This letter was written by an agent of the firm, Williams and Barns of New London, Connecticut. William Williams and Acors Barns established their whaling oil business in 1829. By the 1840’s their sons, Thomas W. Williams and William H. Barns, had taken over the business. By 1859, when this letter was written, Thomas Williams had died, and William Barns took his brother Charles Barns and Henry R. Bond, as partners. The name of the firm, however, remained unchanged.
William H. Barns resided at 17 Granite Street in New London, in a house built in the 1850s in the Italianate style, with the Second Empire mansard roof being added later. The Colonial Revival front entrance is probably also a later alteration. The house also has unusual flush board walls. William H. Barns, son of Acors Barns, succeeded his father as president of the National Bank of Commerce, serving from 1862 to 1866. He was also involved in the founding of other banks.
The letter was addressed to J. H. Bartlett & Sons (1847-1860) — a supplier of whale oil in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Addressed to Messr. J. H. Bartlett & Sons, New Bedford, Massachusetts
New London [Connecticut]
April 18, 1859
Mess. J. H. Bartlett & Sons, New Bedford
You have our thanks for your wire communication of Saturday as also your favor of that day now at hand confirming same & advising us of the present state of your oil ____ market. Your notations we duly have and have concluded in view of the low prices for whale oil to bring our vessel ex “War Hawk” to New London.
Our ____ William H. Barns will be at your place during the week and will do himself the pleasure of calling on you while there.
We are, yours truly, — Williams & Barns