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Mobile, Alabama, business correspondence

Identifier: W-0098

Scope and Contents

This collection contains eighteen letters related to business in Mobile, Alabama, written from 1821 to 1838. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence sent to Enoch Silsby and William R. Bowers, northern merchants with legal and financial interests in Mobile.

Six letters addressed to Rhode Island merchant William R. Bowers are dated between December 1833 and February 1838. The letters relay news related to Bowers's shipping business, telling him what to ship to Mobile and providing information the rates of cotton production and sale.

The ten letters addressed to Massachusetts merchant Enoch Silsby are dated between February 1821 and May 1824. The majority of Silsby's correspondence consists of letters written by Mobile attorneys updating him about his lawsuit filed against Thomas L. Hallett.

This collection also contains two letters unrelated to Silsby and Bowers. The first letter, written by tax collector Henry V. Chamberlain and dated March 9, 1822, addresses unpaid taxes. The second letter, from J. B. Toulmein to A. Bell Company, provides news on a financial dispute with a third party.


  • 1821-1838


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Enoch Silsby was born on September 29, 1778, in Lynn, Massachusetts. A successful merchant shipper who resided in Boston and Bradford, Massachusetts, Silsby forged business connections between large port cities, including Boston, New York, Savannah, and Mobile. He married Alice Needham on May 30, 1799; the couple had six children: Alice, Caroline, George Enoch, Sarah Needham, Emma, and Emeline. Silsby died on November 4, 1850, in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

William R. Bowers was one of the owners of William R. Bowers & Company, a merchant shipping firm in Providence, Rhode Island.

Sources: Cutter, William Richard. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1908), 737.


0.1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Letters, dated between 1821 and 1838, describing business conditions in Mobile, Alabama, written by Mobile lawyers to northern merchants Enoch Silsby and William R. Bowers, updating them on the status of legal cases they had filed in Mobile and updates on the sale and production of cotton.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

Records of William R. Bowers and Co., Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut.

Enoch Silsby Collection, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut.


Title on phase box spine: Mobile Business Conditions, 1822-1839

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013



Guide to the Mobile, Alabama, business correspondence,
February 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266