9:38 AM

Welcome back to my blog. January seems to be the month I am renewing my energy to get cracking on my book. My blog today reminds us to be good stewards and pay off your credit cards- The depression is not (completely) over.

If you've been following my blog, I promised to write an article about my daguerreotype of Mary Ella Jenks with her Izannah Walker doll and came across some interesting information that can be, somewhat, indirectly related to the Steamboat Arabia. It's a ledger for the Providence Saving Bank in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Arabia sank prior to the depression (Panic of 1857) when many banks failed. A majority of her cargo was purchased on credit. Like many, storekeepers and wholesalers some could not pay off their bills and had a difficult time getting new stock.

Providence, Rhode Island was an industrial area manufacturing tools and textiles (and The Arabia Steamboat Museum has a great deal of tools and textiles). In fact, the earliest mills in Providence are still standing. The Jencks History Center and the Slater Mill has been restored. If you've ever been in a operating mill, the noise is deafening (must see/hear LOL).  Per the Slater Museum's web site:
 Today, Slater Mill is a museum complex that includes the Old Slater Mill, built in 1793 and restored to its c. 1835 appearance; the Wilkinson Mill, built in 1810; the Sylvanus Brown House, built in 1758; archival materials, collections of hand-operated and powered machinery, a 120 seat theatre, 2 gift shops, a gallery and a recreational park. Highlights of the site include a short film bringing to life the industrial history of the Blackstone River Valley, demonstrations of flax processing, cotton spinning, and weaving in an 18th century artisan's home, exhibitions of 19th and 20th century machinery, and an operating 16,000 pound water wheel. Interpretive programs examine the transition from home manufacture to factory production and the role of water and steam power in the industrial revolution.
If you recall, last year the Arabia Steamboat Museum's Facebook posted the bolt of fabric and the paper label for a fabric Mill in New York from their collection.

PANIC OF 1857 (thank you Wikipedia)
The Panic of 1857 was a financial panic in the United States caused by the declining international economy and over-expansion of the domestic economy. 

I purchased a bank ledger for the Providence Country Saving Bank in North Providence. Pardon Jencks was a relative to Mary Ella Jenks and Vice President of the new bank that incorporated in May 1853 (the Jenks name was also spelt Jencks). This ledger listed the customers and their account numbers, the annual meeting required by law, loans, and cash deposited, dividends paid and cost of operating the bank from 1853-1864.

The ledger revealed Mary's father Stephen A Jenks opened a saving account for his daughter about the time of her 3rd birthday in 1857. About the time this dag most likely was taken.

Paging through the ledger I found a statement showed the bank's deposits between July 1856- Jan 1857 dropped by $80,000 less than prior six months. The spread sheet continues to show a low deposits until 1859.

This would have been the time when the storekeepers debts were due for 1856. The ledger reveals, if manufacturers and wholesalers could hold out, they would be able to recover. 

I read debts that were discounted, shares from other banks purchased, and loans extended. 

This bank was very sound since it was had a balance of $186,500 in the roughly times.

Three years later, the real impact hit this bank and they depleted their dividend reserves to $2.41 in order to not scare their investors. That's $1,724.32 to keep a public face they weren't affected. 

The following six months, they gained reserves of $991.50. So, that tells me the manufacturers were recovering.

Wikipedia continues 
 In December of 1857, President Buchanan revealed his new strategy of “reform not relief,” which focused on the idea that “the government sympathized but could do nothing to alleviate the suffering individuals.”[12] To avoid further financial panics, President Buchanan encouraged the United States Congress to pass a law to provide an immediate forfeit of a bank charter in the event that the bank suspended specie payments. He also asked state banks to keep one dollar in specie for every three issued as paper and discouraged federal or state bonds to be used as security on a bank note to avoid future inflation.[12] Additionally, the Tariff of 1857 was enacted. It was enacted as a revision of the Tariff of 1846, which had, been “slowly destroying…thousand[s] of industrial enterprises.”[13] The Tariff of 1857 lowered the tax on the items from the Tariff of 1846, yet the tax was still in “favor [of] the American industry” to help improve the economy.[5]

Here's the complete page- Click the image to enlarge

Interest, Expenses, Dividends, Money held in Reserve