Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Clark Family Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
This small collection traces the early history of Newton, Mass., through the lives and activities of four generations of the family of John Clark. While the majority of the collection consists of deeds or related legal documents pertaining to properties in Newton (or in one case, Connecticut), a few items provide glimpses into other Clark family activities. As tax collector for Newton during and after the Revolution, Norman Clark, Jr., left an interesting documentary trail that touches on financial priorities in town, including the collection of taxes for support of the church, Revolutionary War soldiers, and road building.
Among the more notable individual items are a deposition from Joseph Bartlett regarding his memory of the location of the Indian fishing grounds on the Charles River that were purchased by John Clark for his sawmill (1747); a receipt for issuance of bounty pay to Aaron Parker for service in the Massachusetts Line of the Continental Army; a deed for a plot in the Newton Burying Ground (1802); and receipts for the purchase of silverware, tinware, and furniture, including Grecian card tables, a Pembroke table, looking glass (1828). A document from Nicholas Bartlett in 1736 appears to be an early example of speculation in military lands: Bartlett assigns rights to William Clark to land Nathanael Mackey received in Killingly, Connecticut, in recognition of his service during King Philip's War.
Also noteworthy are two deeds signed by Samuel Sewall (1689 and 1694), one of the judges during the Salem Witch Trials. The earlier of these deeds was docketed by Sewall on September 12, 1692, at the height of Witch Trials.