William Solomon Boltwood House, #243 Amity Street
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AHS, “William Solomon Boltwood House, #243 Amity Street,” Amherst Historic, accessed June 6, 2023, https://amhersthistoric.org/items/show/28.
- This house built in 1751 is one of the oldest in town center and like many homes, it was moved to it's present location. “November 4, 1750, my house burned and on the 12th I had another set up, on the same foundation, and so far finished by the 12th day of January that I got into it to live.” So wrote Lieutenant William Boltwood, a farmer and builder. He sold the house to his brother, Lt. Solomon Boltwood, in 1760.
Solomon (1727-1777) came to Amherst (then Hadley) as a child, between 1731 and 1738. Solomon brought his bride, Mary Strong (1731/2-1814), to live at 243 Amity Street. In 1773, he was licensed as a retailer of liquor. Solomon's son Elijah opened a tavern near the common, still in operation, The Inn on Boltwood.
During the American Revolution, Solomon Boltwood sided with the Tories, causing consternation among townsfolk, but he was active in town affairs and a respected citizen afterward.
One son, Ebenezer (1752-1804), is recorded living at the house. The house, barn, and 40 acres were sold by another son, Samuel, to Dr. Robert Cutler in 1787. Cutler reportedly moved from Pelham to Amherst because he was not in sympathy with Shay’s Rebellion. He and his son Isaac practiced medicine in Amherst for many years and were active in civic affairs. Three generations of the Cutler family lived in the house until 1839, when the house was moved west to its present location and the two-acre house lot was sold to Thomas Jones.
From Massachusetts Historical Society: "Many African Americans participated in military activities during the American Revolution. It is estimated that 5,000 Black people served in the Revolutionary army. A much larger number (possibly 100,000) fled to British-controlled territory and many served with the British forces. During the first years of the war, George Washington was reluctant to use Black soldiers in battle, but as the war progressed, both sides formed Black units. In Massachusetts, where the small African American population included some free citizens, some served within regular militia, state, and Continental regiments, rather than in separate, segregated units."
Black servants and slaves were sent to war by their owner families. Caesar Prutt, born in Hadley, and owned by Josiah Chauncey, was sent to fight in the French & Indian War (Seven Years War). Prutt served as a private in Captain Elisha Pomeroy's Company. When the war ended, he returned to Chauncey. In 1770, he was sited dressing a carcass by Solomon Boltwood, who reported the incident to a sheriff and Caeser was brought to court in Northampton and fined six pounds. He had to pay that debt himself, quite a lot of money at that time. Caeser was listed as a pauper in his old age.
Published on Mar 9, 2022. Last updated on Jul 2, 2022.