Richard Smith business papers, 1761-1795 (inclusive)

Content Notes

The Richard Smith business papers consist of correspondence, financial records, and legal records related to the operation of a blast iron furnace and forge in Connecticut, dated 1761-1795. Smith gained control of the Salisbury Furnace, which he co-owned with George and Charles Caldwell, in 1771, after filing a petition with the Connecticut General Assembly, and the collection includes records of the Assembly's review of the petition and decision. There are additionally accounts, bills, receipts, and invoices of Smith & Caldwell, Richard Smith, and his Boston partnership of Smith & Atkinson, as well as property documents and deeds for land in Connecticut.

Biographical Notes

Richard Smith was a merchant in Boston, Massachusetts, active from the 1760s to the 1790s. He traded in dry goods, household wares, liquor, and clothing. Smith entered into a partnership with Charles and George Caldwell, proprietors of a blast furnace in Salisbury, Connecticut, that manufactured pig and bar iron, in 1768. The Caldwells were in debt to him, and in 1771, Smith successfully petitioned the Connecticut General Assembly to gain control of the furnace's accounts. He also built a forge in Colebrook, Connecticut. In 1775, Smith, suspected to be a Loyalist, left Connecticut for England, and the Salisbury Furnace was seized by the government to make cannons for the Continental Army. Smith claimed to be sympathetic to the colonies, and when he returned from England, his citizenship and ownership of the furnace were reinstated in 1783.