18th Century Records of House Wrights, Jointers, Carpenters
Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Eighteenth century woodworkers can be elusive. Fortunately we have surviving documents, tools and objects/structures to help identify some these individuals. This combined knowledge can help place these craftsmen in a place, at a time, with a specific trade.
In particular, period records are very useful in this process of discovery and documentation. Unfortunately, these documents can go unnoticed or hidden away in various repositories and without exposure, the information remains unused. In an effort to help alleviate this situation, 18th century craftsmen documents will be shared as images as well as having their basic information recorded in a collated list. The craftsman’s name, the date and the location will be given for each document. Pertinent notes will be included as applicable.
As new information becomes available, it will be added to the existing information. This process is meant to be ongoing, interactive and dynamic. New information leads to new connections and associations. Knowledge builds. As a start, the documents will be organized by counties to help keep the information manageable. If better schemes for organization become apparent with time, they will be utilized.
Here are some brief notes on the document transcription process.
- Spelling will follow the original as much as possible, knowing full well that spelling can be imaginative.
- When multiple spellings of names are present, the dominant form will be used.
- Some handwriting can be difficult to read and understand. Every attempt will be made to provide the “accurate” rendering of the content, so the comparative letter forms and spelling patterns will be assessed as needed. If corrections need to be made or alternative spellings provided, the information will be updated or changed accordingly. If a name or word is questionable, the best interpretation will be presented within “( )” marks.
- Providing full transcripts of the documents is not envisioned at this time. It is hoped that with a bit of practice, each of the records can be read and understood by the readers.
Since one has to start somewhere….here are a few deeds and documents from Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Other Massachusetts counties will be covered in the future, including: Bristol, Essex, Plymouth and Suffolk. Records from other colonies will be added, although most colonies outside of Massachusetts seem to be underrepresented with respect to producing documents where the occupations were named.
|1713||Joseph Loring, signed deed||carpenter||Lexenton||Middlesex||MA|
|1741||Stephen Kimball, signed debt||joyner||Dracutt||Middlesex||MA|
|1779||Jonathan Hartwell, signed deed||house right||Shirley||Middlesex||MA|
|1790||Solomon Osgood, blacksmith (clockmaker in 1807)||clockmaker||Dracutt||Middlesex||MA|
Massachusetts Craftsmen Documents, Middlesex County
1713 Joseph Loring of Lexington (Lexenton), county of Middlesex, carpenter, et al, sells land to Jonathan Lane of Hingham, county of Suffolk, wheelwright. (Jonathan will be included in the Suffolk records.) Also mentioned: Joseph Estabrooke, Benjamin Rate, Nehehmiah Loring, Submitt Loring, Joshua Loring, Fraz. Foxcroft and Joseph Curtis. The document is signed by Joseph. 14.75 inches by 12 inches.
1741 Stephen Kimball of Dracutt, county of Middlesex, joyner, et al, debt to Mehetabeh Lovejoy of Andover, county of Essex, spiner. Also mentioned: Ebenezar Goodhew, Edward Taylor, Jonathan Tyler and Joseph Tyler. The document is signed by Stephen. 10.25 inches by 7.5 inches.
1779 Jonathan Hartwell of Shirley, county of Middlesex, house right, sells land in Shirley to Simon Page of Shirley, yeoman. Also mentioned: Capt. Samuel Walker, Obadiah (Sawtell), Simon Holden jr., Israel Holbert and Wm. Winthrop. The document is signed by Jonathan. 13 inches by 8.25 inches.
1790, Solomon Osgood of Dracutt, county of Middlesex, blacksmith, sells 100 acres of land in Fitzwilliam to Francis Whitcomb of Fitzwilliam, county of Cheshire, NH, yeoman. This document was signed by Solomon. This piece was found in a set of period documents (1788-1807) which involved Solomon Osgood. One of these documents, from 1807, lists Solomon’s trade as a clockmaker. Also mentioned: Parker Varnum and Polly Varnum. 12.25 inches by 14.75 inches with only one half of the sheet shown. (There is no writing on the second half of the sheet.)