Records of the Proprietors of the Common Lands in the Town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1703-1795


This book will be of interest to anyone studying early Cape Cod history, including old land titles, how common land in Barnstable was privatized, town meetings and identification of genealogical connections. The book contains transcriptions of hand-written property and boundary descriptions, as well as records from proprietors’ meetings. The detailed descriptions discuss divisions of property in Barnstable during the 18th century, including lot sizes; property lines and abutters; land set aside for schools, highways and meeting houses; minutes of proprietors’ meetings; and settlement of disputes. Certain parcels passed by inheritance to sons, or in some instances to widows, but in no case is a daughter identified as an heir (although it may sometimes be inferred that a son-in-law may have inherited shares). Minutes of proprietors’ meetings reveal that our ancestors were frequently as resistant to bowing to the will of the majority as some people are today. No other resource (except the original record and the few copies of this book, published in 1935, still in existence) provides details found in this edition. The every-name index, which appears in this edition only, includes both names and locales that help to identify properties delineated.

The author, a native-born Cape Codder descended from eleven generations of many of the early families who settled this town in 1639, has spent most of her life in the town of Barnstable. For fifteen years, she wrote a regular column for a local weekly newspaper; she has contributed articles to the magazine Cape Cod Life and has written several books.

Andrea Leonard

(1996), 2013, 5½x8½, paper, index, 238 pp.

ISBN: 9780788405723