icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Online Collection

This Indenture Witnesseth, That I Michael Gilson living
upon County Land alittle above Northfield in the Province of New:
Hampshire of his own free Will & accord, dos put & bind his Son
Zechariah Gilson aged about Eight Years to be an Apprentice to
John Belding of Hatfield in the County of Hampshire and
in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay to learn him the
Art of Husbandry and with him the Said John Belding and heirs
assigns after the manner of an apprentice to Dwell & Serve from
the Day of the date hereof untill he the said Zechariah Shall
arrive to the full age of Twenty one Years, fully to be Compleat
& Ended. During all which Said Term the Said Apprentice his Lord
Master or his heirs or Assigns honestly & faithfully Shall Serve
his Secrets keep Close his Lawful & reasonable commands every
where gladly do & perform; Damages to his Said Master he
Shall not Wilfully Do, his Masters Goods Shall not Waste Em=
bezel, Purloine or Lend unto others nor Suffer ye Same to be
Wasted or Purloined; but to his Power Shall forthwith Discover
the Same to his sd Master. Taverns, he shall not frequent
at Cards or any unlawful Game he Shall not play. Fornica=
tiion he Shall not Comit nor Matrimony Contract with any
Person, during Said Time. From his Masters Service he
Shall not at any Time unlawfully abject himself but in
all Things as a good honest, and faithful Servant and Appren-
tice Shall bear & behave himself towards his Said Master & his
heirs &c. during the full Time aforesaid

And the John Belding for himself his heirs &c
Doth Covenant Promise and agree to and with his Said Appren
=tice in Manner following. viz That he will teach him the
Art of Husbandry- (if he be Capable to Learn) and will find and
Provide for him sd Apprentice good and Sufficient Meal Drink
and apparel Washing & Lodging and all other neccesaries, both
in sickness & in health fitting for him, and at the End of Said
Term to Dismiss sd Apprentice With two Suits of apparel
one for Lords Days ye other fit for working days-and give
him a Bible and Tenpounds in bills of Publick Credits of ye
old Tenor at their present value. In Witness whereof the
Parties have Interchangeably set their hands & Seals this
Eleventh Day of March anno Dom 1744/5

Signed Sealed & Delivered
in presence of

Jonathan Morton

John Belding

Elijah Morton


(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.

label levels:

In 18th century America it was not uncommon for children to be bound into an apprenticeship. For many parents, apprenticeship offered an opportunity for a child to learn a craft outside their own. Probably the most famous apprentice was Benjamin Franklin, who used the skills he had learned at a printer's to become one of the most famous and wealthy men in America. In this indenture, Michael Gilson of the part of Northfield, Massachusetts, that would become Westmoreland, New Hampshire, bound his son Zechariah (Zachariah) over to John Belding of Hatfield, Massachusetts. Zechariah was to learn husbandry, or the care of horses and other large farm animals. But at the age of nineteen, at the start of the French and Indian War in 1755, he became a soldier. He was at Ft. William Henry when it was forced to surrender to the French and their Indian allies in August, 1757. Although the French had guaranteed their safety and allowed the British to leave the fort with their arms and possessions, the Indians refused to recognize that agreement and in a famous ambush killed and captured most of the British. This episode was most famously told in James Fenimore Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans." Gilson was taken to Canada as a captive. He returned to Westmoreland after his release and later settled in Westminster, Vermont.


top of page

Indenture of Zechariah Gilson of Northfield

creator   John Belding
date   Mar 11, 1744
location   Hatfield, Massachusetts
height   12.25"
width   8.0"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Legal Documents/Indenture Contract
accession #   #L01.086

Look Closer icon My Collection icon Document Image icon Detailed info icon

ecard icon Send an e-Postcard of this object

See Also...

Indenture between Justin Hitchcock and Moses Church

Indenture between Samuel Wells & Jonathan Ballard

Indenture of Sarah Green

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback