Sears family papers  1767-1848
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Sears family papers contain 31 letters, 21 account books, 20 legal documents, 9 school writings, and 360 receipts, spanning 1767-1848.

The Correspondence series primarily covers two periods of time: 1771-1806 (21 letters) and 1832-1842 (10 letters). Relatives of the elder Peter Sears and his wife Thankful wrote many of the letters dating to the earlier period, concerning family news and health. An early undated letter, written by Salley Sears during the Revolutionary War, conveys the news that one of Peter Sears' brothers had been captured and transported to Charleston, South Carolina. On September 12, 1802, Joseph Sears wrote a letter to Thankful, acknowledging Peter Sears' death and expressing sympathy. Several other letters of this period contain orders for salt from Peter Sears' store. The younger Peter Sears is the recipient of all of the later correspondence; relatives who had settled across the Midwest, in towns such as Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Perrysburg, Ohio, wrote to him with updates on their new lives. A common theme in the letters is the hardships they faced as early settlers.

The Documents series contains 20 items ranging in date from 1770-1853, including three wills, several legal documents relating to land in Washtenaw County, and two items relating to the younger Sears' service in the Massachusetts Militia. The Account Books series encompasses records for Peter Sears' store in Yarmouth from 1768-1794, which list items that he bought for himself, as well as orders that he placed for others.

The Receipts and Financial Records series is by far the largest, and spans 1770-1849. Records from 1770 to 1802 show the types of items that Peter Sears stocked in his store, as well as well as his network of suppliers. After 1802, the financial materials relate to the younger Peter Sears; they document his purchases, payment of taxes, sale of land prior to leaving for Michigan, and debts.

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