Undertaker's Daybook

  • 1855-1884
  • 1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
  • Call no.: MS 904 bd

A small town situated on the Southegan River in the southern tier of New Hampshire, Wilton had a population of over 1,300 in 1860. Fed by an influx of Irish and Canadian immigrants, the economy at the time was based on a mix of agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, including woolen and yarn mills and factories for furniture and shoes and boots.

Although the identity of the undertaker who kept this volume is nowhere recorded, research into the names of his clients strongly suggests that he operated in or near Wilton (Hillsborough County), New Hampshire. The entries are invariably brief but informative, noting the name of the deceased, date of death and age, notes on the services provided (coffin plate, handles, "sexton service," "grave"), and the cost of those services. On rare occasions, there are notes on the cause of death, including a cluster of deaths by consumption in the winter of 1858-1859.

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Background

A small town situated on the Southegan River in the southern tier of New Hampshire, Wilton had a population of over 1,300 in 1860. Fed by an influx of Irish and Canadian immigrants, the economy at the time was based on a mix of agriculture and small-scale manufacturing, including woolen and yarn mills and factories for furniture and shoes and boots.

Scope of collection

Although the identity of the undertaker who kept this volume is not recorded, the names of the accounts strongly suggests that he operated in or near Wilton (Hillsborough County), New Hampshire. The entries are invariably brief but informative, noting the name of the deceased, date of death and age, and services provided (coffin plate, handles, sexton service, and "grave"), as well as the cost of those services. Upon payment of each bill, entries were marked with an "x." On rare occasions, there are notes on the cause of death, including a cluster of deaths by consumption in the winter of 1858-1859, and a handful of clients died in other towns, but were interred in Wilton, or vice versa.

The federal censuses for Wilton in 1850, 1860, and 1870 do not include any listings for undertakers, although William E. Rideout is listed as a coffin dealer in 1870. Rideout, however, died in 1879 and is in fact recorded in this volume.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Acquired from M&S Rare Books, March 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, March 2016.

Bibliography

Livermore, Abiel Abbot and Sewall Putnam, History of the town of Wilton, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. Lowell, Mass. : Marden & Rowell, 1888.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Undertaker's Daybook (MS 904 bd). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Undertakers and undertaking--New Hampshire--Wilton
  • Wilton (N.H.)--History

Link to similar SCUA collections

Genre terms

  • Daybooks