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An image of the journals found within this fonds in our holdings


Record No: mha00000226
Title: J. W. Stewart fonds
Dates: 1872-1905
Location: Banks 55, 56 and 928
Creator: J. and W. Stewart (firm)
Extent: 6.6 m of textual records
Source of Supplied Title: Title is based on the predominant name in the fonds
Restrictions: No restrictions
Adm. Hist/Bio. Sketch: J. and W. Stewart was one of Newfoundland's most prominent mercantile firms during the nineteenth century. The firm was a major import-export company which was heavily involved in the Newfoundland cod and seal fisheries. Although based on Water Street in St. John's, J. & W. Stewart and its predecessors had strong commercial ties with outport merchants including William Alexander (Bonavista), John Thomson (Catalina) and James Joseph MacBraire (Kings Cove). The firm also opened a branch operation at Greenspond (ca.1872) with John C. Dominy as agent, which immediately became the principal mercantile firm in the region. J. & W. Stewart supplied the smaller-scale outport merchants with goods on credit in exchange for products collected from their clients.
     J. & W. Stewart was the successor to John Stewart and Co. of Greenock, Scotland, whose activities in St. John's dated from circa 1781. In the period 1790-1800, John and James Stewart operated a firm, Stewart & Rennie, in partnership with David Rennie. In 1819, James Stewart Jr., the managing partner at St. John's, established J. & W. Stewart on premises acquired from the insolvent estate of William Bevil Thomas. In 1820, the Stewarts sold this property back to the Thomas family and leased the Water Street premises of Parker, Cheevers & Company, which had left the Newfoundland trade. In 1832, Stewarts purchased the former premises of Gaden & Scott.
     James Stewart Jr. left Newfoundland in 1827 and the firm J. & W. Stewart was managed by Kenneth MacLea (1827-48). In 1836 the firm was restructured under a new partnership including James and William Stewart, James Stewart Jr., (third generation), Walter Baine Jr. (Greenock) and John Thomson (Catalina). The premises of J. & W. Stewart were destroyed by fire in 18 June 1846, and the firm then leased the premises of Newman & Company at Riverhead, Water Street West, St. John's.
     In the period (1861-84), the firm was managed by Robert Alexander, son of William Alexander (Bonavista). During his tenure, J & W. Stewart prospered. In 1866, for example, the firm exported upwards of 10 percent of the total Newfoundland production of salted cod and seal pelts.
     By 1881, the Greenock partners were James Stewart, James MacGregor, and Jonathan J. Adam. The company dissolved in 1888, leaving James Stewart to continue the business on his own, although it continued to be known as J. & W. Stewart in Newfoundland. The company closed in 1893, the year the firm finally withdrew from Newfoundland.
Scope and Content: Fonds consists of the operational records for J. and W. Stewart's general supply business at Greenspond (1872-93) and some records for the successor firm, James Ryan Ltd. (1893-1905). When James Ryan Ltd. took over the premises in 1893, it also acquired the Stewart records remaining in the building and continued to use them to record some of its own business transactions until 1905
     The fonds includes ledgers, journals, various kinds of day books, and correspondence with the suppliers and customers of this branch of the Stewart enterprise. A ledger of accounts with customers in St. John's in 1873 is also included
     Fonds is arranged into three series: Financial records; Correspondence; and Miscellaneous records
Terms Governing Use: Copyright is held by the Maritime History Archive.
Associated Material: James Ryan (Bonavista) fonds
Custodial History: The J. and W. Stewart fonds was included with the James Ryan (Bonavista) fonds when that extensive fonds was donated to the Maritime History Archive in 1989. After J. and W. Stewart closed its business in 1893, the premises were purchased by James Ryan and operated until 1914. The Stewart records which had remained in the building were acquired by the Ryans and included in their donation
Finding Aids: MHA finding aid 120
Subject: Merchants Newfoundland.
Subject: St. John's (N.L.)
Subject: Ledgers.


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