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In the Classroom > Course Overview
2. Bull's Life
Origins Training Military Service Trade Family Later Years

Family: Family and Labor

Marriage | Church | Financial Standing | Family Labor | Moving On


Labor exchange was the primary means of paying off debts during this period. Using John Partridge Bull's account books, however, we can see that payments in labor constituted only 6.8% of the total number of payments made to Bull.

Why was this the case? First, Bull did not farm in the Deerfield area. He owned 120 acres in the Shelburne area which he had purchased from his wife's brothers, so he did not have local property on which he could use extra labor. Secondly, Bull had three sons -- William, Oliver, and Samuel -- who were old enough in 1770s to help Bull in the shop and whom, we know from account books, he loaned out to settle his own debts in the community.

In busy years, there is also evidence that Bull incorporated additional people into his household and into his business. Simeon Burt was one such individual who helped with the shop. Another was an apprentice, John Holden. When John Holden arrived, Bull notified Deerfield's Selectmen, that he had "taken into my house John Holden, the son of Caleb Holden, aged 12 years." This practice of notification was in accordance with community expectations in the eighteenth century.

-- Labor payments to Bull referenced in the account book of John Partridge Bull, collections of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.

-- citation for land ownership?

-- Bull's labor payments referenced in the account book of Elijah Williams, collections of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.

-- citation for Simeon Burt?

-- citation for Selectmen notification


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