|1850 Agricultural Schedule, showing the details of Henry Clark’s farming activities|
One source was the agricultural schedule of the U.S. Census. Only taken in 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880, the schedule lists the names of farmers, their crops and the quantities harvested, the type of livestock they owned, and the number of acres they farmed, both improved and unimproved. Although I could only find Henry Clark’s name in the 1850 and 1860 schedules, it was nonetheless great information. Clark grew Indian corn, Irish potatoes, and hay, and had several milk cows, similar to many of his neighbors. In these two schedules, Henry Clark reported he had 25-26 acres of both improved and unimproved land, which immediately led me to question where those extra acres in Dorchester were located. Was the additional land contiguous or was it, perhaps, a separate woodlot or pasture?
I assumed the additional land was contiguous, based on my examination of maps from 1850, 1853 and 1874. It appeared that perhaps Henry Clark owned a large amount of land to the south of his 11.25 acre parcel. The 1874 map showed two separate parcels to the south that coincidentally totaled 15 acres, so I thought I would check deed records at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds (Dorchester was in this county until it was annexed to Boston in 1870) to confirm. After several hours spent researching what I thought would be a straightforward story, I could only conclude that Henry Clark never owned the land to the south along Norfolk Street, but that he owned several small parcels (most only an acre in size) further south on Norfolk Street, closer to the village of Mattapan.
Hopkins map indicates Mrs. Henry (Mary) Clark as the owner; Henry Clark died in 1872.
The numbers underneath the names indicate the parcels’ square footage.
The 1855 taxable valuation for Henry Clark’s real estate and personal property, which lists the various
parcels and buildings he owned and their value. The woodlot of 9 acres was consistently mentioned
in all of the assessments until 1869