Trade card, Somerset, Mass. Circa 1867 – 1876.
Price: $10.00 Size: About 2 x 3 and 1/4″
“N. S. Davis, Dealer in Fruit, Confectionery, Ice Cream Soda, Cigars &c. &c. Somerset – Mass.”
Another grocery-type trade card, this one with the owner’s stamp fitting neatly in the blank area on the card, just as it was designed to do. It shows two blond children with spyglasses. And the clarity of the image is not too good, but still, this would be an amazing find for someone searching for N. S. Davis in their ancestry or just nice for collectors of Somerset or confectionery trade cards, in general.
Dealer in a little of almost everything
We find N. S. Davis is Nathan S. Davis, from his 1870 ad below in the Somerset city directory, and he offered a wide variety of items. But is he also the Nathan S. Davis, sea captain, born 1828, that appears in directories and census records?
Two Nathan S. Davis’ in Somerset
Getting a little bleary-eyed looking up the many records under this name, but we see that there was the Nathan Simmons Davis (1828 – 1918) son of Nathan Davis and Clarissa (Bowen) Davis, who lived in Somerset, served as a U.S. Postmaster and was a sea-captain, and there was Pvt. Nathan S. Davis (1828 – 1887) from Somerset, son of Baylis and Nancy Davis, who served in the Civil War and was listed as a mariner at the time of his death. Which one was also the confectioner who gave out this trade card is the mystery. And wouldn’t you know it, the spyglass theme fits both of them perfectly (not to mention this was the Atlantic seaboard region, so nautical was common in general, one assumes.)
Sources: Dudley & Greenough‘s The Bristol County Directory and Gazetteer for 1867-68. p. 93. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.
D. Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1870. p. 39. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.
Dean Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1875-76. p. 130. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.
Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971. NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls. Records of the Post Office Department, Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. (Ancestry.com).
Nathan Simmons Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91007972. (Findagrave.com).
Pvt. Nathan S. Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91299742. (Findagrave.com).
Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (Ancestry.com).