18th C. House Wrights, Jointers & Carpenters: Plymouth County, MA

Plymouth County Documents

This post presents  documents and deeds relating to Early American woodworking trades and craftsmen and covers Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Bristol, Middlesex and Essex Counties of Massachusetts were covered previously. These documents cover nearly 100 years, from Queen Anne to King George the 2nd to President George Washington.

Each of the documents provides a name, a profession, a place and a time. Take note of the 1740 Stetson document as it probably links to the family of the planemaker Jonah Stetson. Also, two of the documents, while relating to court cases, provide contract details of barn and house construction … one as early as 1702.

1. The original spelling and capitalization is retained if possible.
2. If the spelling or interpretation of a name is questioned, that entry is set apart using (parenthesis).


1714 Thomas Lambert, NS house carpenter Sittuat Plymouth MA
1731 Richard Church, NS House carpenter Rochester Plymouth MA
1737 Joseph Blackmer, NS millwright Rochester Plimouth MA
1738 Zebadee Chandler, S house write Plymouth Plymouth MA
1738 Richard Hill, NS House wright Hanover Plymouth MA
1740 Jonah Stetson, S House wright Scituate Plymouth MA
1755 Abiel Brettun, S Joiner Middleborough Plimouth MA
1795 Aseph Hayward, NS Cabinet maker Bridgewater Plymouth MA

Table Note: NS denotes “not signed” and S denotes “signed”.


1714 A court document to the sherriff of Barnstable County commanding the attachment of the goods of Matthew Fuller, Barnstable, in a case brought by Thomas Lambert of Situatt, Plymouth County, house carpenter. The case references the summer of 1702 in which Thomas “gott the frame of a barn”, transported it and set it up for the defendant along with a stable. The barn frame measured 20 feet by 20 feet and additional “bords” and shingles were provided by Lambert. Witness John Cushing. Signed by the clerk William Little and the sheriff Shuball Gorham.

1714 Thomas Lambert of Sittuat, house carpenter.

1731 Richard Church of Rochester, Plymouth County, House carpenter the defendant and Henry Barree of Newport, Trader the plaintiff for 200 pounds. In 1730 Henry had contracted with Richard to “procure and deliver a frame for a Dwelling house and other materials”.

1731 Richard Church of Rochester, House carpenter.

1737 Another court case! Joseph Blackmer of Rochester, millwright and John Blackmer of Tiverton, husbandman  in a case of 270 pound debt decided in favor of Christopher Almy of Newport, merchant. Witnessed by Seth Williams and signed by Timothy Fales, clerk.

1737 Joseph Blackmer of Rochester, millwright.

1738 Zebadee Chandler, of Plymouth, house wright sells a tract of land in Barwick in the County of York to Thomas Gooden of Barwick. Edward and Ezrah Arnold are mentioned. Signed by Zebadee, Joshua Loring, Edward Thomas, Joshua Cushing JP and Jer Moulton Reg.

1738 Zebadee Chandler of Plymouth, house wright.

1738 deed in which Job Otis of Scituate, shop keeper, sells 6 acres plus of land in Hanover to Richard Hill of Hanover, House wright. Mentioned in the land description are Mitchell Wanton and Richard Bowkers. Signed by Job, Joseph House, Caleb Torrey and Elijah Cushing JP.

1738 Richard Hill of Hanover, House wright.


1738 Richard Hill of Hanover, House wright. (reverse)

1740 Jonah Stetson of Scituate, House wright, agreement with William Stetson of Scituate, Cordwainer, that the line between their lands be clearly identified and access to a spring specified. Lemuel Dwelles is mentioned in the land description. The deed is signed by Joshua Jacob, James House and Jonah Stetson. In AWP 4th edition by Thomas Elliott, planes made by Jonah Stetson are thought to have been made by the Jonah born in 1722 and / or his son born in 1761. Based on the 1740 date of this document, the Jonah born in 1722 was probably not the signatory. Instead, it was probably his father who was born in 1691. It is interesting to note that another deed from the 1690’s surfaced about the time this one was found and it is signed by Samuel Stetson, the father of the 1691 Jonah. 9 3/4″ by 8 5/8″.

1740 Jonah Stetson of Scituate, House wright.

1755 Abiel Brettun of Middleborough, Joiner has obtained a judgement against Benanuel Leach of Bridgewater, Husbandman for the sum of 5 pounds 12 shillings and 10 pence. Witnessed by Nicholas Cotes and signed by Edward Winslow Cler. Sheriff Gideon Bradford and Abiel Brettun sign on the reverse. 12 1/4″ by 7 3/4″.

Note the Massachusetts 3 pence pine tree tax stamp. The colony of Massachusetts imposed a tax on certain documents by the Act of January 8, 1755 and the tax was in effect from May 1, 1755 to April 30, 1757. Stamps were issued in 1/2d, 2d, 3d and 4d denominations … with the 3d tax rate applying to court documents including writs requiring the officer to take defendants into custody. (Massachusetts tax stamp information from the dalessandris website.)

1755 Abiel Brettun of Middleborough, Joiner.
1755 Abiel Brettun of Middleborough, Joiner. (reverse)
1755 Abiel Brettun of Middleborough, Joiner, tax stamp detail.

1795 Joseph Hayward of Bridgewater, yeoman sells land in Easton to Aseph Hayward of Bridgewater, Cabinetmaker. Signed by Joseph Hayward and witnessed by Desire Drake and Seth Smith. Also signed by Issachar Snell JP.

1795 Aseph Hayward of Bridgewater, Cabinetmaker.