The tanner Phinehas Hemenway was born in Bolton, Worcester County, Mass., in September 1794, the fourth of six children born to Simeon and Mary (Goss) Hemenway, but he resided nearly his entire adult life in the Franklin County hill town of Shutebsury. Although little is known about his life, Hemenway appears to have married twice, to a Polly or Mary Gray in about 1816, and to the widow Mary Sears of Prescott in Aril 1838. Hemenway died in Shutesbury on December 21, 1850.
With approximately 150 pages of brief, but closely written records of daily transactions, the Hemenway daybook documents the range of activities of rural tannery in antebellum Massachusetts. Along with the names of clients, the date and amount, and a brief notation on whether the work was for dressing, tanning, currying, or (apparently) the sale of finished product, Hemenway records work in a variety of leathers, from calf to sheep, hog, and horse and from sole leather to upper leather, sometimes specified as for shoes. The daybook also includes credit entries for labor performed, the purchase of hemlock bark or hides, or more rarely for cash to settle accounts.
- Shutesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Hemenway, Phinehas, 1796-1850
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