A 1,925-square-foot lot in this location was sold to George Middleton and Louis Glapion for thirty pounds in 1786. A 1791 assessor’s note mentions a “small house by south side ropewalk.” In 1792 Middleton and Glapion were each taxed for half a house. The 1798 federal dwellings tax listed a house “345 square feet, one story, four windows.” Today it is a two-story clapboard house with an added attic dormer. How much of the one-story house remains in the present structure is unclear, but the two off-center doors and larger single window on the left match the earliest references. It may be the oldest house on Beacon Hill.
Middleton was a black coachman and commander of the Revolutionary Bucks of America. He was a natural leader, founding the African Society and leading a petition drive in 1800 for an African public school. Louis Glapion was a French mulatto barber who plied his trade in the one long room that was his half of the house.