Boston Mill Corporation
Records, 1643-1878

Mss: 768

Historical Note:

On May 31, 1643, the Town of Boston granted land, bordering the Charles River, to a group of mill owners. The Proprietors of the Mill Pond, as they eventually came to be called, controlled the fate of acreage which included a grist mill, pond, and streams, as well as adjoining property. By 1804, however, Boston no longer needed to have working mills within the city limits, and on March 9 of that year, the current owners of the property incorporated as the Boston Mill Corporation. In 1806, a covenant between the Corporation and the City of Boston allowed the Corporation to fill in the pond and lay out streets at the Corporation's expense. In turn, the Corporation could sell the resulting lots and retain all profits from sales. Many prominent residents of the city including Harrison Gray Otis, William Minot, and Thomas C. Amory were associated with this land company during its active years. Sales agents employed by Boston Mill Corporation over the years were John Peck and Andrew Sigourney. The most active period for the Corporation were the years from 1804 through 1828 when it actively engaged in filling in the waterways and selling land. Streets created in the area include Prince Street, Lynn Street, Pond street, Charlestown Street and Causeway Street. A canal was also dug out in the same area.

In 1828, John Peck, agent as well as property owner and one of the original incorporators, sued Boston Mill Corporation because the process of filling in the ponds and streams cut off the water supply he needed for his Charles River wharf. Earlier in the decade, the drains installed at the request of the City of Boston in the area proved inadequate as the population grew and lawsuits resulted from unsanitary conditions. These incidents and others prompted Boston Mill Corporation to sell the remaining property and its rights of ownership to the Boston and Maine Railroad in the mid-1840s when the railroad sought land in Boston with the intent of constructing a branch line.

Scope and Content:

The records of the Boston Mill Corporation cover the time from when the property was granted to mill owners in Boston in 1643 until after its ownership by the Boston and Maine Railroad. The bulk of the records are from the incorporation of the Boston Mill Company in 1804 until the suit filed by John Peck in 1828. Also included are deeds for property before the incorporation as well as a small amount of documents from the time when Boston and Maine Railroad owned the land.

The records contain titles, deeds, plans, incorporation papers, reports, minutes, assignments, surveys and distributions to shareholders, contracts, agreements, indentures, leases, plats, quit claims, legal papers, wills, depositions, receipts books and vouchers, letters, certificates and notes. These records trace the ownership of the land incorporated in the Boston Mill Company through the years of real estate development and sales in the early years of the nineteenth century. A small amount of material exists for Boston and Maine Railroad. Original paper wrappers are included in folders with vouchers. Volumes 7, 8, and 9 are located in Stack 5, Range 12, Unit 5.

Series Description:

This collection is arranged into two series.

Series I. Legal/Administrative
Series contains records of titles, deeds, plans, incorporation papers, reports, minutes, assignments, surveys and distributions to shareholders, contacts, agreements, indentures, leases, quit claims, wills and depositions pertaining to administration of Boston Mill Corporation, the sale or lease of land within its boundaries and law suits. Also included are minutes detailing decisions made by Corporation directors throughout its active years. Oversize material includes land plats for auction in 1823 and 1825 located in map case drawer.

Series II. Financial
Series contains receipt books, vouchers, letters, certificates and notes documenting the daily financial transactions of the Boston Mill Corporation. These include hiring laborers to fill the marshy land, build roads and sewers, construct buildings and maintain property. Also included in these records are accounts of agent's fees, price of land sales, rental receipts, stockholder's dividends and other costs of doing business in Boston during the early nineteenth century.

Provenance : Gift of Boston and Maine Railroad and John Heard, 1944

Amount: 2 cartons, 4 volumes

Container List:

Series I. Legal/Administrative (See also volumes below)

Carton 1
Folder 1   Incorporation papers, 1804
Folder 2   Deeds to land owned, 1643-1815
Folder 3   Deeds, 1801-1822
Folder 4   Deeds, 1811-1813
Folder 5   Distribution of land to shareholders, 1811-1828
Folder 6   Assignment of shares, 1805-1844
Folder 7   Agreements, contracts, indentures, 1805-1828
Folder 8   Meeting warrants and meetings, 1801-1828
Folder 9   Treasurer's and agent's accounts, 1811-1825
Folder 10   Leases, 1803-1817
Folder 11   Financial papers, 1769, 1777; quitclaims, 1808-1823; City's claim for sewer, 1825; Rust suit, 1826
Folder 12   Plans, sketches, drawings, 1815-1825
Folder 13   Reports, claims, levee, articles of agreement, account of lands taken by Boston and Maine Railroad in 1845, legal papers, 1832-1878
Folder 14   Leases, plans, agreement, letters, indenture, release, calculations, accounts, memorandum, contract with Ebenezer Smith, 1807-1825
Folder 15   Accounts, Ebenezer Smith, 1825 (2 of 2)
Folder 16   Accounts, indenture, contract, statement, release, bill with Silas and John Whitney, 1810-1822
Folder 17   Minutes, estimates for betterments, extracts of deeds, letters, evidence of titles, certificate, report, plan of land surveyed, 1643-1824
Folder 18   Legal papers for Rust law suit, 1820s [includes wills, statement, schedules, expenses]
Folder 19   Legal papers of law suits of 1820s; receipt books of William Minot, 1814-1825

Series II. Financial

Carton 1
Folder 20   Vouchers, Accounts settled, John Peck, 1803-1811
Folder 21   Certificates, Boston Mill Corporation, 1811-1812
Folder 22   Vouchers/Notes, "July 1812"
Folder 23   Vouchers, "Two accounts of William Minot, Treasurer, Boston Mill Corporation settled February 21, 1814"; "Notes of Boston Mill Corporation by William Minot, Treasurer, September 1812 and Vouchers"
Folder 24   Bills Paid, "For the Boston Mill Corporation from June 2, 1813 to January 14, 1814 by Andrew Sigourney, agent"
Folder 25   Vouchers, 1815
Folder 26   Vouchers, "Mr. Sigourney's account, February 1815
Folder 27   Vouchers, "Third account, Treasurer [?], April 1815"
Folder 28   Bills Paid, "1815-January 1816"; 1823-1825
Folder 29   Receipts, "Riley & Dayley, Ephraim Whitney, 1815-1816

Carton 2
Folder 1   Vouchers, "Accounts settled January 1818
Folder 2   Vouchers, "Of accounts February 1820"; "accounts January 1, 1818"; "Ebenezer Smith, November 21, 1818 $200.48"
Folder 3   Vouchers, 1820
Folder 4   Vouchers, March 1821
Folder 5   Vouchers, "Accounts settled, March 27, 1824
Folder 6   Vouchers, "Since March 3, 1824 (No. 1)"
Folder 7   Vouchers, 1825
Folder 8   Vouchers, "No. 3" [1825]
Folder 9   Vouchers, January to June 1825
Folder 10   Vouchers, "No. 1 to September 19, 1825"
Folder 11   Vouchers, "September 20 to October 31, 1825 No. 2"
Folder 12   Vouchers, "No. 3, November 2-December 31, 1825"
Folder 13   Vouchers, 1826
Folder 14   Vouchers, 1826
Folder 15   Vouchers, "March 27-May 3 [1826] Old Book"
Folder 16   Vouchers, "May 3 to June 5 [1826]"
Folder 17   Vouchers, "June 7 to July 8 [1826]"
Folder 18   Vouchers, July 12 to August 5, 1826
Folder 19   Vouchers, "Account settled March 6, 1828"

Series I: Legal/Administrative (cont'd)
Vol. 3   Book of transfer of shares in Boston Mill Corporation, nos. 1-1600, 1805-1818
Vol. 4   Book of deeds (form), 1808-1813
Vol. 5   Book of deeds (special form for members of Corporation), 1813-1835
Vol. 6   Book of shares, 1815-1824
Vol. 7   Copies of Deed, 1828
Vol. 8   Paper bound copy of distribution of land to shareholders, tax rates, appraisal figures, n.d.
Vol. 9   Copies of deeds, 1823

In Map Case Drawer:
Oversize plats for auction, June 19, 1823
Oversize plats for auction, November 10, 1825 (3 items)

See Also: