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In the manuscript collections of the Bostonian Society is a plan showing the earliest owners of the land bordering on the Corn Market. On the site now the south corner of Faneuil Hall Square and Merchants' Row is noted the possession of Edward Tyng. Another manuscript of the Society, equally unique, is an apprentice indenture of Robert Orchard in 1662.

In the account of Orchard, printed in the Publications of the Society, Vol. IV, is given the continued history of Tyng's land after it came into the possession of Theodore Atkinson. In the history of the sign of the Golden Ball Tavern we continue the story of the same plot of land.

Originally owned by Edward Tyng, and later by Theodore Atkinson, and then by the purchase of the property by Henry Deering, who married the widow of Atkinson's son Theodore. All this was told in the Orchard article.

It was about 1700 that Henry Deering erected on his land on the north side of a passage leading from Merchants' Row, on its west side, a building which was soon occupied as a tavern. Samuel Tyley, who had kept the Star in 1699, the Green Dragon in 1701, and later the Salutation at the North End, left this last tavern in 1711 to take Mr. Deering's house in Merchants' Row, the Golden Ball.

SIGN OF THE BUNCH OF GRAPES Now in the Masonic Temple


SIGN OF THE GOLDEN BALL Now in the possession of the Bostonian Society

Henry Deering died in 1717, and was buried with his wife on the same day. He had been a man greatly interested in public affairs. In 1707 he had proposed the erection of a building for the custody of the town's records; at the same time he proposed a wharf at the foot of the street, now State Street, then extending only as far as Merchants' Row. This was soon built as "Boston Pier" or "Long Wharf." He also presented a memorial for the "Preventing Disolation by Fire" in the town.

In the division of Deering's estate in 1720 the dwelling house in the occupation of Samuel Tyley, known by the name of the Golden Ball, with privilege in the passage on the south and in the well, was given his daughter Mary, the wife of William Wilson. Mrs. Wilson, in her will drawn up in 1729, then a widow, devised the house to her namesake and niece, Mary, daughter of her brother, Capt. Henry Deering. At the time of Mrs. Wilson's death in 1753 her niece was the wife of John Gooch, whom she married in 1736. Samuel Tyley died in 1722, while still the landlord of the Golden Ball.

The next landlord of whom we have knowledge was William Patten, who had taken the Green Dragon in 1714. In 1733 he was host at the Golden Ball, where he stayed till 1736, when he took the inn on West Street, opposite the schoolhouse, and next to the estate later known as the Washington Gardens.

He was succeeded by Humphrey Scarlett, who died January 4, 1739-40, aged forty-six, and is buried on Copp's Hill with his first wife Mehitable (Pierce) Scarlett. He married as a second wife Mary Wentworth. By the first wife he had a daughter Mary (b. 1719), who married Jedediah Lincoln, Jr., and by the second wife a son named Humphrey. When the son was a year old, in 1735, two negro servants of Scarlett, by name Yaw and Caesar, were indicted for attempting to poison the family one morning at breakfast, by putting ratsbane or arsenic in the chocolate. Four months after Scarlett's death his widow married William Ireland.

Richard Gridley, born in Boston in 1710, was apprenticed to Theodore Atkinson, merchant, and later became a gauger. In 1735 he kept a tavern on Common Street, now Tremont Street. Here by order of the General Court he entertained four Indians, chiefs of the Pigwacket tribe, at an expense of £40 "for drinks, tobacco, victuals, and dressing." Five pounds of this was for extra trouble. The Committee thought the charges extravagant and cut him down to £33 for their entertainment from June 28 to July 9. In 1738 he took the Golden Ball. His fame in later years, at Louisburg and elsewhere, as an engineer and artillery officer is well known.

Gridley was followed as landlord in 1740 by Increase Blake. He was born in Dorchester in 1699 and married Anne, daughter of Edward and Susanna (Harrison) Gray. Her parents are noted in Boston history for their ownership of the rope-walks at Fort Hill. Blake, a tinplate worker, held the office of sealer of weights and measures, and in 1737 leased a shop of the town at the head of the Town Dock. He later lived near Battery March, and was burned out in the fire of 1760.

In 1715 there was born in Salem John Marston. He married in 1740 Hannah Welland, and by her had three daughters. In 1745, at the first siege of Louisburg, he was a first lieutenant in the fifth company, commanded by Capt. Charles King, in Colonel Jeremiah Moulton's regiment. His wife having died, he married her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth (Welland) Blake. His second wife died, and he married in 1755 Elizabeth Greenwood. He was landlord at the Golden Ball as early as 1757. In 1760 he purchased a house on the southwest corner of Hanover and Cross streets, and later other property on Copp's Hill. He is said to have been a member of the "Boston Tea Party." During the Revolution he was known as "Captain" Marston, and attended to military matters in Boston, supplying muskets to the townspeople as a committeeman of the town. He continued to keep a house of entertainment and went to the Bunch of Grapes in 1775. There he was cautioned in 1778 for allowing gaming in his house, such as playing backgammon. He died in August, 1786, while keeping the Bunch of Grapes on King, now State Street, and there he was succeeded by his widow in retailing liquors. He left an estate valued at £2000.

Benjamin Loring, born in Hingham in 1736, married Sarah Smith in Boston in 1771. During the Revolution he kept the Golden Ball. He died in the spring of 1782, and his widow succeeded him and kept the tavern till her death in 1790.

From the inventory of her estate it appears that the house consisted, on the ground floor, of a large front room and small front room, the bar and kitchen, and closets in the entry. A front and a back chamber, front upper chamber, and another upper chamber and garret completed the list of rooms. On the shelves of the bar rested large and small china bowls for punch, decanters for wine, tumblers, wine glasses, and case bottles. There also was found a small sieve and lemon squeezer, with a Bible, Psalm, and Prayer Books. On the wall of the front chamber hung an old Highland sword.

The cash on hand at the widow's death consisted of 4 English shillings, 20 New England shillings, 10 English sixpences, a French crown, a piece of Spanish money, half a guinea, and bank notes to the value of £4: 10. In one of the chambers was 8483 Continental paper money, of no appraised value.

Benjamin Loring, at his death, left his share of one half a house in Hingham to be improved for his wife during her life, then to his sisters, Abigail and Elizabeth, and ultimately to go to Benjamin, the son of his brother Joseph Loring of Hingham. The younger Benjamin became a citizen of Boston, a captain of the "Ancients," and a colonel in the militia. He started in business as a bookbinder and later was a stationer and a manufacturer of blank books, leaving quite a fortune at his death in 1859. His portrait is displayed in the Armory of the Artillery Company. A portrait of the elder Loring (the landlord of the Golden Ball) shows him with a comely face and wearing a tie-wig.

The Columbian Centinel of December 3, 1794, had the following advertisement:

    For sale, if applied for immediately, The Noted Tavern in the Street leading from the Market to State street known by the name of the Golden Ball. It has been improved as a tavern for a number of years, and is an excellent stand for a store. Inquire of Ebenezer Storer, in Sudbury Street.

Mr. Storer acted as the agent of Mary, wife of the Rev. Benjamin Gerrish Gray, of Windsor, N. S., who was the heiress of Mary Gooch, who resided at Marshfield, Mass., at the time of her death. Mr. Gray was a son of Joseph Gray of Boston and Halifax, N. S., a loyalist. Mary, the heiress, was a daughter of Nathaniel Ray Thomas, a loyalist of Marshfield, who had married Sally Deering, a sister of Mary Gooch of Marshfield.

The property was sold by Mrs. Gray, June 9, 1795, to James Tisdale, a merchant, who bought also adjoining lots. It was at this time that the Golden Ball disappeared from Merchants' Row, where it had hung as a landmark for about a century. Tisdale soon sold his lots to Joseph Blake, a merchant, who erected warehouses on the site.

There was still an attraction in the Golden Ball, however, and in 1799 we find it swinging in Wing's Lane, now Elm Street, for Nathan Winship. He was the son of Jonathan, and born in Cambridge. In 1790 he was living in Roxbury. He died in 1818, leaving a daughter Lucy. He had parted with the Golden Ball long before his death.

In 1805 there was erected in South Boston a building by one Garrett Murphy. It stood on Fourth Street, between Dorchester Avenue and A Street, and here he displayed the Golden Ball for five years, as his hotel sign. Just a century ago, in 1810, for want of patronage, it became a private residence. About 1840 the hotel was reopened as the South Boston Hotel.

From South Boston the Golden Ball rolled back to Elm Street, and in 1811 hung at the entrance of Joseph Bradley's Tavern. From this Golden Ball started the stages for Quebec on Mondays at four in the morning. They arrived at Concord, N. H., at seven in the evening. Leaving there at four Tuesday morning, they reached Hanover, N. H., at two in the afternoon, and continuing on arrived at Haverhill, N. H., near Woodsville, at nine Wednesday evening.

The next appearance of the _Golden Ball_ was on Congress Street, where at No. 13 was the new tavern of Thomas Murphy in 1816.

Henry Cabot, born 1812, was a painter, and first began business at 2 Scollay's Building in 1833. He removed to Blackstone Street in 1835, where he was located at various numbers till 1858, when he went to North Street. He resided in Chelsea from 1846 till his death in 1875. The occupation of this owner of the Golden Ball was that of an ornamental sign and standard painter. His choice of a sign was not according to the traditions of his trade, and did not conform with the painters' arms of the London Guild Company, which were placed on the building in Hanover Street by an earlier member of that craft. It was no worse choice, however, than a sign which some of us may recall as swinging on Washington Street, near Dock Square, fifty years ago, "The Sign of the Dying Warrior, N. M. Phillips, Sign Painter."

The Golden Ball was the sign anciently hung out in London by the silk mercers, and was used by them to the end of the eighteenth century. Mr. Cabot's choice of a location to start his business life was more appropriate than his sign, as in the block of shops, owned by the town, connecting on the west side of the Scollay's Building, had been the paint shop of Samuel, brother of Christopher Gore.


This interesting relic was given to the Bostonian Society during 1915. It is a coffee urn of Sheffield ware, formerly in the Green Dragon Tavern, which stood on Union Street from 1697 to 1832, and was a famous meeting place of the Patriots of the Revolution. It is globular in form and rests on a base, and inside is still to be seen the cylindrical piece of iron which, when heated, kept the delectable liquid contents of the urn hot until imbibed by the frequenters of the tavern. The Green Dragon Tavern site, now occupied by a business structure, is owned by the St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons of Boston, and at a recent gathering of the Lodge on St. Andrew's Day the urn was exhibited to the assembled brethren.

When the contents of the tavern were sold, the urn was bought by Mrs. Elizabeth Harrington, who then kept a famous boarding house on Pearl Street, in a building owned by the Quincy family. In 1847 the house was razed and replaced by the Quincy Block, and Mrs. Harrington removed to High Street and from there to Chauncey Place. Some of the prominent men of Boston boarded with her for many years. At her death the urn was given to her daughter, Mrs. John R. Bradford, and it has now been presented to the Society by Miss Phebe C. Bradford of Boston, granddaughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Harrington.