Brown and Brothers Account Book

1 folder (1.5 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 92
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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.

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Background on Creator:

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 water.

Scope of collection

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 wagons.

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.

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.



Acquired from Donald W. Howe, 1960.

Processing Information

Processed by Ruth Owen Jones, October 1985.




Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Brown and Brothers Account Book (MS 92). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Barter--Massachusetts--History--Sources.
  • Brown and Brothers.
  • Brown, Harry.
  • Dana (Mass. : Town)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.
  • Freight and freightage--Massachusetts--History--Sources.
  • Furniture industry and trade--Massachusetts--History--Sources.
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts--History--Sources.
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History.
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources.


  • Brown, Harry [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Account books.

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