Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Belcher Family Accounts
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The Belcher family owned a butcher shop in Foxboro, Massachusetts, supplying the needs of local residents. The two account books, totaling 820 pages, are arranged by customer name and are principally cash transactions for meat. As such, they are particularly revealing for charting the price of meats and the consumption patterns of the local customers over a significant period of time.
The first account book is the property of Lewis T. Belcher (born 1798) in Foxboro. He married Almira Kidder in 1824 and they had three children. At the close of the earlier account book in 1850, Belcher had two children living at home, one of whom was also a butcher, and his shop was worth approximately $2000.
In close proximity lived his recently married eldest son, Lewis W. (born 1826) who was soon to become the proprietor of the shop. Indeed, the second account book, beginning January 1851, was listed under the son's name, but most of the customers continued from the father's accounts. By 1860, Lewis W. Belcher employed one other butcher in his shop worth at that point about $2500, and resided with his wife and three daughters.