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Archive of Business Correspondence and Related Ephemera of Charles Green, Son & Company, hop merchants, Hubbardsville, Madison County, New York, 1865-1877

381 letters, 607 pp., dated 11 December 1865 - 16 November 1877, includes several undated, or incomplete letters, the bulk of the letters date from 1867 to 1873, when the company was known as "Charles Green & Sons." Also included in collection is a one volume business ledger (60 pp.) of accounts payable and receivable, as well as approximately 911 pieces of business ephemera, which includes postcards, used checks, receipts, pages of accounts, etc., all dating between 1865-1877.

Description of Collection

Correspondence contains incoming business letters to Charles Green, Son & Co. About three quarters of the letters are written by various customers of the company from around the country, the others are from family. The company's customers were distributed throughout New York State and the Midwest: Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and even up into Minnesota, as well as further south in Kentucky and Virginia, and elsewhere. Many of these customers write multiple letters. Charles Green Son & Co. was one of the largest hop merchants in the country.

A number of the customers were brewers and some letters are written on their brewery letterhead. Approximately 90 of the 381 letters were written by Charles C. Green, the nephew of Charles Green, the founder of Charles Green, Son & Co. Of these 90 letters 66 were addressed to the company itself, 14 addressed to his uncle Charles Green, and 6 addressed to his cousin Walter Jerome Green. There are also 3 letters written by Walter Jerome Green to his father Charles Green.

Charles Green, Sons & Co., was founded by Charles Green with his two sons Walter Jerome and Charles Germain, Charles C. Green, eventually Charles Green’s nephew, was invited into the business and became a member of the company. His letters to his uncle, cousin, and to the company are all business related and deal with customers that Green was working with while based in St. Louis, Missouri, where he had set up a law practice before joining the company. Charles C. Green is seen sending a number of orders back to the company for either longstanding customers, or for new business that he drummed up in his travels. He also acts as the company's attorney, collecting debts, filing lawsuits, securing judgments against the property of debtors, etc.

The ephemeral items in this collection include:

1 volume of "Notes and Bills Receivable" (24 pp.) in front with "Notes and Bills Payable" (36 pp.) at rear, dated 1866-1873, oblong octavo, bound in ¼ leather, marble paper covered boards, spine, spine tips, boards, edges and corners of boards, are all worn, rubbed, and scuffed.

211 used postcards, dated 1872-1875, the bulk dating 1873-1874 (some undated). The postcards are made out to Charles Green, Son & Company, Hubbardsville, NY. Many of the postcards are from banks, notifying Charles Green Sons & Co. that they have received their letter and enclosures (bank notes, deposits, etc.).

272 used checks of Charles Green, Son & Co., dated 1868-1875, made out to various individuals, or companies.

365 transportation/freight receipts of Charles Green, Son & Co., from various New York State railroads for transportation costs of barrels of hops and other items, that were shipped between various locations from Hubbardsville to other places in New York State, Utica, Waterville, Sherburn, and others, as follows: 145 receipts of The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company, dated 1870-1875; 64 receipts of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Express, dated 1872-1874; 102 receipts of The New York and Oswego Midland Railroad Company, dated 1872-1873; 39 receipts of the Utica, Chenango & Susquehanna Valley Railroad Company, dated 1872-1873; 15 receipts of New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, dated 1872-1873.

63 pieces of miscellaneous ephemera, some letterhead receipts, couple of telegrams, used envelopes, memorandum notes, oversize financial accounts, etc., dated 1865-1877.

            Charles Green, Son & Company, Hop Merchants


             Charles Green (1811-1901)


           Charles Green was a Hubbardsville farmer, speculator and hop dealer, one of the earliest and most widely known hop merchants of Central New York with dealings from the east coast to the Midwest and as far south as Virginia and Kentucky. Charles Green was born 28 May 1811, at Sangerfield, New York. He was the son of David Green (1769-1853) and Deliverance Hatch (1769-1862). The Greens at some point moved to Hubbardsville, New York, in Madison County. Charles Green led an active life at Hubbardsville. He was a supervisor 4 terms, a school director and an assessor. In 1835 he taught school at Hamilton Center, in 1836 at Hubbardsville, and in 1837 taught again at Hamilton Center.


Charles Green married on 30 October 1839 to Mary Jane Hubbard (1822-1902), daughter of Oliver Kellogg and Mary (Meacham) Hubbard. Together the couple had four children: Eliza Jane Green (1841-1916); Charles Germain Green (1845-1923); Walter Jerome Green (1842-1885); and Mary Genevieve Green (born 1847).


          In 1838 Charles Green entered the store of Gideon Manchester, assignee of Hart & Hunt, Hubbardsville. He bought the stock and continued the business three years. Afterwards he got into the hop business eventually bringing into business his sons, Walter J. and Charles Germaine Green. Green first started in the hop business in 1850. In 1865 a partnership was formed with his son Walter Jerome Green, under the firm name of Charles Green & Son, with headquarters at Hubbardsville. The company later appears as Charles Green & Sons when Charles Germaine Green joined the firm.


          Charles Green & Son established a private bank in 1872, and in 1875 it was moved to Utica and continued until 1884. The firm was then changed to Charles Green, Son & Co., as O.W. Kennedy and J.W. Hayes joined the business. In 1891 the bank was removed back to Waterville, and the firm became Charles Green, Son, Brainard & Co., through the purchase of the interest of Mr. Hayes by I.D. Brainard, Charles Green's son-in-law.


          I. D. Brainard was born in Hubbardsville, New York, September 27, 1846, the son of Ira and Jemima (Beebe) Brainard. He was educated at the Clinton Liberal Institute, after which he engaged in the hop business. In 1891 the firm of Charles Green, Son & Co., hop merchants and bankers was formed. The banking house is in Waterville, and was in charge of Brainard. He had been president of the village two terms, and had been a member of the Board of Education for ten years. In 1870 Mr. Brainard married M. Geneva Green, by whom he had one son, Charles Green Brainard. M. Geneva Green was the daughter of Charles Green and the sister of Walter Jerome and Charles Germain Green.


           Charles Green died at the age of 90 in 1901 and was buried in the family burial plot at Graham Cemetery, Hubbardsville, Madison County, New York.


              Walter Jerome Green (1842-1885), son of Charles Green

Charles Green's son, Walter Jerome Green became one of Utica, New York's most prominent business men and respected residents. He was a leading factor in financial circles as a member of his family's banking house of Charles Green & Son, of Utica, and was also the president and owner of the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railroad of Florida. Walter's birth occurred in Hubbardsville, Madison County, New York, on the 10th of October, 1842. He received a liberal education in his youth, attending Cazenovia Seminary and Madison University. Desiring to become a lawyer, he qualified for practice by an extensive course of study and was graduated from Albany University in 1864. At the end of two years, however, he abandoned a promising career as an attorney because the increasing importance of his father's business made it desirable for him to come to his assistance. Soon afterward he was admitted to a partnership in the bank and the name of the firm became Charles Green & Son.

Young though he was, his enterprising spirit soon made itself felt in the affairs of his father's business, which gradually broadened its field, of operations and took a leading place among similar enterprises in the central part of the state. An important department in the business of the house was the trade in hops, which became so extensive as to place the firm among the largest dealers in this country. To meet the demand for reliable intelligence bearing on the hop trade, the firm published a journal known as Charles Green & Son's Hop Paper, a large, handsomely printed, four page folio of twenty eight columns, of which an edition of about five thousand was issued, gratuitously, each quarter.

On the 26th of June, 1867, Mr. Green was united in marriage to Miss Sarah L. Swartwout, a daughter of Henry Swartwout, of Troy, New York. They had one son Walter Jerome Green, Jr.

Seeking a new field for investment of his capital Green became interested in a railroad project in Florida. His attention was drawn to the lack of modern transportation facilities in the fruit growing section of that state. He put both energy and money into the scheme. The outcome of his effort was the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Halifax River Railroad, of which he was president and the entire owner. This road began at Jacksonville on the St. John's River, in the northeastern corner of the state, extended southwardly and eastwardly to St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast and was thirty seven miles in length. The road connected with the Atlantic Coast Steamship Company, running outside to New Smyrna on the Halifax coast. Mr. Green's intentions were to extend the road a distance of one hundred and six miles to New Smyrna. This would have afforded quick and cheap transportation between Jacksonville and the Halifax and Indian River country. The rail through a fertile and rapidly developing region had shortened the time of transport between the orange country of the east coast of Florida and New York by some eight days, a most important consideration under any circumstances, but more especially so in view of the perishable nature of the delicate fruit transported. While the possibilities of this section of Florida as a fruit growing country and health resort had long been known and to some extent developed, progress had been slow and uncertain owing to the lack of railroad facilities. Among the most notable results was the laying out of new towns between St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

Returning from active labors in Florida in the winter of 1884-5, he was passing some time at his home in Utica, when he was stricken with apoplexy and died on the 27th of January, 1885. He was survived by his widow and one son. On the death of Green the property was left to trustees for his son. In 1886 it was sold to H. M. Flagler of New York, who has carried out the plans and ideas of its previous owner.

     Charles C. Green (1835-1907), nephew of Charles Green

Charles C. Green was born about 1835 at Demorestville, Prince Edward Island, Canada. He was the son of Jonathan and Lucinda (Candee) Green. His father Jonathan was the brother of hop merchant and banker Charles Green of Hubbardsville, NY.  Charles C. Green remained at home until he completed his grammar school education and then went to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he took up the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in St. Louis and there practiced his profession for some years. His uncle, Charles Green, persuaded his nephew to come east and engage in business as his partner. After leaving that place Charles C. Green established himself in business as a hop dealer at Utica, conducting a very extensive enterprise for many years. On account of the unsteady market, however, he later met with reverses and was obliged to withdraw from the business. While in St. Louis, Charles appears to have acted as attorney and sales agent for Charles Green, Son & Co., as the correspondence shows him selling hops to brewers in the Midwest, as well as acting as attorney, collecting debts, filing claims, going to court over debt, etc.

In 1877, Charles C. Green was married to Mrs. Martha Gruman Brainard. Her father was a native of Clinton, New York, of which town her grandfather was one of the earliest settlers. Both were agriculturists by occupation. To Mr. and Mrs. Green was born a son, Lyman J., who lived at Utica. Mr. Green also had a stepson, Louis D. Brainard, his wife having previously been married.

Charles C. Green died on 1 January 1907 in Utica at the age of 72.


               Ira Dewane Brainard, son-in-law of Charles Green

Ira Dewane Brainard was born at Hubbardsville, New York, 27 September 1846, the son of Ira and Jemima (Beebe) Brainard, also of Hubbardsville. In 1870 he became a resident of Waterville, New York, and for many years lived there becoming one of the town's leading citizens and a prominent business man. During his active business life he engaged in farming and was also a hop merchant.

Ira Dewane Brainard was raised on his home farm and acquired his education in the Clinton Liberal Institute, completing his course there in 1864. When Ira was eighteen years of age he became a hop salesman for his father and about three years afterward started in business on his own account with headquarters at Hubbardsville. In the fall of 1870 following his marriage he removed his business to Waterville, New York, where he continued alone until 1892. In that year the hop and banking firm of Charles Green, Son & Company, of Utica, moved to Waterville and Mr. Brainard combined his interests with the firm of his father-in-law, afterwards the business was conducted under the firm name of Charles Green, Son, Brainard & Company, and through Brainard's management the business became one of the most extensive of the kind in Central New York.

It was at Hubbardsville, New York, on November 10, 1870, that Brainard was married to Mary Genevieve Green.  Mary was born at Hubbardsville, August 21, 1847. She was the daughter of Charles and Mary Jane (Hubbard) Green. Mr. and Mrs. Brainard became parents of three children: Charles Green Brainard; George Dewane Brainard; and Daniel Adams Brainard.

           Examples of Letters

"St. Louis, Mo. Jan 14, 1868

Dear Uncle,

I have just returned from a visit in Illinois and it was uncertain about returning Monday morning on account of the ice in the river. I improved the opportunity to go to several of the thrifty inland towns where there are breweries and have to report the following...

      Pandalla Fix is a brewer in Collinsville about ten miles from here, who uses about 30 bales a year. He has been in the brewery about three years and has generally bought his stock of Busch & Co. St. Louis. There is some encumbrance yet on the brewery. I took his order for two (2) bales to be sent at once to East St. Louis and he to be notified by letter. Send a rather strong ripe hop, but not very ripe. He is to pay me one half cash at my office and one half by the middle of May or 1st of June next. Price 68 ½ cts and send as good a hop as you can for the money, a good prime hop. He is not much, but as I am here you may be able to make something out of him next year. His little order is simply to get acquainted, this is so understood. He had just bought 5 bales of Busch & Co for 70 cts. & I thought best not to have the first sale cost more freight added.

Send M & C. Schott Highland two (2) bales immediately to Trenton on O & M. R.R. -Highland is about eight miles from the rail road, but in about two months the St. Louis & Terre Haute R.R. will pass through Collinsville to Highland. Highland is inhabited almost entirely by Swiss Germans, a very enterprising population of about 3500, Schott & Bro make about 3500 to 4000 barrels of beer a year, have generally dealt in St. Louis, but have an idea that it is to their interest to deal in N.Y. They are good men I think if you have any of the lot you sent to Fuerbacker & Schlostein, send from it, and say so in your letter, as Schott had just been there. The price is 70 cts. payable 1st of June, Hugy, Bandlier & Co. are bankers there, if you wish to make collections through them. Be particular to send fancy green, if you have more of the lot I named. They are not close judges of hops, but somewhat cautious and suspicious, but I think with a favorable introduction you can make some money out of them.

    Paul Bassler & Co of Trenton on O & Mississippi R.R. too ordered eight bales, to be sent immediately, at 79 cts, $500 to be paid in cash on delivery in any mode you direct by letter as there is no bank at Trenton. The remainder to be paid the 1st June. Send fancy green. If you deem it best to send but four bales of this order do so. In making inquiries, I could not learn but that they are perfectly good but have an idea that they are slow. They referred me to Kepper of Cincinnati and Klug of Belleville. I shall see Klug. Don't use a great many in a year say about 30 bales. Trenton has about 2500 inhabitants, is a good place for a brewery. They were out of hops were going to St. Louis for some, but will now get enough to last till yours come, I told all of whom I took orders that the hops would come in about four weeks.

     Send Jacob Hammel two bales, I ripe fancy, 1 green fancy. He is a first rate man, but intends not to make so much lager beer, and is laying in a large lot of ice so as to make up young beer if he needs it. Be sure to please him, as his trade is quite large, 3500 to 4000 barrels a year, and he will in all probability give you another order this year. Send to Jacob Hammel Lebanon Ill. O. & M. R.R. Lebanon is only seven miles from Trenton. Terms 70 cts one half cash, one half the 1st of June. Wants you to send by letter the manner you want the money sent, will deposit in 2nd National Bank St. Louis or by Express, as you say. There is no bank at Lebanon. Lebanon is a pretty town in a most beautiful country contains about 2500 inhabitants.

      The whole country through which I passed is very rich and inhabited largely by Germans, who are not much posted. The brewers do not know much about hops and if you get them favorably prejudiced your "say so" will go a long ways. They all have an idea that St. Louis brewers pick out the best hops & that they can do better with the N.Y. dealers. I gave them all your cards and envelopes.

It was very cold. I staged it thirty miles, frozen & rough enough, but it must be most delightful country in the summer....Hoping you will approve this account & write soon. I am very affectionately, your nephew, Chas.”

"St. Louis, Mo. Feb 20, 1868

Dear Uncle,

     You will get a letter sent yesterday giving a detailed account of my operations in Illinois. The result is better than I expected. It was a good think your suggestion that I go out there and deliver the hops. I got a good deal better acquainted with the parties and in the settlement made, satisfied them that the hops were better than they could get here at any price, which is the fact. There are no more good hops here so far as I can learn. Ackley says not, and that the best there is sell well, when no better are to be had. These fellows will be more tractable to sell to them the St. Louis men, for they have the idea that the dealers here put poor hops off on them, are now in a good mood to supply entirely next year. I think you can deal in strictly prime hops warranted, not fancy at prices about as fancy in the fancy markets. Pay may be slow for part, but I can figure up well on interest and make it more than pay you what you pay for your accommodation, and make a good deal better terms by giving such time as will induce them to buy.

     Collected in all $220.20 and deposited for you $120.20 retaining $100 as I now think of going to visit the towns you suggest in Ill. and a number of others and make a trip as far west as St. Joseph to Kansas City. You may be disposed to think this is going a little too far west but I have been so much on the border that I am not afraid, as I am pretty well acquainted with their resources, or at least know how pretty well how to calculate on the chances. I do not expect at this time of year to sell many, perhaps not more than enough to pay the expense, but will make it my business to take notes, for the fall trade. From all I have learned this season, think that this field for operations can be made profitable, permanent & safe, and hope to be confirmed in this opinion by the trip north & west. It will take me at least two weeks. Wish I had a package of your cards, as I am about out. You had better send some at once, as it may be I will not leave till they come.

     Saw Luebering last evening. Says he is about getting his brother in law in the concern, and will know definitely in about a week, if so expects to pay for the hops at once, if not, will furnish the security he spoke of, says that is why he has delayed. If his brother in law goes in they will fill the cellars with lager. I think there is no cause of alarm of losing this, and if his brother in law goes in we can sell more hops to them this season, as Luebering complains that there are no good hops here.

Will have in a week or two about $120.00 from Hammel of Lebanon, Ill., which I will forward at once. Charles C. Green"

“Charles C. Green, Attorney at Law, Office: - No. 9 N. Fifth Street.St. Louis, April 13, 1868

To Charles Green & Son, Hubbardsville, New York

Your letter of Apr. 8 came today with acceptance of Nic Sparagel E St. Louis. I went over to see him after your late advice about him. I do not think he is bad but slow, but think you will get it by June or before. He promised to pay by the 1st or middle of May and I will call on him then.

Your worst egg here is Windeck & Luebering. I expected to take judgment last week, but the atty for Windeck put in an answer for both for the purpose of delay so that unless it is withdrawn it will be impossible to take judgment till Oct., but Windeck has promised to withdraw his answer and his atty will do it. That's he promised to, but I am not sure till it's done. My object is to get a judgment by default and get out execution at once, as I hope to secure a levy on some personal property of the concern that is unencumbered, which will be too late this fall. Windeck is poor but I think I may be able to make it too hot for Luebering. He offers to secure well over half of the amt it I will discharge the balance as to him, but although the partnership has gone to the bad , I think Luebering has property covered up, and will I hope be able in a few days to report that all is well, although it looks shaky. Luebering lied to me and I could put him into bankruptcy, but it will cost too much & get too little I am afraid, I hope outwit him.

It is cold and backward with cloudy rainy weather. I do not want to start out on hop trip till it is warmer now, and beer sells better. Brewers are rather poor feeling now here. It is very hard to put the price of beer so to make any money, but times generally west are encouraging for internal improvements are going and so fast....Chas. C. Green."