, 2, 4, 6, 24, 26, 35, 36, 37, 148, 

162, 163, 178, 179. 
Charter, 20, 28, 29, 100. 
Chestnut, 148, 162, 163, 164, 176, 178. 
Clapboard, 114. 
Common, 19, 131. 
Common, The, 7. 
Commercial, 11, 12. 
Congress, 19. 
Cornhill, 18, 53. 
Court, 7, 8, 19, 52, 58, 60. 61, 68, 107, 


Court, or Bowling Green, 52. 
Coventry, 129, 131, 149, 164. 
Derne, 46, 47, 93, 102, 109, 110, 116, 

117, 123. 
Devonshire, 18. 
Dover, 27, 28, 31. 
Eaton, 21. 

Street, Edinboro', 135. 

Eliot, 36, 43, 44, 45. 

Elliot, 43, 45. 

Essex, 105. 

Exchange, 103. 

Fleet, 11. 

Friend, 23. 

Garden, 40. 

Gardner, 45. 

George, 43, 112, 157, 158. 

Gravel, 23. 

Green, 19, 22, 23. 

Grove, 24, 40. 

Grove, North, 23. 

Hancock, 42, 43, 46, 47, 77, 78, 79, 102, 

104, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 


High, 32, 33. 
Hill, 25. 
Hollis, 44. 
Holyoke, 44. 
Hutchinson, 33. 
Houchin, 45. 

Howard, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 74, 87. 
Hull, 20, 29, 30. 
India, 133. 
Joy, 43, 119, 120, 129, 130, 132, 136, 

141, 146. 
Kilby, 114. 
King, 18, 19, 61. 
Leverett, 1, 22, 23, 34, 156. 
Lewis, 31. 

Lindall, or Lane, 48. 
Lynde, 20. 
Market North, 132. 
South, 132. 
Marlboro', 19. 
Mason, 6, 

May, 24, 25, 40, 41, 163. 
McLean, 23. 

Middlecott. 44, 45, 48, 86, 93. 
Milk, 33. 
Mt. Vernon, 25, 45, 92, 98, 99, 102, 109, 

112, 113, 114, 118, 119, 126, 128, 

131, 132, 145, 146, 147, 148, 161, 

162, 164, 165, 170. 
Mylne, 14, 15. 

Myrtle, 35, 39, 40, 42, 112, 114. 
Nassau, 19. 
Newbury, 19, 
North, 19. 
Olive, 114, 157, 164. 
Orange, 19, 27, 44. 
Park, 71, 98, 132, 178. 
Pearl, 33, 35, 36, 47, 
Pinckney, 23, 25, 26, 34, 85, 47, 114, 

148, 149, 161, 162, 165. 
Pinkney, 113. 
Pleasant, 6, 36. 
Pond, 130. 
Poplar, 1, 23, 35, 47. 
Prince, 29, 30. 
Purchase, 32, 35, 37. 
Queen, 19, 61. 
Russell, 21. 

North, 38. 
South, 42. 
Salem, 20, 30. 
School, 7, 8, 115. 
Sea, 57. 
Sentry, 6. 

Sewall, 129, 143, 146, 149, 163. 
Short, 25. 

Snowhill, 20, 28, 29, 30. 
Somerset, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 60, 64, 

69, 71, 74, 75, 77, 80, 120, 141. 
Southack, 25, 40. 
Spruce, 148. 
Staniford, 20, 

State, 13, 15, 18, 19, 31, 98, 114. 
Stoddard, 58. 
Sudbury, 52, 61. 
Summer, 14, 15, 32. 
Sumner, 114. 



Street, Tay, 48, 110. 

Temple, 46, 47, 48, 99, 109, 110, 128. 

Treamount, 59. 

Tremont. 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 19, 22, 43, 52, 
56, 58, 59, 60, 68, 70, 71, 125. 

Turner, 112, 114. 

Vine, 23. 

Walnut, 131, 132, 140, 143, 144, 145, 
147, 148, 161, 162, 163, 164, 166. 

Washington, 6, 8, 13, 16, 18, 19, 26, 
27, 31, 107, 139. 

Wiltshire, 23. 

Winter, 13, 19, 155. 
Strong, 100. 
Stuart, 156. 
Sturgis, 71. 
Sudbury, 31. 

Sullivan, 7, 160, 162, 176, 177. 
Sumner, 54, 104, 168. 
Swan, 148, 162, 165, 175, 176, 177. 
Swett, 35, 38, 42, 162. 
Swift, 117. 

Tappan, 18, 146. 

Tay, 46, 47, 48. 

Taylor, 44. 

Temple, 48, 86, 110. 

Ten Hills Farm, 48. 

Thacher, 71, 72,73. 

Thatcher, 29, 30. 

Thaxter, 42. 

Thayer, 148, 164. 

Thebes, 173. 

Thompson, 72, 74, 77, 107, 112, 119, 120. 

Thorndike, 136, 146. 

Thurston, 98, 99, 100, 145. 

Ticknor, 93. 

Tilley, 25, 33, 162. 

Todd, 134. 

Tomlinson, 93. 

Torrey, 31. 

Townsend, 71, 72. 

Transcript, 3, 9, 60, 66, 105. 

Trecothick, 93. 

Tremont House, 6. 

Tremont Row, 53, 55, 58, 59, 61, 66, 67, 68, 69, 

70, 72, 87. 

Truesdale, 116, 129. 
Tuckerman, 31, 141. 
Tudor, 81, 136, 137. 
Turell, 29. 
Turner, 21, 44, 46, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 92, 93, 

102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 112, 116, 117. 
Tyler, 35. 96, 97, 146. 
Tyler & Caswell's ropewalk, 35. 
Tyng, 56, 59. 

United States Navy, 77. 
Urann, 40, 41. 
Usher, 66. 

Valley Achor, 59. 

Acre, 5fl, 60. 
Vane, 61, 68. 
Vassal, 62. 

Vassall, 59, 64, 69, 74. 
Vaughan, 17. 
Vermont, 76. 
Viall, 2, 151. 

Vinal, 136, 160, 161, 169. 
Virginia, 77. 


Wait, 14, 15. 

Waite, 14. 

Walcott, 66. 

Waldo, 47, 66. 

Walewski, 168. 

Walker, 3, 6. 

Wall, 52. 

Warren, 174. 

Washington, 125, 126, 145. 

Watertown, 58, 80. 

Wayland, 176. 

Webb, 3. 

Webster, 31, 53, 55, 86, 144, 174. 

Welles, 176. 

Wells, 35. 

Wendell, 11. 

Western Avenue, 1 . 

West Roxbury, 136. 

Whall, 100, 

Wharf A's, 82. 

Brown's, 29. 

Capen, 57. 

Captain Scarlet's, 11. 

Central, 11, 12, 53. 

Drake's, 57, 94. 

Fosters, 11. 

Hancock's, 136. 

India, 11, 17, 53. 

Island South, 12. 

Long, 11, 12, 134. 

Old, 11. 

Prentice, 32. 

Rowes, 11. 
- Russia, 32. 

T, 12. 

Wharton, 46, 93. 
Wheaton, 47. 
Wheelright, 131. 
Wheelwright, 34, 139, 114, 132, 148, 149, 157, 

161, 162. 

Wheetland, 106. 
Whetcomb, 130. 
Whetcombe, 130. 
White, 31. 
Wiggin, 80. 
Wigejlesworth, 166. 
Wilde, 96. 
Wilkes, 62, 64, 65. 
Willes, 82. 
Williams, 2, 5, 24 ,27, 28, 38, 112, 132, 149, 

150, 151, 152, 177. 
Williamson, 90. 
Willis, 43. 
Wilson, 1, 42, 129. 
Windsor, 76. 
Wing, 66, 71, 73, 74, 119. 
Winthrop, 3, 5, 8, 35, 42, 48, 66, 86, 124, 166, 

167, 168. 
Wiswall, 18. 
Witherle, 27. 
Woodward, 158. 
Wyard, 14. 
Wyre, 14. 

Yeale, 52, 

Yeamans, 103, 104, 107, 112, 113, 117.