Brown and Brothers Account Book, 1862-1873
Call no.: MS 092
Freight haulers from Dana, Massachusetts. Includes information about products that were hauled (such as palm leaf hats, mats, lumber, railroad ties, and waste) and the companies for which they were carried. Also contains information about how Brown was paid (cash, barter, manure, chopped wood, stone) and the names of many people and places with whom Brown and Brothers conducted business.
Dana was among the Western Massachusetts towns abolished
in 1938 to allow the Swift River Valley to be flooded,
thereby creating the Quabbin Reservoir to provide Boston with
Brown and Brothers, Dana, Massachusetts, (probably the
Harry Brown, livery stable owner, mentioned on page 414 of
Donald Howe’s Quabbin, The Lost Valley), hauled freight among
the Swift River valley towns. Due to the patterns and detail
revealed, this account book is most useful despite missing
pages and the short time span covered, 1862-1873.
Brown and his hired drivers hauled raw and finished
freight for palm leaf hat and mat manufacturers, especially
N.L. Johnson of Dana, but for several smaller companies as
well. They hauled lumber for furniture companies, railroad
ties, waste, spokes, and stone, among other things. Brown was
usually paid in cash, but also by bartering, manure, chopped
wood, stone, and even a set of hinges. This livery stable
hauled freight with oxen, and one- to four-horse drawn
The palm leaf business is especially clear in this book.
Shaker hoods were manufactured in great numbers. The “binds”
of palm leaf were apparently shipped by rail to Belchertown
or Dana, then delivered by Brown from there.
The crisscrossing of the Swift River valley from central
Dana and the growth of small furniture and palm leaf
businesses in the 1860s is clearly seen in this book.
Railroad growth, interest rates, freight rates, and prices
for goods are also evident.
Some of the places and people mentioned are: Nathaniel
Johnson, Dana; Jesse Fuller, contractor, Greenwich; Brown and
Balcom, Dana; Brown and Conant, Dana; Hicks Gristmill, Dana;
George H. Gilbert Manufacturing, Gilbertsville (Ware);
William Balcom; Baldwinville, Massachusetts; West Gardner,
Massachusetts; Henry Brown; Brown Livery Stable, Dana; Minor
and Orcutt, Hardwick; Edwin Brown, Dana; E.R. Mitchell,
Orange, Massachusetts; C.N. Johnson, E. Templeton,
Massachusetts; James S. Brown; Charles Hadskin, Prescott;
Hale and Co., Dana; David C. Page, sawmill; George E.
Gleason, palm leaf mfgr.; Conant Brothers, Gardner, chair
mfgrs.; Knowlton and Bros., Gardner, chair mfgrs.; Athol and
Enfield R.R.; W.W. Phelps, Supt., R.R.; Goldingville; and
John Morgan, palm leaf mfgr.
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Brown and Brothers Account Book (MS 92). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Acquired from Donald W. Howe, 1960.
Processed by Ruth Owen Jones, October 1985.
- Dana (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Freight and freightage--Massachusetts
- Furniture industry and trade--Massachusetts
- Panama hat industry--Massachusetts
- Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Brown and Brothers
- Brown, Harry
Types of material
- Account books