Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dr Church's Boston Home

   Robert Calef,* a prominent Boston merchant, bought a house and land in the south-side of Boston located on the north side of Marlborough Street and Pond Street in 1707-8. In 1771, Benjamin Church, Jr. bought the estate from Calef's heirs. This is presumed to be the house that was later ransacked by a Boston mob and for which Sarah Church claimed compensation from the British Crown. In the 1770s, this part of Boston was like a large village with gardens, residences, and the elegant houses of the rich and fashionable. John Rowe, as previously mentioned, was Church's neighbor and, one could assume from the surviving sketch of his house, that the Calef estate was of the same nature. Since Church's "shop" was located on Newbury Street it was a logical place to live since Marlborough Street south of Winter and Summer Streets changed to Newbury Street directly near this location.

     To give further flavor to the environs, Pond Street was so named because the town watering hole for livestock was located on its north side not far from the corner of Marlborough Street. In 1753 the town sold the pond and land to a Daniel Wheeler so that, at the time of the Revolution, the pond was called Wheeler's Pond.

  It's impossible to locate the site of this house today since this whole area underwent a massive redevelopment in the mid 1970s and 80s.

  Although not shown on the maps below, Samuel Adams lived on Purchase Street where the map indicates "Cow Lane." John Hancock lived on Beacon Hill, and Dr Joseph Warren, along with Paul Revere, lived in the North End.

William Price's 1769 Boston Map - Precisely which is Church's home can not be determined.

John Rowe's Pond (Bedford) St Home

* This was probably Robert Calef, Jr as opposed to his father. In 1707, Robert Sr would have been 59 years old and his son 33. Robert Sr was a Baptist cloth merchant who is best known for the book "More Wonders of the Invisible World," a treatise he wrote in 1707 against the Massachusetts clergy, specifically Rev Cotton Mather, for their role in the Salem Witch trials. Because no Boston printer would publish it, it was printed in England. Rev Increase Mather, father of Cotton, had the book burned in Harvard Yard.  Robert Sr had retired to Roxbury in 1707 where he was a selectman and died in 1719. I  assume that his son kept up the business in Boston.

 Ironically, the home of Samuel Sewall, the only judge who regretted his role in the Salem Witch trials, was just up the street.

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