Flahavan & Willcox letterbook
- Flahavan & Willcox (Corporate Entity)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
0.86 Cubic Feet (1 oversize box (19 x 13 x 6 inches))
Flahavan & Willcox established credit on a 12 month basis with European suppliers for the purchase of dry goods and hardware. Trade was also established in the West Indies for the import of coffee and rum. Flahavan & Willcox sold merchandise to retailers in Virginia, New York and North Carolina. At the same time, the firm bought country produce such as tobacco, corn, mustard seed, and animal skins and exported those products from the port of Philadelphia.
Flahavan & Willcox were dependent on securing able ships and sloops for transporting merchandise and correspondence. As merchants, Flahavan & Willcox gave considerable attention to collecting debts and the management of lands and other property. Apparently, the firm remained successful until 1792 or later.
Scope and Contents
The letters describe establishing accounts with European suppliers - Charles Eddy of London, Daniel Delaney of Dublin and Roquette & Roquette of Rotterdam. In Jamaica, the firm dealt with Thompson, Cambpell [sic.] and MacNeal. The letters include price structures for buying and selling merchandise and inquiries to ships' captains to secure ships outfitted to accomodate the bulk and weight of cargo. The letterbook also contains correspondence with American retailers - John Dysart of Petersburg, Virginia and John Mahon in Wilmington, North Carolina - regarding ordering and purchasing of goods and repeated attempts to collect debts owed to the firm.
Several letters refer to the political and social conditions of the period. A letter dated April 24, 1786 asks that a Rotterdam firm attempt to sell lands in the vicinity of those owned by General Washington on the Potomac River. General Washington had been put in charge of a government project to clear the area for settlement. A letter dated September 12, 1788 to Thomas Newman of New York refers to the argument over paper money and the slowness of the New York legislature to adopt the Constitution. A letter of August 14, 1789 by Thomas Flahavan gives instructions for purchasing slaves.
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