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This paper focuses on valley/hill town interactions and regional economic processes in the upper Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Merchants, those individuals involved in the trading and movement of commodities, are an especially useful point of departure for investigating such concerns because they operated in the economic space between communities, towns, and regions. Attention to their activities is likely to tell us a good deal about economic interaction across space and" over long distances in early America and, specifically, about economic interactions between valley towns and hill towns in the Connecticut River Valley during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The account and day books of merchants are especially useful in this regard because they record, often in minute detail, the owner's transactions with customers, business partners, employees, and other merchants, the timing of such transactions, and the goods, cash, and labor involved. In this paper, the account and day books of four Greenfield area merchants are examined. The records of Caleb Alvord, Caleb Alvord Jr., Sylvester Allen, and Robert Williams cover the period from 1795 to 1823.