Thomas & William Davis records, 1782-1846 (inclusive), 1782-1805 (bulk)

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Content Notes

The Thomas & William Davis records consist of letters from merchants, agents, and ship captains related to the operation of a general store in Plymouth, and the import and export of commodities in the West Indies and Europe; bills, invoices, and accounts current; and a small amount of outgoing correspondence of Thomas & William Davis related to business and legal matters. There is also a copy of the will of LeBaron Bradford, Thomas Davis's son-in-law, dated in 1846. The correspondence from merchants and agents, including Daniel Sargent (1764-1842), Andrew Leach (1753-1820), and Nathaniel Russell, relate to buying and selling goods out of the general store operated by Thomas & William Davis, in addition to their import/export business. Correspondence from merchants and agents in foreign ports like Lisbon, Portugal, and Bilbao, Spain, concern the market for American goods, and prices they were able to negotiate for commodities sold by Thomas & William Davis. These letters often include discussion of the impact on French Revolutionary Wars on trade and prices. Correspondence from ship captains including Nathaniel Carver (1740-1815) and Eliphalet Holbrook, concern progress of voyages carrying the cargo of Thomas & William Davis to the West Indies and Europe, disposal of the freight upon arrival, and the confiscation or detention of their ships.

Biographical Notes

Thomas & William Davis was a father-and-son mercantile firm and import/export business in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which traded goods including fish, salt, sugar, and iron, in the West Indies and Europe from approximately 1782 to 1825. Thomas Davis (1722-1785) and his son, William Davis (1758-1826), operated a general store in Plymouth, and owned ships including the Harmony, the Hope, and the Miles Standish, which exported commodities, primarily fish, in addition to salt, rum, nails, iron, sugar, cloth, anchor palms, tea, and coffee, to the West Indies, Portugal, Spain, and France. Their ships, which sailed from Davis Wharf, imported goods such as molasses and hemp. After Thomas Davis died in 1785, his son continued to operate the business under the same name until his death in 1826.