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Indenture between Justin Hitchcock and Moses Church

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By the time a young man was fourteen, he and his parents had usually determined his future. If he showed academic promise and the family had the necessary money, he might attend college. Otherwise he would receive training for a trade through the apprenticeship system. This handwritten 1766 indenture was witnessed by the master, Moses Church, the intended apprentice, his father, and two others. It assures that Mr. Church will teach Justin Hitchcock the craft of hatmaking and in addition, will provide sufficient meat, drink, lodgings, and wearing apparel for him. Justin promises to stay with Mr. Church until the age of 21 and to be "in all things a good honest and faithful servant and apprentice." Justin Hitchcock apparently felt the importance of this document and saved it in his family papers.


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