1900 Abbot-Downing Photos; Original Company Material Given to Writer; Letters by Lewis Downing Jr.

Some of the following circulars, letters, photos were given to Henry D. Paxson of Philadelphia by Major Lewis Downing, Jr. He was amassing research material for a book on transportation he was going to publish. It looks like he wrote Mr. Downing asking for information and in response he was sent a wealth of information, photos and circulars from the companies achieve. I am starting out with six items and eventually will post the remaining seventeen items that include an Abbott-Downing 1872 catalog, letters written to Henry Paxson, letter and prints supplied by the Smithsonian, photograph of the yard at Abbott Downing one of which shows a hearse and other articles pertaining to wagons they made.

Below is the first of many items, a 7 x 5 cabinet card of Lewis Downing Sr. & Jr. personal carriage that gave them faithful service for 50 years at the time the photo was taken. As the information on back relays  Downing used this from 1849 at the time of California gold rush to 1865 at the end of the Civil War, and is autographed by Lewis Downing, Jr.

This business card below has printed front and back with information on the company. Front of card displays current information at time of printing 1898. Reverse of card shows the first advertisement bought from New Hampshire Patriot, August 3, 1813 by Lewis Downing, Sr.

This is an amazing wonderful circular was put out by Abbot-Downing Company on their Fiftieth Anniversary showing how they supplied a large order to Wells, Fargo & Co.  The shipment  was made on April, 1868 to Wells, Faro & Co., to Terminus Union Pacific Railroad consisting of 30 Mail Coaches, 4 Carloads of Repairing Material, and Harnesses for the entire outfit.  It was sent on a special train and conductor to Omaha in 7 days.  Stagecoaches were still needed to travel between train terminal and outlying areas.

This four page article of which the first two pertains to a handkerchief that belonged to George F. Ives of  Danbury, Connecticut a well known collector of Americana.  It tells the story how Major Lewis Downing received a photograph of this relic, for the Concord was instrumental in carrying out the laws establishing these postal mail routes at the time the handkerchief was produced. It relays the story of that 1815 handkerchief that was printed  by R. Gillespi, at Anderston Printfield near Glasgow Scotland.  It describes it as a very neat and pretty floral border, with the arms of the United states, the front and reverse of the dollar of 1815, a quartette of ships of war, and portraits of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and “Madison” intertwined.  Its title is, ” A Geographical View of All the Post Towns in the United States of America and Their Distance from Each Other According to the Establishment of the Postmaster General in the year 1815.” The other two pages  called “A Glorification of Stage Drivers,” tells how stage drivers were all known by name because of the feats of endurance these men performed by driving before railroads was in everybody back yard.They drove for the major resort hotels of their days in New Hampshire, like the “Profile House, White Mountains,” “Centre Harbor, West Ossipee,” men like Charles Sanborn, H.P. Marden, James F. Langdon giants of their days.
This article that appeared in the Concord Evening Monitor, December 7, 1900 on the occasion of Major Downing, Jr. 80th birthday(Four Score), a must read. It relays his sharp memory in making a map describing the town in 1830

This is 1 of 3 interesting correspondence between Major Downing and Mr. Henry D. Paxton as they because friends  with a deep love for stagecoaches and its history.  The letter dated January 4, 1901 begins: Dear Sir, Yours of the 2nd received and in reply would say no have no skeleton of the Conestoga wagon and never made them, though we have made almost every other kind of carriages.  Alice Morse Earle has just issued a book, the “Stage Coach and Tavern days,” in which you will find pictures of the freight wagon referred to, with nearly 150 other illustrations and probably all the information you want.  Mr. George G. Crocker a Lawyer of Boston Mass and Chairman of the Boston Transit Commission has just issued a pamphlet of private circulation, “From the stage-coach to the rail road train and the street car,” which gives  much information on transportation of the country.  We are the oldest carriage company in the United States, having been in continuous business from 1813, when  it was conceived here by my father to the present time, say 88 years, our principal business being the Concord Wagon, Concord Coach and express and freight wagon, etc.  I enclose with this some photos, and printed matter which may interest you. Yours truly, Lewis Downing Jr.

Knife, Fixed Blade 025 Knife, Fixed Blade 023 Knife, Fixed Blade 022 Knife, Fixed Blade 019 Knife, Fixed Blade 017 Knife, Fixed Blade 015 Knife, Fixed Blade 014 Knife, Fixed Blade 013 Knife, Fixed Blade 012 Knife, Fixed Blade 010 Knife, Fixed Blade 008 Knife, Fixed Blade 007 Knife, Fixed Blade 006 Knife, Fixed Blade 005 Knife, Fixed Blade 003 Knife, Fixed Blade 002 Knife, Fixed Blade 001

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4 Responses to 1900 Abbot-Downing Photos; Original Company Material Given to Writer; Letters by Lewis Downing Jr.

  1. Hi there. I’m an editor in Nova Scotia looking for a way to get a hold of you. Interested in reproducing the Abbot-Downing circular you posted here in a book about Nova Scotia history told through objects, which includes an Abbot-Downing Concord Coach held at the Yarmouth County Museum. Please get in touch!


  2. Pulitzer prize stuff present.


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