New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century

Monson, Massachusetts


The first store was kept by Asa Moulton, as early as 1760, on Moulton Hill, where Lewis King now lives. The building was erected in 1757, and is very old. Probably the oldest in town is the house built by David Hitchcock, about 1730, which is at present occupied by Alfred Wallace.

An old building stood on the present site of Fowler's store, in the latter part of the last century, in which Wm. Norcross kept store for a number of years. It was removed in 1810, and Joel Norcross then erected the present structure, and traded there in connection with Timothy Packard, who subsequently kept it alone, or in connection with his son, William, for a long period of time. Stephen Toby, E. B. Miles, E. E. Towne, and the present proprietor, Charles Fowler, have since traded there.

In 1820, Artemus Wetherill had a store at the North factory, which was afterward kept by Sandford & Wetherill. James W. Hale engaged in trade there about 1825. Wm. B. Converse, Albert Norcross, and E. E. Towne each kept store there at one time, and before them the Hampden Cotton-Manufacturing Company. Rogers & Co. are now in trade there.

About the same time Rufus Flynt kept a store on the hill above the post-office, north of the meeting-house. Associated with him afterward were Dr. Ede Whittaker and William Clark. Albert Norcross and Horatio Lyon and Lyon & Brigham kept there subsequently.

In 1832-33, Dr. Oliver McKinstry erected the store now occupied by Gage Brothers in the south end of the village. It was established during the Masonic excitement, and was designed to accommodate those opposed to the principles of that order. But the enterprise is said to have never attained a great measure of success. A Mr. Strong succeeded Dr. McKinstry as proprietor. Lucius F. Newton traded there for a few years, and George and John Newton in turn. The latter died in 1871, and Feb. 9, 1872, Alvin A. Gage, one of the present proprietors, purchased the establishment of the Newton heirs. In 1874 he associated his brother, Carlos M., with him, and the two are now carrying on the business as the firm of Gage Brothers.

Rice S. Munn and Whitney B. King had a store about twenty-five years ago where C. E. Bills now trades. Mr. Munn erected the building, and kept store there alone, or in connection with Wm. B. Converse, after the death of Whitney B. King. Chapin Brothers followed next, and then Mr. Bills, the present proprietor.

Within a few years, Albert Norcross has erected a neat, new store, northwest of Green's hotel, in the north part of the village. After keeping store there for a time, he sold the business to Frank H. King, the present proprietor.

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This page was last updated on 13 Feb 2006