Boston Mill Corporation records, 1643-1878 (inclusive)

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Content Notes

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.

Biographical Notes

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, streams, and 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.