Name of the collection: Flint Woolen Mills (Stone, Atwood & Co.)
Inclusive years: 1873-1901
Quantity: 3 linear feet and 14 volumes
Acquisition: This collection has been on permanent loan from donor number 192 since 1989.
Access: There are no restrictions on access to this collection.
Photographs: There were no photographs.
Processed by: Paul Gifford, November 1990.

HISTORY

Sheep raising was one of the earliest agricultural specializations in Genesee County. Due to the heightened demand for wool during the Civil War, prices increased dramatically. Farmers in the county complained of the unfair prices they were receiving for the commodity and induced Oren Stone (born July 24, 1833 in Auburn, N. Y., died April 20, 1897 in Flint), owner of a general store, to establish a woolen mill. In 1867 he began the Flint Woolen Mills, with stock in the company being held by a number of owners. By 1870 he was sole owner.

In 1876, having survived the economic troubles of the period, Stone added William A. Atwood (born April 11, 1835 in Newfane, N. Y., died April 11, 1908 in Flint) and, at least by 1879, Charles H. Bowker as minority partners. The company then was known as Stone, Atwood, and Company, although the physical operation continued to be called the Flint Woolen Mills. Atwood's share ranged from 1/4 in 1879 to 5/13 in 1896. Bowker left the company in 1882 or 1883; J. N. Blake joined as a minority partner in 1885 to 1890 and Edwin W. Atwood, William's son, from 1895.

Atwood was part owner at least until 1901. By 1905 David D. Aitken and John E. Shortle had become owners. The Flint Woolen Mills folded between 1910 and 1913.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

This collection complements the larger Flint Woolen Mills collection at the Michigan Historical Collection at the Bentley Historical Library. It consists of records documenting the financial and manufacturing aspects of the firm's history. There is little or no material reflecting the personal lives or interests of the mill's owners.

The chief financial records are the ledgers and journals. The incomplete run of ledgers date from 1876 to 1899 record the company's expenses and are arranged by account or type of account. The volume containing ledger accounts between 1891 and 1897 is arranged chronologically by month and shows amounts debited to various accounts. It acts as an index to the ledgers themselves. Some volumes are indexed by name. The journals, ranging from 1880 to 1900, contain daily records of the company's income. Balance sheets, dating from 1880 to 1899 in two different volumes, were made semi-annually and list assets and liabilities. Other financial records include the cash books, from 1895 to 1899, which detail payments made, such as for payroll, petty cash, cartage and freightage.

Employee records are perhaps the most interesting and potentially useful part of the collection. The time books are complete for the period from 1888 to 1899, giving a weekly record of the pay to the mill's workers. Information included consists of the name of the employee, a description of the work done, the pay rate, and the amount of wages paid. Workers were generally divided into weavers (predominately female) and laborers (predominately male). There are also a number of typescript abstracts of employee records in the collection at the Michigan Historical Collections. These concern earlier years than those records in this collection and are broken down by the division of employment.

Further records have to do with the sale of the firm's woolen goods. Among them are the order books (1873-1874; 1897-1899). Orders, mainly from larger dry goods companies, were entered chronologically. They list the items in quantity and include shipping and payment instructions. Samples of the woolens are attached to certain pages. The two letterpress books (1897 and 1898) contain routine copies of out-going letters usually acknowledging payments received or other rather mundane business matters. The charging books (1897-1899) list detailed orders chronologically and the shipping books, arranged both by customer and by date, give itemizations of orders.

Other kinds of records include inventory books, which include inventories of the company's stock made semiannually and cover the periods from 1875 to 1880 and 1890 to 1899. The books within the latter span were inventories by location. Some of the loose, unbound material deals with inventories.

For other material concerning Atwood enterprises, see the following collections in the Genesee Historical Collections Center:

J. B. Atwood and Company. Correspondence, 1866-1880
Wood and Atwood Hardware. Records, 1873-1892
Peninsular Cabinet Company. Invoice Book, 1903-1906
Edwin W. Atwood. Papers, 1919-1940

ITEM LIST

BOX 1

Loose material in folders
    Inventory drafts, 1880, 1897-1899
    Prices for inventory, 1894-1899
    Statement of Stone Flint Woolen Mills and estate of Oren Stone, 1898
    Miscellaneous, [189-?]
    Letter, Sept. 30, 1896
    Typescript records from Flint Woolen Mills collection at Michigan Historical Collections
    Finding aid to collection at Michigan Historical Collections
    Knitting account book, 1881-1886
    Spinning room books, 1880, 1886, 1887-1888, 1891-1893, 1896-1905, 1908-1910
    Spooling room book, 1872-1875
    Time books, 1867-1868, 1870-1871, 1874-1878, 1884, 1886, 1888-1891, 1893-1896, 1910
    Weaving room, 1871-1872, 1880-1881, 1883-1887
    Wool shrinkage time books, 1882-1883
Letterpress books
    June 1-Sept. 15, 1897
    Feb. 14-May 27, 1898
Inventory books
    1880, and balance sheets, 1880-1897
    Brick office, 1890-1891
    Mill and wool house
        1890-1894
        1894-1897
        1898
    Office and warehouse
        1895-1896
        1897-1898
    Office, 1899

BOX 2

Order books
    1873-1874, also contains inventories, 1875-1880, and balance sheet, 1880
    1897
    1897-1899
    1898-1899
Charging books
    1897-1898
    1898-1899
Cash books
    1895-1897
    1898-1899
Balance sheets, 1897-1899
Shipping books
    1897-1899
    1898-1899, also wool market reports, 1900-1901
Check stubs, 1899-1900
Ledger accounts, 1891-1897

BOX 3

Current ledgers
    1895-1897
    1899 Reserve ledger, 1895-1897
 
OUTSIZE VOLUMES

Journals
    Dec. 1, 1880-Oct. 12, 1883
    June 1, 1887-Nov. 30, 1891
    Dec. 1, 1891-Oct. 31, 1895
    Nov. 1, 1895-Nov. 1, 1898
    Dec. 20, 1898-Dec. 15, 1900
Ledgers
    Jan. 1, 1876-Nov. 30, 1878
    Dec. 1, 1882-Dec. 1, 1885
    Dec. 1, 1891-Nov. 30, 1894
Time books
    Mar. 10, 1888-Feb. 28, 1891
    Mar. 7, 1891-Dec. 30, 1893
    Jan. 6, 1894-Oct. 31, 1896
    Nov. 7, 1896-Oct. 7, 1899
Indexes to unidentified volumes (2 vols.)