Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Elizabeth Henmarsh: Deed, 1 January 1763

From Elizabeth Henmarsh:4 Deed

Copy: Department of Records, Recorder of Deeds, City of Philadelphia

January 1, 1763

Abstract: In consideration of £100, Elizabeth Henmarsh of Philadelphia, widow, grants and sells to Benjamin Franklin a lot of land in Philadelphia, 16 ft. wide, north and south, and 73 ft. deep, bounded east by Sixth Street, south and west by lands of Isaac Zane, and north by land granted by Zane to James Davis. This lot was part of a piece of land 132 ft. on High Street and 306 ft. on Sixth Street which William Penn granted by letters patent of the 7th day 4th month (June), 1684 to Thomas Holme, which later became legally vested in Elizabeth Henmarsh and others [the chain of title not being here recited].5 On Nov. 14, 1742, these owners conveyed the whole piece to Isaac Zane, and on Feb. 24, 1743, Zane conveyed the lot here concerned back to Elizabeth Henmarsh. She also conveys to Franklin, if requested and at his charge, true copies of all deeds and other documents in her custody which relate to the property and she warrants to him a clear title. Signed by Elizabeth Henmarsh; witnessed by Fras. Hopkinson and Charles Thomson. Her receipt for £100 from Franklin is added, as is also Hopkinson’s affidavit as witness, dated Feb. 23, 1789, before Mathw. Irwin. Recorded Feb. 23, 1789.6

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4Elizabeth Henmarsh has not been identified. In the Franklin Memorandum Book, 1757–1776 (described above, VII, 167–8), however, BF recorded under date of Sept. 12, 1764, a series of payments for Mrs. Henmarsh’s estate: a legacy of £20 “to her Sister Mary Moore,” funeral expenses totaling £20, and expenses of her last illness amounting to £16 12s. 6d. It appears, therefore, that she died in 1764 and that BF acted as executor or administrator of her estate.

5The tract granted by Penn to Thomas Holme was on the northwest corner of Sixth and High Streets. PMHB, LXXX (1956), 211.

6This deed does not specify just where on Sixth Street, within Penn’s original grant to Holme, the lot lay which Mrs. Henmarsh sold to BF. In the deed of Jan. 14, 1812, however, by which the heirs of BF’s daughter Sarah Bache divided his real estate among themselves, the Henmarsh lot is described as bounded south by Mulberry Court (the easterly end of what is now St. James Street). In this distribution the lot was assigned to Sarah Bache (D.3.8). Department of Records, Recorder of Deeds, City of Philadelphia, Book 1 C, 19, pp. 3, 12, 19. In both the deeds of 1763 and of 1812 the property is described merely as a “lot or piece of ground,” with no mention of buildings on it, but BF received rent for a house here at least between 1775 and 1787. PMHB, LXXX (1956), 46–73.

Index Entries