Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker Daybook, 1837-1845
Call no.: MS 183 bd
Daybook listing financial transactions of Butler, Mills, Smith and Barker Woolen Mill, a small woolen manufactory in Williamstown, Massachusetts owned by Henry Mills, Silas Butler, Asa Barker and Ebenezer Smith.
Accounts provide detailed information regarding costs of commodities, labor, and boarding in the town and document the impact of a small factory on the local economy where residents sold soap, oil, and wool to the mill, boarded its workers, took in weaving and hauled freight for the business. Includes mixed personal and business expenses, information about employees and production in the two woolen mills in town, and information concerning the cost of commodities, labor, and boarding workers in the town.
This daybook lists transactions made by a small woolen
manufactory in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The two most
active partners were Henry Mills (b. 1810 in Williamstown)
and Silas Butler (d. 1841); Asa Barker and Ebenezer Smith
also appear to have been involved, although the accounts do
not make clear to what extent. Toward the rear of the volume,
there are memoranda of wool purchases by two different
combinations of partners-Butler, Mills and Barker, and
Butler, Smith, and Mills. The first fifty pages reflect
principally the expenses incurred by the partners. Among the
expenses were charges for freight, soap, oil, wool, repairs
on a regulator, potash, boarding for weavers, use of horses
and wagons, labor, glue, and wood, as well as foodstuffs.
Although it is not clear that personal and business expenses
were kept separately, the accounts provide much information
concerning the cost of commodities, labor, and boarding in
Unlike the neighboring towns of Adams and North Adams,
Williamstown never became a manufacturing center. In 1837,
the town had two woolen mills (presumably one of which was
that of Butler and Mills) employing 22 workers and producing
43,370 yards of cloth. By 1845, after the Butler, Mills,
Smith and Barker partnership had dissolved, the town had only
one woolen mill employing 10 and producing but 16,000 yards
of satinet. However, the daybook does demonstrate the impact
of even a small manufacturer on the local economy. A number
of local residents added to their income by selling soap,
oil, and wool to the mill, by boarding its workers, by taking
in weaving, or by hauling freight for the business.
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Butler, Smith, and Barker Daybook (MS 183). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1986.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf.
- Woolen and worsted manufacture--Massachusetts--Williamstown
- Barker, Asa
- Butler, Mills, Smith, and Barker
- Butler, Silas, d. 1841
- Mills, Henry, b. 1810
- Smith, Ebenezer
Types of material