[Hatfield, MA?]: (1743-1768). Narrow folio. Manuscript account book, 36 cm., approx. 320pp. Front cover and approx. first 26 pages lacking [hand-numbered pagination begins at (27), with some aberrations in numbering]. Rear vellum cover damaged, spine perished, but stitched signatures mostly holding, old dampstaining, some fraying & loose pages, about 6 pages torn in half, with loss of text. Still accounts are in a clear legible hand.
These colonial era fuller and dyer's accounts record dealings with a large customer base in locations in Hatfield, Hadley, Northfield, Northampton, Deerfield, Sunderland, and other small towns in Massachusetts. The accounts are by customer and date, with a brief description of the work performed, and payments in pounds and shillings. Work includes weaving blankets, spinning, "tanted" plaincloth, finewale, druget (wool), crape, etc. ("tantering" was the process for finishing a fabric and restoring it to a regular width following the processes of weaving and washing), "fulling" kersey (ie: fullering or softening cloth), dyeing, and occasionally miscellaneous farm work. Mention is made of the purchase of alum, redwood, and butternut bark, all of which were used in the dyeing of cloth, and of coloring old gowns, overcoats and gloves, etc. Customer names include Joseph Hubbard, Capt. Joseph Warner, Joshua Warner, Daniel White, Dr. Samuel Marther, Thomas Nash, Thomas Meekins, Ezekeiel Kellogg, John Lyman, and Seth Pomroy [Pomeroy], Col. Timothy Dwight, Col. Williams, Elijah Williams, Oliver Partridge, and dozens of others. The account book has lost its owner's name, but appears to be based in Hatfield, and there are several pages which show the handwriting of Lucy Hubbard. For example, [p. 243]: "August 5, 1768 Rec'd of Perez Marsh one pound five shillings & one penny in full of accts your note of hand... Lucy Hubbard". She also refers to "my husband" and an uncle Jo[seph] Hubbard, so that these accounts are very likely the book of Elisha Hubbard (1721-1768), who lived and died in Hatfield, Massachusetts. From about 1760 he and his family also owned and operated "Hubbard's Inn," in Hatfield, which Lucy continued to run after his death. [see: "A History of Hatfield, Massachusetts," by D.W. & R.F. Wells, Springfield: 1910, p.195].
Also of much interest are the last several pages of the account book where "the Province of the Massachusetts Bay" is listed as the debtor. During the conflict known as "King George's War," 1744-1748, the Connecticut River Valley was the scene of renewed hostilities with the French and of a build-up of forts to protect the settlers. Troops were raised from this area, part of the colony of Massachusetts' contribution of over 3000 men, for the successful siege of Louisbourg in Canada in the first half of 1745. These pages show meals and lodging costs between 1745 and 1747 for a number of military men and their commands: Captains Ashley, Miller, Sheldon, Lyman, Philips, Shaw, and others, and Lieuts. Hinds, Sabins, Holbart, etc. Over the course of some five pages and parts of pages, the account book records the costs, billed to "The Province of the Massachusetts Bay," of providing meals (as many as 68 at a time), lodging (ie: "thirty meals and fifteen nights lodging," etc.), keeping horses, "entertainment for two Indians," "enter'mt. for men that came from Scouting," "three meals for Indians," plus the occasional dram or egg punch, between July 4, 1745 and May 23, 1747. Always a concern for militia officers was the provisioning of their troops and here is evidence of the colonial government enlisting local support for billeting frontier soldiers. Item #63951