Friday, April 11, 2008

Farm To Let

Hales, J.G. 1829 (BPL)

This map segment shows the layout of Jamaica Plain roads at the time of the article.

This real estate advertisement is chock full of information. First, the house is "in the W(est) I(ndian) style." I've seen this description before, and I've puzzled over it. In books on American architecture, I've never seen a West Indian style mentioned. A standard Google search brings up too many spurious results to be useful, but a Google Books search is quite informative. Of 17 hits, nine are recent travel guides, and not relevant. Of those that relate to our topic, all four (two with identical entries) refer to houses in Jamaica Plain! How's them apples? Is it possible that the West Indian style of house, as used in this context, was particular to Jamaica Plain? Seems unlikely, but there you go.

In the book "Old Paths and Legends of New England," there is a reference to a Colonel Hatch-Hallet house in West Indian style. In Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, we learn that the Hatch-Hallet house, which sat beside the house of John Hancock on today's Centre street near Orchard street, was built by a Captain Timothy Penney of Jamaica. In a history of the First Congregational Society of Jamaica Plain, a house once owned by Eleazer May, and later by Benjamin Pemberton, is described as being one and a half story, in the West Indian style.

The location; near today's Soldier's Monument, and the size of the plot; 10 acres, suggests to me that perhaps it was at the corner of Centre and South street. A square plot of land of ten acres would be 220 yards on a side, or over two football fields in length. That would take up much of the land from the Monument to near St Thomas' church, and well out towards the Arborway. The land on the other side of South street was owned by D.S. Greenough, and the opposite side of Centre street - the Orchard/Dunster street side - already had the above-mentioned houses built upon it.

The inventory for the farm auction was difficult reading in places, as reflected by the "(?)" entries. Most of it speaks for itself, but the Tice's patent plow was a recent cast iron model, made by A. & I. Tice in New York. It was just at this time that cast iron plows were replacing inefficient wooden plows, as related here.

Independent Chronicle and Boston Patriot February 14, 1824

To be Let

A Country Seat, on Jamaica Plain, in Roxbury.

The house is in good repair, built in the W. I. style, containing 2 parlors, kitchen, and 4 sleeping rooms on the ground floor, and 3 chambers -- Out Houses, &c. -- excellent water, a fruit and vegetable garden, with hot beds, &c. and two Barns. Also,, 10 acres of Land, which has been highly manured and cultivated as a Vegetable Garden for two years past, with choice fruit trees thereon. The premises are in the vicinity of the Rev Thos Gray's Meeting House, and five miles from the old State House. The House and Garden will be leased distinct from the Farm if desired. Possession will be given the 1st of March or April.


If not let before the 20th March, it will then be leased at Public Auction, at 4 o'clock, P.M. on the premises -- at which place, on the above date, will be sold at auction, unless previously disposed of at private sale, at 2 o'clock P.M. the Stock and Farming Utensils of said Farm, the owner being about to remove to Boston, viz. 1 yoke fat Cattle -- 1 yoke working Cattle -- 5 excellent Cows -- 1 strong large Horse, 7 years old -- first rate Chaise Horse, 6 years old, trots 12 miles an hour and perfectly sound -- Pigs and Poultry -- Chaise and Harness, little worn, -- Ox wagon -- Market Wagon, Pleasure Wagon -- 1 of Tice's patent Ploughs -- 1 small do(?) Harrows -- Ox Chaise -- Wagon, Cart and leading Harnesses -- 2 strings bells Farming Utensils -- Garden Seeds -- very easily Seed Potatoes -- Seed Peas &c -- a quantity of Manure. Also, pipes(?) Cider Vinegar -- empty P(?)es, Bbls &c. -- 1 b(?) of russeting Apples -- lot Wood -- Hot Bed Lights and Frames &c &c.

Inquire of HENRY BURROUGHS No. 42 State street or to A.H. Gibbs on the premises.

feb 7

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