Grocer from Stow, Massachusetts who catered principally to farmers. Includes mention of products sold (groceries and other items) and payment (lard, eggs, fruit, butter, potatoes, cigars, beans, cash, and labor).
Charles N. Murdock, born in 1836, had a grocery and country store in the Rock Bottom section of the town of Stow, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the years just after the Civil War. He resided, however, in a house rented from Rufus Temple, just over the border in the town of Hudson. In 1870, Murdock’s household included his wife Mary (age 29) and two sons, ages 5 and 3. In the 1850 census (at age 14) Murdock lived in the house of Ephraim Stone with no other Murdocks present; two decades later he had amassed real estate worth $500 and personal property worth $2,000.
Murdock’s store appeared in the 1872 business directory as a country store in the Rock Bottom section of Stow, but disappeared thereafter.
Although both Hudson and Stow had a considerable manufacturing base in shoes and textiles by 1870, Murdock’s business was located in between the two industries, and catered principally to farmers. Murdock mainly sold groceries, but added other items as well. He received payment from his largely agricultural clientele in lard, eggs, fruit, butter, potatoes, cigars, and beans, in addition to cash. At times labor was exchanged for goods, especially by Reuben Derby, who worked frequently for Murdock between 1867 and 1869, and Rufus Temple’s purchases at the store were almost entirely offset by Murdock’s rent credits.
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Charles N. Murdock Ledger (MS 251). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf.
- Barter--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Derby, Reuben
- Grocers--Massachusetts--Stow--Economic conditions--19th century
- Grocery trade--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Stow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
- Stow (Mass.)--Rural conditions--19th century
- Temple, Rufus
- Wages-in-kind--Massachusetts--Stow--History--19th century
- Murdock, Charles N., 1836-
Types of material
- Account books