rotating decorative images from SCUA collections

Ephraim Snow Daybook

1822-1878
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 198 bd

The wheelwright Ephraim Snow was born in Rochester, Mass., on Sept. 9, 1821, the son of Samuel and Rhoda (Stewart) Snow. Apparently beginning as a general carpenter, he moved to neighboring Mattapoisett shortly after 1850, where he worked as a wheelwright for many years. He married Silvia A. Nickerson on July 1, 1858, who died after giving birth to their fourth child in 1874. Ephraim Snow appears to have died in Mattapoisett in either 1880 or 1881.

This unusual daybook offers an intimate glimpse into the lively shipbuilding and whaling village of Mattapoisett as these industries peaked and begin to decline. The earliest portions of the books include sparse accounts apparently kept by Samuel Snow, Ephraim's father, with Ephraim's day book covering the period 1842-1878. Most of his work involved repairing or manufacturing wagon wheels or shafts, but he applied his skills quite widely in repairing wheelbarrows, chairs, cradles, and boxes, hanging doors or doing general house carpentry, and taking boarders in his home. Interspersed in the volume are a large number of poems, a few nicely rendered pen and ink drawings, and a small handful of letters.

See similar SCUA collections:

Background on Ephraim Snow


An image of:

The wheelwright Ephraim Snow was born in Rochester, Mass., on Sept. 9, 1821, the son of Samuel and Rhoda (Stewart) Snow. Although he apparently began working as a general carpenter, he moved to neighboring Mattapoisett shortly after 1850, to work as a wheelwright. He married Silvia A. Nickerson on July 1, 1858, who died after giving birth to their fourth child in 1874. Ephraim Snow appears to have died in Mattapoisett in either 1880 or 1881.

Scope of collection

This unusual daybook offers an intimate glimpse into the lively shipbuilding and whaling village of Mattapoisett as these industries peaked and begin to decline. The earliest portions of the books include sparse accounts apparently kept by Samuel Snow, Ephraim's father, with Ephraim's day book covering the period 1842-1878. Although much of his work involved repairing or manufacturing wagon wheels or shafts, Snow applied his skills widely, repairing wheelbarrows, chairs, cradles, and boxes; hanging doors, repairing stairs, roofs, doorbells, or doing general house carpentry; working on a washing machine, birdcage, popcorn popper, and furniture; and taking boarders in his home. He worked in metal as well, manufacturing "neting needles," dippers, knives, hatchets, forks, screwdrivers, parasols, and pitchforks.

The daybook is more than just a daybook. Interspersed in the volume are a number of original poems (many apparently submitted for publication to the New Bedford Standard), a few nicely rendered pen and ink drawings, and a small handful of letters. The poems reflect a romantic and progressive spirit, with titles such as "Farewell to home," "The slave's prayer," "A wail," "The stolen rose," "The sailing party," "Flying thoughts," "One year ago," "The sailor's death," "The prisoner's death," "The death of a prisoner" (a death caused by alcohol and consumption), and "Slavery." Laid into the front of the volume is a hand painted tintype of Frederick Ansel Snow, "Mother's only brother... died of diphtheria years ago at 19 years of age." Frederick (listed in the death records as Frederick E. Snow) is presumably Ephraim's son, who died in Fairhaven, Mass., in 1887, aged 19.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Digitized content

The photograph and many of the drawings have been digitized and are available online in Credo.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2017.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Ephraim Snow Daybook (MS 198 bd). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Mattapoisett (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Mattapoisett (Mass.)--History
  • Wheelwrights--Massachusetts--Mattapoisett

Contributors

  • Snow, Ephraim [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Daybooks
  • Pen drawings
  • Photographs
  • Poems
  • Tintypes (Prints)

Link to similar SCUA collections