T is for Young Thomas and Trade.
We do not know much about young Thomas Pilkington son of Seth
Pilkington, a Bath Merchant. But we do know his father sent him to
work with his business partner in the West Indies to learn the profitable
sugar trade business on the island of St. Christopher, now known as
St. Kitts. Seth Pilkington is important to Bath because his daughter
Sarah married Michael Coutanche, a French sea captain and
merchant from the Channel Islands. Coutanche became successful
enough to build the Palmer-Marsh house in 1751. Seth Pilkington’s
will survived and Michael Coutanche was his executor. There is no
mention of son Thomas in his will so perhaps the son by then was
dead or perhaps Michael became the son Seth wished he had.
Fortunately one lone letter from a merchant letter book has survived from
father Seth to son Thomas. It was written in 1737 and addressed to the son at
the family business in St. Kitts: In the letter he writes about the schooner he is
building in Carolina and points out the types of merchandise and commodities
he wants the Captain to send from Bath and ship back from the West Indies:
Here so many disappointments attend this trade that it’s enough to discourage any
person that has a fortune …. Here’s such swarms of N.E. pedlars, running from
house to house, that I am afraid these lazy planters will not easily be reconciled to any
other way of business. … enclosed you will find account of what I have sold…the
scooner is fitted as well as our country will admit, but could not put any oak plank
aboard without great loss in storage. I will dispatch her in about 12 days, with beef,
pork and tallow. I shall keep a periaguer running to collect and bring to a storehouse I have rented.
This fall has proved hotter than usual made me afraid to kill beef till October, then Rantree (his captain) has been sick,
or the Negroes running away continually, which has given one more uneasiness than you can imagine. This three
months past I’ve been hurried about to pick up this little modicum (and lumber for the sloop). However, I’ve brought
the better sort to despise N.E. stinkabugs, which gives me encouragement. …I’ve provided an able seaman and artist
to bring you the new scooner which I hope you will have the pleasure of seeing next May. If you send again, please
send 5 hhds rum, 3 hhds malt, 4 carls sugar, 5 bolts ozenburg, 3 ps garlix, 3 ps, checks, and 1 ream of paper. I’ve sent
your peas in carls. That will serve for rum and be more handy than hhds. (Ed. Carls are small kegs and hogsheads are
large barrels). I am, gentlemen, your most ob’t humble serv’t,
P.S. I should have sent you more livestock of the feathered kind but Rantree
would not carry them.
Source: Edenton American Banner, May 8 1854, microfiche Edenton Library.
H is for House servants, Rachel and Mary Ingoe who were two sisters from a
poor family in Bath. The girls were 6 and 11 in 1709 when their mother