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

Trade: Getting Started in Deerfield, Massachusetts

Getting Started | Gunsmithing | Economic Downturn | Bull's Trade | Bull's Competition


After his appointment as the armorer for the Ephraim Williams' regiment (see Military Service section for details), John Partridge Bull began making and mending guns under the auspices of Elijah Williams' store. Again, account books help us document these events in Bull's life. Entries in Elijah Williams' account book indicate that Bull was working for Williams and had not yet established his own business.

In 1756, Bull set up his own shop in Deerfield. Elijah Williams' account book includes an entry dated June 7, 1756, stating "John Partridge Bull began to bord." Within three weeks, a debit entry for the purchase of nails is made for "Bull's shop." In April 1759, there is another entry in Williams' account book that he (Williams) had paid Elijah Arms for shingles for "Bull's shop."

Bull had an active account with Elijah Williams' store. In the first two months of record under his name in the account book, John Partridge Bull bought sixty-eight files -- files being one of the major tools required to run a blacksmith shop. He also purchased thirteen ounces of brass, useful for gun fittings -- most likely for the gunsmithing portion of his business.

Bull was young and single, and account prove that he purchased brandy, flip, punch, and wine several times a week for consumption on the premises. He also purchased material for clothing, thread, buttons and would have taken them to the local tailor for sewing into a coat and breeches.

-- referenced in the account book of Elijah Williams, collections of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.

John Partridge Bull selected Deerfield over a larger community in the area like Northampton to avoid competition with his former master, Seth Pomeroy (see Training section for additional information). Although Bull had trained in Northampton, it would not have been possible for him to have set up business there as Pomeroy was still the town's gunsmith and had two sons, Quartus and Simeon, who would compete to practice their trade in the town.

-- referenced in the account book of Seth Pomeroy, collections of the Northampton Historical Society.


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