1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 10, 2019 10:22 AM by Lisha Penn

    Seeking information about William Chauncey Smith


      I'm trying to find one William Chauncey Smith, born 19 July 1818 in Massachusetts. He was living in Pittsfield, MA between 1844 and 1858. His father was born in Massachusetts and his mother was born in Connecticut.


      In 1844, and after, he was a charcoal-burner, and his nickname might have been "Coaly." I haven't been able to find William Smiths that match him in the Pittsfield census in those early days. I wonder if Coaly was out in the woods firing charcoal when the census taker came around.


      I have two of his old account books, which list the goods he'd buy on credit at various shops in Pittsfield. On May 8, 1844, he bought things like 15 1/2 Pork, 1 pr shoes, 1 tobacco, 4 papers do, 1 salauratus (baking soda), 1/2 tea, 2 hats, 1 paper Jacks (?), shirt buttons, 1 hoe. Usually he'd also get a barrel of molasses (molafes) and some nutmeg. He'd also note paying Platt & Dodge. Other names in the book include Hiram Smith (whom he paid $2.25), "order on D. Smith, $2.25," E. Odil, Horace Umfhable (?), N. Musser, O. Goodrich, "1 order Mrs. Odell," Comfort Robbins, and G.W. Gates. I have been looking up Hiram Smiths around Pittsfield but I'm still trying to see if there's a connection with any D. Smiths or Hiram Smiths.In the back, William writes (in very bad handwriting) "Pittsfild June 1848 This ait (?) all set load up to this day, found Mister Click, due x349". In 1846 he was paid "by cutting 104 1/ cords - $41.70"


      In his 1844 account book that I have, he was a boarder with Ichabod Chapman, a venerable old farmer who lived near Pittsfield. Coaly cut a couple of loads of wood every day and made his living that way. He was also living around Pittsfield in 1854, according to a second account book of his I found. Any help?


      P.S. The old gent seems to have been a bachelor during this time. I understand charcoal making is a lonely profession, and though he'd buy things like vest patterns and calico, the clothes seem to have been for himself alone. I wonder, though, if he was picking up some goods for Mrs. Odell.


      I will upload some images of WCS's account book later as the thing isn't working right now.