Boswell Tenant House, Putnam County

This double-pen tenant house is located adjacent to the historic Tompkins Inn. [This photograph dates to 2015, so I’m unsure as to the status of the house at this time]. It was included in the National Register of Historic Places nomination of the property in 1978 and described as a servant or drivers’ dwelling, dated to the early 1800s. The context of the term servant would imply slave if the structure was built before 1865, but that is not made clear, and therefore, I think it probably dates to the decade after the Civil War. The survival rate for wood frame slave dwellings is very low. A small family cemetery on the property is believed to include slave burials, though, so they did have a presence here.

I’m identifying it by the owner of the property at that time, which was most likely Emiline Boswell. Emiline was the second wife of Josias Boswell, who acquired the property upon the death of his first wife, Sarah Tompkins Boswell. Josias lost the property to A. R. Zachary due to debt, in 1862, but it was purchased by Emiline Boswell in 1874. She owned it until her death in 1910.

National Register of Historic Places

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