Kingston, Pennsylvania to Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania: 1854. Envelope or Cover. One-page stampless folded letter from a hiring agent informing a client that he has located and tentatively procured the services of a broom maker. The letter shows a circular Kingston postmark dated “Mar/21” as well as a straightline “PAID” handstamp. Light soiling and postal wear.
In this letter, Belding informs Ellsworth (likely a landowner with a supply of broom-straw) that he has found a broom maker willing to relocated to Ellsworth’s property.
“I have ingaged a good work man for you one that has worked at the business about four years he is a man of good principles is a man that you can trust. He will make thirty brooms for a days work good common brooms he wants twenty dollars per month and board or 2½ c per broom if you board him and do his washing allowing 50c per month for washing he wants you to pay one half of the fore to your place he will stay with you until you make up the brush you have on hand if you and he are both suited he will start for your place the fore part of next week if you want him to come on the conditions mintioned I think that is quite as reasonable as you can fine any broom maker in this place at the present time that is counted a good workman”.. Very good. Item #009707
Broom making was an important trade throughout Pennsylvania before the invention of carpet sweepers in the early 1900s. Brooms were made from the tassels of a special type of sorghum known as broomcorn that grew very well in the hard clay and shale fields of Pennsylvania. It was a perishable crop, planted in the spring harvested while still a bright pea green color. The preponderance of brooms were made in early factories, many in rural areas where entrepreneurs purchased broom corn from local farmers.
Rather than sell his broom corn to one of these factories, Ellsworth apparently chose to hire a broom maker to turn his “brush” into finished products for resale. (For more information, see Hoover’s “Pennsylvania's Historical Industries: Broom Making” online at PennsylvaniaResearch.com.).