Person:William Homes (2)

William Homes
b.10 Jan 1716/17 Boston, MA
d.21 Jul 1785 Boston, MA
m. 3 Apr 1716
  1. William Homes1716/17 - 1785
  2. Abiah Homes1718 - 1729
  3. Robert Homes1720 - Bef 1744
m. 24 Apr 1740
  1. Mary Homes1740/41 - 1833
  2. William Homes1742 - 1825
  3. Thomas Homes1743 -
  4. Robert Homes1744 -
  5. Katherine Homes1746 -
  6. Sarah Homes1747 - 1826
  7. Josiah Homes1749 -
  8. Rebecca Homes1750 - Abt 1755
  9. Abigail Homes1754 - Abt 1756
  10. John Homes1756 -
  11. Elizabeth Homes1759 - 1790
  12. Benjamin Homes1760 -
Facts and Events
Name[1] William Homes
Gender Male
Birth[1][2][3] 10 Jan 1716/17 Boston, MA
Marriage 24 Apr 1740 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United Statesto Rebecca Dawes
Occupation? Gold and silversmith
Death? 21 Jul 1785 Boston, MA
Burial? Boston, MAChapel Burying Ground

William was born in Boston on January 10, 1716/17, in a house located at the corner of Union and Hanover streets, the residence of his grandfather, Josiah Franklin. This house was located on Ann street and was one of those old fashioned structures having its second story projecting and a kitchen fireplace large enough to admit a seat. Oak Hall, a noted clothing store, latter occupied the site. Benjamin Franklin, who was the youngest son of Josiah Franklin, was then ten years of age when his nephew William was born. William married Rebecca Dawes daughter of Thomas, a Mason, and Sarah Storey, on 24 April 1740 in a ceremony performed by Rev. Joseph Sewall. The couple had 15 children, many who died in infancy. He died of dysentery while on a visit to Boston, in July 1785, aged 69.



William worked as a gold and silversmith from 1739 - 1770. He apprenticed with Rufus Greene in his shop on Newberry Street and was probably fully trained by 1738. Homes apparently worked for Green as a journeyman for about two years once his apprenticeship was completed. Green recorded paying Homes 82 pounds 16 shillings 9 pence for work done in the year 1738. In January 1739, "William Homes of Boston Goldsmith" ordered "sundries P. daybook" from the Boston silversmith Benjamin Greene, Rufus Greene's brother. He paid for his order on 9 May 1740 with a cash payment of just over 4 pounds. In October of the following year "William Homes, Goldsmith," appeared in the Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas to recover a debt of 9 pounds for the mariner John Thomas. He was a contemporary of Paul Revere. The Boston Museum of Art has in its collection a punch bowlmade by William in 1763 for his nephew Thomas Dawes. The bowl was presented by the Field Officers and Captains of the Regiment of Boston to Thomas for Services as the Regiments Adjutant. Thomas was builder of the Brattle St. Church and State House.

The Boston Gazette reported on July 21, 1752 that "William Homes, goldsmith, was attorney for John Franklin, executor of the estate of Josiah Franklin." The same paper on May 21, 1759 refers to "Wiliam Holmes...Goldsmith, near the Draw-Bridge"

Homes’s extended family included several important Boston silversmiths. Two of his apprentices, Barnabas Webb and Benjamin Tappan, married his daughters Mary and Sarah, respectively. Homes also trained his son, William Homes Jr., as a silversmith. In addition, James Butler was a tenant in the house Homes purchased in 1746, and Daniel Henchman lived adjacent to the property on Hawkins Street that Homes purchased in 1760. Homes along with another possible apprentice of his, Samuel Minott, witnessed the deed for the sale of real estate between Andrew Oliver and Daniel Boyer in 1753.

Homes used a surname mark as well as an initial and a surname mark on his work. Initials marks with pellets and without pellets are also attributed to him. Because William Homes's work dates overlap those of his son William Homes Jr., pieces bearing these marks might be the work of the son at their style indicates they date from his working period. A considerable number of works survive that are marked Homes and that date on the basis of style to the 1740s and 1750s. These can be attributed to Homes Sr., with some certainty and include predominantly spoons, canns, tankards, and porringers. A gold mourning ring made for the funeral of Sarah Holt in 1743 and the beaker presented to the First Parish Church of Milton in 1747 are the earliest dated objects by the silversmith. The presence of a Homes mark over that of Andrew Tyler on a porringer in the Cleveland Museum of Art may indicate that Homes made repairs to the Tyler porringer or retailed the porringer in his shop. Tyler died in 1741, so a partnership with Homes is unlikely. However, the strainer marked by both Homes and his colleague Samuel Minott suggest a collaboration between these two silversmiths. In addition to a diverse clientele within Boston, Homes produced for the churches in Lexington and Andover, Massachusetts, and Fairfield, Connecticut.

A silver sugar castor by William Homes, circa 1770 was sold at auction by Christie's, New York on Oct 13, 1983 for $1980.

Real Estate

The Suffolk County deeds document changes in the location of Homes's shop and residence between 1746 and 1779. The earliest deeds deal with the acquisition of the house on Ann Street, which Homes purchased on the 13 August 1746 from a shopkeeper Samuel Gardner for 1050 pounds; the deed described the property as occupied by "James Butler, goldsmith and others containing Cellar, Shop, Low Room, Chamber and Garrett as they are divided and set forth by a partition throughout from Top to Bottom... including one half of the Stack of chimneys as they now stand the yard backside and land being also parted by a Division Fence." In September of that year, Homes improved the property with an addition to the west side of the House, receiving permission from his neighbor Charles Coffin to attach a roof to the adjacent building. The memoirs written by Homes daughter Sarah Tappan and the history of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company both state that the silversmith’s residence and shop were on Ann Street. Homes used this property as collateral to purchase a house on Hanover Street from the Boston merchant John Franklin on 15 April 1754. He sold the house three years later to blacksmith Jonathan Dakin. This may be the house he advertised for sale in the Boston Gazette on 21 July 1752 when he was acting as "attorney" for John Franklin, the executor of the estate of Homes's grandfather Josiah Franklin. An advertisement in the Boston Gazette 28 May 1759 places the Homes’ shop near the drawbridge. A month later, Homes purchased a house, outbuildings, and more than six acres of land in Concord, Massachusetts, from Jonathan Ball, father of the silversmith John Ball, probably as an investment. The following year, Homes now described as a gentleman, purchased a house on Hawkins Street an additional property in Bedford and Merrimack, New Hampshire, that had belonged to his wife's father. Because this property had been inherited by 17 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of Dawes, 10 deeds between January 1760 and November 1761 were required before the silversmith and his wife gained title.

Sarah (Homes) Tappan stated that her father pursued a career as a merchant and turned over responsibility for the silver shop to his son, William Homes Jr., in 1763, when the younger man had completed his training. William Homes Sr., purchased property in nine transactions in 1764 and 1768 to serve his expanded mercantile ventures, including a brick house and land on Eliot Street, land at Williams Court, and a warehouse and wharf near the town dock. He sold the house, barn, outbuildings, and land in Williams Court on 3 April 1770 to Boston merchants Jonathan and John Amory. That same year, the silversmith and his wife received 400 pounds from the Nathaniel Davenport of Milton, Massachusetts, for a house and barn on 75 acres in West Milton. Seven years later, in May 1777, the silversmith sold a house in Hawkins Street to the merchant Joshua Loring for 300 pounds just prior to his move to Norton, Massachusetts in Bristol County. Years later, "William Homes, Esq.," of Norton mortgaged a warehouse site and the house on Ann Street, containing "cellar, shop, 2 lower rooms, 3 chambers and garretts," to Gideon Batty of Eastham.

An ad in the Boston Gazette (7 Apr 1783) notifies the public of a farm for sale in Norton, and asks that inquiries be made of "William Holmes, Goldmith of Boston or Capt. William Holmes of Norton."

Civic Life

Homes was prosperous and held responsible positions in the community. He served as an attorney for the estate of his grandfather, Josiah Franklin, following the death of his grandmother in 1752. On 28 October 1756, William Homes, gentleman, served as the attorney for his uncle Wilmot Wass of Chilmark, Dukes County, in the sale of Wass's his property in South Boston. Homes loaned money to several neighbors: to the blacksmith Jonathan Dakin, who lived on the corner of Union and Hanover streets, and in January 1768 to the housewright Jacob Thayer of Williams Court.

Homes was very active in the civic and military affairs of Boston. He joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company on 5 September 1747 with Ebenezer Storer and Thomas Stoddard as sureties. Homes was elected first Sergeant in 1752, fourth sergeant in 1754, lieutenant in 1761, and captain in 1765. He held many public offices, serving Boston as clerk of the market in 1753, 1754, and 1763, Warden in 1764, purchaser of grain from 1766 through 1770, surveyor of the highways from 1767 through 1769, fire warden from 1764 to 1770; he was also a member of various committees in 1762, 1764, 1765, 1766, 1768, 1769, in 1770 to boycott the purchase of lamb in compliance with various non-importation agreements, inspect the town and public schools, and settle land disputes involving eminent domain. Homes served as Justice of the peace before the Revolution. He paid a fine in lieu of military service during the draft of 1776, a decision probably influenced by his age.

Norton, Massachusetts

Clarke, in his history of Norton, supposed that Homes had been driven from Boston in 1770 "on account of his hostility to the despotic acts of the British Government." January 18, 1773, he signed with others a letter of encouragement to the Committee of correspondence on the difficulties with Great Britain: "We wish to express our obligations to the town of Boston." write they, "for their spirited behaviour from time to time, in opposing the arbitrary measures of those whom we fear have a desire to enslave us." From 1773 to 1781 he was one of the three selectmen of the town, under the name of Captain William Homes, or William Homes, Esq., and was several years moderator of the annual town meetings; Jan. 6, 1783, was one of the corporators of the Parish Church and society. In 1775, Mr. Homes was the delegate from Norton and Mansfield to the second and third Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. In the journals of the Congress he is called Capt. Homes; was a member of the Bristol County Committee on correspondence and safety on the state of the Counties, in reference to the pending war; on Committee of said Congress what measures to adopt with regard to assisting the poor of Boston to move with their effects; again, for distributing them in the towns; again, for providing arms for the destitute; again, to wait upon Gen. Washington about their adjournment, to prevent intelligence being given to the enemy."


Homes died of dysentery in June 1785 while on a visit to Boston, where he had been staying as a guest in the Newberry Street house of his son-in-law Barnabas Webb. His widow, Rebecca Homes, returned to Boston to live with her son, William Homes Jr., until her death in 1787. William and Rebecca Homes are buried in the Chapel burying ground on Tremont Street.

External Links

William Homes mentioned in Historic Silver of the Colonies - Google Books

William Homes mentioned in An Account of John Glover - Google Books

History of Ancient and Honarable Artillary Company - Google Books

A History of the Town of Norton, MA - Google Books

Memoir of Mrs Sarah Tappan - daughter of William Homes

Image Gallery
  1. 1.0 1.1 Diary of Rev. William Homes.
  2. Charles Edward Banks. History of Martha's Vineyard, Mass. (Dukes County Historical Society)
    Vol 3, p. 212.
  3. Record Commissioners of Boston. Boston Births from A.D. 1700 to A.D. 1800: Twenty-fourth report of the Commission. (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1894)
    p. 114.