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Another question from my family history research from this quote: Carrie C. Edgett article: John French - a tailor, was living in Topsfield as early as March 1, 1664/5, when a daughter born there, first mentioned in town records on Dec 31, 1667, when land was laid out to John How, "next John ffrench bordering upon the Common", from that time until 1697 his name is found frequently. He was chosen surveyor of highways, or fences, or both, seven times, tythingman, three tiems, on jury at Ipswich, three times, grand juryman, three times, and commissioner on special errands to the "sheare Towne," twice. He built a one story house about 1675, which before 1798 was raised to two stories and enlarged. This is still standing, and is known as the "French-Andrews" house, located on Howlett St., near the Dry Bridge [Topsfield Hist. Coll., vol. 8. p. 22, vol. 6, p. 47]

What might a sheare town be? thanks.

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    I suspect it may be a mis-spelling for "shire town", which Wikipedia notes"... is the statutory term for the Massachusetts town having a county court and administration offices" Oct 17 '20 at 18:31
  • There appears to be a reference behind a paywall at Topographical Terms in the Seventeenth-Century Records of Connecticut and Rhode Island
    – MCW
    Oct 17 '20 at 18:50
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    @sempaiscuba - That was my first guess, although considering when it was written, calling it a "mis-spelling" may be an anachronism. It wasn't until that century that people even started creating dictionaries, so spelling was essentially by convention (and gives valuable clues to how words were pronounced back then).
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 17 '20 at 18:58
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    @T.E.D. Fair point. Perhaps "variant spelling" might be more accurate. Oct 17 '20 at 19:16
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    Thank you all once again! I'm giving StackExchange kudos in my book! Oct 17 '20 at 22:19

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