“Rec’d four shurts & five pair Stockins at Uriah Samsons” List of clothing collected at Middleborough, Massachusetts in 1778, to supply the Massachusetts Militia
Unbound. This one-page manuscript document measures 8” x 11”. It is datelined “November 1778” and contains about thirty entries relating to items of clothing “rec’d” and “turnd in.” Some light toning, soiling, and edgewear.
The clothing listed on the document includes “shurts,” “stockens,” and “shews.” Providers included John Peekens, Samuel Nelsons, Zepheriah Briggs, Uriah Samsons, Doug Cass, Capt. Washburn, and more.
There are three statements at the bottom totaling the clothing that was collected during the month.
“The Whole of the Shurts that I have turnd in is 36
“The Whole of the Stokens that I have turnd in is 31 pair
“The Whole of the Shews that I have turnd in is 24 pair”
The reverse of the document is docketed “James Strobrige” suggesting he was the person who coordinated the effort. Online genealogical records indicate he, as well as at least four of the donors lived in or near Middleborough, Massachusetts in 1778.. Very good. Item #009821
In the early years of the Revolution, providing clothing, much less uniforms, for American soldiers was a monumental task, and most men wore their regular clothes which quickly wore out while campaigning. John Fitzpatrick notes in The Writings of George Washington that to help alleviate the problem “a circular letter written to the New England States [urged] them to collect" the exact three types of clothing on this list.
“I beg you will spare no pains to make a collection of all things necessary for their Equipment . . . such as spare Shoes, Stockings, and Shirts. . ..” (George Washington, Morristown, 24 January 1777 as cited by Thaddeus Allen in An Inquiry Into the Views, Services, Principles, and Influences of the Leading Men in the Origination of Our Union.)
In response, Massachusetts passed several resolves requiring the
“Selectmen of this State . . . to collect from the Inhabitants of their Towns . . . the Number of Shirts, Pairs of Shoes and Pairs of Stockings . . . equal to one seventh Part of the Male Inhabitans . . . above the Age of sixteen Years. . ..” (from Goodell, et. al. The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay)
At the time of listing, no similar items documenting compliance with Washington’s request are for sale in the trade. OCLC identifies two similar documents are held by institutions, and the Rare Book Hub identifies six printed or partially-printed items (two circulars, three broadsides, and a resolve) regarding the collection of shirts, stockings, and shoes that have sold at auction since 1991 at prices ranging from $800 to $15,120. OCLC show no similar documents held by any institution..