EPHRAIM WALES BULL PAPERS, 1825-1889 (BULK 1825-1864)

Broadside, Concord Grape.
Broadside from CFPL Broadside Collection.
Not to be reproduced without permission from the Concord Free Public Library.

Vault A45, Bull, Unit 1

EXTENT: 2.8 linear ft. (3 containers)

ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT: Organized into seven series: I. Correspondence, 1842-1889; II. Agriculture/Viticulture, 1847-1861; III. Goldbeating/Metalwork, 1828-1856; IV. Public Life, 1841-1862; V. Organizations, 1847-1860; VI. Financial, 1825-1864; VII. Printed Ephemera, 1858-1859. Arrangement within folders is alphabetical, then chronological (when possible).

BIOGRAPHY: Goldsmith, politician, horticulturist, and originator of the Concord Grape; resident of Concord, Mass. Born in Boston, March 4, 1806; died in Concord, Sept. 26, 1895. Siblings included Daniel, who died young, John Clark (wife: Melissa), Albert Chester (wife: R.A. [Ann]), who later changed his last name to Lawrence, Elizabeth Shepard (unmarried), and Harriet Morton (husband: James Barrows). Educated in the Boston public schools; apprenticed at an early age to Boston goldbeater Louis Lauriat, then worked for another goldbeater in Dorchester. In 1826, married Mary Ellen Walker, who died in 1891 in Medford, Mass., having lived separately from her husband for the previous twenty years. Father of three children: Mary Ellen Drury (husband: George W. Lauriat), Ephraim Wales (wife: Fanny Graham), and John Clark (wife: Abbie Staples). Joined the military company known as the Dorchester Rifles; commissioned Ensign in the regiment of Light Infantry, 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Oct. 6, 1834; discharged Apr. 13, 1836. Moved to Concord, Aug. 1836; practiced goldbeating irregularly until about 1874. During 1840’s, began to cultivate grapes; Concord Grape first marketed by C.M. Hovey of Boston in 1854. Other grape varieties produced: Esther, Rockwood, Iona, August Rose. Member of the Concord Social Circle. 1857-1861, served on the Concord School Committee. 1860-1861, served on the Concord Board of Selectmen. In 1854, became member of Corinthian Lodge of Freemasons, Secretary in 1856, 1857, 1858, Master in 1863. In 1855, elected member of the Mass. Legislature for the American Party, served as House Chairman of the Committee of Agriculture. In 1856, elected to Mass. State Senate and served on same committee, and on Roads and Bridges, of which he was chairman. In 1856, Governor Gardner appointed him member at large of the Mass. Board of Agriculture, on which he served for the next 12 years. During this time lectured three times at Harvard; often spoke at agricultural/horticultural meetings and fairs. In 1873, honored by Mass. Horticultural Society for the development of the Concord Grape and in ca. 1893 by the American Association of Nurserymen. Injured in 1893, moved to Concord Home for the Aged, where he died in 1895.

SCOPE AND CONTENT: Correspondence, business papers, financial papers. Collection includes papers from Bull’s goldbeating business, his work in agriculture/viticulture, and his public and political life. The financial papers include dealings with local people, merchants, and firms. Letters from John C. Bull contain comments on health matters, Native Americans in the western U.S., and California agriculture. Letters from Albert Chester Lawrence contain comments on mental illness and family relations. Letters from George W. Lauriat were written from Massachusetts and the Washington, D.C. area, where Lauriat was first a Union soldier, and then an officer, during the Civil War. Letters from Melissa C. Bull and R.A. (Ann) Lawrence contain comments on mental illness, family relations, and health matters. Papers include several unsigned essays in Bull’s hand, one about the process of grape cultivation.


Series I. Correspondence, 1842-1889: This series consists of correspondence from family members and from various other correspondents.

The letters from John C. Bull contain many comments on health matters. One letter describes the massacre of Native Americans by U.S. soldiers at Eel River in California in 1860. The letters from Albert C. Lawrence contain many comments on the mental illness that afflicted his brother, John C. Bull and the actions that various family members took concerning his illness.

The letters from George W. Lauriat, Bull’s employee in his goldbeating business, and later, his son-in-law, were written from the field while Lauriat was first a Corpl., then Sergt. with the 5th Regiment Mass. Volunteer Infantry, then later a Sergt., Lieut., Capt., and Major with the 32nd Regiment Mass. Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War in the Washington, D.C. area and in Massachusetts.

Other correspondents include: Josiah Bigelow; Francis Brinley; George H. Chapman; Wilbur Coffin; S.W. Cole; Corwine Brothers; Isaac P.T. Edwards; C.C. Esty; M.H. Fletcher; Henry French; M.T. Gardner; Warren Gill; S.L. Goodale; L.M. Griggs; Mary Hosmer; Sarah Parkman Hosmer; W.S. King; Luther Upham; William Osborn; J. Peabody; John Pratt; George Rockwood; Norman Shattuck; George Stevens; Albert Tolman; C.R. Train; G. Warner; and P. Wilder.

Series II. Agriculture/Viticulture, 1847-1861: This series consists of correspondence, an essay by Bull, and some miscellaneous items that relate to Bull’s practice of agriculture or viticulture. It includes letters from Bull, and letters to Bull from: John C. Bartlett; J.C. Bennett; B. Bradley; P. Burnshaw; Samuel H. Bushmill; S. W. Cole; John W. Curtis; C. Danforth; Thomas Herbert; Isaac Holden; C.M. Hovey & Co.; D. Ingersoll; Levi Jennings; William Kennick; Mary A. Locke; Samuel Miller; Nourse & Co.; Ambrose F. Page; G.G. Parker; James Parker; William R. Prince & Co.; P. Stewart; I.G. Stickney; W.C. Strong; Luther Tucker & Son; John T. Weber; Wilson, Thorburn & Teller; and Henry L. Young.

Series III. Goldbeating/Metalwork, 1828-1856: This series consists mostly of letters from customers of Bull’s goldbeating/metalwork business. It includes financial papers and business cards. Correspondents include: Brewers, Stevens & Cushing; Browne & Jackson; J.C. Hubbard; E. W. Jones; Garret Kimball; Marcus Ladd; Louis Lauriat; Platt & Brother; William Richards; Kimball Sargent; William Shepherd; Mrs. Stoughton; Thomas O. Walker (Bull’s nephew by marriage); J.D. Whitney; and Dudley Williams.

Series IV. Public Life, 1841-1862: This series consists of papers generated by Bull during his years as a public servant, as a member of Concord’s School Committee, while serving on the Concord Board of Selectmen, and from his time with the Mass. Board of Agriculture. It includes manuscript forms of 1861 Concord town reports and circulars that the Board of Agriculture sent out to Mass. farmers requesting information on grain crops, cattle husbandry and diseases of vegetation. There are also miscellaneous items concerning Bull’s work with political district committees, the Hoosac Tunnel, and one item concerning the Registry of Deeds, Middlesex North.

Series V. Organizations, 1847-1860: This series consists of papers generated through Bull’s association with various organizations. Organizations represented: the Corinthian Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Concord; the International Organization of Odd Fellows, Boston; and the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association.

Series VI. Financial, 1825-1864: This series consists of an account book, receipts, accounts, promissory notes/loans, passbooks and other financial papers. Some of the individuals and firms represented: John C. Bull; Melissa C. Bull; Allen & Co.; Joseph Breck & Son; The Concord Bank; Concord Post Office; Town of Concord; Fitchburg Rail-Road Co.; Jabez Gowing; Samuel Hoar; C.M. Hovey & Co.; R.A. (Ann) Lawrence; Michael O’Brien; William B. Oliver; Albert Stacy; and C. H. Turney.

Series VII. Printed Ephemera, 1858-1859: This series includes a small pamphlet entitled "The Holy Ghost and His Living Temples," and several printed invitations.

SOURCES OF ACQUISITION: Bulk of collection donated to the Library in 1929 by Mr. Edward McKenna (letter on file in Special Collections). Account book found at Concord Home for the Aged sometime after Bull’s death and donated by a Mr. Conant (see note pasted onto inside of front cover).

NOTES/COMMENTS: Two items transferred from CFPL Letter File into papers, May, 1996: the former Letter File 3, B32; and the former Letter File 3, B35. In the 1930’s, this collection was handled by WPA workers, who wrote catalog numbers, dates, and comments on the papers in pencil. Those markings have been disregarded in arrangement and description of the collection. Series VI includes two items glued to acidic paper.

PROCESSED BY: DMW; finding aid completed 05/11/96; prepared for mounting on the Web by CM, 05/04.




Box 1, Folder 1:
Letters from Harriet M. Bull, 1842 (?).

Box 1, Folder 2:
Letters from John C. Bull, n.d., 1850-1860.

Box 1, Folder 3:
Letter from Mary Ellen Bull (daughter), 1860.

Box 1, Folder 4:
Letters from Melissa C. Bull, n.d., 1851.

Box 1, Folder 5:
Letters from George W. Lauriat, n.d., 1861-1863.

Box 1, Folder 6:
Letters from Albert C. Lawrence, 1845-1859.

Box 1, Folder 7:
Letters from R.A. (Ann) Lawrence, n.d., 1849-1852.

Box 1, Folder 8:
Letters from various correspondents, A-W, 1842-1889.

Box 1, Folder 9:
Letter, to "Mother" [Melissa C. Bull] from "Amanda," 1852.

Box 1, Folder 10:



Box 1, Folder 11:
Letters from the William R. Prince Company, 1847-1849.

Box 1, Folder 12:
Letters from Wilson, Thorburn & Teller, n.d., 1848-1850.

Box 1, Folder 13:
Letters from various correspondents, B-Y, n.d., 1849-1861.

Box 1, Folder 14:
Letters from Ephraim W. Bull, n.d., 1854.


Box 1, Folder 15:
Essay, in Bull’s hand, unsigned, n.d.

Box 1, Folder 16:
Miscellaneous, n.d., 1854-1860.



Box 1, Folder 17:
Letters from William T. Allen, n.d., 1837-1842.

Box 1, Folder 18:
Letters from Benjamin Bradley, n.d., 1838-1847.

Box 1, Folder 19:
Letters from Samuel Curtis, n.d., 1837-1839.

Box 1, Folder 20:
Letters from Peck V. Pomroy, 1837.

Box 1, Folder 21:
Letters from Thomas Hollis, 1838-1847.

Box 1, Folder 22:
Letters from Stimpson & Reed, 1841-1842.

Box 2, Folder 1:
Letters from various correspondents, B-W, 1836-1856.


Box 2, Folder 2:
Accounts, miscellaneous, n.d., 1828.

Box 2, Folder 3:
Business cards, Chamberlain & Bull, n.d.


Municipal offices:

Box 2, Folder 4:
School Committee, n.d., 1841.

Box 2, Folder 5:
Board of Selectmen, n.d. [1861], 1858-1862.

Massachusetts Board of Agriculture:

Box 2, Folder 6:
Letters (two items), n.d., 1859.

Box 2, Folder 7:
Circular, manuscript, in Bull’s hand, unsigned, [1859].

Box 2, Folder 8:
Circulars, replies, B-W, n.d. [1859], 1859.

Box 2, Folder 9:
Circulars, replies, respondents unknown, unsigned, n.d. [1859], 1859.

Box 2, Folder 10:
Manuscript, in Bull’s hand, unsigned, n.d.

Miscellaneous by subject:

Box 2, Folder 11:
District Committees, n.d., 1858-1860.

Box 2, Folder 12:
Hoosac Tunnel, manuscript, not in Bull’s hand, unsigned, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 13:
Registry of Deeds, Middlesex North, n.d.

Note: Series IV oversize items are housed separately, in Box 3.


Box 2, Folder 14:
Corinthian Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Concord, n.d., 1860(?).

Box 2, Folder 15:
International Organization of Odd Fellows, Boston, n.d., 1847-1849.

Box 2, Folder 16:
Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, n.d. [1860], 1860.


Box 2, Folder 17:
Receipts to/from family members: John C. Bull, Melissa C. Bull, and R.A. (Ann) Lawrence, 1849(?)-1850.

Box 2, Folder 18:
Receipts from Allen & Company, 1835-1847.

Box 2, Folder 19:
Receipts and accounts, Joseph Breck & Son, n.d., 1847-1858.

Box 2, Folder 20:
Receipts for postage, Concord Post Office, 1839-1858.

Box 2, Folder 21:
Receipts for tax payments, Town of Concord, 1837-1856.

Box 2, Folder 22:
Receipts from Jabez Gowing, 1845-1855.

Box 2, Folder 23:
Contract, receipts, and accounts, C.M. Hovey & Company, n.d., 1851-1854.

Box 2, Folder 24:
Receipts from Michael O’Brien, 1854-1855.

Box 2, Folder 25:
Receipts from William B. Oliver, 1845-1852.

Box 2, Folder 26:
Receipts from Albert Stacy, n.d., 185?-1856.

Box 2, Folder 27:
Receipts and accounts, C.H. Turney, n.d., 1855-1857.

Box 2, Folder 28:
Receipts and accounts, alphabetically by individual or firm, A-Y, n.d., 1838-1864.

Box 2, Folder 29:
Receipts and accounts, miscellaneous, n.d., 1848-1858.

Box 2, Folder 30:
Freight receipts, primarily Fitchburg Rail-Road Company, 1847-1851.

Box 2, Folder 31:
Lease, Samuel Hoar, 1847.

Box 2, Folder 32:
Promissory notes/loans, 1839-1863.

Box 2, Folder 33:
Passbooks, some loose pages, 1854-1859.

Box 2, Folder 34:
Checks and register, The Concord Bank, n.d., 1854-1859.

Note: Series VI oversize items are housed separately, in Box 3.


Box 2, Folder 35:
Printed ephemera, n.d., 1858-1859.


Box 3, Folder 1:
From Series IV: Board of Selectmen, Concord, loose account book sheets, town expenses, 1861.

Box 3, Unfoldered, Item 1:
From Series VI: Account book, 1825-1833.

Box 3, Folder 2:
From Series VI: Loose account book sheets, miscellaneous accounts, 1838-1857.

Mounted 29th May. 2004 -- Webmaster note: use FrontPage to edit. c2004 Concord Free Public Library.

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