Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Margaret Stevenson: Bill, 18 October 1765

From Margaret Stevenson: Bill

MS:5 American Philosophical Society

Doctr Benjamin Franklin to Margt Stevenson Dr for Sundries Purchased for and sent to Mrs. Jane Mecom of Boston

Octor 18 To Viny & Braggs Bill for Sundrys 1 £ 6 6
22 To ditto’s do. do. 2 6 16
To E Millers do. do. 3 2 11
To J. Thompson for Bays do. 4 18
25 To Eliza Redmans Millenery6 do. 5 1 11 9 18 2 9
Febry 27 To Sundries of Sage & Turner per Rect7 6 5 3 6
Augt To Sundrys purchased of several persons as per Bills added and Inclosed in Bill No. 7 Vizt
Sage & Turners
£2 0 6
Smiths   do. 10
Courts   do. 10 6
Teasdales do. 11 15
a Block 2 6
Boxes paper porterage
Shiping &c
8 10
15 7 4
Cash sent per Mrs. Mecom and Recvd per Mrs. Stevenson July 28. 17679 6 13
8 14 4
20 To Sundry, of Sage & Turner per Bill 8 8 4 16 18 4
Febry 22 To Sundries of ditto per Bill No. 9 £14 7 6
Silver recvd from Mrs. Mecom }
per Mrs. Stevenson
13 18 9
Marh 3 To a Nest of Band Boxes 10 9
Novr 17 To Cash pd Viny & Bragg for 5 yds. of 6/4 Muslin1 £4 4
Sundries £– 9 5
  do. 3 17
  do. 3 1
Wool and Box 1
7 8 10½
11 12 10½
Recvd from Mrs. Mecom per M. Stevenson 10 16 16 10½
£41 19 10

Endorsed: Mrs Stevensons Accot of Sundries for Mrs Mecom Settled in Genl Accot Febry 28 1771—with all the Bills that relate thereto2

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

5In BF’s hand.

6On Feb. 27, 1766, Jane Mecom wrote DF that “Brother has sent each of us a Printed coten Gownd a quilted coat a bonit Each of the Garls a cap and some Ribons mine is very suteable for me to were [wear] now being black and a Purple coten but the Garls are light colared. I hope God will Bless You boath for the Good you do not only to me but to others as you see ocation.” Though BF did not yet know it when he arranged for these purchases, Jane’s husband Edward Mecom had died on Sept. 11, 1765. BF wrote her March 1, 1766, condoling on her loss, mentioning the things he had sent, and hoping that they had come “safe to hand and that they were acceptable.” Van Doren, Franklin-Mecom, pp. 89, 91–2.

7On Nov. 8, 1766, Jane asked BF to get Mrs. Stevenson to send some “fine old Lining or cambrick” dyed in bright colors that her daughter Jane could use in making “Flowers for the Ladyes Heads and Boosomes.” On May 9, 1767, she wrote Mrs. Stevenson thanking her for complying with the request and for “the Pains you have taken to Furnish us with what the best of Brothers Bounty has bestowed on us, they apear to me to be Extroydnary good of the kind; and tho the fashions are new to most of us I make now Doubt they will Obtain by Degrees when our Top Ladys sett the Example.” Ibid., pp. 94, 97–8. Just what articles of apparel Mrs. Stevenson had selected at Sage & Turner’s that were so far ahead of Boston fashions is not mentioned.

8On Dec. 1, 1767, Jane wrote her brother that she was “uterly at a Lose to Expres the sence I have of Mrs. Steevensons Goodnes in takeing such Pains to serve me and must beg of you to do it for me and Pray the contineuance of Her favour for your sake for I am not capeable of makeing any sutable Returns.” Ibid., p. 99.

9The “Sundries” entered immediately above were probably goods Mrs. Mecom had ordered herself. BF wrote her, Sept. 20, 1768: “Your Debt to Mrs. Stevenson is paid, and she presents her kind Respects to you and desires you will freely command her Service at any time.” On Nov. 20, 1768, he added that “Mrs. Stevenson receiv’d the 32 Dollars, 3 Crowns and one Guinea, per Coz. Folger.” Ibid., pp. 104, 108.

1On Nov. 20, 1768, BF wrote his sister that “By this Ship (Capt. Scot,) Mrs. Stevenson sends you half a Piece of Muslin, Apron width, which cost Four Guineas. She hopes it will please, and presents her Compliments and best Wishes.” Ibid., p. 107.

2This account is included as one of several charges involved in a grand settlement BF made with Mrs. Stevenson on Feb. 28, 1771, paying her a total of £1646 5s. 6d. for a variety of charges, as recorded in Journal, 1764–1776, p. 31, and in Ledger, 1764–1776, pp. 12, 48. The largest single item in the account was £600 for rent from Dec. 10, 1764, to Dec. 10, 1770—six years at £100 per year. Another item was £95 6s. 1d. chargeable to WF “for Sundries distributed for Master Temple.” If Mrs. Stevenson could let this indebtedness grow so large before settlement, she must have been in comfortable circumstances.

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