|This first portion of Benjamin
Franklin Massey's life
story is based entirely on Benjamin Ulpian Massey's Recollections of
the oft-repeated remembrances of his father's colorful career, detailed
Massey was born 23 Dec.1811 in Kent
County, Maryland, where he spent his early years on the farm of his
father, 5.Benjamin Massey.
|At the time when he, at age 17,
was preparing to go to the College of New Jersey (Princeton
University), the Alma Mater of his older brother, 87.George
Massey, his father was financially insolvent.
|Uncomfortable as a ward of his
elder brother, he went to Philadelphia, where he worked for a short
time as a Store Boy in a local Merchandising establishment.
|He returned to Kent County,
where he worked for a short time in his brother's small country store.
|At age 20, seeking opportunity
he had learned of while working in Philadelphia, he migrated to St.
Louis, Missouri, where he had a letter of recommendation to George
Collier, a Merchant Trader.
|While working in Philadelphia
where the Establishment was a major supplier to Merchant Traders
Headquartered in St. Louis, St. Joseph, Mo. and Independence, Kansas,
he became familiar with the increasing value of a given trade item,
from its base value in Philadelphia to the ever-increasing value as it
was carried farther and farther west, with the rumored tremendous
profits when sold at Santa Fe, Mexico.
|At age 20, carrying a letter of
recommendation from his Philadelphia employers he went via River Boat
to St. Louis, landing there in 1831.
|He worked for a short time for
George Collier, a Merchant Trader then headquartered in St. Louis, and
then went to work for James and Peter Powell, of St. Louis, operating
as Powell Brothers, Merchant Traders.
|For two or three years, he was
headquartered in St. Louis, where sold and traded for the Powells in
Missouri as far West as Nebraska.
|Details and References:
Trading Mission to Santa Fe
|In 1833, the Powell Brothers,
headquartered in St. Louis, and George Collier, headquartered at St.
Joseph, Missouri, contracted to form a joint mission. It was to
be Captained by George Collier personally, and B.F. Massey was
assigned the position of agent for the Powells with full power to act
in their stead.
|B.F. Massey also was to act as
recorder of each sale and purchase to record the wages both earned and
paid to the forty or so crew members and to record the labor for profit
sharing of each member of the crew.
|Normal procedure was to leave
the yard as soon as the Spring rains had dried the Trail; and the
caravan, with the supplies furnished by the Powells left on [illegible] by river boat on May
|Meanwhile, George Collier, from
his trading post in St. Joseph, had been accumulating the specially
built freight wagons that were built especially well in Pittsburgh.
|Collier was also accumulating
his portion of trade goods that he was to carry to the Missouri when it
joined up at Independence, Kansas, so that [illegible] at the Santa Fe
|The trip was without
difficulties above the normal problems with [illegible] oxen and
raids by both the hunted and friendly by name Indians, storms, drought
[illebible] equipment failings or the like.
|The trading mission arrived at
Santa Fe, paid their men [illegible] wages, traded all the Trade goods,
traded their ox teams for the mule teams to haul the caravan overland
to St. Louis.
|Unfortunately, none of the
written records kept by B.F. Massey have comments, including the
records of the profitability of this joint Collier - Powell
trading. But, judging by the fact that Collier and the Powells
immediately contracted for a second joint trading mission, this first
mission must have been extremely profitable.
|Details and References:- Massey