Carhart & Roff Letterpress Copybook, 1854-1855

Creator: Carhart & Roff (Macon, Ga.)
Collection number: 5350-z
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Abstract: Carhart & Roff was a merchant firm based in Macon, Ga., that was founded in 1841. The firm was named for its originators and principal investors, Elijah H. Carhart (1827-1885) and Aaron A. Roff (1815-1880). The collection consists of a letterpress copybook maintained by Carhart & Roff in its business from 13 September 1854 to 27 January 1855. The firm dealt in a wide variety of goods with parties across Georgia. Letters are frequently directed to merchants in Savannah, Ga., with whom Carhart & Roff appear to have numerous dealings; there are also letters to a number of customers with regular accounts. The letters often indicate shipment of goods, receipt of payment, the need for cash remittance, or payment overdue. Topics addressed in the letters include yellow fever in Savannah, the difficult economic environment, and the purchase or sale of whiskey. There are a small number of references to the use of slaves in business dealings. There are also numerous, regular letters addressed to a Mr. F.J. Ogden of Savannah, who was possibly the firm’s purchasing agent there. The letters urge him to send goods quickly and regularly direct him to invest amounts of money on the New York Stock Exchange, with further directions to remit payments to Carhart Brothers and Co., likely the grocery owned by the brothers of Elijah H. Carhart in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: A letter from 15 November 1854 alerted the Savannah firm of Bingham, Kelly, & Co. of the impending arrival of four slaves. Another letter on 7 December 1854, likely in response to a client’s complaint, apologizes for the quality of the buyer’s liquor upon arrival, but blamed the issue on the slaves responsible for handling and transporting the shipment.