Josiah Adams Account Books, 1811-1868 – MS134

Provenance: Purchased by the Portsmouth Athenaeum in 2019 from a descendant of Josiah Adams.

Credit line: Josiah Adams Account Books, MS134, Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: .25 linear feet (1/2 Hollinger box)

Access: No restrictions

Processed by: Susan Stowe Kindstedt in 2019

Scope and Content:
The collection includes two account books attributed to Josiah Adams. The first has dates from 1811 to 1837 and the second is from 1857 to 1868. There is also one folder of loose receipts. Josiah worked as a carpenter. His projects range from labor working on houses to small projects such as mending gates and fences, fixing sinks, and even a violin. He also records work done for Portsmouth furniture maker, Samuel Dockum.

Biographical sketch:
Josiah Adams was born in Newington, NH June 7, 1790, son of Nathaniel W. and Elizabeth (Cole) Adams. Josiah worked as a carpenter. In 1825 Josiah purchased a half house located at 2 Gate Street. In 1827 he married his distant cousin, Frances Adams (1808-1890) and the two had eight children: Charles F. Adams (1828-1871), Jesiah Francis Adams (1830-1916), Clara Augusta W. Adams (1832-1904), Levi Woodbury Adams (1834-1898), Mary Olivia Adams (1836-1872), Horace H. Adams (1844-1864), Olive Elizabeth Adams (1846-1861) and Nathan Webb Adams (1851-1865). Josiah died February 15, 1871 in Portsmouth.

Box 1

Folder 1 Receipts

Folder 2 Josiah Adams Account Book, 1811-1837

Entries include a variety of woodworking projects including working on houses and making frames, coffins, animal feed troths, etc. He also mended violins (page 31) and performed miscellaneous day labor including working for Portsmouth furniture maker, Samuel Dockum. Later in the volume it appears that he moved from Newington to Portsmouth as he begins to identify work on “my house in Gates Street” (page 108). He also begins working more consistently at the Iron Foundry (Franklin Iron Foundry) and the Navy Yard toward the end of the volume.
Cabinet making
“making Windsor frames”
“William Walker hous”
Working at iron foundry [?] (18)
“began work with Mr. Wendell…” (23)
Making a coffin for the child of William McNeal of Newington, 1823 (30)
Mending a violin and making a fiddle bow [?] (31)
Making chain for wagon (33)
Three days work for Samuel Dockum (36)
“one pigs troth” for John Adams (64)
Work at Navy Yard (139)

Individuals mentioned in entries include:
Adams, James
Adams, Benjamin
Adams, Thomas
Pickering, Daniel
Bradgdon, Jeremiah
Drew, William
Pickering, Joseph
Richards, Elizabeth
Henzel, Nancy
Robert, James
Adams, William
Adam, Nathaniel
Hanson, Steven
Roberts, James
Sheckford, Nathaniel
Reynes, Christopher
Wendell, Isaac
Hardey, George
Wendell, Isaac
Adams, John
Pickering, Susannah
Pickering, Benjamin
Downing, Richard
Coleman, Elezer
Ham, Ephram
Rollings, Ephram
McNeal, William
Robark [?], James

Folder 3 Josiah Adams Account Book, 1857-1868

Entries are primarily for day labor and are less varied and descriptive than the first volume. Tasks recorded include projects such as work on houses, repairing gates, “work on your sink,” making window sashes, repairing around a chimney and building a fence. On January 27, 1858 he makes a cupboard for John Adams.

Individuals mentioned in entries include:
Stevens, Capt.
Norton, John
Brown, Edwin M.
Adams, John
Brown, Edmon M.
Gerrish, Oliver or Olive
Carr, James M.
Walker, Nathaniel
Hadley, Josiah
Norton, John
Vaughn, William
Stavers, William
Randall, William