Monday, March 31, 2014

Tired of people sitting in your pew?

Buy it!  This document reflects the sale of a pew in the Salem Meeting House in October 1769.  In September of that same year, Reverend Thomas Barnard and the proprietors of the church gave power to five committee members (Nathaniel Ropes, John Nutting, William Browne, Benjamin Pickman, and Deacon John Bickford) to make and sell four pews.  This was a common way for churches to raise money at the time.  For thirty-six pounds, Clark Gayton Pickman, a merchant and presumably a relative of committee member Benjamin Pickman, purchased pew number 60, the "Westermost Floor pew on the Front of the Men's long seats", with appurtenances.  I wonder if Mr. Pickman's heirs and assigns also got to enjoy the pew or if he sold it for a better view at some point.  The signatures and seals of all five committee members are included on the front of the document. 

This isn't the only pew deed in our collection either!  Our wonderful Brooker Collection contains at least two others: an 1812 deed for a pew in the New Meeting House of the First Parish of in Templeton, Massachusetts, and an 1837 deed for the sale of half a pew in the First Parish Meeting House in Natick, Massachusetts. 

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