1. Letter of Merriam, Holder & Co., Westminster, to P. Whiting & Sons, dated 19 April 1860; Merriam & Holder informs P. Whiting & Sons that their order was received and will be filled and delivered soon "if the weather is not stormy so that our teams cannot make there [sic] trip."
2. Letter of Bennett, Taft & Co., Hubbardston, to P. Whiting & Sons, dated 18 April 1862; Bennett, Taft, & Co. informs P. Whiting & Sons, the costs of various products of their chair factory, stating "The foregoing are 6 mo. prices less 5 per cent for cash, delivered at your place." Includes a handwritten list of 38 different items, names, prices of each, minor description of some of them "Pine top office chair .83," "Cane Seat Stools Oval High .50," "Ladies Dining 1.12 ¼,"
3. Letter of Bennett, Taft & Co., Hubbardston to P. Whiting & Sons, dated 25 April 1862; Bennett, Taft & Co. informs P. Whiting & Sons they received their order and will fill it with as little delay as possible, "But our engagements are such that we cannot deliver the goods prior to the week commencing May 19th."
4. Invoice of Bennett, Taft & Co., Hubbardston, for P. Whiting & Sons, dated 21 April 1863; this invoice, on the letterhead of Bennett, Taft & Co., shows P. Whiting & Sons purchasing almost $200.00 worth of products from the chair factory, including six "Medium Spindle Cane Rocker" for $1.55 a piece, and twelve "Large Woodseat Rockers" for $0.95 a piece, etc., paying cash and getting the 5% discount.
5. Letter of Bennett, Taft & Co., Hubbardston, to Mess. P.W. Dudley & Co., dated 10 June 1864; Bennett, Taft & Co. informs Dudley & Co. that they have sold out their chair factory to M. Brown, and forwarded their letter to him and they should expect Brown to answer them. This letter while signed "Bennett, Taft & Co." like the other 2 letters and invoice above, also has the signature of "Rev. Wm. H. Morse," a presumed partner, or official in the company.
William Bennett (1809-1881)
William Bennett was born March 4, 1809. When seventeen years old he went to Phillipston to teach; at the end of the term he became clerk in the store of a Mr. Goulding in Phillipston. He was afterwards successively employed, in the same capacity, by Justus Ellinwood and David Bennett in this town, and by a Mr. Cole in Watertown. In 1835, he returned to Hubbardston and began business for himself, having purchased the store of the heirs of John Church, then occupied by Charles Davis. From there he removed in 1849, to the store occupied by the Wheeler Brothers. In 1857, he purchased the Hubbardston Chair Works, and carried on that business till 1874. His health, already impaired, continued gradually to decline from that time till his death January 28, 1881. He was town treasurer three years; assessor seven years; member of the school committee twenty years; town clerk twenty-nine years; postmaster from 1854 to 1861; representative in the Legislature eight years, and member of the State Constitutional Convention in 1853. Probably no other man in town ever wrote so many deeds and other legal documents, or settled so many estates.
While Bennett's biography appears to tell us that he ran the chair factory from 1857 to 1874, the letters offered here shows that he sold out his interest in the chair factory by 1864.
P. Whiting & Sons, is likely the firm of Paul Whiting, sometimes seen as "Paul Whitin," originally founded as a cotton mill at Northbridge, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. The next generation, of the same name, enlarged the company and had an extensive mercantile trade; this is likely the company mentioned in these letters. (Inventory #: 30790)