Brigadier Joseph Farnsworth, briefly in charge of the Waters gun making business, made 500 muskets under contract with the U.S. Government.
This typical format for Massachusetts commissions, is signed by the Governor Caleb Strong beneath the state seal. Farnsworth was commissioned 13 August, 1813 during the War of 1812. The document has been conserved with acid free tape to strengthen the folds. There is staining on the paper affecting the signature of Caleb Strong, and some foxing . On the reverse Major General Caleb Burbank certifies that Farnsworth has sworn to the “Oath and Declaration required by the Constitution,” etc. The document with its imperfections still retains a most suitable appearance for framing, and would rate condition as very good.
Joseph Farnsworth was born July 16, 1775, in Groton, Mass. He married Asenath Waters of Sutton, Mass on June 24, 1800. Taking an interest in military affairs, he attained the rank of Brig. Gen. in the Massachusetts Militia. Later he removed to Westfield, New York circa 1816, and in June of 1825 was one of a committee of thirteen that made arrangements for the reception of General LaFayette in that town, one of his many stops on a year of touring America which began nearly a year prior.
Having married into the gun making family in Millbury, Mass, Farnsworth was named as one of the principles in a newly formed company known as Elijah Waters & Co. (apparently Asa Sr.was too old to continue working and gave up the company (He would die in 1813). In late 1814 Farnsworth contacted U.S. Commissary General Irvine, asking he be allowed to provide the U.S. with a stand of 500 muskets. In March of 1815, the contract was finalized, and Farnsworth contacted Irvine that the muskets were ready for inspection. For some unknown reason the contract was terminated. Elijah had died in 1814, with Asa, Jr. taking over the firm. What ever the reason may have been for the muskets not being delivered, it is interesting that shortly after this, Farnsworth leaves Mass. for New York State, were he became engaged in the mercantile trade in 1816 and made plows, axes, and edged tools for many years. He died Sept. 26, 1855.
Caleb Strong, (January 9, 1745- November 7, 1819), Massachusetts Committee of Safety during the Revolution, two term Mass Governor (6th and 10th). U.S. Senator, much more. He has a long biography and worthy of the look.
This is an opportunity to own a very scarce document relating to an individual belonging to one of America’s great firearms making Families.