Charles Phelps/Charles P. Phelps
Accounts, 1805-1858

Mss: 1

Historical Note:

Charles Phelps was born in Hadley, Massachusetts on August 14, 1743. He graduated from Harvard University and studied law and practiced in New York State for a short time. Eventually he returned to Hadley and married Elizabeth Porter on June 14, 1770; the couple had three children. He continued his law practice in Massachusetts and was a representative in the general court for many years. The Phelps residence and farm in Hadley were considered exceptionally attractive and were much commented upon by visitors to the area. Charles Phelps died December 12, 1814 at the age of 72.

Charles Porter Phelps, son of Charles and Elizabeth (Porter) Phelps, was born in Hadley, Massachusetts, on August 8, 1772. Following in his father's footsteps, Charles graduated from Harvard University, Class of 1791. He studied law under the tutelage of Theophilus Parsons of Newburyport, Massachusetts (father of his second wife) and was admitted to the bar in 1795. In addition to his legal work, Phelps became a prosperous commission merchant in Boston. While a resident of Boston, he was chosen to represent the city in the state legislature. In 1816-1817, he commanded a Boston cavalry unit and became the cashier of the Massachusetts Bank.

In 1817, Phelps severed his Boston connections when he retired to Hadley to reside on the farm inherited from his father. Phelps represented Hadley in the state legislature frequently from 1820-1841, and in 1826-1827 represented the District of Hampshire County. He passed the remainder of his long life in Hadley and died in 1858. Charles P. Phelps married three times: (1) Sarah Davenport Parsons, m. January 1, 1800; the couple had nine children; (2) Charlotte Parsons, m. November 23, 1820; the couple had five children; and (3) Mrs. Elizabeth C. Jackson, m. August 5, 1833; no issue.

Scope and Content:

The collection consists of five volumes of farm accounts kept by Charles Phelps or his son, Charles P. Phelps from 1805-1858. Individual descriptions follow:

Volume 1 - Charles Phelps Account Book, 1805-1815. It contains accounts for hired help and sale of farm produce, Town of Hadley. Names mentioned include Thomas Reynolds. William Rice, Thomas Williams "a Black man", William Powel, Paul Wright, William Till, Thaddeus Hubard, Joshua Boston, Otis Brown, David Billings, Polly Randell, Captain Lewis Jones, Caleb Smith, James Cook, Benjamin Marsh, Daniel Bartlett and Oliver Pomeroy.

Volume 2 - Charles P. Phelps Account Book, 1829-1831. Title of volume: "Cha. P. Phelps October 1, 1829 to Dec. 31, 1831". It contains genealogy of "Cows &c January 1, 1830" and "Memo of meats &c. Recd. Of Augustus Smith 1830". The bulk of the volume is a chronological list of expenses for his farm and household, notes payable, sundries, cash payments, sale of agricultural products, charges to Hampshire County and the town of Hadley as well as labor charges. Names mentioned include Samuel D. Ward, Sarah Phelps, Lemuel Bartlett, Stephen Montague, Francis Phelps, Hadley Phelps, William Parsons, Aretus Cadwell, Elihu Cook, Dudley Smith, Truman Hibbard, Dr. Dickinson, James Cook, Matthew Cadwell, Israel Scott and Tappen Whitney.

Volume 3 - Charles P. Phelps Account Book, 1836-1838. It contains "List of Stock raised on the Farm Feb. 9, 1837", "Estimated amount of Produce from the Farm 1837", and "Repairs of Buildings, September 1836". The remainder of the volume consists of chronological entries of expenses for the farm, household, sundries, labor, cash and purchase of bank stock. Names include Lemuel Bartlett, Huntington & Sons, James Cantwell, Arthur Phelps, Stoddard & Lathrop, James Russell, Calvin Boynton, Albert Hibbard, Lynes Congdon, Dudley Smith and Elihu Cook.

Volume 4 - Charles P. Phelps Account Book, 1851-1854. Title "Accounts from January 1, 1851 to December 31, 1854". It includes "Minute of Cellar drain June 1854", "Taxable property returned May 1, 1854", "Memo of Stock on hand bred on the Farm", and "Memo of Neat Stock Sept. 22, 1853". The bulk of the volume contains expenses for family, labor, cash, produce and bank shares. Names included are James B. Porter, Florence Smith, William P. Phelps, Hillyer & Wood, Lemuel Bartlett, E. A. Lyman, Hiram Thayer and Franklin Bonney.

Volume 5 - Charles P. Phelps Account Book, 1855-1857. Title "Day Book of Entries January 1, 1855". It contains "Memo of Stock bred on the Farm Jan 1, 1855", "stock brot [sic] up", and "C.P.P.'s postage...." The bulk of the volume contains a chronological listing of expenses for family, farm, cash, produce, labor, notes payable and neat stock. Names include Francis Phelps, Caroline P. Bulfinch, Sylvanus Dickinson, Charlotte E. Phelps, Dudley Till, Justin Thayer, John Clark, and T. P. Hunt.

Provenance : Gift of Norman S. B. Gras, 1938. [Given to Professor Gras by John A. Sessions]

Amount: 5 volumes

Container List:
V. 1 - Account Book, 1805-1815
V. 2 - Account Book, 1829-1831
V. 3 - Account Book, 1836-1838
V. 4 - Account Book, 1851-1854
V. 5 - Account Book, 1855-1857

See Also: Phelps and Rand, Mss 761 1800-1825 [HOLLIS # ACZ7571]