Joseph W. Estey was the owner of a farm in Greenwich, Massachusetts with a grist and sawmill. The account book (started in Springfield and Ludlow, Massachusetts with his business partner Abner Putnam) documents business dealings, hired male and female help, personal and farm expenses (hiring tanners and blacksmiths), and a deed.
Greenwich 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 water.
Joseph W. Estey began this account book in Springfield and Ludlow, Massachusetts in 1809 when he bought a tavern and farm with a grist and saw mill. The mill was held in partnership with Abner Putnam who split expenses; hence Estey kept track of his expenses to be attributed to the business as well as his personal and farm expenses.
By 1811 he had bought a farm with grist and sawmills in Greenwich, Massachusetts. The majority of the 292 pages are about the Greenwich property. Only pp. 1-20 refer to Springfield and Ludlow, although references to Ludlow appear later in the book.
The Greenwich accounts were of Estey’s grist and sawmill dealings, but also accounts of his hired male and female help. They usually lived with him, but took care of their own clothes and obtained their own spirits. Among his early 19th century workers were “Sam Lane’s Negro” (p. 11), and “Lewis a Negro” or Lewis, Negro. Hired men were not paid for half-days taken off for military training.
The book is of personal as well as business dealings and so gives a graphic picture of rural life. Estey hires his mowing done, his tanning, his blacksmithing, and his pond cleaning. He occasionally puts his animals in others’ pastures for a fee. He sells lumber for sizable construction projects which could be traced.
Some of the people, businesses, and places mentioned are:
- Parson Clapp Tavern
- Gideon Howe, Greenwich
- Edward Howe
- Lewis, a Negro (p. 71)
- John Warner, blacksmith
- Benjamin Lincoln
- Laban Marcy, Greenwich
- Josiah Vaughan, Prescott
- John Oaks, New Salem
- Ware Manufacturing Co.
- Major John Warner, blacksmith
- W.A. Putnam (p. 238)
- Elihu Barnard, blacksmith
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Joseph W. Estey Account Book (MS 93). 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.
Nov. 2, 1859
- Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--Greenwich
- Greenwich (Mass.)--Economic condition--19th century
- Howe, Edward
- Howe, Gideon
- Lincoln, Benjamin
- Ludlow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Marcy, Laban
- Mills and mill-work--Massachusetts--Greenwich
- Oaks, John
- Parson Clapp Tavern
- Putnam, A. W.
- Putnam, Abner
- Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Vaughan, Josiah
- Ware Manufacturing Co. (Ware, Mass.)
- Warner, John
- Estey, Joseph W.
Types of material
- Account books