Charles N. Murdock Ledger

1 volume (0.25 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 251
rotating decorative images from SCUA collections

A grocer from Stow, Massachusetts, Charles N. Murdock catered principally to farmers and the country trade.

The accounts of Murdock's store include mention of products sold (groceries and other items) and payment received, usually in kind (lard, eggs, fruit, butter, potatoes, cigars, beans, cash, and labor).

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Background on Charles N. Murdock

Shortly after Charles Nathaniel Murdock was born in Brookline, Mass., in 1836, his father Thomas Marean Murdock died at the age of 27. From these challenging beginnings, Charles made his way upward. At 14 years old, he was reported in the 1850 census as living in the house of Ephraim Stone, and his path appears to have upward from there.

As a young man, Murdock apparently held various jobs, making shoes and working as a carpenter, but after a year of service in the 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery near the end the Civil War, he returned to Stow and began in the grocery trade. By 1870, he operated a country store in the Rock Bottom section of Stow, Massachusetts, renting a house from Rufus Temple in the neighboring town of Hudson. In the census that year, he reported real estate worth $550 and personal property of $2,000.

In about 1870, Murdock seems to have changed course. In the census, he reported his occupation as "(ret) Grocer," and while he store appeared in a business directory for 1872 as a country store, it disappeared thereafter. In later years, Murdock was listed as a farmer.

Murdock was married twice, first to Julia Temple in 1862, with whom he had two children, and then to Lucie Blair Curtis on Dec. 25, 1876. He died in Stow on May, 3 1904.

Scope of collection

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, selling groceries and other miscellaneous items. 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.

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.


Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf.




Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Charles N. Murdock Ledger (MS 251). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Derby, Reuben
  • Grocers--Massachusetts--Stow--19th century
  • Grocery trade--Massachusetts--Stow--19th century
  • Murdock, Charles N., 1835-1904
  • Stow (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Stow (Mass.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Temple, Rufus


  • Murdock, Charles N., 1835-1904 [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Account books

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