Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of the papers of Charles Russell, storekeeper, postmaster, and public official of Princeton, Mass., as well as papers of the related Russell, Hastings, Stevenson, and Mirick families.
Capt. John Russell (1702-1781) was the son of David and Abigail (Winter) Russell of Lexington and Littleton, Mass. He married Mary Clark and had a son, John Russell (1727-1824), who married Abigail Hildreth (1730-1805) in 1749. John Russell (1762-1799), the son of John and Abigail (Hildreth) Russell, married Eunice Whitman (1762-1811) in 1785 and lived in Littleton and Princeton, Mass.
Charles Russell (1793-1882) was the son of John and Eunice (Whitman) Russell. He was a storekeeper, postmaster, town clerk, and selectman of Princeton, Mass., as well as a state representative and senator, member of the Governor's Council, and measurer at the Boston Customs House. He married Persis Hastings (1793-1885) in 1815. Two of their sons were Charles Theodore Russell (1815-1896) and Thomas Hastings Russell (1820-1911). Charles Theodore Russell, who graduated from Harvard College in 1837, was a Boston lawyer and the author of The History of Princeton (Boston, 1838). He married Sarah Elizabeth Ballister (1817-1897) in 1840, and their son William Eustis Russell (1857-1896) served as mayor of Cambridge and governor of Massachusetts. Thomas Hastings Russell graduated from Harvard College in 1843 and also worked as a lawyer in Boston. He married Maria Louisa Wiswell (1829-1892).
Samuel Hastings (1735-1823), the son of Nathaniel and Esther (Perry) Hastings of Boylston, Mass., married Anna Bigelow (1737-1819) and settled in Princeton, Mass. about 1759. He was a captain in the Princeton, Mass. militia. His son Samuel Hastings (1767-1842), a lieutenant in the Princeton militia, married first Persis Goodnow (1770-1823) in 1790 and second Lydia Curtis in 1833. Persis Hastings (1793-1885), the daughter of Samuel and Persis (Goodnow) Hastings, married Charles Russell (1793-1882) in 1815.
Samuel Stevenson (1783-1817?), the son of Isaac and Thankful (Savage) Stevenson, was a storekeeper in Princeton, Mass. and the first postmaster of that town. In 1808, he married Anna Russell (1786-1815), the sister of Charles Russell (1793-1882). They had a son, Samuel Gardner Stevenson (1808-), and a daughter, Sarah Russell Stevenson (1811-1866). Samuel Gardner Stevenson was a storekeeper in New York City; Providence, R.I.; New Bedford, Mass.; and Louisville, Kentucky. Sarah Russell Stevenson married Rev. John C. Gilbert in 1832.
John Mirick (1722-1782) was the son of John and Abigail (Harrington) Mirick. He settled in Princeton, Mass. in 1777 and married Keziah Stratton (1725-1804). Their son Ephraim Mirick (1753-1826), who married Deborah Gleason in 1775, was a storekeeper in Princeton, Mass. with Charles Russell (1793-1882).
This collection consists of the papers of Charles Russell, storekeeper, postmaster, and public official of Princeton, Mass. Papers include correspondence, chiefly between Russell and his wife Persis (Hastings) Russell and their sons, Charles Theodore Russell and Thomas Hastings Russell, both Boston lawyers, related to family and personal affairs, politics, Russell's service in the Massachusetts legislature, his work at the Boston Customs House, and other topics; deeds, legal executions, a docket book, and other papers from Russell's service as justice of the peace in Worcester County, Mass.; business records of the firm Mirick and Russell, Princeton, Mass.; volumes of Russell's store in Princeton; records from Russell's tenure as postmaster of Princeton; and material related to the Princeton branch of the Washington Benevolent Society, estates in which Russell was an interested party or executor, and various town records.
The collection also contains correspondence and other papers of the Russell, Hastings, Stevenson, and Mirick families of Princeton, including militia papers of Capt. Samuel Hastings and Lt. Samuel Hastings; correspondence of Samuel Stevenson, storekeeper and postmaster; correspondence (1820s-1840s) between Samuel Gardner Stevenson, storekeeper, and his uncle Charles Russell describing Stevenson's business activities in New York City, Providence, R.I., New Bedford, Mass., and Louisville, Ky.; other correspondence of Samuel Gardner Stevenson and of his sister Sarah Russell (Stevenson) Gilbert of Williamsburgh, N.Y.; business papers of Ephraim Mirick, associated with Mirick and Russell; and letters from Joseph Mirick of Camden, Me. describing conditions there.
Gift of Rev. Charles Russell Peck, Princeton, Mass., 1968.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Correspondence, 1743-1866
The bulk of this series consists of letters of Charles Russell, including personal correspondence with his wife Persis (Hastings) Russell, especially during his absence on commercial, political, or legal business, and with his two sons, Charles Theodore Russell and Thomas Hastings Russell. Many of the sons' letters were written while tending the store in Princeton, Mass., studying at Harvard College, practicing law in Boston, and traveling to such places as Niagara Falls. Also included are deeds, legal executions, a docket book, and other papers dating from Charles Russell's tenure as justice of the peace in Worcester County. Among these documents are deeds of sale and leases of property in Princeton, Rutland, Littleton, Lancaster, Bolton, Gardner, and other western Massachusetts towns; writs of attachment for nonpayment of debts and warrants sworn out for theft, assault and battery, and drunkenness; and various apprenticeship and indenture agreements. Papers documenting Russell's political career as state representative and senator include letters written from Boston describing colleagues and business before the General Court, drafts of legislation and resolutions, and letters soliciting appointments. Following his appointment to the Boston Customs House, Russell wrote to his wife and described the work there and his specific duties.
This series also contains papers of members of the Hastings, Stevenson, and Mirick families of Princeton, Mass. The Hastings family material is principally concerned with the Princeton militia under the command of Capt. Samuel Hastings and Lt. Samuel Hastings and includes muster warrants, lists of men enrolled, and fines issued for nonattendance. Also included are scattered letters from Persis Hastings to family members. Stevenson family papers consist of correspondence of Samuel Stevenson and his two children, Samuel Gardner Stevenson and Sarah Russell Stevenson. Included are letters (1820s-1840s) between Samuel G. Stevenson and his uncle Charles Russell about Stevenson's business activities in New York City, Providence, New Bedford, and Louisville, Kentucky, as well as letters between Russell and Sarah (Stevenson) Gilbert after her marriage in 1832. Mirick family papers are primarily related to the business affairs of Ephraim Mirick on behalf of the Princeton firm of Mirick & Russell. Additional letters from Joseph Mirick of Camden, Me. describe conditions there.
II. Business papers, 1782-1888
This series contains business papers related to the firm of Mirick & Russell of Princeton, Mass. Included are thousands of receipts, orders, and inventories of goods listing wages, boarding and freight rates, and prices of silk, rum, flour, tobacco, nails, fish, livestock, and hundreds of other items.
III. Miscellaneous papers, 1787-1847
This series consists of material related to the settlement of various estates in which Charles Russell was an interested party or executor; papers related to the town of Princeton, Mass; and school papers of Russell's son Charles Theodore Russell, primarily essays. Princeton material includes papers of the town branch of the Washington Benevolent Society, established in 1813; circulars, memoranda, and miscellaneous papers of the Princeton post office; and lists of voters, members of the town militia, assorted financial and tax records, and other town miscellany.
A. Estate papers, 1804-1845
B. Princeton, Mass. papers, 1787-1847
C. Charles T. Russell school papers, 1831-1837
IV. Volumes, 1783-1849
This series contains record volumes of Charles Russell, primarily financial. The bulk of the volumes pertain to the store in Princeton, Mass. and to Russell's tenure as postmaster of Princeton. Store records begin in 1785 under the proprietorship of Samuel Stevenson and continue, with omissions, until 1843. Included are daybooks, invoice books, ledgers, inventories, sales books, etc. Post office records consist of financial accounts filed with the General Post Office; accounts of mails, newspapers, and pamphlets sent and received; a minute book; and other volumes. The series also contains Princeton tax assessments (1796, 1800), a record of court cases (1824-1849), and memorandum books.
A. Daybooks, 1785-1843
B. Other volumes, 1783-1849
Charles Russell papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.