Sunday, January 29, 2017

1879 Letter from Albert Ford Merrill at Bangor, Maine, to Thomas Rider Kingsbury at Bradford, Maine

July 24, 1876 letter from Albert Ford Merrill, a miller at Bangor, Maine, to postmaster and merchant Thomas Rider Kingsbury at Bradford, Maine.

The letter, comprised of a folded sheet of paper with 3 panes of handwriting, concerns the quality levels of corn available.  Transcription at the end of this post.

Among other things, Merrill noted that [with punctuation inserted]: "It does no harm to one's return Customers to occasionally give them an inferior article; then they know how to appreciate the good."

From brief online research, hopefully correct - corrections and additions requested:

Albert Ford Merrill was born September 3, 1839 at East Corinth, Maine, the son of Nathan Libby Merrill and Elizabeth (Wiggin) Merrill.  I believe Albert married twice 1) Abby Sarah Littlefield (1839-1869), with whom he had several children; 2) Harriet Moore Thomas (either 1838 according to her birth record or 1840 according to her cemetery record-1920), with whom he had two children, I believe.

Albert Ford Merrill died in 1923 and is buried with his wives in the Pine Grove Cemetery at Waterville, Maine.

Thomas Rider Kingsbury was born February 20, 1817 at Brewer, Maine, son of Emmons Kingsbury and Emma (Rider) Kingsbury.   Thomas also married twice, I believe: 1) Mary S. Dean, with whom he had one child; she may have died in childbirth in 1845 1) Amanda L. Clarke, with whom he had several children, though not all survived to adulthood.

Thomas died in 1891 and is buried in the Corner Cemetery at Bradford, Maine, with his second wife Amanda and other family members.  First wife Mary S. (Dean) Kingsbury is buried in the Locust Grove Cemetery at Hampden, Maine.

Read more about Thomas Rider Kingsbury here.


Bangor July 24, 1876
T. R. Kingsbury, Esqr.
Dear Sir,
Yours of the 20 was recd saturday.  In answer will say that I intend to keep but one kind of corn and that the best.  But in tr__  [trade misspelled ?] your experience proves that we do not allways get what we would wish.  The lot of corn from which you had a few lots was but for nice Yellow but it did not prove to be nice.  It made better meal however than much now being sold, for it was sweet, not musty, being not very dry it showed bad of the hull especially, in the ? Corn.

It does no harm to ones return Customers to occasionally give them an inferior article, then they know how to appreciate the good.  Early last spring I had two cars corn, Yellow and Perfect in quality from which I think we had 1 or 2 lots.  For some little time my retail customers would complain because they could not allways get the same.  There is much now being sold and will be until cold weather that is musty.  Now after using or trying to use one bag of this a person would be glad of most anything that a Horse or Pig would not refuse.  I have now a small quantity of good yellow corn which cost me 69 cts 56 lbs and which I have to sell at 65 cts.  If you should send tomorrow or next day you would get some of it.
Those who intend selling a good article do not stand an even chance with those who do not because it costs more and in nine cases in ten will not sell for any more.  Again one is more likely to get uniformity in a poor grade than a higher.  
Many will be better satisfied to get a poor quality all the time because then they know no difference.
Trusting that I may be able to give satisfaction to your customers, as well as any one with a little explanation on your part in some cases.
I am truly yours.
A. F. Merrill

If you have corrections and/or additions to any of the information presented above, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900
New Hampshire Marriages, 1720-1920
Maine, Faylene Hutton Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1990
Maine, Nathan Hale Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1980

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