Dorchester Atheneum
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Lemuel Clap House
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 Lemuel Clap House (ca. 1710, rebuilt 1767)
199 Boston Street
Dorchester MA 02125

According to the Clapp family genealogy, the Lemuel Clap House, first built by Roger Clapp ca. 1633, was rebuilt and enlarged by Lemuel Clap in 1767. On the other hand a story that is more likely is that the house was built by the Ward family at the beginning of the 18th century and acquired by Lemuel Clap who enlarged it in 1767. Illustrative of mid-18th century rural architecture and sited behind a fragrant wall of lilacs, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Lemuel Clap House was acquired by the Dorchester Historical Society in 1945, along with the William Clapp House.

The rooms of the Lemuel Clap House are filled with artifacts from the Society's collection, including a table that was part of the wedding furniture belonging to the Captain and his second wife, Rebecca Dexter. Tours of all Houses: 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 2-4 p.m. Or, by special request. Call 617-265-7802.

Roger Clap was born at Salcom, Devon, in 1609. He sailed on the Mary and John in 1630, was made a grantee in 1633 and in that same year, at the age of twenty-four, married Johanna Ford, who wither her parents also came over in the Mary and John. From 1637 until 1665 he filled the most important offices of the town at various times. In 1665 he was appointed commander of the Castle, the fort at Castle Island, to succeed Captain Richard Davenport, who was killed by lightning. He held this post until he resigned in 1686 because of his unwillingness to cooperate with the schemes of Governor Andros. He moved to Boston where he died in 1691 and was buried in King's Chapel Burying Ground.

Captain Lemuel Clap was a tanner by trade and a prominent Dorchester resident who invited Colonial troops to camp on his property during the siege of Boston. The Clapp genealogy describes Lemuel as follows: "Lemuel, third son of Ebenezer, Jr. and Hannah (Pierce) Clapp, was born in Dorchester, April 9, 1735, and died Dec. 29, 1819. He married, first, Dec. 11, 1760, Susanna Capen, of Dorchester, who died March 6, 1767, aged 26 years. They were married the same day his sister Ann was married to Noah Clapp. He married, second, Nov. 3, 1768, Rebecca, third daughter of Rev. Samuel Dexter, of Dedham. Lemuel was a Captain in the Revolutionary War, and his company was on duty for several of its first years at Dorchester Heights, Noddle's Island, and other places near by. The enlistments for this service were short, a few months at a time, and sometimes less, and his company, therefore, often changed its members. Sometimes there were quite a number of the Dorchester Clapps in its ranks. He was a tanner by trade, and carried on the business on the old Causeway road, near the corner of what is now Willow court. His house was in the same court, and was enlarged and elegantly fitted up by him from the small one originally built by Roger." In 1767, Captain Lemuel Clap, whose great-great-grandfather Nicholas was a cousin to Roger, purchased the property, built additions on the front, at the ends and at the rear.

Needing more spacious headquarters, the Dorchester Historical Society purchased the property at 195 Boston Street from Frank Lemuel Clapp in 1946. Due to the march of progress, land was needed for a business street and the Lemuel Clap House stood in the way. The Society sold Willow Court and moved the historic house to its present location just to the left of the William Clapp House.

Related Images: showing 7 of 7 (more results)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 7 images.
Lemuel Clap HouseRoger Clap House 2nd floor planRoger Clap House first floor planRoger Clap House elevations
Roger Clap House elevationsComposite Lemuel Clap House, William Clapp House, BarnWilliam Clapp House
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Created: December 15, 2003   Modified: September 19, 2004