Massachusetts Bay building documents, 1638–1726

Compiled by Abbott Lowell Cummings

Note: To preserve the accuracy and full flavor of the original documents the following transcriptions are literal in every respect, except that superfluous or misleading punctuation has been eliminated, and modern punctuation added in brackets where considered necessary. Dates are consistent with the modern calendar, as explained on page 125.

Beverly: Parsonage

Building contract, March 23, 1657.

the psents witneseth a bargan maid betweene John norman of manchester the one partie & Tho Lothrop & James patch the other ptyes for & in consideration of an house : that is to say[,] John norman is to build an house for them which is to be thirtie eyght foote longe[,] 17 foote wide & a leuen foote stodd with three Chimnies[,] towe below & one in the Chamber[.] he is also to finde boards & Clapboards for the finishing the same with a shingle couering [and] with a portch of eight foote square & Jetted ouer one foote ech way[;] to lay the floores booth below & a boue & one garret chamber & to make doores & windowes[,] foure below & foure aboue & one in the stodie[.] the said John is to make the the [sic] staires & to drawe the Clapboards & short their edges & also to smooth the boards of one of the Chamber flowres & he is to bring up the frame to the barre or the ferry att his owne charge & the saide John norman is to haue for his work fourtie fiue pounds to be paide in corne & cattell[,] the one halfe att or before the house be raised & the other halfe this next wheate haruist :439

Boston: House for William Rix

Building contract, “ult. 6. 1640.

John Davys joyner is to build Willm Rix one framed house 16 foot long & 14 foote wyde wth a chamber floare[;] finisht summer & ioysts[;] a celler floare wth ioysts finisht[;] the roofe & walles Clapboarded on the outsyde[;] the Chimney framed without dawbing to be done wth hewen timber. Willm Rix is for this to pay to John Davis 21ł vz 4ł in hand 7ł when it is finisht and the rest first of May 1641. wth one plott of ground lying betweene John Davis & James Johnson.440

Boston: House for Thomas Banister

Letters from Thomas Banister of Boston to Thomas Blettsoe in London.

[Apr. 29, 1701.] . . . The reason amoungue others that I am resolv’d to sell [my English property] is I am now settling myself hear as long as it pleases God to continue me in this world[.] for in order to own comfortable subsistence we are building a house at the South end of Boston441 and have bought allso a brick warehouse at the Dock of forty foot long: it Lyeth next to Mr. Thomsons, so that I have now laid aside the thought of coming to settle in England with my Family: My Eldest son is come from Colledge in order to Settling to business of Merchandize. . . . Sr I have seen at Boston some curious clear glass if I mistake not it is called crown glass[.] it seems to me to be such as that put before the Diall plate of Clocks. Mr. Eliakim Hutchinson hath glazed the front of his house with it and it looks exceeding well[.] I have a great mind to have one room or two glazed with that glass[.] Therefore would intreat you send me by the first good ship about one hundred foot of Sd glass and if it be not very dear send me 200 foot[.] I fancy it not very larg[,] about 6 Inches wide and 8 inches long each square seems to be a very good size for I purpose to set them in lead and not in wooden frames and to have Iron casements for tho Sash windows are the newest Fashion I dont so well fancy them as casements[.] I make my windows four foot broad and six feet long from outside to outside. The place I build in is over against Capt Samll Sewall[.] I hope to be ready for the glasse by that time it can come[.] I have other glass Enough for the back side of Sd house. . . . Sr having proceeded thus far I gave my Letter to my son to Coppy who found fault with my directions about the above mentioned glass which caused a dispute and a resolution to alter the above orders[.] we now resolve for sash windows: the number as above to be four windows of four foot wide clear[,] that is within side the frame[;] in Length or rather in depth [height] clear and two narrow lights to stand in the closetts of the same depth and just half the width[;] and for the upper storrie three windows of exactly four foot square in the clear and one for the closet half so wide of the same depth wch that you may understand fully I have Inclosed [a] crude draught of my design drawn a quarter of one inch to every foot. I pray Sr as soon as this advise comes to hand set workmen about it that it may if possible be ready to send by the first ship that we may have it to put up the next fall. For I hope to get ready by that time. The Cellar is near finished. . . .

By this Rough Draught you may see how all those windows mentioned in my letter are to stand except two of the large wch are intended for our best Low room behind the shop[.] Pray Sr let the glass be all made and set in the Frames ready to put up[.] get a chest made of a fitt size to put it in. One maine reason why I would have it sent ready fitted is that few if any of our workmen know how to doe it[.] get good workmen and let it be well done tho it cost something the more[.] I know you will be as good an husband for me as you can[.] I have seen some set in wood and some in Lead[.] I matter not wch way it is done[.] if it be sett in wood the putty must be very good[;] if in Lead said Lead must be very thick and extraordinarily well cimmented or by reason of the violence of our storms it will not hold. . . .

[June 19, 1701.] . . . Since my letter of April 29 pr Capt Gilliam my window frames are made and in Sd frames my carpenter hath made a Rabbit of 3 qtrs of an inch so that the sashes must be an inch and Half wider than I advised for in my Former Letters[.] The above Sd Rabbit of 3 qtrs of one Inch is only in the sides of each window and therefore makes no alteration in the depth [height,] but in the width makes one inch and a half in Each window[.] I pray that you would gett them sent by the first ship. . . .

[August 12, 1701.] Yours by Capt Mason Sr came to my hands as also the goods according to invoice: wth being very Busie in fitting our new house to get into if possible before winter I have not time to Examine your accot: etc. . . .

[October 16, 1701.] Sr The goods by Wentworth came safe to my hands[.] I give you thanks for your Care and Quick Dispatch[.] The Glass windows and other things are very well approved of[.] we are now finishing to get into the new house if possible so that I have not time to Enlarge. . . .442

Boston: House for John Bateman

Building contract, August 20, 1679.

Articles of Agreement indented made and concluded . . . Betweene Robert Tafft of Brantery in New England housewright on the one part And John Bateman of Boston in New England afores Shopkeeper on the other part are as followeth

Imprṛs The s Robert Taft for himselfe his heires Exexṛs and Admṛs doth hereby covenant promiss and grant to and with the s John Bateman his Execṛs and assigns in manner and forme following (that is to Say) that the s Robert Taft his Execṛs Assignes shall and will build erect set up and finish for the s John Bateman his Execṛs or Assignes, the frame of a new Tenem or dwelling house to contain thirty foot in Length and twenty Seven foote or thereabout in breadth according to the dimentions of the Cellar fframe as it now stands; and to build the frame of the s house two Storey high besides the garrett, and each roome Seven foote high between the Sum̃er and floare, and to make the s house to jet at the first Storey in the front Eighteen inches and to make and place a fframe for the Cellar according to the present dimentions thereof and place the same, and to build three ffloares of Sum̃ers and joice, and to make and place in the front of the s house two gable ends to range even with the Roofe of the s house, and also two gable ends on the backside to range as afores and to make and place in the front of ye Second Storey two large casement windows and two windows in the garett and in the end next the mill Creeke three windows Viz one large Casement window in the low[er] Roome, and one large casement window in the Second Storey, and one window in the garrett; and on the backside one large Casement window in the low[er] Roome, two large casement windows in the second Storey and two windows in the garrat, and to make & send to Boston the fframe of the Cellar within Six weekes next after the date hereof, and to rayse the same in place within one weeke then next following (provided the cills of the s Cellar be cleare) and to finish the frame of the s house on or before the first day of march next and rayse the same with all possible Speed after it is brought to Boston. In Consideration whereof the s John Bateman for himselfe his heires Executoṛs and Admṛs doth hereby covenant promiss and grant to and with the s Robert Taft his Execṛs and Assignes to pay for the transportation of the s fframe of the s Cellar and house from Brantery the place where it is to bee framed to Boston, and also to pay or cause to bee paid unto the s Robert Tafft his Execṛs Admṛs or Assignes the full and just Sum̃e of thirty pounds Viz one halfe part thereof in lawfull money of New England, and the other halfe part thereof in English goods at money price; and to pay the same in manner and forme following (that is to Say) ffive pounds in money and five pounds in goods at the time of the Ensealing hereof and five pounds in money and five pounds in goods when the frame of the Cellar is laid down and the floare over the Cellar is laid and five pounds in money and five pounds in goods when the whole worke is compleated and in every respect finished in manner and forme afores And for the true performance hereof the s partys binde themselves their heires Execṛs and Admṛs each unto the other his Execṛs and Assignes in the penall Sum̃e of ffifty pounds of lawfull money of new England well and truly to bee paid by virtue of these presents. . . .

Deposition of Giles Goddard, aged about 32, sworn in court April 28, 1680.

That about the beginning of march last I being in company with Robert Taft and John Bateman – some words past between them, and I did heare s Bateman say that hee would not take charge of the s house till s Taft had Done or finished, whereat s Taft did reply if any thing was remaining undone according to their Covenants, hee s Taft would do it[;] and about 4 or 5 dayes after I went with s Taft to the s house and there wee found that the s Bateman had taken possession thereof And had boarded a considerable part of s house[;] and then s Bateman found fault that there was a few joices wanting and s Bateman then said that hee would not come to a composition wṭh s Taft, and that hee knew not that hee owed s Taft any thing, and further this Deponent saith not

John Bateman’s reasons for appeal from the verdict of the County Court, April 27, 1680, to the Court of Assistants, September 7, 1680 (received in court August 13, 1680).

1. It plainly appeareth by the Articles wch sd Taft produced in ye County Court that ye sd Taft was to build in ye sd house three floors of Summers and Joice, And it also as plainly appeareth by the Depositions of John Hayward, Ebenezer Ingoldsby, and James Browne, that in two of ye ffloors in sd house ther were places in each, of about Nine foot one way & Eight foot another, yt wanted both Summers & Joice, & in one room of the ground floor ther was aplace of Eight foot one way & five foot another way wherin was neither Summer nor Joice, & in ye other ground room . . . [being] twenty four foot one way & Eleven foot the other way ther were neither Summer nor Joice & that ther was noe window in the Gable End [in the garret], all wch (yor Appellant humbly conseiveth) ought to have been done according to ye Articles[.] This farther Appeareth by the Testimony of Caleb Hobart, Testifieing that ye sd Taft told yor appellant he thought (wch was but a thought) he had finished the said frame according to Covenant yet what appeared to be wanting (as the aforesd perticulars doe) hee would doe it or else allow for it. . . .

Robert Taft’s answers to John Bateman’s reasons, presented in court September 7, 1680.

  1. 1 It Apeers by Euidenc that ye sd frame was finished acording to Articuls for which I Reseued a judgment att the County Court held att boston 27 apri 1680
  2. 2 As to the want of sumers and ioys that the sd batman mentioned twas a place Left for his Chimnys: and now thay are built there is no Room for sumer nor joys
  3. 3 As to the ground Roome at twenty four foote one way and Eleuen foot the other way which ye sd batman mentions was aplace wher there was noe siller under it and therfore noe ned of sumer nor joys neither way if acording to my Couenent as I Aprehended[;] yet not with standing I brought timber for slepers which they haue disposed of:
  4. 4 As to the window in the gabell End which the sd batman mentioned it was ther thow not put up as the others ware[,] for my Counent was to put up only four windows in the frunt[.] I put up six more then my Counant was which I hope your honers will understand by my Counant
  5. 5 As to the non performenc of the frame which the sd batman mentioned I Aprehended it was done[.] I allso told ye sd batman before Caleb Hubord [and] Gills Golerd [Goddard] of the saterday when I fineshed Raising the frame that I would Come the Next munday or tusday following And if any thing ware wantting of my Counent I would perform it[.] my tim was not then out and when I Came upon the tusday foloing I found the hous great part inclosed and found seuerall men att work about the said hous: I hop thes with what euidences al Redy giuen your wisdom will find the Articuls fullfilled: and the and the [sic] frame fineshed[.] the want of my mony is to my great dameg which was eight pound eight shillings dew to mee for the framing the hous and for the transporting of the the [sic] frame which was to bee att the sd batmans Charge which Appers by Counent three pound fortene shillings more[.] Thes together with the former euidences for this Case being seriously perused your Humbell Servent doubteth not but this Honble Court will see Caus to grant my dameg with Costs of Courts

John Bateman’s reasons for the Chancery of the obligation in his covenant, September 11, 1680.

Vizt that he hath paid to Robert Taft Twelve pounds mony & Nine pounds Twelve Shillings in goods in prt of the Summe of Thirty pounds mentioned in the Covenṭ̣ wch by agreemt was to be paid one halfe mony and one halfe goods: also he hath paid to Sandors thirty Shillings for transportation of the frame of his house from Brant[ree] to Boston: So that there remains due when the worke is finished Eight pounds Eight Shilling Vizt. ffive pounds Eight shill in goods and Three pounds in mony and Court Charges. And whereas there is a considerable pt of the worke left unfinished by sd Tafft as appeares by Evidence in Court, he prays that the honorble Court will allow for the Same Thirty Shillings, and Whereas Taft demand[ed] Three pounds odd mony for carting my fframe to the water side calling that transportation[,] now transportation properly Signifies the Carrying of a thing or passing by water from one port to another wch is all the transportation that was ever intended by me or mentioned to the Scrivenr that drew the Articles as may Appeare by his Testimony: and there was never any word of Carriage or Cartage by Land mentioned in sd agreement: . . . [one word unclear] sd Bateman apprehends that he ought not to pay a penny of the Summe, and the more for that the sd Taft hath dealt most Injuriously by him in makeing sd frame wch is the weakest – slenderest and the most dozed timber that hath beene Seen to be putt into any building of the like dimentions in the Land, as may appeare by Sufficient Evidence: most of the timber Wañy & on many of the Sum̃ers The Bark left on to make it there Square and wch Indeed was the Occasion of all this Trouble[.] Whereas Taft hath Spent many dayes here Since the action was heard it is causelessly, for I tendred him more then was Jussly due to him as Soone as ever the Action was determined by this Court So that upon a Just and honest Accot there is not five pound due to the said Taft. . . .443

Boston: Cole-Sedgwick House

Deed from Samuel Cole of Boston, innholder, to Capt. Robert Sedgwick of Charlestown, “last Day of February,” 1638, for £200 lawful money.

. . . all that parts of one new mansion house in Boston aforesaid wherein the said Samuel . . . lately dwelled . . . wch lyes to the south end of the said house beyond the sommer or beame wch lyes overthwart the great chamber, and up and downe by the said beame from the bottome of the seller to the top of the house, and in breadth from east to west the full extent of the said house and shedds adoiyning (excepting roome on the south parte of the said beame, next to it, for the making of a stacke of brick chimnneys from the seller to the top of the said new house, for that part of the same house assured to the said Thomas Marryot & others) . . . And also the old house and leantoos. . . .

Articles of agreement between Samuel Cole of Boston and Capt. Robert Sedgwick of Charlestown, September 1, 1638.

  1. 1. Imprimis the said Samuel Cole for himselfe and his wife and their heires shall for two hundred pounds firmly convey & assure unto the said Captaine Sedgwicke, his heires and assignes for ever, all that parte of the new house wherein the said Samuel lately dwelled in Boston aforesaid, and the old house adjoyning wth the shedds, court yard, garden and appurtenances, to be divided from that parte of the said new house and garden wth the appurtenances assured to Thomas Marryot & others, and the old house and leantoos, yard and garden thereto belonging, wth the appurtenances.
  2. 2. Itm̃, the said Captaine Sedgwicke is to find one hoggshead of lyme and the said Samuel Cole shall therewith cause to be mended the backe of the chimney of the leantoo and the rough cast of the outsyde of the new house, the said Samuel finding all other materialls necessary thereunto.
  3. 3. Itm̃, the said Captain Sedgwicke shall have the buildinges and materialls of the stable, hogstyes and house of office on that part of the said new house, yard & garden assured to Thomas M. & others now standing, to be removed by the said Captain Sedgwicke when he will, or when he shall be required so to doe by the said Thomas M. and others or their assignes.
  4. 4. Itm̃, that the said Captaine Sedgwicke, his heires and assignes, shall at their costs & charges cause the premises to him and them to be granted, to be divided from that parte of the said new house and garden and yard assured to Thomas Marryot and others as aforesaid, and remove & build chimneys & doe all other things, as the said Samuel Cole is bound to doe by a certaine writing under his hand & seale made unto the said Thomas Marryot and others Dated the tenth of Aprill last past, whereof the said Captaine Sedgwick may take a coppy.
  5. 5. Itm̃, the said Captaine Sedgwicke shall at his cost and charges cause to be clapboarded round the house frame of the said Samuel Cole now in rearing next M. Greenesmith’s in Boston precincts, and cause to be layd two floares in the said house wth boards, and shall pay for the thatching of the said house, and lend the said Samuel Cole a lighter to fetch the thatch for the same.444

Boston: House for Henry Ellis

Deposition of Richard Jacques, aged 21, March 31, 1679.

. . . [who] saith that about fiue or six years sence my father built a house for Henry Elles at Boston neare mr Atkisons house and mad 2 Great windows in the frunt of the house and a Geablend in the frunt and Coured all the outsid of the hous with Clabords and shingl and laid all the floors and made two pare of stairs and made a Closet in the Chamber with partisions to the Roomes and dors to the same[;] and in the somer my father Raised the frame of the hous and be fore the wintr set in we finished the same so that the masones stand[?] not for owr work[;] and allso windos sutab. for eury Roome.

1. Essex Quarterly Court Files, Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court for Essex County, Salem, Mass., xxx, 116.

Boston: House for the Latin Schoolmaster

Contract with carpenter, November 24, 1701.

Agreement made between the Select men and Cap John Barnet viz That the Said Barnet Shall Erect a House on the Land where Mr Ezekiell Chever Lately dwelt of forty foot long, Twenty foot wide and Twenty foot Stud wth four foot Rise in the Roof, to make a Cellar floor under one halfe of Sd house and to build a Kitchin of Sixteen foot in Length & twelve foot in bredth with a Chamber therein, and to Lay the floors flush through out the main house and to make three paire of Stayers in ye main house & one paire in the Kitchin and to Inclose Sd house & to do and compleat all carpenters worke and to finde all timber boards, Clapboards, nayles, glass and Glaziers worke & Iron worke. and to make one Celler door and to finde one Lock for the Outer door of Said House, And also to make the Casemts for Sd house, and perform Sd worke and to finish Sd building by the first day of August next.

In consideration whereof the Select men do agree that the Sd Capt Barnet Shall have the Old Timbr, boards, Iron work & glass of the Old house now Standing on Sd Land and to pay unto him the Sum of One hundred and thirty pounds money that is to say forty pounds down in hand & the rest as the worke goes on.

Contract with mason, November 24, 1701.

Agreement made between the Select men and M John Goodwin viz That the Said John Goodwin agrees to do and perform the masons worke of the house now to be built on the Land where m Ezekiell Chever Lately dwelt. S house to [be] of the dementions agreed for wth Cap John Barnerd. The S Goodwin to digg and Stone a Celler under the Largest end of Sd House, to under pin the whole house & Kitchen. Sd Cellar to be Six foot & four Inches deep under the Cell, the wall to be Laid with Lime and Sand Morter, to turn an Arch in Sd Celler and to build a good Stack of brick Chimneys, wth three Lower room Chimnyes[,] two Chamber Chimnyes and one garret Chimney, to fill Lath and plaster all the walls under the plate of Said house and Kitchen, to Ceile two floors through out the Sd House and plaster the Gable ends and under the Staires within Sight, and to plaster the Clossets and all the brickworke as high up as the Garrett, to lay the Hearth of the Chimnyes with two rows of Tile in the Lower rooms and Chambers, and to plaster the Coveing, and to point the garret and Purge [parge] the Chimnyes with good Lime morter; and at the Said Goodwins Charge to finde all Stones, brick, Lime, Sand, Lath, Haire, nayles and other materialls for the Said worke, and to Compleat & finish the Same by the first day of August next.

In consideration whereof the Select men Shall pay unto the Sd John Goodwin the sum of Ninety pounds money, with the free Liberty of his useing all the Stones and Brick of the Old house now there Standing for his own use, and to have forthwith an order for Twenty pounds in part of paymts

Meetings of the Selectmen.

  • [Mar. 2, 1702.] The Said House to have two windows in each Roome one in the front & the other at the end.
  • [June 3, 1702.] Ordered that Cap John Barnerd do provide a Raysing Dinner for the Raysing the Schoolmasters House at the Charge of the Town not exceeding the Sum̃ of Three pounds.
  • [Oct. 13, 1703.] Ordered that M John Barnet take the Care of geting a Sufficient fence & gate made at the Latten Schoolmasters House & also for ye makeing a House of Easment there.
  • [Oct. 30, 1703.] Ordered that M Thomas Child [painter] do the following work ab the Latten Schoolmasters House viz finish the Gate & prime the fence, finish the Out side work of the house. And to prime the Inside worke of the Same, and to be paid what is reasonable for the Said work.
  • [Nov. 30, 1703.] Ordered that David Crouch & his mate have a noat for 12/8 for worke in diging a Vault &c. for the Schoolmasters Hous.
  • [Sept. 13, 1708.] Mesurs Daniell Oliver & Daniel Powning are desired to gett gutters & other necessary repaires to be done at ye School masters House.445

Boston: House for Thomas Robinson

Building contract, August 25 (?), 1660.

This witneseth that I Jobe Lane of Malden Acknolleg my selfe to stand ingaged unto mr Thomas Robeson of sittuat for the Raysing of A frame for A dwelling house Apon ye Land of the sd Robinsons in Boston Joy[n]ing unto the Land of mr Pottar . . . [one word unclear] the demensions of the frame is to be as followes viz forty two foot Longe[,] nintene foot weyd and Eighten Inches Jutte, for the hight is to be fiftene foot betwixt Joynts[,] and two stule windose and the Rest Clerstorey windose so many as in the Judgment of men[?] is nedfull, and on[e] and twenty foot of the sayd frame [sic]. I the sd Lane promise to find sommers and Joyse for A seller floure[;] all these timbers the which I mack use of Abought the Aboue sd frame shall be timber sold in seson and the frame shall be Euery waye substanshall Acording to the Judgment of men and further I do promise to Rayse the sayd frame at or befor the 14th of Nouember Next in this yere 1660 and for and in Considarashon Aboue sd I the sayd J [sic] Joseph Rock do Ingag my selfe in the behalfe of my Brother and Thomas Robinson to paye unto the sd Job Lane the somme of fifty pounds starling the which is to be payd by the hands of my mother mrs Mrtha Coggan the which is in full of Legesayes duw from the sd mrs Coggan unto my sistar mary Robeson and hur Children as maye Apere ꝑ the will of my father mr John Coggan desed: now ther being An Agrement mad betwixt me the Aboue sd Lane and mrs Coggan for A corne mill at Maiden, I do promise to buld the Aboue sd frame and [it] is to be in part of paye unto mrs Coggan for the sd purches[,] all which is by the Consent of my mother mrs Marthah Coggan. . . .446

Boston: House for John Williams

Building contract, January 23, 1678/1679.

This Agreement made Between James Townsend of Boston in New England housewright of the one part And John Williams of s Boston Boateman on the other part Witnesseth that the s James Townsend doth hereby covenant promiss and agree (in consideration of the payments and other the Covenants hereafter in these presents expressed) to fframe erect Set up and finish for him the s Williams upon his Land in Boston in the place where his now dwelling house standeth (which is to bee taken down by the s Townsend) A Tenement or dwelling house according to the dimentions following. Viz to contain in Length thirty four foote more or less as the Land will beare, and in breadth twenty foote, and ffifteen foote Stud with two jetts in the front next the Street, and a Leanto of ten foote wide joyning to the backside to reach throughout the whole length of sd house, to Stone a Cellar underneath the s main house throughout the whole length and breadth thereof, to build a Stack of good brick Chimny’s to the s house to contain six fires, one in the Cellar, three upon the first ffloore and two in the Chambers, to inclose and cover the sides and Roofe with Clapboards and shingles, to make and place four great casement frames in the front of s building, two cleer storey windows in the gables and two in the Cellar wall and to make outside dores and Staires into the Cellar, to fill lath & plaister the walls of s house throughout, to lay a ffloor of boards upon Sleepers in the Cellar, to make up all partitions, to make and hang all dores Staires, and to lay all the ffloors of s house with good merchantable well Seasoned pine boards, to make & put up pyramides and flewboards at the gables, and generally to do all Carpentry and masons worke whatsoever necessary to the compleating and finishing of the s Tenement or building to make it tenantable, although not herein perticularly expres’t (Ceiling of the Roomes excepted)[;] all the timber used in and about the frame of s house to bee of good sound well seasoned Sizable white and black oake, all which workes and materials for the same (Clapboards Shingles hinges and locks excepted) are to bee found made and done strong substantiall & workemanlike at the proper cost and charge of the sd James Townsend, the fframe to bee raysed at or before the first day of May and the whole worke to bee fully done and finished on or before the last day of July next insuing the day of the date of these presents. In Consideration of which workes to bee done and finished in all respects as is above expres’t and materials for the same, the abovenamed John Williams doth hereby covenant promiss and agree to allow unto the s James Townsend his present dwelling house, all the timber boards & bricks belonging thereunto (hee takeing down the same) and to pay or cause to bee paid unto him his heires Execṛs Admiṛs or Assignes the full Sum̃e of One hundred and thirty pounds currant mony of New England in manner following Viz thirty pounds at the Ensealing of these presents, ffifty pounds at the rayseing of the frame, and ffifty pounds more when the whole worke is done and finished as aboves Also to digg the Cellar and to finde and provide all Shingles clapboards hinges and locks for the s building at his own cost & charge ffor the true performance of which abovewritten Covenants Agreements and payments the party’s to these presents each one for his respective part doth binde himselfe his heires Execṛs and Admṛs unto the other his heires Execṛs Admṛs & Assignes in the penall Sum̃e of two hundred pounds lawfull money of New England to be well and truly paid by the defective part[y]. . . .

Memorand It’s agreed that the foreside and end of the house is to bee boarded underneath the Clapboards up to the first jette

Deposition of William Dawes, mason, aged about 62, January 26, 1680.

. . . being desired by James Townsend to go with Deacon Allen to pass their Judgement upon a house built by the s Townsend for John Williams . . . I do judge it to bee done workemanlike according to covenant and that hee has done rather more then less hee was obliged by covenant, as the plaistering the walls of the Cellar and the pointing the garret[,] and that it is not usuall to Seel the jetties when the Roomes are not Seeled.

Deposition of Thomas Ghent, aged about 37, January 26, 1680.

That some time last Spring John Williams the Boatman imployed me to digg a Cellar for him, where his dwelling house now standeth. wc̣h house was built by James Townsend and this deponent testifieth that the s Cellar was not digged and finished untill the last Election day in the morning being the 28 of may. 1679. my Selfe and one more man being imployed about it.

Deposition of Cornelius White, aged 30, sworn in court January 27, 1680.

. . . as to that peice of worke that hee the s White tooke of James Townsend, wc̣h was the Cellar of John Williams and by my agreement with him was to bee ready to go to worke upon some time in march. 79. the which Cellar was not ready by reason of the default of the s Williams untill the middle of may last & farther Saith not.

Deposition of Peter Weare, aged about 29, sworn in court January 27, 1680.

. . . [who] testifieth and Saith that hee being Emploied by James Town send about the framing & finishing of the house of John Williams from the first to the last and that it was done Substantiall and workemanlike by the middle of October and further that the s Williams did say severall times in my hearing that hee could not finde any fault in the worke, ffarther after the s Townsend had framed the house in wideness and Length according to his Covenant, hee was forced to cut off Six or Seven inches of the Length of it which was no small hinderance to the s Townsend and farther Saith not.

Deposition of Gamaliel Rogers, aged about 22, sworn in court, January 27, 1680.

. . . sometime in July last past I was at worke at Goodman Williams house, and hee would not let me go forward with my worke, because hee would have it boarded under the Clapboards and the same day James Townsend came down and they had some discourse about it, and the s Williams was as I thought very well Satisfied about the boarding, and I went forwards with my worke and afterwards I heard the s Williams Say that hee the s Townsend should allow him boards for the fence.

Deposition of Cornelius White, aged about 30, sworn in court January 28, 1680.

. . . [who] testifieth and Saith that that end of John Williams his house joining to mṛs Puglissṣ could not bee filled because there could not bee boards put up to fill against by reason it stood so neer it. And that the middle wall in s Williams house between the main house and the Leantoo is boarded with plaine boards on one side, and filled lathed and plaistered on the other side which is not usuall and further Saith not: This Deponent adds that it is not usuall to fill gable ends where a house jetts[.] John Pearse aged about 70 yeares testifieth to all abovewritten

White adds that Wṃs did motion to have that end of the house filled, but I shewed unto him the inconvenience and improbability of doing it; wherewith Wṃs seemed to bee well Satisfied.

Deposition of Obadiah Reed, Francis Dodson and Thomas Atkins, “being desired by John Williams of Boston to veiw and examine what his new dwelling house doth want to bee finished,” sworn in court January 27, 1680.

  1. Inprimis. The mantle tree in the Cellar not faced.
  2. 2ly. The mantle tree in the Leanto Chimly not faced.
  3. 3ly. One Partition in the Cellar and a dore left undone
  4. 41y. Two Partitions in the Garret not done, and never a dore to them.
  5. 5. Three pair of Stairs and but one dore to them all.
  6. 6. Seventeen dores in the house, and not one latch, katch. or bolt to any one of them
  7. 7ly. ffive gable ends to the house and not one of them fil’d.
  8. 8ly. Two Jetties not close[d] in the foreside: the one end and the foreside should have been boarded underneath the clapboards wc̣h is not done.
  9. 9ly. One Pyramid and one gutter on the backside of the house not done
  10. 10. One guttar on the foreside of s house not done, so that the house is much damnified for want of it.
  11. 11. One end of the main house and Leanto from the bottom to the top which hath no filling at all in it:And the Cheekes
  12. 12 the Cellar dore, which should have been done up with brick and Lime, is not done, which should have been done.
  13. 13. One Partition upon the wing of the Leanto Chimney not done
  14. 14. Some of the Windows in the house open between the Window frames and the posts.
  15. 15. The Partition in the Leanto is not done as it should bee by a workeman.
  16. 16. The Cellar Stairs that go out to the Street are neither fastned with Spikes nor with trunnells.447

Boxford: House for David Peabody

Building contract, April 13, 1726.

Know all men by these presents that I: Benjamin porter of Boxford in the County of Easex in New england: joyner haue Bargained and promised for to build and finish a dwelling house for Dauid peabody of the aboue sd town County and Contary yeoman: of the dementions here after Expresed: viz Two frams: the one to be twenty foott in weidth and seuenteen foot Long: and to be the same height as is his old house is which is upon his farme whear Thomas Carr is sd peabodys Tennant and is to be Joyned to the End of sd old house: and the sd house is to be Cou[er]ed on the fore side: and the Rufe to [be] borded and shingled with white pine shingels: short shingels: and the fram to [be] Clabborded all Round: and the fore side of sd house all with white pine or Ceader shingels and Clabords[.] And to build sd peabody a Back Rume of Eighteen foott square: seuen foott stud in height: and to bord the Rofe and to short shingell the Rofe and Clabbord all the Rest of the frames and [do] all the out side woork of both[.] the aboue sd frams is to [be] finished by the first day of december next ensuing the Date of these presents: and the aboue sd Benjamin porter Joyner is To make and put up six windows to the hiest frame: aboue and below: three to a Rome[,] And Two windows to the back Rome[;] and all the windows to be of the bigness as they are generaly made now to housing newly built here abouts in the neighbourhood[;] and to glaze all the windows and to Lay three flowers in the Rome and one of them to be plained: Two pe[rti]tions by the fire way one aboue and one below: and to be done handsome plained woorke: and the sd windows To be Lined[;] and Two flowers too the Back Rome: and one pe[rti]tion by the fire way in the back Rome: and the sd porter is To find bords and nayls[,] Clabords and shingels and glase and all the meterals for the finishing of all the aboue sd woorke: only the said Dauid peabody is to Leat the said Benjamin porter haue the Libberty for to gitt what timber he shall haue ocation for to make use of for the building of sd woorke and finishing of it of[f] from the sd farm whear sd Carr sd Tenant Liues upon which sd housings are to be built . . . And the aboue sd peabody is [to] giue to ye sd porter or his heiers a good and Lawfull deed of Conuaince of Twenty acres of Land out of his aboue sd farm and if the sd peabody shall Truly Execute sd deed to sd porter That then the said porter doth hereby bind and oblidge himself his heiers Executors and Administrators in the sume of one hundred pounds in pasiable money of newengland unto the said peabody his heiers Executors Administrators and assiens for to haue all the aboue Buildings finished as aboue Expresed by the time aboue Expresed. . . .448

Boxford: House for the Poor

Town meeting, February 5, 1706.

. . . voted by the Towen to bueld a houes for the pooer of the Towen . . . thorty foout in lenth and fouerteen foout in bradth and six foout stud with a conveniant sealler vnder one Eand of it: also the Towen have Chosen three men to a gree with sum man or men of our Towen to bueld and finish this a bove saied houes and sealler according to the sound discresion of thes three men . . . vpon the Towens Cost and Charg449

Bradford: House for Philip Nelson

Building contract, no date (probably early in 1663).

Be it knowne unto all men by the presents that John willcott of Newbury in the county of Essex in new England carpenter, for and in considderation of a pcell of land by estimation three hundred acres more or less lyeing & sittuate in Rowley aforsayd doth acknowledge himselfe to owe & to be indebted to Phillip Nellson of Rowley in the county aforesayd, his heires, executors, administrators, or assignes, the full & just sum̃ of two hundred pound, to be payd att time and in kind as followeth, one hundred pound he is to pay in the building a house & barne upon the land of the sd Phillip Nellson at Merrimack [Bradford], which house he is to build, and to make it thirty foure foote long and nyne foote stud, and sixteene foote wyde, and he is for to cover the Roofe of the sayd house with good & well seasoned pine boards, and to be duble boarded, & to be well and substantially nayled, and the syds & the ends of the sayd house he is for to clabord with good & substantiall clabord, and to be well claborded and nailed, also he is to make six windows to the sayd house, the four lower windows are to be two foote long, and two of them are to have three lights a peece, & the other two are to have two lights a peece, & the other two windows at the ends of the house he is to make with three lights a peece, and to find glase to all the forsayd windows, and for to naile up the sayd glase, also he is to make three dores to the sayd house, one out dore, & two inward dores, all which three dores are to be made of good & will seasoned pine board and he is to finde hookes & hinges to the sd dores, and to hang the same, and he is for to make and to lay four floores to the sayd house, two lower floores and two chamber floores, which are to be well & close layd, and to be covered with good & well seasoned pine boards, & to be well and sustantially nayled and he is for to make a good dubble chimnye to the sayd house, and to daub the same, makeing a good back to the sayd chimnyes, and he is to daub the ends of the sayd house unto the top of the house, and syds unto the wall plates, with a suficient thicknes of clay, and for to make a good oven to the sd house, and to make one paire of good staires to go into the chambers of the sayd house, which house is to be finished as thus expressed at or before the last of may in the yeare one thousand six hundred sixty & three. . . . the other hundred pound is to be payd in corne, or in neate cattle . . . not to exceed above seaven years of age, except it be oxen which are not to exeed aboue nyne years of age. . . .450

Charlestown: House Belonging to the Town

Lease (with contract) to John Wesson, yeoman, of Charlestown, January 26, 1705.

. . . one Certain Tract or parcel of Land, scituate, lying and being within the Limitts and bounds of Charlstown aforesaid, and belonging to said Towne, Conteining ninety-one acres and one-half: be the same more or less . . . And [Wesson] also shall and will Erect, Build and finish upon said Land A Dwelling house which shall be Twenty foot Long, and Eighteen foot wide, nine foot stud Between Joynts and A Leanto at the End Twelve foot Long the width of the house, six foot stud, and shall Digg and sufficiently ston a Conveinent seller under said house, and shall build and carry up A Double Stack of Brick Chimneys to A Conveinent height above the house, and shall lay Two good floors in said house, and shall fill the walles Between the studds and ceile them with plained boards or Lime morter, and shall make Conveinent stairs, and shall board or clabboard the outside of said house, and board and Shingle the Roofe to make it every Way thite, and make Conveinent Lights in said house and Glaze them. . . . And the said Land, together with all the buildings theron that shall be erected theron as afforsaid, So well and Sufficiently repaired and Amended, With the orchard well fenced intire, and all the Land he shall Improve sufficiently fenced as aforsaid, at the end of said Term of Twenty-one years shall and will peaceably and quietly yield up and Surrender the same unto the . . . sd Towne of Charlstowne. &c., &c.451

[Identical leases with respect to buildings and the improvement of lands were drawn by the Town’s committee with Stephen Williams, yeoman, of Woburn on February 23, 1705, and Thomas Gould, husbandman, and Daniel Gould, cordwainer, of Charlestown on August 14, 1705, for other tracts of land in Charlestown belonging to the town.452]

Charlestown (Lovell’s Island): House Belonging to the Town

Lease (with contract) to George Worthylake, planter, of Boston, August 3, 1696.

. . . all That the Island commonly called and Known By the name of Lovels Island . . . for the term of Twenty six years from thence Nex ensuing, yeilding and pay therfor, &c., the yearly Rent or sum of Ten pounds Current money of New England. . . .

And the said George Worthylake for himself, &c, doth hereby covenant, &c., that he, the said George Worthylake, his heirs, executrs and adm̃istratrs, or Asigns, or some of them, shall and will erect, build and finish A Dwelling house upon the said Island which shall be Twenty foot Long, Sixteen foot wide, and eleven foot stud; and shall digg and well and suificently stone A good convenient Celler under the said house, and shall Build and cary up a good Strong Stack of chimneys, to Be built with Stone from the foundation to the mantletree, and from the mantletree upward with good bricks, to A convenient height above the roofe of the house, and Shall Lay two good floores in the said house, and shall fill the Walls between the studds and ceile them with good plained boords; and shall make two paire of stairs, one pair down into the Celler, and the other pair up into the Chamber; and shall board the Walls of the said house, and board and well Shingle the roofe so as to make it every way thite; and Shall make convenient Lights in the said House and well Glaze the same; and shall at his and theire owne proper Cost and Charge from time to time, and at all Times During the aforsaid Term, when and often as need shall Require, Well and Sufficiently repair, support, maintaine, and Amend the said Dwelling house and the barne Now Standing one the said Iland, With all needfull and necessary repairations whatsoever, etc.453

Danvers: Parsonage

Town meeting, 1673, 1681.

“In this second year of the organization of the parish [Salem Village], 1673, it was voted to build ‘an house for the minister:’ the dimensions to be ‘28 foot in length, 13 foot between joynts and 20 foot in breadth, and a leentoo of 11 foot at the end of the house.’ But this does not appear to have been carried into effect; for seven years later, in February, 1680 (1681 n.s.), we find the vote renewed: ‘the Dementions of the House are as followeth: 42 foot long, twenty foot Broad: thirteen foot stude, fouer chimleis, no gable ends.’”454

Dedham: “House in the Church Lott

Town meeting, February 18, 1669.

. . . considering that ther is some remote Lands belonging to the Towne not like to be vsefull to any man dwelling at home in the Towne . . . [it] might by contract with any man of our Towne pcure and paye for the felling crosse cutting heweing saweing frameing and with conueanient help the rayseing of an house in the place afore said betwixt 40 and 50 foote longe[,] 18 or 20 foote wide[,] 13 foote betweene joynts[,] double floard[,] with windowes and all the building sufficient for strength and conueaniencie as the case may be more at full be described.455

Haverhill: House for Robert Swan

Building contract, February 28, 1681.

John Whittier doth herby couenant with robert Swon [both of Haverhill] to buld or erect and finsh a dwaling hous for hm for work demensions and tim as foleth[:] ye frame is to be eight and forte foote long[,] twente foot wid[,] thurten foot and a half Betwen ioynts[;] the ends and sids to be claborded exapting that part which will be betwen the ould hous[;] and that the rof to be coured with bords and short shingles[;] to make nine windo frames and too par of cagement frames[;] to lay six floors[;] to mak fouer pertiones ioyening to the chimles or ner to them[;] to mak one outside dor and fiue other dors and to mak thre par of stairs[;] and the sd John to cut the timbers upone the sd raberts rit [right] ether of land or comen: the sd robert Swon doth herby couenant upon notes given to him of the timber being cut to and with ye sd whittier to draw or cause to be brout in plas wher the sd frame is to be raised all the timber so that the sd John be not hindred nor disapoynted or want the same to work upon[;] the sd robert Swon doth herby couenant with the sd John whittier to prouide and bring in to plac at his own proper cost and charg all clabords bords shingls Joys or slittwork nails and ioyrn work whatsoeuer[;] the sd robert allso when the frame is fit for to be raised is to find all nasesere hands and halp for the Joyneing with ye sd Jon to rais it[;] the fram is to be raised at or befor the 15th day of ogest ensuing the dat herof and one rom to be inclosed and couered and one flore to be laied as sone as ye sd John can and all the rast of ye work to be done at or befor the last day in the yer on thousand six hundred eighte and thre[;] It is to be understod by ye word finish in ye first line is onely ment to doe ye carpendors work aboue menisoned which is to be done wall and workmanlik:

The sd Robart Swon doth herby couenant with ye sd John whittier in consideration of the sd work by hm to be done to pay to him or his heirs or assines the . . . [torn] sum of fiue and thirte pound in maner followeng[:] that is fouer and twenty dayes work and fouer bushels of indan corn upone demand[;] twelve pound to be paied at or before ye ninth of octtober next ensuing ye dat her of: the one half to be paied in marchantabl corn than at pris curant otes exapted[,] the other half to be paied in good sound nate catel to be fat and fit for ye slaiter bules exapted[;] and thirten pound mor to be paied at or befoer the last day of aprel ensuing the dat herof in ye yer 16 hundred eighte and thre: twalue pound [of this amount] to be payed in marchantabel corne than & at pris curant ots exapted and and [sic] twenti shilens in curant monee of new england

and the said rabart Swone doth herby couenant with ye sd John that he or any under or for him shall haue thre diet dureing the time that he or thay shall be at work at his hous and the sd Jon to alowe ye sd robart fowr shilens a wek for his diet[?] which is to be alowed out of ye last paiment that is not yet mentioned and the remainder to be paid the sd John in nat catell under nine yers on at or befoer ye last day of October in ye yer 16 hundred eighte and thre. . . .456

Ipswich: Addition to the House of Richard Jacob

Building contract, September 27, 1659.

Thes presents wittneseth that I william Auerill of Ipswich Carpenter haue undertaken a peece of building of Richard Jacob of Ipswich in manner as followeth[:] Viz one Bay of building of 18 foot square and 13 foot in the stud : as allso to provide Clabbord and shingle for the forsaid building and to Lay them[.] Allso he is to Lay three flors with Joys and bord and to make 4 windows[,] too stole windows of 5 Lights a peece and to Claristory windows of 4 Lights a peece[;] also a garret window[,] to Casments betwene studs[;] prtitions and dors to Close the Roms Compleat[;] as allso to Remoue a Little Rome and Close it to his house and make it tite betwene[.] allso to make a table and frame of 12 or 14 foot Long and a joyned form of 4 foot Long and a binch Behind the table[.] for and in Consideration of all the foresaid premises I the forsaid William do Acknowledg to haue Receued the sum of twelue pound as full satisfaction And for the du performance heerof I the foresaid William do bind my selfe Executors administrators and assins in the forfite of twenty four pound to finish Compleatly by the Last of august next Ensuing the date heerof[;] and the said Richard for his part is to draw all the timber and bord for Couering and to find Couenyant help to Raise and frens[?] and bords and nails[,] only shuch timbr as is defective through the said Williams defalt he is to prouid at his own proper Cost to mak the worke substantial all according to the tru intent of the bargan aboue writen

Deposition of Thomas Whittered, March 26, 1661.

This deponent saith I being at worke at sargant Richard Jacobs house the latter end of last summer hee hired mee to hew a grounsill and mortis it to putt into the side of his ould house that stands whare the new house is to be sat (as I under stood by Richard Jacob)

I testify allso that the grounsill of the ould house is Rotten and the new sill is nott put in to this day though it is to be understood I wrought by the day and was not ingaged to put it in: the house as it then stood and still Remains is incapable of being Remoued as I conceiue: I furder Testify that the frame of the new house did not want much of being fitt to Raise when I was there att worke about the grounsill: also there was a considerable quantity of shingle and clapboard for couering then wrought out and still piled up in sargant Jacobs yard done by william auerell as I am a wittness of[;] allso the Celler that the ould house is to stand ouer is without sleepers open to this day

Deposition of Samuel and Thomas Jacob, aged about 20 and 22, sworn in court, March 26, 1661.

This deponant [sic] testifyeth that in the Case depending betwene ther father and william auerill that there was a sell prouided Redy for the old house and the Resen why it was not put in was becase the walls should not be broke downe before the other house was Redy to be set up

Deposition of Thomas Clarke of Noddles Island, March 26, 1661.

[who] sayeth that I cleaft out for william Auerell about twelue hundred of clapb[oard] and shingle in Richard Jacobs yard for couering about the time that the Jurymen was chosen for last september court to be held at ipswich: sum of the clapboard stufe was brought home to sargt Jacobs house while I was there at worke:457

Ipswich: House for Samuel Symonds

Letter from Samuel Symonds to John Winthrop, Jr., of Ipswich, after February 8, 1638.

. . . Concerneinge the frame of the howse I thanke you kindely for your love and care to further my busines. I could be well content to leave much of the contrivance to your owne liberty vpon what we have talked together about it already. I am indiferent whether it be 30 foote or 35 foote longe[,] 16 or 18 foote broade. I would have wood chimnyes at each end, the frames of the chimnyes to be stronger then ordinary to beare good heavy load of clay for security against fire. you may let the chimnyes be all the breadth of the howse, if you thinke good[;] the 2 lower dores to be in the middle of the howse one opposite to the other. be sure that all the dorewaies in every place be soe high that any man may goe vpright vnder. the staiers I thinke had best be placed close by the dore, it makes noe great matter though there be noe particion vpon the first flore[;] if there be, make one biger then the other. for windowes let them not be over large in any roome, and as few as conveniently may be. let all have current shutting draw-windowes, haveing respect both to present and future vse. I thinke to make it a girt howse will make it more chargeable then neede. however, the side bearers for the second story being to be loaden with corne etc. must not be pinned on but rather eyther lett in to the studds or borne vp with false studds and soe tenented in at the ends; I leave it to you and the Carpenters. In this story over the first I would have a particion, whether in the middest or over the particion vnder I leave it; In the garrett noe particion, but let there be one or two lucome windowes, if two, both on one side. I desire to have the sparrs reach downe pritty deep at the eves to preserve the walls the better from the wether. I would have it Sellered all over, and soe the frame of the howse accordengly from the bottom. I would have the howse stronge in timber though plaine and well brased. I would have it covered with very good oake-hart inch board for the present, to be tacked on onely for the present as you tould me; let the frame begin from the bottom of the Seller, and soe in the ordinary way vpright for I can hereafter (to save the timber within grounde) run vp a thin brickworke without. I thinke it best to have the walls without to be all clapboarded besides the clay walls. It were not amisse to leave a dore-way or two within the Seller that soe hereafter one may make comings in from without, and let them be both vpon that side which the lucome window or windowes be.

I desire to have the howse in your bargaineing to be as compleatly mentioned in particulars as may be, at least soe far as you bargaine for, and as speedily done alsoe as you can. I thinke it not best to have too much timber felled neare the howse place westward, etc. Here are as many remembrances as come to minde. I desire you to be in my stead herein, and what ever you doe shall please me. . . .458

Marlborough: Parsonage

Building contract, April 5, 1661.

This Indenture made the fifth day of Aprill one Thousand six hundred sixty & one, by & between obadias Ward, Christopher Banyster, & Richard Barnes of the Towne of Marlborough on ye one party; And the Inhabitants & all the Proprietors of the same Towne on ye other party Witnesseth That ye sd obadias Ward Christoph: Banyster & Richd Barnes hath covenanted, promised, & Bargained to build a fframe for A Ministers house, every way like to ye fframe yt Jno Ruddocke hath built for himselfe in the afforesd Towne of Marlborough: the house or fframe is to bee A Girt house Thirty sixe ffoote Long, eighteene foote wide, & twelve ffoote (bettweene Joyntes) & A halfe; the studs standing & such A distance that A foure foote & A halfe Claboard may reach three studs: & two ffloores of juice, & foure windows on the foreside, & two windowes at the west end & two Gables on the foreside of ten foote wide; & eight ffoote Sparr, with two small windows on the fforeside of the Gables[;] & they are to ffell all the timber & bring it in place, & do all yt belongs to the fframe, only the Towne is to helpe raise the afforesd fframe, & all this worke is to bee done, & ye fframe raised within A ffortnight after Michll tyde: And this being done the Towne of Marlborough doth promise & engage to pay unto them the sd obadias Ward, Christopher Banyster & Richd Barnes, the sum̃e of ffifteene Pounds in Corne within fourteene daies after the house is raised the one half of it, & the othr halfe some time in March[;] the whole pay is to bee one third in wheat, & one third in Rie, & the othr third in Indian Corne[;] the halfe in wheat & Rie is to bee paid fourteene daies aftr the house is up in wheat & Rie, & the othr halfe in Rie & Indian some time in march: wheat at foure shillings & sixe pence A bushell, Rie at foure shillings A bushell, & Indian at three shillings A bushell. . . .459

Reading: House for Samuel Fitch

Will of Zachariah Fitch of Reading, May 3, 1662.

. . . my mind & will is that my Sonne Joseph & my sonn Benjamin shall (with the helpe of my sonne Samuell of his owne hand) build my sonne Samull a house uppon his Lott by Beare hill Twenty fower foote Longe & Eighteene foot wide and Twelue foot heigh in the stod & Couer itt & Clabbord or board itt: & fence in the Lott att Beare hill with a good suffitient fenc of fiue Rayles . . . By that time that my Sonne Samuell Comes to the Age of Twenty Two yeares. . . .460

Salem: House for Jonathan Corwin (1)

Contract with mason, February 19, 1675.

Articles and Couenants made agreed upon and Confirmed betweene Mr Jonathan Corwin of Salem mercht & Daniel Andrewes of [blank] of the other part, Concerning a Parcell of worke as followeth. viz:

Inprimis, the said parcell of worke is to be bestowed in filling, plaistering & finishing a Certaine Dwellinghouse bought by the said owner of Capt. Nathḷl Dauenport of Boston, & is scituate in Salem aforesaid towards the west End of the towne, betweene the houses of Rich Sibly on the west and Deliuerance Parkman on the East, & is to be performed according to the following Directions. viz:

  1. 1. The said Daniel Andrewes is to dig & build a Cellar as large as the Easterly roome of said house will afford (& in the said roome according to the breadth & length of it) not exceeding six foot in heigth, & to underpin the Porch & the remaining part of the house, not exceeding three foote in height, also to underpin the kitchen on the North side of the house, not Exceeding one ffoote, the said kitchen being twenty foote long & Eighteene foote wide, & to make steps with stones into ye Cellar in two places belonging to ye Cellar, together with stone steps up into ye porch.
  2. 2. ffor the Chimneys he is to take downe the Chimneys which are now standing, & to take & make up of the brickes that are now in the Chimneyes, & the stones that are in the Leanetoo Cellar that now is. & to rebuild the said Chimneys with fiue fireplaces, viz: 2 below & 2 in the Chambers & one in the Garrett. Also to build one Chimny in the kitchen (with ouens and a ffurnace) not Exceeding 5 foote aboue the top of the house.
  3. 3. He is to sett the Jamms of the 2 Chamber Chimneys, & of the Eastermost roome below with Dutch tyles the said Owner finding the tyle, also to lay all the hearths belonging to ye said house, & to point the Cellar & underpinning of ye house, & so much of the 3 hearths as are to be laid with Dutch tile, the said Owner is to find them.
  4. 4. As for Lathing & plaistering, he is to lath & Siele the 4 roomes of the house, betwixt ye Joyce ouer head, & to plaister the sides of the house with a Coate of lime & haire upon the clay, also to fill ye Gable Ends of the house with bricke, & to plaister them with Clay,
  5. 5. to Lath & plaister the partitions of the house with Clay & lime, & to fill lath & plaister with bricke & Clay the porch & porch Chamber, & to plaister them with lime & haire besides, & to siele & lath them ouerhead with lime, also to fill Lath & plaister the kitchen up to ye wallplate, on euery side.
  6. 6. The said Daniel Andrewes is to find lime, bricke, Clay, stone & haire, together with labourers & workemen to helpe him, & generally all materials for the Effecting & Carrying on of the aforesaid worke, Except laths & nailes.
  7. 7. The whole worke before mentioned is to be done finished & ꝑformed att or before the last day of August next following, provided the said Daniel or any that worke with him be not lett or hindred for want of the Carpenters worke.
  8. 8. Lastly in Consideration of all the aforesaid worke so finished & accomplished as is abouesaid, the aforesaid owner is to pay or Cause to be paid unto ye said workeman the summe of fifty pounds in money Currant in New England, to be paid at or before the finishing of the said worke. . . .461

Mason s receipt, March 12, 1673.

Res this 12th March 1674/75 of Jonathan Corwin of Salem ye ffull & Just Sum̃e of Eight poundes being in Concideration of our last bargaine. Viz. ye Cellar to be under ye whole house & ye Stack of Chymnyes to Come fro ye Bottome of ye Cellar. . . .

Daniel Andrus [crossed out]462

Salem: House for Jonathan Corwin (2)

Memorandum, September 12, 1679.

the house yt Thomas fflint is to build for mee is accordg to these following Demensions

Length. 24 foot from inside to inside

Breadth. 18 foot Ditto

Height of stud. 10 foot betwene wall plate & groundsell.

wth 3 Length of Joyce[;] to Jett att ye end Next ye Street 2 ffoot wth hansom pindulu’s [or pindula’s;] one Gable end on ye west Side & towards ye North End together wth Sleepers for the Lower ffloore

Ye frame to be Compleatly Raysed wth ye Joyce ffitted for itt by ye Last day of Nouember Next for wch work Jonathan Corwin is to allow to Thomas fflint twelve poundes in good English Goods price Currant. . . .463

Salem: Addition to the House of George Emery

Building contract, 14: 6mo: 1658.

There is a grement betwene Mr Gorge emery of salem and John Norman of manchester housecarpenter and the said norman is to build a porch seuen ffoot 4 enches stud[,] 8 ffoot of frame braced and tenneted in to the stud[,] jetted ouer 14 enches and [?] three wayes and to couer it and shingle the gutters[;] to make one wendow & one doore and stayers in to bothe chambers and to make one gable end a Leuen ffoote broad and to couer it and shingle the gutteres and a cleare storrey wendow for ye gableend and a stoole wendow acording to the Lower wendow and three ffloores of boards in the new roome and three ffloores of boards in the porch and to make 3 doores and to ffinnes all this worke spesseffid and to due the porch and windowes within two monthes from the date hereoff . . . and ffmd boardes to ffines thes worke and clabbordes . . . and the said norman is to haue in consedderation for this worke speseffid twelfe poundes and he is to haue a gray mare at 12 pound prise going into two yeares ould or else the saddle mare at 16 poundes. . . .

Deposition of John Gedney and Phillip Cromwell, 22: 1mo: 1661.

. . . [who] sayth that some time the last sumer John Norman & mr Emery of Salem made an agreement that John Norman was to sett up a gable end upon the old pte of mr Emerys house & to shingle the east sid of the house, & to sett up weather boards, mr Emery providing ym[,] for wcḥ with worke don before John Norman was to haue a yong ambling mare & a colt if shee had any, mr Emery to warrant her with colt when he put her out

Carpenter’s bill of costs (undated).




for building of a porcht




for 2000 of bowrds and working of them




for 200 & 50 clapbowrd and working of them




for 6000 of shingell & laying of them




for seting up of a Gabell end




for making of 3 windowes




for makeing of 3 dowers




for makeing of a pare of stayers & cassin of them







Salem: House for Thomas Maulle

Memorandum, account book of Joshua Buffum, carpenter, 20: 10 mo: 1678.

A house ingaged for to bee bilt for thomas maulle ye 20 day of the 10 month 1678 and all to be fineshed by ye last of ye 8 month 1679[:] thes house is to bee in lenth 35 fute and 20 fute in brith[,] the stoud 14 fute in haith

The aboue said house wass all compleated by the 30 day of ye 8 month 1679 acording to Thomas Maoules dariction

the cost of ye house in nailes


for byeng and cartind of tymber


for sawing


for clabordes


for bordes


for shengell


for carting of clay


for Engenes [Indians’] helpe aboute making morter


in lyme and hare


for windos making and stayeres making


for Iorne worke beside casmentes and selere dore



Sudbury: House on John Glover’s Farm

Lease from John Glover of Harvard College, Cambridge, student, and Henry Dunster, “president of the said College Father in Law, Guardian Elect, and Tutor to the Said John,” to Edmund Rice of Sudbury, husbandman, September 29, 1647.

. . . John Glovers whole farme, lying abutting northward on the said Henry Dunsters Lands, Severed by Sudbury Line, and so on to Cochittuate brooke . . . from the 29th of September 1647 to the 29th of September 1657. . . .

Item. That the said Edmund shall within the first 5 or 6 years, build one dwelling house on the premises 30 foote long, 10 foote high stud, one foot sill from the ground, 16 foote wide, 2 fire roomes, both below, or the one above, and the other below. All dores well hanged, and staires with convenient fastnes of locks or bolts, windows glased, and well planked under foote and boarded sufficiently to lay corne in, in the story abovehead, and the same keep in good and sufficient repaire unto the end of the said terme of ten years compleated.466

Topsfield: House for William Perkins

Building contract, March 16, 1691.

Thease preasents witnesseth yt I Joseph Hale of Newbury in ye County of Essex in New England doe bind my self my Heyers Executors or Administrators to Heugh frame and seat up and doe all ye Carpenters woorke of a House of 25 foot Long and 20 foot wide and 14 foot stud, for william Pearkins of Topsfield in ye above sd County at or be fore ye first of march next Insueing ye date heare of[.] ye woork is to be compleatly finished, & ye aboue sd william Pearkins doe like so In gage my self my heyers or Executors to provid for ye above sd Joseph hale meat drink and Lodging all ye time yt ye above sd woork is doing, and Likewise to bring all ye Tymber into Place yt is needfull for ye building and to provide sutch as shall be sutable for ye same, and Likewise to provide Boards shingles and nailes sutable for ye woorke, In Consideration of Twenty seaven Poundes wch ye above sd william pearkins have Given bill for ye payment of. . . . The poasts are to be split and studs and Joyst sawd467