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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
James Smellie was born about 1802 in Scotland. He came to the United States between 1837-1840 and settled in Rochester, Massachusetts, where he owned a farm. His oldest son, Walter G. Smellie, born in Rochester in 1842, owned and operated a sawmill. William Henry Smellie, James' second son, born in 1843, learned the blacksmithing trade at the age of sixteen and continued that work up until his death in 1918. William's son, William Nye Smellie, born in 1875, helped his father in his blacksmithing business, later establishing his own business in bicycle and motor bike sales and service. He had at least one son, William Covell Smellie, born in 1910, who changed his name to William Covell Scott in 1960.
The bulk of this collection consists of the papers of William Henry Smellie, whose financial records, consisting of day books and ledgers for his blacksmithing business, are nearly complete from 1865-1916. Only six years are missing in the day books: 1882, 1883, 1890, 1891, 1892, and 1903, while the ledgers appear more complete. These volumes are supplemented by day books and ledgers kept by William Nye Smellie, who apparently became his father's partner around the year 1909. Other papers of William Henry Smellie encompass insurance records from 1888-1917, both business and personal; bills and receipts, 1873-1917, including bills he received, particularly from Jonathan Handy Company of New Bedford, Mass., as well as bills he sent for services rendered and for his son-in-law, Walton H Jenkins; estate records for his aunt, Elizabeth Parlow, 1881, 1902-1903; incoming business correspondence, 1904-1914; and a membership certificate and receipt book for the Knights of Honor, 1881, 1895-1899.
In addition to the day books and ledgers, dating from 1909-1924, William Nye Smellie is represented by bills and receipts, legal documents, and a business letter, 1903-1952; papers for C. Augustus Covell, 1859, and Amy Covell Smellie, 1900-1946, relatives by marriage; and related material, 1942-1945.
Other family members represented in this collection include James Smellie, whose papers consist of a cash book, 1832-1837, and correspondence, 1826, 1828; Walter G. Smellie, whose account books, 1870-1872, principally consist of labor records; and William Covell Scott, whose papers consist of bookkeeping exercises, 1921-1926.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to Collections
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 47, [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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Removed to Photographs Collection
- Photograph of man in uniform, ca. 1900.
Removed to Printed Collection
- Annual Report of the Directors of American Telephone and Telegraph Company . . . , New York, 1916.
- "Currants, gooseberries, raspberries and champion grape," Rochester, N.Y., ca. 1875. Pamphlet.
- General Laws and Constitution of Subordinate Lodge Knights of Honor, Boston, 1880.
Removed to Objects Collection
- Advertising card, ca. 1900.
- Leather folder, ca. 1940.
- Leather wallet, signed Jeremiah Randall.
- Postcard of Crawford Notch, N.H., ca. 1900.
Existing records reveal neither the source nor the accession date of the bulk of this collection. One ledger was given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by William C. Scott, 20 October 1964.
Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, with assistance from Barbara Groves, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 03 April 2012
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Account books--Rochester, Mass.--1865-1924
Bicycles and tricycles--Maintenance and repair
Carriage and wagon making--Mass.--Rochester
Covell, C. Augustus, b. 1843
Jonathan Handy Company, New Bedford, Mass.
Scott, William Covell, 1910-
Smellie, Amy Covell, b. 1879
Smellie, James, b. ca. 1802
Smellie, Walter G. b. 1842
Smellie, William Covell, b. 1910 SEE Scott, William Covell, b. 1910
Smellie, William Henry, 1843-1918
Smellie, William Nye, 1874-1957