Henry Messinger, Jr. 1686

Henry Messinger, Jr gravestone 1686

It’s been quite a few years now that I have been researching the Boston joiners – and Trent’s been at it about 3 times as long as me.. he and I are down to the wire to finish an article about the joinery & joiners there…

I went & shot the gravestone of Henry Messinger, Jr the other day. He died on November 17, 1686. Age 32 years 2 months and 17 days. The stone is  in the Granary Burial Ground, just past the Park St subway station. I was above ground for all of 7 minutes. Jumped up from the subway, walked for maybe 3 minutes, shot the picture. Turned around to look at some more carved stones, and before I knew it, Messinger’s stone was in shadow. I jumped back on the subway & beat the rush hour by a hair…

Messinger’s death at  32 years old was of course sad for his family, but ideal for us. It means he was still working at his trade, unlike an older man who might have lessened his work load. Thus, the probate inventory should have all his tools. But in this case, they are not itemized. Still, over £11 worth of tools and timber. Plus, in the house there’s 20 upholstered chairs. Did he make the frames himself? Ahh, we’ll never know.

Here it is:

Inventory of the Estate of Henry Messenger late of Boston, Joyner decd taken & apprized by us whose names are underwritten, 30th Nov 1686

Impr. His wearing Apparell, hatts, shoes, stockins, shirts etc and his Armes, given away by will amongst his Brethren 25:4:00
It: his small wearing Linnen 3:10:00
In the Halle:  
1 doz. Russia Leather chaires at 11/8 6:12:00
2 Tables at 24s a ps 1:08:00
1 pa of brasses for the chimney 1:10:00
Glasses & Earthen ware    :07:00
 In the Chamber over the halle:  
8 Turkey worke chaires at 14s 5:12:00
1 Chest of drawers 2:10:00
1 feather bed, boulster, pillows, ffurniture of coverings, curtains, vallents and bedestead 17:00:00
1 table 25s  1 looking glass & brasses 18 2:03:00
1 pr brasses for the chimney 20s 2 stands 8 1:08:00
5 pr of sheets 6/5 1 doz of Napkins 18 7:03:00
1 doz of diaper towells: eight coarse ones –:18:00
5 pillowbeers –:17:00
In the Chamber over the Kitchin  
One feather bed, furniture and bedstead 6-00-00
1 ???att table, one chest & deske and Trunke 1-10-00
1 case of knives   -7-00
In the Garret  
1 flock bed furniture and bedstead 2-06-00
1 feather bed furniture and bedstead 5-05-00
A meale trough 6s  four bushlls of wheat 16s 1-02-00
In the Kitchin  
1 Table (price) eight sedge bottom chaires (price) 1-12-00
1 Hamaker and Morings (price) one Chest 2-00-00
1 looking glass and brush   -07-00
Iron ware  belonging to the chimney 1-02-00
Smoothing box and heater   -05-00
Bookes 40  Pewter and Tin ware 50 4-10-00
Brass kettles and skillets 4-15-00
Iron pots and Kettle 25  lign??d vitae morter pestle ??? 1-15-00
Lumber in the Cellar 20s severall small things 12 s 1-12-00
Firewood in the yard 3-03-00
A dwelling house & garden and land the apprces 200-00-00
Timber, Boards, planks workeing tooles (etc) at theShop, apprized by Mr Cunnibell and Tho: Warren, Joyners

At Eleven pounds 16/8

A parcel of glew -12-10
one Cow 2-00-00
Money since the death of my husband for worke done forSome frenchmen 2-05-00
Debts due to or from the estate not known  

8 thoughts on “Henry Messinger, Jr. 1686

  1. I am very excited about this book you are writing. When do you think it will be ready? If nothing else, I want a physical copy of the Stent Panel, that is one of the most amazing shots for turners that I’ve never seen. (awkward wording is deliberate)

    What time frame is the book supposed to be out? Next year or late this year?

    • This post is about an article by me & Robert Trent. the subject is Boston joinery of the 17th century. very specific. American Furniture, an annual journal concerning, of all things, American Furniture. Published for the Chipstone Foundation, by the Antique Collectors’ Club. it usually comes out near the end of the year.

      the book that I often threaten is about how-to; how-did-they of 17th century New England joinery. no timetable; but I am eager to wrap it up. you’ll hear about it loud & clear. thanks for asking.

  2. I admire these old hand-carved gravestones. They appeal to me much more than the modern acid-etched computer-designed polished granite stones. I wonder — is there anybody still specializing in these traditional stones, or is there no demand?

  3. Hi,

    Peter, I’ve been following your blog for a little over a year now and it is just great! The woodworking is what originally drew me to it but I really enjoy some of the historical side trips (and some of the natural science/ this is what’s new around here posts).

    Here is a link to the John Stevens website that may be of interest regarding traditional tombstones. He works out of a shop in Newport, R.I. that’s been in business for a loooooong time. The video “Final Marks” is worth a watch.

    Also thanks for bringing Robin Wood to my attention. I’ve been following his blog as well and am very impressed by him, his approach and his mission (not to mention the great woodworking :-). A very interesting fellow!


    • John

      Glad you’re enjoying it, and yes, I am a big fan of Robin’s. we’ve never met, but he’s on my list for next time to England.

      thanks for the link to the stonecutters…

  4. I do consider all the ideas you have introduced in your post.
    They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless,
    the posts are very short for beginners. May you please extend them a bit from next time?

    Thank you for the post.

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