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In the Classroom > Course Overview

Discovering the 18th Century Craftsman

"Agreeable to His Genius: John Partridge Bull" (1731 -1813)

This is the story of a real person named John Partridge Bull who was an 18th century blacksmith and gunsmith. While it is not the story of every craftsman from the period, it is the story of an individual who left a few traces in his lifetime beginning in 1731 and ending in 1813. This activity will help you understand Bull and how he compared to other craftsmen from his period. How was he typical or how was he atypical?

Through primary documents from the museum's collection and supporting evidence from other collections and archives, we will bring John Partridge Bull back in terms of his town, his times, and the place that he took in history.

Part 1 - Bull's Account Book

Investigating Bull's account book is the first step in interpreting John Partridge Bull's life and his impact on the community of Deerfield.

Part 2 - Bull's Life

This section will help you to develop your profile of John Partridge Bull. Take notes as you proceed so that you can piece together your discoveries and ideas about this man, his times, and his place in history.

Part 3 - A Typical Craftsman?

The final step in interpreting John Partridge Bull's life is to assess where he fits among the body of eighteenth century craftsmen. This Final Activity will test your knowledge and help you to make your assessment.


Activity developed by Susan McGowan, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, with Beth Terhune, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Revised by Juliet Jacobson and Susan McGowan, 2002.

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