Thursday, March 19, 2015

Colonial Floorboards

In 1691 any Eastern White Pine in America measuring 24" wide at least, was preserved for the King of England's making of Naval ships which was written into "The Massachusetts Bay Charter". This pine was twice the height of any previously growing in England, stood straight up to 230' tall; free of branches up to 80', while being more flexible, lighter and less resinous than any other pines. They made the best single stick mast ships of their day which conquered the Dutch and could have the French fleets. In 1772 an English law was passed protecting 12" wide pines and then even 8" wide trees were included.

Old Farm was built in 1717 and is an example of the statement that "never under any circumstances, would the floorboards of any colonial home exceed 23" in width". All of the floor boards here taper and are fitted together.

Colonists paid for a Royal License to cut trees on their own property which were not marked for the King. This "tax" was reason for the "Pine Riot of 1772" and another reason for the Revolution. The first colonial flag had a pine tree emblazoned on it and a flag of the white pine was flown at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Upstairs we have boards wider than 23" (still less than 24") because the law applied only to the first floor of colonial homes.

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