By Walter H. Marx
In January of 1990, I wrote about the person for whom one of our area’s full-named streets is called – John A. Andrew in the Sumner Hill district. Jamaica Plain has one other such street, in the Hyde Square district – Paul Gore. The search for the former is relatively easy in a library. The latter demands a trip to Gore Place, the museum home of a distant cousin, Governor Christopher Gore, on the Watertown/Waltham line. Gore was the fifth governor of Massachusetts.
The common ancestor was John Gore, who came to Roxbury in 1635 with Paul descended from John’s son of the same name and the Governor from John’s younger son, Samuel. The Gores prospered and early appear as selectmen in the Town of Roxbury. Their homestead (see picture from Drake’s “Town of Roxbury”) stood by Stony Brook (before it was put into a culvert) and Tremont Street near the old Roxbury Crossing. A piece of the estate was later sliced off when the railroad to Providence was built.
The homestead, however, continued to stand until 1876 and was inhabited by the Gores, until the land was sold and cut up – a prize location in a Roxbury that was rapidly becoming industrialized. The present Gore Street, running parallel to Tremont Street on the west side into Parker Street, still commemorates the ancient Roxbury family and is probably the reason why the municipal government ordered Paul added to the Gore Street in Jamaica Plain to prevent confusion.
John’s descendants stayed in the Boston area, while Samuel’s spread all over the Union. The first Paul Gore (1725-71) was the first of his name to come into possession of a large estate in Jamaica Plain that was to be in the family’s possession for over a century. First purchased in 1743, it was in the vicinity of the present Lamartine and Paul Gore Streets, bordering on the Wyman farm of 60 acres off Centre Street (hence Wyman Street).
The Gore estate in 1743 was described as a tract of land with a house, shop and barn containing by estimate five acres, and it bordered on Centre Street and Stony Brook. The ancient house stood first in a corner of the lot and was afterwards moved to the spot where it stood for most of its life.
Thus the estate was a sizeable tract, and sometime after the death of Mrs. Paul Gore in 1789 an inventory of her husband’s estate was made on May 28, mentioning, “the mansion house, barn and about five acres of land” with an additional “seven acres of pasture land near Jamaica Pond.” An inventory of Mrs. Gore’s personal estate survives from the same date to indicate her comfortable living circumstances.
At this point, the son of the same name (1767-1853) was appointed administrator of the estate and sold to the Curtis family, that ancient and vast landowning family of Jamaica Plain, the seven-acre tract – a part of which is the present Gormley’s Funeral Home. The second Paul Gore took over the five-acre tract and lived the longest of his family on the estate – which finally caused his name to be applied to the thoroughfare that was laid out across the old place in 1882 after it had been sold and cut up into lots after Paul’s unmarried daughter, and her married sister, Louisa Gore Woodman, and her children died by 1880.
September 6, 1990
Jamaica Plain, MA