May 23, 2012

Establishing a Home

With my persona's trade of bookbinding documented within New England, I think my next step is to establish a home for my character.  The easiest thing to do would be have him reside in Boston, as I have already established that bookbinders did work in that town during my target time period.  However, I'd also like to research New Hampshire and Vermont, since those states were on the migration path of my own real ancestors.

I started with Vermont.  Rather than look specifically for bookbinders within the state, I decided to look up the date of the first printing press used in the area.  After all, without a printer, a bookbinder isn't very useful.  This is an assumption on my part, but I think it's a comfortable assumption.

A quick Google search turns up that the first printing press used within Vermont was known as the "Dresden Press".  A search of Google Books for that term brings up a copy of The Vermonter, from August of 1905, which tells the history of printing in Vermont.  A couple of passages rule out the idea of my character, Eli Davis, living in Vermont.

"In 1777, when Vermont declared its independence, not more than 20,000 people inhabited the State. In view of the sparseness of the population in these early days it is not strange that the New Hampshire Grants were without a press during the Colonial era and that during the Revolution Vermont had no newspaper published within its borders."[1]

"The year that witnessed the organization of the New State Government of Vermont - 1778 - was marked by the establishment of the first printing office within the territory then recognized for political purposes as a part of the New Hampshire Grants. The site of the printing office was in the township of "Dresden," a name given to a district located on the east side of the Connecticut river, which included the older settlements in that section, and by an arrangement of the people themselves was under the jurisdiction of the independent government of Vermont and had representatives in the Constitutional Convention at Windsor, July 2, 1777, and afterward in the Vermont Legislature, in 1778."[2]

It appears that printing in the current state of Vermont was not available until two years after my target date.  Also, if the first press was actually set up on the east side of the Connecticut river, the press was actually in what is now New Hampshire.  With this information, I'll rule out Vermont as Eli's home.

[1] Charles S. Forbes, "History of Vermont Newspapers," The Vermonter, 11, no. 1 (1905): 9, (accessed May 23, 2012).

[2] Ibid.

No comments:

Post a Comment