Edward Marrett account books, 1750-1780 (inclusive), v.1

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Content Notes

Four account books of Cambridge tailor and merchant Edward Marrett. Volume one is a daybook primarily containing Marrett’s charges for tailoring and dry goods, dated 1750-1751, to clients including Harvard College President Edward Holyoke (1689-1769), Harvard Hollis Professor of Divinity Edward Wigglesworth (1693-1765), Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy John Winthrop (1714-1779), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court judge Edmund Trowbridge (1709-1793), John Erving, Jacob Wendell, Mary Champney, Hannah Kidder, Spencer Phipps, and Samuel Whittemore. A number of entries reference work done for “the President” or “His Honor” that do not specify a name; in May and June 1751 “His Honor” was charged for a white jacket and hosiery Marrett provided to John Vassall (1738-1797; Harvard AB 1757). There is also a November 1751 entry settling Marrett’s account with Mercy Nutting, from whom he rented a shop. Additionally the volume contains entries for clothing made or altered for people enslaved, indentured, or employed by clients such as Edward Holyoke and Jacob Wendell. There is an entry in May 1751 for Mr. Beers, a Boston carpenter, with charges for a suit of clothes for "his man" Jute (or Jube) Freedom. In August 1751, Andrew Bordman III (1701-1769; Harvard AB 1719) was charged for clothing for Coffey. At the front of the volume is a typed twentieth century manuscript with information on the provenance of the collection and a brief biography of Marrett.|Volume two is an invoice book, dated 1767-1773, of goods Marrett purchased from merchants including Francis Green, Caleb Blanchard, Ebenezer Hancock, and Isaac Winslow, such as indigo, molasses, hardware, and sugar, and supplies for his tailoring business like fabrics and thread. An entry for April 24, 1770, contains Marrett's purchase of combs of different types, including crooked and small tooth, from "a contraman."|Volume three, dated 1770-1780, is a daybook containing Marrett’s charges for tailoring, general merchandise, wharfage, and lumber, as well as transactions related to his position as a town selectman and participation in the Revolutionary War. Marrett made robes for lawyers and judges, among them John Adams, attorney Daniel Bliss of Concord, Massachusetts, and Samuel Parker of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A number of entries are to Harvard College students, for whom he tailored clothing and provided caps and gowns, as well as to Harvard Steward Jonathan Hastings and to the College for hardware and lumber. Other names in the volume are James Winthrop (1752-1821; Harvard AB 1769), Francis Dana (1743-1811; Harvard AB 1762), Artemas Ward (1727-1800; Harvard AB 1748), William Brattle (1706-1776; Harvard AB 1722), Jonathan Sewall (1729-1796; Harvard AB 1748), Nathaniel Appleton (1693-1784; Harvard AB 1712), John Vassall (1738-1797; Harvard AB 1757), William Vassall, Elizabeth Clarke, Boston merchant John Pigeon (1725-1800), John Hicks, and Aaron Hill. There are frequent entries for Andrew Bordman IV (1745-1817) and his mother Sarah Bordman, and people they enslaved. In November 1772, Andrew was billed for a coat for Cato, while Cato Bordman (-1797) was charged directly for a velvet coat; in November 1773, Andrew was billed for Cato’s pea jacket, and in 1774, Sarah also bought various jackets and coats for him. Other entries concerning enslaved persons include a March 1772 bill to Mr. Borland for altering and lining a coat for Sezer (Cesar), and a November 1773 bill to Captain Ebenezer Stedman for cutting jackets for Cato, William, and Jonathan. Both Cato Bordman and Cato Stedman enlisted in the Cambridge militia and fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. In May 1773 James Borland, an African American, was billed for items like a pair of breeches and silk thread. The volume contains charges from Marrett to the selectmen of Cambridge and to the town for providing or arranging food and shelter for indigent residents, making clothing, and transporting smallpox patients. In March 1775, there is a charge against the town for Marrett and his horse carrying Mrs. Darling, afflicted with smallpox, to Charlestown. In March 1772 the town’s account with Stephen Sterns (or Stearns) contains a charge related to board of Patience, referred to as a “molatto”; several other entries in 1772 for Patience do not refer to her ethnicity. In September 1778, an account credits Mary Fessenden for cash received from the state for boarding an Indian woman named Patience in 1777. In July 1776 there is a receipt to Reverend Appleton for payment to Marrett for his enlistment in the militia “in defense of our lives, libberty & estates.” After the outbreak of the war, Marrett also provided supplies to a hospital run by Dr. Isaac Rand (1743-1822), rented rooms to soldiers, and permitted the Continental Army to use part of his residence as a store house. In August 1776 there are charges to the Continental Army for wharfage of timber for barracks, and landing a “large number” of cannons and carriages at Marrett’s wharf.|Volume four is a lumber account book containing customer names and extent and type of lumber sold by Marrett, as well as expenses of surveying and wharfage, dating from 1768 to 1773. Includes charges to Harvard College, Sarah Manning, Toney (Tony) Vassall (1713?-1811), who was enslaved by Henry Vassall, Jonathan Sewall, Issac Bradish, and others. There are also entries for lumber provided to a bridge and a church.
  • are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 78-0715.|are available on microfilm (1 reel, 35mm.) for use in the Historical Collections Reading Room, Baker Library. Order no. 80-0533.

Biographical Notes

Edward Marrett (1713-1780) was a tailor, lumber merchant, town selectman (1769-1777), and militia captain in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Marrett operated a general store and owned a wharf. He inherited the house where Longfellow House now stands, and sold it to John Vassall in 1759. In 1745, he acquired a house on the northeast corner of Dunster Street and Mount Auburn Street, once owned by his great-grandfather, Thomas Marrett; he lived there until his death in 1780.