Manuscript Business Correspondence of broker and wholesale merchant George F. Fuller, of Springfield, Massachusetts, written to fellow merchant, Horace Kellogg Parsons, of Florence, Massachusetts, with other Correspondence written to Parsons, 1870-1888.

210 letters, 298 manuscript pages, most with retained mailing envelopes, dated 1870-1888, the bulk are written in the1880s. Most of the correspondence consists of business letters that are addressed to Horace Kellogg Parsons, a merchant at Florence, Massachusetts. Of the 210 letters written to Parsons, over half (116 letters, 150 pp) of them are written by George F. Fuller, a merchant of Springfield, Massachusetts. Other merchants like Thomas Halloran writes 7 letters (11 pp) to Parsons, and Norton & Warren write 5 letters (5 pp). A relative, Theodore Parsons, writes 3 letters (3 pp) to Parsons. The rest are from various individuals throughout New England who write business letters to H. K. Parson. There is also one Anna B. Strong who writes 9 letters (42 pp) to Charles O. Parsons, a relative of Horace.

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Description of Correspondence:

George F. Fuller is a wholesale merchant and broker dealing with train car loads, or boat loads, of foodstuffs and similar commodities on the international market as well as the domestic. The correspondence deals mainly with business and offers much details of the foodstuff markets in the 1880s.

Early letters from 1885 written by Fuller to Parsons relates the news he is receiving via telegram about conditions in Europe that might be leading to war and how it is affecting the costs of wheat, corn, pork, lard, and other foodstuffs. These events came to be known as the "Bulgarian Crisis," which lasted from 1885-1888. The crisis was a series of events in the Balkans between 1885 and 1888 which affected the balance of power between the Great Powers and conflict between the Austro-Hungarians and the Russians, which eventually culminated in World War One.

Fuller appears to be getting his advice from a New York firm Milmine, Bodman & Co., who at one point advise Fuller (who in turn advises Parsons) to buy wheat, corn and oats, as "11 boat loads wheat taken today for export at 1 cent better price than previous transactions." Fuller advises Parsons "The time is soon coming Mr. Parsons when it will do to buy wheat & stand by it."

When 1886 begins, Fuller writes to Parsons that:

"Cables again very dull six pence lower for California wheat. Large shorts who bought all through yesterday & especially on curb last evening were free buyers again today & the weak shorts frightened & rushed to buy causing sharp advance. Looks now as if strong parties had taken the long side for little bull turn & advance of cent or two not improbable. We think it will be only temporary."

In March 1886, Fuller reports:

"After higher excited opening on war news in papers, wheat broke closing rather weak our direct cables advices say no fear of political complication. Our strong local powers sold wheat heavily & we see no encouragement for bulls yet. The Azor & Baltic will be open in two weeks & supplies will be liberal so far the foreign miller ignores American wheat as can buy from all other countries relatively much cheaper."

Labor and the economy is the topic of Fuller's letter in April 1886 to Parsons:

"Wheat very unsettled, weak & strong by spells, Closing firm, with 250,000 br worked here and about 100,000 br at Seaboard for export. Labor question important factor and every time market gets weak, subject is brought up and week holders sell out, and say will await developments of May 1st on the eight hour question and May deliveries position, wheat is strong but speculation is weak..."

Fuller's 116 letters (150 pp) are filled with business information, the commodities markets in New York and abroad, with detailed information for the time period.

A second, but not as large, section in the collection contains 70 letters written to H. K. Parsons from various merchants and business associates. These associates are mainly from New England and New York and the letters are business related in some capacity.

The 7 letters of Thomas Halloran to Parsons concern money owed to Halloran for some rental properties. The 5 letters of Norton & Warren concern business. Norton & Warren are commission merchants at Springfield, Massachusetts, who deal in flour, wool, butter, cheese, lard, beans, &c. Theodore Parsons writes to Parsons, (he may or may not be a relative there is no indication that he is). He simply is asking for Parson to send certain items to him.

Anna B. Strong writes 9 letters (42 pp) to Charles O. Parsons, addressing him as "Dearest of all" and "My dear friend." Ms. Strong writes from Northampton, Massachusetts, Charles is living at Florence. The letters while written to Charles are addressed to him "Care of H.K. Parson."  H. K. Parsons does have a son Charles Otis Parsons, so it is likely that is the Charles that these letters are addressed to. These letters from Strong to Charles are courtship letters.

Horace Kellogg Parsons (1835-1891)

Lieut. Horace Kellogg Parsons was born 11 September 1835 at Enfield, Hartford County, Connecticut and died 8 June 1891 at Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. He was originally buried at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, but later removed. His son, Charles Otis, had a mausoleum built and moved the remains of Lt. Horace, Freddie and probably Florence, to the mausoleum. Florence was a daughter of Horace. She was born about 1868. She died in Northampton and was buried in Park Street Cemetery. Freddie was a son of Parsons who died young.

               In the Hampshire Gazette, June 9, 1891 (p.1), we find the following biography of Horace K. Parsons:

"Horace K Parsons of Florence died yesterday morning at 5 o'clock. He had been in failing health for some time but his death came like a shock to the village, where he had so long been identified with its interests. He was born at Enfield, Ct. Sept 11, 1835, being a son of Josiah and Lucy Markham Parsons. His ancestors were residents of Enfield for nearly 200 years. Philip, born in 1697; Nathaniel, born in 1736; Josiah, born in 1776, and Josiah, born in 1804. His grandmother was a daughter of Daniel Kellogg, an officer in the revolutionary war.

He remained in his native town until he was 18 years of age and was educated at Thompsonville and the Wilbraham academy. At the breaking out of the rebellion he was in the mercantile business in Thompsonville, CT, but with that patriotism which distinguished the sons of these states, he left the store for the battlefield, enlisting in October 1861, in Co C, 10th Regt. Infantry. Lieut Parsons participated in many of the severest battles of the war. He was in the Burnside expedition, battles of Roanoke Island, Newbern, N.C.; siege of Charleston; St. Augustine, Fla.; Walthall Junction, Va.; Drury's Bluff; Bermuda Hundred; Strawberry Plains; Deep Bottom; Deep Run; siege of Petersburg; Hatches Run; Fort Gregg and Appomattox Court House.

He was commissioned 1st lieutenant and regimental quartermaster and was detailed for special service on the staff of Gen. J.R. Hawley on the expedition to New York at the re-election of Pres. Lincoln. He served on staffs of Gens. H.M. Plaisted and G.B. Dandy, as brigade commissary, and with Maj. Gen. John Gibbons as assistant quartermaster of the 24th Army Corps.

In 1860 he united in marriage with Sarah A Leavitt (1839-1930) at Thompsonville, CT. She was born at West Yorkshire, England and died at Northampton, MA. She was the daughter of William and Agnes (Hurd) Leavitt and came to America with her parents when she was an infant. Her parents originally settled in South Hadley, but moved to Thompsonville. Their family consisted of six children: Horace Lincoln, Charles Otis, Royal Albert, George K, Freddie L., Harry M and Robert. A daughter died young, as did Freddie.

Parsons was mustered out with the regiment August 25, 1865. In January, 1867, he moved to Florence, and for ten years (1867-1877) was agent and manager of the Florence Mercantile Co., one of the most successful co-operative stores in the state.

In 1877, he retired from the Mercantile Co. and conducted a large coal and wood business. Later he opened the Florence clothing store. He has been justice of the peace for fifteen years. In 1889 he was appointed post master receiving his appointment after the resignation of Maj. J. F. Angell. In political affairs he has been a Republican, taking active interest, and served as alderman from Ward 6. He has been an active member of the Methodist church, a member of Jerusalem Lodge, and also a member of W.L. Baker post 86, G.A.R.

Mr. Parsons was a man of clean character, unquestioning integrity, conservative in his opinions, yet progressive enough to keep abreast with the advanced movements of the day. He was never hasty in expressing his views, but he always had opinions on public matters, and was never afraid to express them. He was a valuable man in the community, a sort of balance wheel in conflicting matters. He was just the sort of man that will be greatly missed, because he was useful in more ways than one. He was valuable in all positions, in the family, the church, in social life, in temperance work, in politics, everywhere..."

As we can see from Parsons’ obituary, the present letters are mainly from the period when he had retired from the Florence Mercantile Company, and was conducting his coal and wood business, and his clothing store. The correspondence ends in 1888, just before he became postmaster. While Parsons’ obituary states he had left the mercantile firm by 1877, he obviously was still investing, or trading in foodstuffs during the 1880s The Florence Mercantile Association was a joint stock company for the prosecution of a mercantile business. It was capitalized at $10,000 at $25 a share. Its president was S. B. Fuller, Clerk Sylvester J. Bosworth, Treasurer C. J. L. Otis, and directors Orin Storer, E. C. Davis, and D. H. Bond, with H. K. Parsons acting as its agent. The company erected a 28 x 50 feet store on Main Street in Florence at a cost (including the land) of about $5,000. The object was to sell goods at such a profit as will pay the current expenses and render the investment safe. Goods were sold for cash on delivery.

George Francis Fuller (1841-1910)

George F. Fuller was born about 1841 at East Medway, Massachusetts, the son of Israel Daniels Fuller and Eliza A. Barber. George was the great grandson of Revolutionary War veteran Asa Fuller who served as a private and marched at the Lexington alarm April 19th, 1775 in the West Medway Co. under the command of Lieut. Moses Adams under Major Fuller in Col John Smith's Regiment.

Geo. F. Fuller was listed as a book keeper in the Springfield City Directory of 1876 living at 155 Carew Street. This address would remain his home until his death in 1910. By the time the 1880 Census was taken for Springfield, he was listed as a flour dealer. For the 1887 Springfield City Directory he was identified as the "Eastern Agent, Flour, Grain, Mill Feed and Hay." Several years later the 1894 Springfield City Directory had Fuller listed as a "wholesale grain and commission merchant." This was true in the year 1900 as well. By 1902 he is seen as an insurance agent, later as working in "investments" or as a "broker" with foodstuffs like flour, grains, etc.

Fuller married a woman by the name of Lucy E. Emery (1850-?) of Massachusetts, the daughter of Hiram E. and Eliza A. Emery.

Like H. K. Parsons, Fuller served in the Civil War, enlisting with the Massachusetts 11th Light Artillery Battery on 25 Aug 1862. He mustered out on 25 May 1863 at Boston after serving one year. At the time of his enlistment he was living at Brighton, Massachusetts and working as a clerk.

Geo. F. Fuller died on 3 Apr 1910 at Springfield, Massachusetts and was buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery, at Millis, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. His wife Lucy outlived him, dying in 1917. She was buried with her husband. This was also the cemetery where Fuller's parents were buried.