Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Samuel Preston Moore and Hannah Moore: Deed, 25 March 1752

From Samuel Preston Moore3 and Hannah Moore: Deed

DS: American Philosophical Society; also transcript: Department of Records, Recorder of Deeds, City of Philadelphia

March 25, 1752

Abstract: By indenture of June 2, 1720, Samuel Preston, and Anthony Morris, Jr., and Phoebe his wife granted to Richard Hill a lot on High Street, Philadelphia, between Third and Fourth Streets, 33 ft. broad and 306 ft. long, bounded on the north by High Street, on the east by a lot said therein to be vacant, on the south by the back of Chestnut Street lots, and on the west by Thomas Backer’s lot. The grantee was to pay an annual rent of £6; other clauses provided for entry, distress, and repossession in case of default, and included the grantee’s covenant for payment. On July 1, 1720, Richard Hill conveyed to Henry Frogly a part of this lot, 16½ ft. on High Street by 140 ft. deep, next to John Read’s lot [on the east] under a yearly ground rent of £5. By will dated August 28, 1729, Hill devised the residue of his estate, including the lot herein granted, jointly to Richard Hill [3d], son of Richard Hill [2d], the nephew of the first-named Richard Hill, and to Hannah Hill, daughter of Richard Hill [2d], who subsequently married Samuel Preston Moore. On March 18, 1744, Samuel Preston Moore and Hannah his wife granted to Charles Norris, Hannah’s half-interest in the real estate devised by the first-named Richard Hill, and on the next day Norris regranted this half-interest to Samuel Preston Moore alone. By indenture of March 26, 1751, Samuel Preston Moore, Hannah Moore, and her brother Richard Hill [3d] partitioned the Hill inheritance, whereby the lot here concerned became the property of Moore.

Now, by indenture dated March 25, 1752, Samuel Preston Moore of Philadelphia, “Practitioner of Physick,” and Hannah his wife, in consideration of the ground rents specified below but without other payment mentioned, do grant and sell to Benjamin Franklin that part of the lot above described containing on High Street and for 140 ft. back a breadth of 16½ ft., and then widening out to 33 ft. for a further 166 ft., bounded on the east partly by Henry Frogly’s house and lot and partly by John Read’s lot,4 on the south by the back ends of Chestnut Street lots, on the west by the messuage and lot now of John Eastbourne, and north partly by High Street and partly by John Frogly’s lot, with all improvements and appurtenances.5 Franklin is to hold this property subject to his payment of the original ground rent of £6 and an additional yearly ground rent to Samuel Preston Moore of £10. Clauses authorize Moore to enter and distrain in case of non-payment and, if necessary, to repossess the property until all ground rents due him are paid. Franklin covenants to pay the ground rents to both the original and the present grantors and to save harmless Moore’s and Frogly’s interests from any default of the £6 annual payments due the first grantors.6 Moore covenants his and his wife’s ownership and power to convey the property to Franklin.7 Signed by Samuel Preston Moore and Hannah Moore; witnessed by Richd. Hockley and Samuel Wharton; acknowledged, May 8, 1752, before Anthony Morris; recorded in the Philadelphia Office for Recording Deeds, Book H, vol. 7, p. 426 &c. by C. Brockden, Recorder.

Endorsed: Deed Samuel Preston Moore & ux to Benjamin Franklin 25 March 1752.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

3Samuel Preston Moore (1710–1785), physician and public official, was the son of Dr. Richard Moore and grandson of Samuel Preston, one of the original grantors mentioned in this deed. Moore served as trustee of the Loan Office; provincial treasurer, 1754–68; and treasurer of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1768–69. He married his cousin Hannah, daughter of Dr. Richard Hill. Thomas G. Morton and Frank Woodbury, The History of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751–1895 (Phila., 1895), p. 486; PMHB, XXI (1897), 499; Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania (Phila., 1883), p. 74.

4The lot which BF had bought from John Read on Nov. 15, 1751. See above, p. 208.

5This lot became the westernmost part of the property upon which BF built his house in 1765.

6BF’s Receipt Book records the payments of both the £6 and the £10 ground rents annually due for the years 1752–58. In the former case, however, his payments were made to the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, to which the right had apparently been transferred.

7In the distribution of BF’s real estate among the heirs of his daughter Sarah Bache, Jan. 14, 1812, the northern, narrower portion of this lot fronting on High Street, with the three-story brick house then standing on it, became the property of William Bache (D.3.2). According to this later document, the frontage on High Street was 17 ft. 3 in., not 16 ft. 6 in., as in the earlier deeds. The southern portion of the former Moore lot, together with a narrow strip to the east of it, was subdivided into eleven smaller lots fronting on the newly established Franklin Court; these were assigned separately to several of the Bache heirs. William Bache became responsible, however, for paying the annual ground rents for the entire piece. Department of Records, Recorder of Deeds, City of Philadelphia, Book I C, 19, pp. 6–7, 13–14.

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