Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grafton Builder: George Clapp

The house at 44 North Street in Grafton, Massachusetts is a stunning example of classic Greek Revival architecture. With many homes such as this the builder remains an unknown mystery. In this case we are fortunate to know that the home was built and lived in by the builder himself, George Clapp.

George Clapp was born July 2, 1799 in Petersham, Massachusetts to Oliver and Lucinda (Lincoln) Clapp.  The Clapp and Lincoln families had both moved from the town of Norton in Bristol County to Petersham around the time of the American Revolution. George was the second born of seven children.

He grew up in Petersham and married Melinda Wood, the daughter of Elkanah and Laurinda Wood, of Norton on October 25, 1829.  George was likely already a resident of Grafton by the time of his marriage. George built the home at 38 South Street and set up a carpentry shop in the barn at that address. The 1830 census shows a 15 to 20 year old boy living in the household. This was likely an apprentice helping George in his carpentry business.

George Clapp is known to have built a number of beautiful Greek Revival homes in Grafton.  Some of these include numbers 10, 26 and 38 South Street and numbers 37 and 39 North Street.  He also likely built numbers 7, 18 and 19 South Street.

He built 44 North Street for himself circa 1832. He lived there until the end of the decade with his growing family.  He and his wife had five children: Angeline Melinda (1831), George Dennis (1833), John Wood (1834), William Archibald (1836) and Sarah Elizabeth (1839). George would lose his wife Melinda on September 29, 1840. She was 36 years old at the time of her death.

George left Grafton after his wife's death. Soon after in 1842 he suffered another great loss when his youngest daughter, Sarah, died on February 8th in Scituate. George did not last much longer himself. He died January 26, 1845 of dropsy of the heart (defined in modern times as edema due to cognitive heart failure) in Freetown, Massachusetts.

George Clapp, his wife and daughter, Sarah, are buried in Norton Center Cemetery in the same lot as George's mother and father.  A large joint stone commemorates all five of them.

The property at 44 North Street, Grafton, Massachusetts is currently for sale and listed by realtors, Rhonda Heyman and Linda Mossman. More information about the house can be found on Rhonda's website.

The above profile is based on original historical research by Marian Pierre-Louis. Please contact Marian directly if you would like specific source citations for any of the information above.

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