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John Nicholson
1772 Aprenticeship Document

John Nicholson, Wrentham, Tool Maker, master

Thomas Alexander, Cumberland, apprenticeship to learn the Art, Trade or Calling of Making Joiner Tools

Document and supportive information provided by Rick Slaney.

John Nicholson, 1772, Wrentham, Tool Maker



The importance of this John Nicholson apprenticeship document dating to 1772 cannot be overstated. John's tenure of making planes has been debated for decades with many investigators believing that John was not active in tool making following his residence in Cumberland. Cited were his possible involvement in other endeavors and the lack of evidence of his following his craftsman trade in period records. (The Wings document John's listing as a yeoman in 1751-1754 deeds and his listing as a gentleman in 1763-1786 deeds. (Chronology of 18th C Planemakers by Don and Anne Wing, Fall 1984)) This document alone extends his tool making trade to at least January 1778 when Thomas would have turned 21.

Document, transcription and research by Rick Slaney

Notes dated 12-8-2002 provided by Rick Slaney

Thomas Alexander, born Jan. 31, 1757, the son of Peter and Ann Alexander. He would have been 15 years 6 months old at the time of his apprenticeship based on the date of the Indenture. (Online genealogical website)


On August 12, 1772, John Nicholson was 60 years old (born March 4, 1712). John lived in Wrentham up to 1746, in Cumberland 1747-1763, in Wrentham after 1766. (He was in Union ME in 1803.) (Dates are from the Wing article on the Nicholson family in "The Mechanick's Workbench, No. 12, Autumn 1981.)

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