Tuesday, July 12, 2016


In my research on my Fisher, Gay, Dean and other families from Dedham, Ma., I kept running
across references to a part of the town called The Clapboards or The Clapboard Trees. It struck
me as a strange name for a place, so I searched Google Books and found an answer in The Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts: 1636-1659. volume three, edited in 1892 by the
Dedham Town Clerk, Don Gleason Hill. The origin of the name was in the records of early town

Dedham The 31 December 1636
Assembled whose names are heervnder written vizt Robte Feke, Edward Alleyn, Abraham Shawe, Samuell Morse, John Kingsbery, Phileman Dolton, John Dwite, John Hayward, John Coolidge, Richard Evered, John Gaye, Thomas Bartlet, Thomas Hastings, Willm Berstowe, John Huggens.

First yt wch was agreed vpon the last assembly was Read and confirmed.

Wheras Nicholas Phillips hath felled crteyne trees wth out his Lott wth out licence contrary to an order made in that behalfe. Therfore he is fyned to pay vnto ye Collector for the vse of the Towne Sixe pence for every tree soe felled.

And for yt Ezechiell Holliman hath felled one greate Timber tree for clapboard wth out his owne Lott contrary to an order made in that behalfe, therfore he is fined to pay vnto the Collector for ye vse of ye Towne the sum of Ten shillings.

And the sayd Ezechiell is to paye in like manner for every lesser tree soe felled contrary vnto the sayd order the sum of sixe pence for a fyne as aforesayd.

The sayd Ezechiell Holliman is moreover Fyned the sum of Fifteene shillings to be payd vnto ye Collector For that yt he hath covered his house wth Clapboard contrary vnto an order mad in that behalfe.

Wheras crteyne of our Company are gone up to inhabite this  winter at our Towne of Dedham, & yt other materialls are not well to be had for the [ ] closeing in of their houses in such a season, wch thing being well taken into consideration: we doe therfore give liberty only for every such inhabitant abouesayd to make vse of Clapboard to any pte of his house for his prsent necessety from this prsent daye vntill the first daye of the third month next called May daye And not afterward yt soe the order in that behalfe made may stand still in force & effect to all intents and purposes for wch it was soe made accordingly

The Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts: 1636-1659. volume three, printed at the offices of the Dedham Transcript, Dedham, Ma. 1892

But by the next year the town was growing so it was decided to allow clapboarding again:

Dedham The 18th of ye 5th month comonly called July 1637
...It is agreed concrneing Clapboarding of houses yet it Clapboard shalbe at liberty vntill midsomer day next, not wth standing ye order wch is afterward to stand in force from yt day forward

And finally it was decided to remove all restrictions on the practice.

Dedham The 6th of ye 5: Month 1638
The Clapboarding of houses set at liberty vnto all men from Clapbord this tyme forward.

Most of the trees that were initally cut down to make into clapboards were in the western part
of town and the area came to be known as The Clapboard Trees and then simply The Clapboards
And when a new church parish was established there it came to be know as the Clapboards Parish.

Just another one of those interesting things you learn while researching family history!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Handler said...

The "western" part of Dedham is now Westwood and there is a Clapboardtree Street there. I had a childhood friend live on that street. Thank you for this history!