Amasa P. Niles Company Papers, 1794-1890

Collection number: MC 269
Size: (3 boxes ) (1 cu.ft.)

About the Amasa P. Niles Company

The Amasa P. Niles Company, founded in Haverhill M.A. around 1820, shipped clapboards, beams, and shingles by boat down the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers. The company both owned and leased vast tracts of land and sawmills in northern N.H., where local milling and shipping operations were managed by Ebenezer Carleton (Sr.) from approx. 1820 to 1849 along with his son Ebenezer Carleton (Jr.) from about 1817 to the 1850s. The name “Ebenezer Carleton and Company” is mentioned several times in between 1815-1820s; presumably the Carletons initially contracted with Niles under this name.

After Niles’s sudden death in 1840, Deming leaned heavily on Carleton (Jr.) to help keep the company intact. The name “Amasa P. Niles Company” is used as late as August 1841, several months after Deming and Carleton (Jr.) became equal business partners in February of that year. After July 1841 the company name changed to “Carleton and Deming Co.”. The role of Carleton (Sr.) is unclear after 1840.

Carleton and Deming Co. declined through the 1840s after the death of Niles. During the late 1830s, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of lumber were being shipped almost weekly, but business had dwindled radically by the mid-1840s. Records of unpaid taxes, land seizures and complaints from unpaid business transactions appear from about 1845 on. The last business transaction recorded by the company dates to 1849, the same year as the death of Ebenezer Carleton (Sr.).

About the Amasa P. Niles Company Papers

The collection spans the years 1794-1890, with the bulk of the material covering the 1820s-1850s. It is arranged in chronological order within type of record (account books, bills, etc.). Original order had been lost by the time the collection was acquired, although it seems to have consisted of bundles of folded paper grouped by subject, as several pieces bear markings such as “Records of taxes paid in Bath” and “Papers relating to the first spring [lumber shipping] run of 1836”. A often encountered shorthand consisting of three vertical lines crossed represents a bundle of 100 shingles. A common practice was to place a brief summery of the type of document on the reverse side from the main text. A small amount of material from the White River Falls Company (Hanover) is included.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], Amasa P. Niles Company Papers, 1794-1890, MC 269, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Purchase, 2015

“Amasa P. Niles and Co., invoice of stock on hand, 1838 June 12.” Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT.

Collection Arrangement

Arrangement is choronological within series or folder. Original order was not apparent upon acquisition.

Collection Contents

Series 1: Amasa P. Niles Company Papers, 1805-1890

(2 boxes)

The Amasa P. Niles Company Papers predominantly consist of financial records kept by Ebenezer Carleton ((Sr.)) and his son Ebenezer Carleton ((Jr.)) in conjunction with the Amasa P. Niles Company of Haverhill M.A. The relatively small amount of formal correspondence is outweighed by the company’s financial records, including accounting books, bills, receipts, employee travel expense invoices, and the unlabeled scribbled arithmetic representing lumber quality inspection. Interactions between the Niles Co. and the N.H. Iron Foundry Company (Franconia) and the White River Falls Company (Hanover) are included in separate folders. Particularly interesting are the papers relating to real estate transactions as the company acquired land for lumber harvesting, including land deeds dated 1805-1855 and several maps bearing exact latitude and longitude markings.

Box 1
Correspondence, Deeds, and Financial Papers, 1806-1867

Folders 1-14: Lumber contracts, land deeds, hand-drawn maps, account books, receipts, and bills paid.

Box 2
Receipts, Legal Papers, 1810-1890

Folders 1-15: Incorporation papers for Carleton and Deming Co., employee invoices, and papers related to transactions with N.H. Iron Foundry Company between 1815-1835 and the White River Falls Company 1816-1817.

Box 3
Lumber Inspection Papers, Undated

Folders 1-2: Papers relating to the inspection and shipping of lumber down the Connecticut River.

Series 2: Whitefield, General Store papers, 1795-1853

(10 folders)

The Carletons were involved in the financial management of Whitefield N.H.’s general store between 1795 and 1853. The customer purchase orders and store inventory stocking orders provide a comprehensive picture of rural commence in northern N.H. during the first half of the 19th century. While most business interactions involved only men, several purchase orders are signed by women heads-of-households as well

Box 3
General Store Papers, 1795-1853

Folders 3-13: Store stocking orders, IOUs from customers, and accounting papers.

Series 3: Sheriff E. Carleton (Jr.) Papers, 1822-1843

(3 folders)

Ebenezer Carleton (Jr.) served as sheriff of Bath N.H. and surrounding towns from approx. 1822-1843. Surviving documentation consists of writs of seizure of personal property in leu of unpaid taxes, and the subsequent broadsides announcing the sale of said property. Both types of documents provide detailed lists of the scope and value of townspeople’s personal property, as well as the eventual sale price. The auction broadsides are original, bearing the square nail holes from their public posting. Property owned and sold consisted of household goods, real estate, and livestock; there is no record of the sale of slaves in these transactions.

Box 3
Writs of Seizure and Auction Broadsides, 1822-1843

Folders 14-16: Writs of seizure and auction broadsides, dated 1822-1843. Extensive inventories of household possesions and farming equiptment are provided. The broadsides are original, having the square nail holes from where they were affixed to door posts.

Series 4: Carleton Family Papers, 1813-1885

(4 folders)

A small amount of miscellaneous papers relating to Carleton family life between 1819 and 1895 are included as well. These include pew rentals for the Bath Methodist Meeting House, hearse rentals, records of financial requests and loans between relatives, and taxes paid to the towns of Bath and Whitefield. It is largely the records of unpaid taxes which spell the story of the family’s financial demise during the 1870s-1880s.

Box 3
Carleton Family Financials, 1813-1885

Folders 17-20: Carleton family papers dated 1813-1885. Along with a small amount of correspondence, there are extensive records of (often unpaid) taxes and loans.