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DAY BOOK, ROWLAND LAFLIN’S RECORD OF HIS POWDER FACTORY AND HIS FARM ACCOUNTS, 1822-1850, IN SOUTHWICK, MASSACHUSETTS

Laflin, Rowland (1787-1869) Narrow folio, approx. 150 pp., 10-15 entries per page, recording Laflin's numerous business transactions, including purchase and sales of gun powder casks, purchases of saltpeter and brimstone, labor costs for the powder mill, as well as sales of tobacco, hay, rye, beef, corn, winter apples, cloth, barrels of cider, planks of wood, etc. "Rowland Laflin, Southwick" in ink on the front pastedown, "Old Book" written in ink across the front cover. Leather spine and marbled boards, well worn, some pages starting, but a legible account record. The first entries begin in April 1822, and continue fairly regularly to about the end of 1850, with more sporadic entries from 1851-1865. Rowland Laflin's grandfather Matthew Laflin (1735-1810), originally from Ireland, settled in Southwick in the 1750s. According to the "Southwick Reconnaissance Report" for the Connecticut River Valley [Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation & Recreation: June 2009], farming in the area "was carried out simultaneously while rivers were being used for powder mills, saw and gristmills. In fact, the town's first industry was established at the same time that it was being settled as a farming community. By 1775 Captain Matthew Laflin had built up to five powder mills on his property along Two Mile Brook in Southwick and into Westfield." Local historians relate that his gunpowder, sold to the Continental Army, was used at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Matthew Laflin's son Matthew (1765-1828) continued the business, as did at least three of his sons Rowland, Luther, and Matthew Jr. All three appear in this day book kept by Rowland, the oldest son. Rowland Laflin, the keeper of these accounts, was born in Southwick. Active in the family powder business and a farmer, he was also a Captain in the militia, serving from 1814-1820 [see: Louis E. Laflin's "Laflin Genealogy," (Chicago: 1930, p.51)]. His manuscript accounts begin with an entry page for April 1822 recording transactions with various people for powder casks, as well as bags of saltpeter and brimstone brought from Boston, Hartford, and New Hampshire. Laflin records cash his brother Luther paid to a local man "for his labor when he worked at the powder mill for us." He mentions partnerships with his brothers in the various aspects of both the family farm, the powder mill, and a cider mill. He records money paid out to Matthew Laflin Jr. for shingles for the cider mill, for rum, sugar and lemons, for saltpeter, for workers and for labor transporting powder to Boston, and for otherwise "carrying on the Powder business" under the firm of "R & M Laflin." By 1826 he has a business, "Smith & Laflin Co." dealing in both the workings of the Powder Mill and in cords of wood. A settlement of accounts for the year, made on May 29, 1826, shows the signatures of Solomon Smith, Rowland Laflin, Moses Loomis, and Matthew Laflin Jr. On May 31 of the same year Rowland agrees to pay Matthew one half of the rent on the mill for three years, and on July 7 he notes that he and Matthew have settled the company accounts for powder casks and powder and dust and saltpeter. By November 1826, he refers to his powder mill business as "Laflin & Loomis & Co." He is also engaged in the firm of "Laflin & Fowler & Co. by June 1827, dealing in coal wood "used at lower mill." He refers to this enterprise as "the late firm of Laflin Fowler & Co. by February 1829. Rowland Laflin also manufactured clothing in some capacity, mentioning an agreement with a Mr. Baldwin to pay him "in goods and as much in full cloth of my own manufacture." in March 1828. There are also various entries concerning the settlement of his father's estate when Matthew Laflin Sr. died in 1828. The latter half of the book shows primarily farm accounts and personal expenses, and census records list him as a farmer. He records transactions for rum, cider, livestock, and agricultural crops, sawmill logs, and later in the day book, tobacco and Cuba and Santo Domingo Cigars. A small personal note appears dated July 6, 1842: "the first grey hair was found in my head." Small wonder given the number and variety of his business interests. As his brothers moved away, establishing powder mills in other states, Rowland stayed in Southwick working the family farm. He died in 1869, and his probate records include a considerable debt owed to his brother Matthew. According to William R. Cutter's book "New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial," (Lewis Pub. Co.: 1913), pp. 1186-7, the Laflin family was heavily involved in the development and manufacture of gunpowder in several states. Luther Laflin joined his brother Matthew in building a powder mill at the Pounds, near the town of Blandford, Massachusetts in 1832, producing between 30,000 and 50,000 kegs of powder annually and employing some 20 to 30 laborers. Another brother, Winthrop, built a powder mill in Saugerties, NY in about 1827, on the Cauterskill Creek. By 1837, Matthew Jr. had moved to Chicago. He hoped to become a supplier of gunpowder to aid in the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and became the western salesman for the Saugerties mill. He later made a fortune in Chicago real estate. The Saugerties operations experienced an explosion in 1849, with the loss of several buildings and employees. By the time of the Civil War, various members of the family had gun powder mills in Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin. The New York operation merged with the Smith & Rand Powder Company in 1869, becoming the Laflin & Rand Powder Company, with offices in New York City. The Laflin & Rand Powder Company was one of Dupont's leading competitors in the post Civil War explosives industry.
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OFFICE BANK OF THE UNITED STATES (Second Bank of the United States) and The Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company. Cancelled Personal Checks and Receipts Signed by Samuel Williams

Bank of the Unites States] A group of 31 Documents, most 2.5 x 6 in. Fraying, penned x's, a few tears. Copies of cancelled checks with historical importance relating to The Second Bank of the United States (1816-1836) whose charter was signed by James Madison. Madison hoped that it would end the runaway inflation of the previous five years. The Second Bank was basically a copy of the First Bank, with branches across the country, including this one in Cincinnati. Andrew Jackson, as President in 1828, denounced it as an engine of corruption and his destruction of the bank was a major political issue in the 1830s. Jackson refused to renew its charter and the end of the bank saw a period of runaway inflation. The bank at Cincinnati was closed in 1836. Jackson's executive order requiring all federal land payments be made in gold or silver, drove all banks to require payments in gold and silver and produced the "depression of 1837" which lasted four years. [see: "The Second Bank of the United States," by Ralph C. H. Catterall, (Chicago: 1902)]. The bank at Cincinnati's main business was to secure the debts incurred during the early years of the bank and to superintend sales of real estate. Samuel Williams (1786-1859), whose personal checks these are, was born in Pennsylvania and became a surveyor of the land office and a deputy marshall. (As Chief Clerk of the Land Office under General William Lytle, when Washington was overrun by the British in the War of 1812, Williams saved the records of the Land Office by carrying them away to another city.) These cancelled checks show payments to various parties such as Josiah Lawrence, "my son William," and the receipts show such items as: "Due Samuel Swearingen.forty four dollars and 94 cents.13th of December 1811.Saml Williams.(curious note at bottom: "hotter in town at Mc Clintocks"). A check from 1832 pays Orange Risdon fifty dollars. Orange Risdon was a land surveyor in the early 1800s, working for the Government plotting out the unmapped state of Michigan. [Samuel Williams's papers are at the Lilly Library, Indiana University at Bloomington.] The Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company (there are about 4 cancelled checks from this institution) was located in Cincinnati during the 1830s through 1850s. Unfortunately for Ohio and the nation, the bank's New York City office ceased operations in 1857 due to bad investments, especially in agricultural-related businesses. The Panic of 1857 resulted.
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INVITATIONS TO REGULAR MEETINGS, notices of exhibits, lectures, etc., many with r.s.v.p. cards, solicitations for regular dues payments, three large, apparently unrecorded broadsides announcing auctions of club publications, auction lists of material for sale, several prospectuses for upcoming publications, etc., a collection of more than 175 ephemeral items, printed 1904-1916, all apparently once belonging to club member Luther A. Brewer of Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Rowfant Club Collection of Rowfant Club ephemera. Various sizes, 12mo to folio, the three broadsides, 17 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches or larger, and including pamphlets, leaflets, cards, handbills, and broadsides, providing a rather detailed look at the month-to-month workings of an active book collectors' club; a goodly number of the items are nicely printed on well-made paper, but with few attributions as to printers. Brewer (1858-1933), editor of a Cedar Rapids newspaper, retired from that job in 1907, to found and become president of the Torch Press, a publisher of scholarly journals and a good number of books over the next 30 years, while at the same time attending to his collection of Leigh Hunt and the preparation of a number of bibliographies. The first item in this collection is an autograph letter, signed by Charles Shackleton as acting club secretary Oct. 4, 1904, on Rowfant Club stationery, informing Brewer of his election the club as a non-resident member, the balance representing a significant printed documentation of the club's activities from that date through 1916 when Brewer resigned his membership. Several cards and envelopes bear Brewer's address. Mostly very good or better condition, but with expected storage soiling (a few pieces with heavy soiling), several handbills with chipped edges, and one of the large broadsides printed on poor quality paper (fragile, brittle, separations along folds, etc.). Mostly wrappers or self-wrappers. (10656).
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BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS [a complete set of six volumes in the series, all edited by Pollard, as individually described below]

Pollard, Alfred (ed.) 1893-1894. First editions, a complete set. (10646). (1) Pollard, Alfred W. Early Illustrated Books: A History of the Decoration and Illustration of Books in the 15th and 16h Centuries. 8vo. xvi, 256 pp. Illustrated from wood engravings, plates(2) Duff, E. Gordon. Early Printed Books. 8vo. xii, 219 pp. Illustrated from facsimiles, plates. (3) Madan, Falconer. Books in Manuscript: A Short Introduction to Their Study and Use, with a Chapter on Records. 8vo. xv, 188 pp. Illustrated from facsimiles, plates. Bookplate on front pastedown. (4) Elton, Charles Isaac, and Mary Augusta Elton. The Great Book-Collectors. 8vo. vi, (2), 228 pp. Illustrated from facsimiles, portraits, and bindings, plates. Quick look at collectors in classical times before treating Western European collectors. Bookplate on front pastedown. (5) Hardy, W. J. Book-Plates. 8vo. xvi, 175 pp. Illustrated from a wide variety of bookplates, 36 plates. Two bookplates on front pastedown. (6) Horne, Herbert P. The Binding of Books: An Essay in the History of Gold-Tooled Bindings. 8vo. viii, (3), 224 pp. Illustrated from bindings, 13 plates. Two bookplates on front pastedown. Horne was published in 1894, all the others in 1893. All very good untrimmed copies. Uniform original gilt-stamped decorated plum cloth (spines rather uniformly faded to brown, all a little rubbed); spine ends on Duff a little frayed.