Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


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.

Biographical Sketches

Russell Family

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).

Hastings Family

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.

Stevenson Family

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.

Mirick Family

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).

Collection Description

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.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Rev. Charles Russell Peck, Princeton, Mass., 1968.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1743-1866

Arranged chronologically.

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.

Box 1
Box 2
1819-June 1826
Box 3
July 1826-1828
Box 4
1829-June 1831
Box 5
July 1831-June 1833
Box 6
July 1833-1834
Box 7
1835-May 1836
Box 8
June 1836-1838
Box 9
Box 10
Box 11
Box 12
1848-Aug. 1854
Box 13
Sep. 1854-1866 and undated
Box OS 1
Oversize papers, 1785-[185-]

II. Business papers, 1782-1888

Arranged chronologically.

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.

For volumes related to Charles Russell's business interests, see Series IV (Volumes).

Box 14
1782-Apr. 1806
Box 15
May 1806-June 1809
Box 16
July 1809-1811
Box 17
Box 18
1815-June 1817
Box 19
July 1817-1824
Box 20
1825-June 1831
Box 21
July 1831-1845
Box 22
1846-1888 and undated

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.

For volumes related to the papers in this series, including estates, the town of Princeton, Mass., and the Princeton post office, see Series IV (Volumes).

A. Estate papers, 1804-1845

Arranged alphabetically.

Box 23Folder 1
Box 23Folder 2-3
Box 23Folder 4
Box 23Folder 5
Howe, Adonijah
Box 23Folder 6
Howe, Eunice
Box 23Folder 7-8
Box 23Folder 9
Box 23Folder 10-11
Box 23Folder 12

B. Princeton, Mass. papers, 1787-1847

Box 24Folder 1-11
Washington Benevolent Society papers, 1813-1827
Box 24Folder 12-18
Post office papers, 1813-1845
Box 25
Town miscellany (militia, taxes, voters, etc.), 1787-1847

C. Charles T. Russell school papers, 1831-1837

Box 26

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.

For loose papers related to the volumes in this series, see Series II (Business papers) and Series III (Miscellaneous papers).

A. Daybooks, 1785-1843

Arranged chronologically.

Box 27Folder 1
12 Dec. 1785-16 June 1786
Box 27Folder 2
27 June-26 Nov. [1786]
Box 27Folder 3
11 Apr. 1791-26 Apr. 1792
Box 27Folder 4
6 Dec. 1794-28 Oct. 1795
Box 27Folder 5
23 May 1798-2 Mar. 1799
Box 27Folder 6
11 Apr.-8 June 1799
Box 27Folder 7
14 June 1799-29 May 1800
Box 27Folder 8
17 Dec. 1800-5 Dec. 1801
Box 27Folder 9
5 Dec. 1801-19 Feb. 1803
Box 27Folder 10
20 Nov. 1806-15 Dec. 1807
Box 27Folder 11
18 Dec. 1807-24 Aug. 1809
Box 27Folder 12
Daybook pages (expenses), 1806-1810
Box 27Folder 13
Mar.-June 1819
Vol. 1 (XT)
Vol. 2 (XT)

B. Other volumes, 1783-1849

Arranged chronologically.

Box 28Folder 1
Financial, 1783-1786
Box 28Folder 2
Invoice book, John & Ephraim Russell, 1783-1792
Box 28Folder 3
Ledger, 1785-1791
Box 28Folder 4
Princeton tax assessments, 1796
Box 28Folder 5
Princeton tax assessments, 1800
Box 28Folder 6
Account book, 1805-1840
Box 28Folder 7
Inventory of stock in store, 1810
Box 28Folder 8
Alphabetical ledger, 1810-1815
Box 28Folder 9
Alphabetical ledger, 1810-1816
Box 28Folder 10
Account book, 1810-1816
Box 28Folder 11
Invoice of accounts, 1813-1814
Box OS 3
Account of mails received, 1813-1843; account of newspapers and pamphlets received, 1831-1846
Box OS 4
Accounts current with General Post Office, 1813-1846; account of mails sent from Princeton, 1813-1844
Box 29Folder 1
Ledger, 1815-1817; account of regular newspapers and pamphlets received at the post office, 1841-1846
Box 29Folder 2
Inventory of notes and accounts, Nov. 1816
Box 29Folder 3
Cashbook, Nov. 1817
Box 29Folder 4
Account of expenses, 1817-1818
Box OS 5
Alphabetical ledger (probably Mirick & Russell), 1817-1819
Box 29Folder 5
Account book, Oct. 1818
Box 29Folder 6
Account book, 1818-1821
Box 29Folder 7
[Record of sales], Mar. 1819
Box OS 5
Mirick & Russell stock and invoice book, 1819
Box 29Folder 8
Letterbook (account of letters mailed), 1820
Box 29Folder 9
House account, 1822; account of board, 1824
Box 29Folder 10
Account of articles for store, 1822-1823
Box 29Folder 11
Account of sales by Charles Russell, auctioneer, Princeton, 1823-1824; record of court cases, 1824-1849
Box 29Folder 12
Old memorandum book, 1827-1828
Box 29Folder 13
Sale book, 1828-1829
Box 29Folder 14
Account book, 1828-1829
Box 30Folder 1
Money received and paid out, 1828-1833; sales, 1828-1832
Box 30Folder 2
Sale book, 1830-1831
Box 30Folder 3
Inventory of stock, etc., 26 Aug. 1831
Box OS 5
Tax assessments, Suffolk and Worcester counties, 1831
Box 30Folder 4
Sale book, 1832-1833
Box OS 6
Accounts of mail sent and received, 1832-1838
Box 30Folder 5
Minute book (post office), 1832-1844
Box 30Folder 6
Sale book, 1834-1835
Box OS 2
Account of mails sent and received, 1834-1846
Box 30Folder 7
Memorandum book, 1835
Box 30Folder 8
Account book, 1835-1841
Box 30Folder 9
Account book, 1835-1842
Box 30Folder 10
Account book, 1837-1842
Box 30Folder 11
Orlando S. Brigham of Hubbardston in bankruptcy, 1842-1843
Box 30Folder 12
Sale book, 1846-1847
Box 30Folder 13
Account book, undated
Box 30Folder 14
Account with Samuel [ ] of Princeton, undated
Box 30Folder 15
Memorandum book, undated
Box 30Folder 16
Inventory of estate, Asa Whitcomb, undated
Box 30Folder 17
Record of bills (cover only)
Box 30Folder 18-22
Index, undated

Preferred Citation

Charles Russell papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

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.


Gilbert, Sarah Russell Stevenson, 1811-1866.
Hastings, Samuel, 1735-1823.
Hastings, Samuel, 1767-1842.
Mirick family.
Mirick, Ephraim, 1753-1826.
Mirick, Joseph.
Russell family.
Russell, Charles Theodore, 1815-1896.
Russell, Persis Hastings, 1793-1885.
Russell, Thomas Hastings, 1820-1911.
Stevenson family.
Stevenson, Samuel, 1783-1817.
Stevenson, Samuel Gardner, b. 1808.


Massachusetts. Militia.
Mirick and Russell (Princeton, Mass.).
United States Customhouse (Boston, Mass.).
United States. Post Office (Princeton, Mass.).
Washington Benevolent Society (Princeton, Mass.).


Camden (Me.)--Description and travel.
Justices of the peace--Massachusetts--Worcester County.
Massachusetts--Politics and government.
Princeton (Mass.)--History.
Real property--Massachusetts--Worcester County.
Retail trade.