Where was the Cuffe Family Residence?

The names following Cuffe are Silvanus Wilcox, Benjamin Sowle, Jacob Sowle and Daniel Allen. All of the Sowles were immediate neighbors to the south and north of the boatyard property. This suggests strongly that the Cuffe family had their residence in this area. The 1800 census unfortunately lists the heads of households in alphabetical order in Westport so it does not give any indication as to who were neighbors. But the 1810 census is again apparently in order of the recording so it probably provides good information as to neighbors.

Among the listings preceding Paul Cuffe (who was again recorded as Paul Cuff with 11 persons in his household) were: Daniel Allen, Green Allen, Humphrey Allen, Sarah Soal (widow of Isaac Sowle and mother of David Sowle), David Soal, and Weston Allen. These were all neighbors to the north of Paul Cuffe’s boat yard. The name following Paul Cuffe was Luthan Tripp who at that time owned the property to the south of the boat yard. The census- taker was working his way south on Drift Road.

These census records provide reasonably strong evidence that Paul Cuffe and his family were living in very close proximity to the boat yard from 1790 onward, but are not conclusive. However, a newly discovered source of evidence significantly strengthens the case for concluding that he did build a substantial home on the boatyard property in the 1790s. In 1798 the US Congress levied a direct tax on dwelling houses, lands and slaves that provided assessments of the values of such properties at that time.

According to the tax assessment records, Paul Cuff possessed a dwelling house and outbuildings that were worth $620. This property was worth more than that of either of his neighbors Lemuel or Joseph Sowle and was only slightly less than the $640 valuation of the dwelling house and outbuilding of Isaac Cory at Westport Point. This Cory house along with its barn/carriage house is still standing at 2039 Main Road. While it has several additions on the rear of the house, the original house that was assessed in 1798 has been preserved and is one of the most substantial residences at Westport Point.

Paul Cuffe is also recorded as the owner of another house in Westport which, at that time, was occupied by Barker Little and had an assessed value of $125. It was listed next to the property of John Cuffe that had a residence with a similar value. Both of these houses were probably located on the farm that Paul and John had inherited from their father, Cuff Slocum.

The only other property that Paul Cuffe owned in 1798, on which the $620-house could have been built, was the 0.22 acre property that he had purchased from Lemuel Sowle in 1789 – the property on which he had established his wharf and boatyard. In 1813 he purchased the abutting 4+ acres from David Soule and these combined properties constituted his homestead as recorded in his will which was valued at $850 in 1817.