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tline3open  Henry pays his bills

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Author Topic:   Henry pays his bills
wev
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iconnumber posted 06-29-2005 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[12-0082]

Here is another interesting letter, this time from the firm of G. M. & G. R. Justice to silversmith Henry Fletcher detailing moneys paid out on his account to creditors, to the considerable sum of $770. As a bonus, the letter closes with a personal note from Henry's nephew, A. B. Justice.

I have not had time to research the companies involved nor the family relations between the Fletchers and Justices, but I do know that Cornelius & Co was the famous lighting firm of Philadelphia. If anyone recognizes any of the others, I'd appreciate hearing of it.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-29-2005 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the great pleasures of this little obsession of mine, the genealogy of American silversmiths, is the moment of unexpected discovery, the convergence of serindipity and research.

The day being hot and my calender barren, I spent several hours today digging into the Justice family and its relations with the Fletchers, as indicated in the letter prompting this thread. As is so often the case, the trail was mostly start and stop and start again. Eventually, I am happy to say, I found my way and pieced together an interesting little web:

Alfred Bunting (A. B.) Justice was the son of George Middleton (G. M.) and Esther Syng [Bunting] Justice. Esther was the great grand-daughter of the illustrious silversmith Philip Syng. Alfred's grandmother, Pheobe Middleton, was the 1st cousin of Joseph Lownes.

G. M. Justice's partner was his first cousin, George Randolph (G. R.) Justice, whose mother, Margaret Randolph, was the sister of the silversmith and jeweler, Edward Randolph.

A. B. Justice married, on 7 April 1842, Mary Sophia Fletcher, daughter of silversmith George Fletcher, who was the brother of Henry and Thomas Charles Fletcher.

Syng + Lownes + Randolph + Fletcher -- all from a little letter, resting once in obscurity.

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dragonflywink

Posts: 975
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 06-29-2005 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"the moment of unexpected discovery, the convergence of serendipity and research"

What a wonderful description of that exhilarating feeling when your research suddenly starts taking interesting turns (not that I've done anything on a scale with your silversmiths project). The letters are great, thanks for sharing them.

Cheryl ;o)

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akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 06-29-2005 11:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting ... it also seems the Justices were observant Quakers, but the Fletchers not.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-30-2005 12:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps, but I am leary of assigning personal attributes based on the syntax of business letters. My grandfather's missives to clients mirrored the strictures of Mr. Jenkins' Forms of Proper Business Address, while his personal notes read like vintage George Ade.

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akgdc

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iconnumber posted 06-30-2005 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmm ... I grew up among Philadelphia Quakers, and I've never seen a non-Friend use "1 Mo." ("first month," ie January), "respected Friend," thee and thy, etc.

These usages are based on religious precepts, not matters of personal style. Similar to how, if you saw a letter dated with the Hebrew month and year, and using the abbreviation "G-d," you could deduce that it was written by an observant Jew.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 06-30-2005 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh, I have no doubt that the principles involved were Quakers; the point was that the language and syntax used in formal commerce (the first portion of the letter) can be quite different from an intimate missive (the second portion) and slim basis for judging "observance." Frankly, I have no idea if the Fletcher's were Quakers, though I suspect not.

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Silver Lyon

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iconnumber posted 07-01-2005 06:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with wev. After all see how we all write the date now - the only country in the Western World so to do.
1st Mo. etc would have been common in USA well into the nineteenth century - a nice bequest from the years before 1800 when the predominantly Quaker City of Philadelphia was Capital and the Quaker form of writing dates became adopted for all official documents. Old habits die hard and these habits, once established, would have caused possible confusion if changed (look at today's date for example).
Quaker inspired habit, but not necesarily being used by a Quaker.

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akgdc

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iconnumber posted 07-01-2005 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Silver Lyon, I usually defer you on all matters historical and argentophilic, but this time I fear you may be talking through your cocked hat. The Quaker form of writing dates was never "adopted for all official documents." By the time Philadelphia was the U.S. capital, it hadn't been Quaker-dominated for decades. And I've read thousands of 18th and 19th-century American letters, and never seen the forms in question used by anyone except Quakers.

Please trust a Philly boy on this. If you can find any evidence to the contrary, I'd like to see it.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 07-11-2005 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to follow up a bit:

H & W Dubosq -- Henry and William, sons of Theodore Dubosq, manufacturing jewelers of Philadelphia.

Klemm & Bro -- Makers and importers of musical instruments, founded 1818.

W. H. Horstmann & Sons -- William H. Horstmann, manufacturer and importer of military goods, coach laces, & fringes at No. 51 North Third Street Philadelphia.

McAllister & Co -- Opticians and cane manufacturer, 1842-1860. The firm was located at 48 Chestnut Street from 1842 to 1855, when it moved to 194 Chestnut Street. Included in the firm were James McAllister (to 1848), W.Y. McAllister, John A. McAllister, and John McAllister, Jr. When the firm moved in 1855, it became McAllister & Brother, and also included T.H. McAllister.

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Silver Lyon

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iconnumber posted 07-11-2005 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Silver Lyon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Re: Adam's note above.
I am happy to stand corrected - I was only putting foward an hypothesis.
Where does anyone think the USA acquired the habit of putting the month first? - It was never used in Britain except by small non-conformist groups and (dare I say it?) Quakers, yet rapidly became the established custom in the new Republic? I long for the definitive answer.

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 07-12-2005 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DD-MM-YYYY is (still?) the standard notation in military and scientific usage, usually with abbreviated letters used for the month: 4 Aug 2005.

And, wev -- the McAllister firm traces its origins to John McAllister, who was manufacturing horse and buggy whips in 1783!

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 07-12-2005).]

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