Merrow family papers and records, 1800-1948

Merrow family


35 linear feet (142 volumes and 38 boxes).
This collection contains both family papers and account books from various Merrow family ventures in the 19th and 20th centuries. The earliest account books belonged to Nathan Merrow, a maker of silver in East Hartford, Connecticut. One of the two account books was later used by J.M. Merrow and Sons, the company founded by Nathan Merrow's son, Joseph Makens Merrow. Joseph Makens Merrow started in business as the owner of a powder mill in Mansfield, Connecticut. This ended with the mill's explosion in 1830. Later he began a new business, knitting stockings on a small hand machine. Joseph Makens' son, Joseph Battell Merrow, joined his father in 1838. Their partnership was called Joseph M. Merrow & Sons. Joseph Battell would eventually take over the business from his father. With brother-in-law John Owens Pitkin (husband of Lucy Makens Merrow), he formed Pitkin, Merrow, & Co. Another brother-in-law, Chauncey Gleason Keeney (husband of Mary Woodbridge Merrow), would join the venture, along with Milo Millard, the brother of Joseph Battell's wife. In 1857 the company was renamed Merrow Manufacturing Co. Joseph Battell Merrow and Milo Millard bought out the entire operation in 1863, renaming the company Merrow and Millard. Following a fire and explosions in 1870, Joseph Battell Merrow, Joseph Millard Merrow, and George Woodbridge Merrow formed J.B. Merrow and Sons. The operation moved to Norwich in 1893 and finally to Hartford in 1894. It was in Hartford that the company was incorporated as The Merrow Manufacturing Company. Account books representing each of these company names may be found within the collection. Joseph Battell Merrow also ran a store, served as postmaster and was station master at Merrow Station. Additionally he was an agent with the New London Northern Railroad. Material from these ventures is in the collection, as well. Cash books, check books stubs, railroad freight books, store inventories, and other journals, ledgers, and record books round out the collection. One oversized volume contains detailed entries of purchases at the store. Through George Woodbridge Merrow's wife, Elizabeth Griswold Gurley, the collection came to contain ledgers and papers of Jacob Baker Gurley of New London (her grandfather) and her father, Charles Artemus Gurley. Account books from Crystal Spring Farm denote Merrow fruit sales. A journal, ledger, and time books from Highland Court Corporation hold records from Elizabeth and George Merrow's apartment building on Windsor Street, Hartford. One unique piece is a copy of an Asian translation of the Merrow Machine Company Catalogue. There are several account books not immediately connected with the family. These include a daybook from Glastonbury, blacksmiths account books, route books from Terrace Farm, a journal from the Mansfield Creamery Company, and scrip certificates from the American Emigrant Company. The personal papers comprise bills, letters, and similar items. Much of the correspondence was directed to Joseph Battell Merrow, his wife, and children, particularly daughter Harriet Lathrop Merrow. Harriet Lathrop Merrow lived in Merrow, Connecticut, on what had been her grandfather's farm. A botanist, she attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Wellesley College. For many years she was a professor of botany at the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.
See also: Merrow Machine Company Records, 1841-1972, MS 98645. Photographs of Merrow Manufacturing may be found in the Museum collections (2004.131.1-76).
Merrow Family Papers and Records, 1800-1948, MS 94871. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut.
Cataloging of this collection funded by NHPRC.

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