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Manuscripts of Colonial and Revolutionary America
Personal Letters and Ledgers and Day Books

What follows is a list of Colonial and Revolutionary ledgers and day books from the North American manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries of Notre Dame. Ledgers and day books included here date wholly or primarily from the years before 1788.

  • THOMAS HUSE DAY BOOK. 1686-c.1759 (bulk 1706-1715). 1 vol., 18 cm., 68 leaves, with 130 pp. of manuscript entries, mostly in Huse's hand. An account book recording the business transactions of Thomas Huse (1666-1734), of Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts. Individual entries typically indicate the participant in the transaction, the date, the service or goods provided/received, and the value in money. The arrangement is roughly chronological, in day book form. Most of the hundreds of individual entries date from the period 1706 to 1715, though one page of entries is dated 1686, and two others are dated to the mid-1690s. Much of Huse's income, as indicated in the book's debit transactions, derived from his work as a builder, and most particularly as a stonemason or bricklayer (i.e., "making on[e] Stacke of chimnes;" "Stoning on[e] seler," "makeing on[e] oven"). Huse's name appears in several places, most notably on the back pastedown. There are also scattered notations that appear to date from the mid-18th century, including an inscription on 66r presumably in the hand of Thomas Huse's son, Nathan (b. 1716): "Nathan Huse his name and it was his fathar's Book of a Counts that is to say his Day book". MSN/COL 9303 -1-B.

  • TIMOTHY KINGSBERY ACCOUNT BOOK. 1703-1738. 1 vol., 13 cm., 42 leaves, with 86 pages of manuscript entries. Deacon Timothy Kingsbery (1680-1760) was a farmer and tradesman of Needham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Most of the accounts in the book relate to Kingsbery's work as a maker and mender of shoes (in a 1727 land deed he is identified as a cordwainer). There are a number of transactions dated 1703, scattered throughout the book, but the bulk of the content dates to 1726-1738. A typical account includes the debtor's name, the date, a list of products or services provided, and the value of each in money; this is sometimes followed by the manner in which the debts were reconciled. The book is encased in a period calf binding with leather tie. MSN/COL 9305-1-B.

  • TRUMAN WHEELER DAY BOOKS. 1764-1813. 3 vols., 41 x 17, 33 x 21, and 41 x 17 cm.; 186, 134, and 129 leaves, with 374, 270, and 201 pages of manuscript entries in Wheeler's hand. Captain Truman B. Wheeler (1741-1815) was born in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut. In 1763, after graduating from Yale College, he moved to Great Barrington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts to establish himself as a merchant. He lived in Great Barrington until his death, selling textiles, provisions, and other general merchandise to the region's families. He also served as town treasurer, and was Berkshire County Muster Master during the Revolution. The books include financial records of Wheeler's shop, and of other business interests, from 1764 to 1813. Most of the content in the two earlier books pertains specifically to the shop, and is entered in customary day-book form. Customers' debit and credit transactions are arranged by date, specifying the goods they took and the various ways they reconciled their accounts. These records date from June 1764 to December 1770 (volume 1), and from December 1770 to August 1774 (volume 2). There are also a few records of individual customer accounts, in ledger form (1764 to 1774). The third book covers Wheeler's business interests from 1774 to 1813. About half the records are day-book entries, mostly of merchandise transactions, dating from August 1774 to c1800. Most of the rest are accounts with individuals, in ledger form; these typically date from after 1800. The books also contain occasional asides by Wheeler on his business and legal affairs. The three day books include several loose insertions, including a letter written to Wheeler by his brother Gideon in 1788. MSN/COL 9300-1; MSN/COL 9300-2-B to MSN/COL 9300-4-B.

  • BARNEY DAVIS ACCOUNT BOOK. 1768-1806. 1 vol., 22 cm., 15 leaves, with 30 pages of entries in Davis's hand. A small account book, kept over a period of more than thirty years, by Barney Davis (1733-1822) of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Only debit accounts—i.e., sums owed to Davis by local individuals—are present, with periodic reckonings or settlements. As indicated by these accounts, Davis earned his livelihood by making and mending shoes and by proffering a variety of goods—wood, coal, cheese, turnips, potatoes, pork—and services. It is probable that at least two of the folded sheets that constitute the booklet are lacking. MSN/COL 9302-1.

  • SILAS FARNSWORTH, JR. ACCOUNT BOOK. 1773-1787. 1 vol., 16 cm., 19 leaves, with 38 pages of manuscript in Farnsworth's hand. This booklet was the property of Silas Farnsworth, Jr., born c1755 in Worcester County, Massachusetts. During the years the book was maintained Farnsworth appears to have been living in New Hampshire, probably in Cheshire County in the state's southwestern corner. Personal debit accounts with named individuals, with entries ranging from 1775 to 1787, occupy some 14 pages of the volume. As here recorded, Farnsworth's income derived primarily from farm produce and animal products, including substantial amounts of beef and pork. An entry for 3 July 1777 states: "I Sent of[f] for the use of the army 50 lb Pork 9 lb 8 oz of Ches 25 lb Flour". The first 21 pages of the booklet are given over to handwriting exercises, some of which are dated 1773 and include Farnsworth's name. MSN/COL 9304-1.

  • BLACKSMITH'S DAY BOOK (FRAGMENT). 1773. 1 item. Four pages (numbered 114, 115, 132, 133) from an unidentified Boston blacksmith's day book. MSN/COL 9301-1-F2.

  Related Collections:   Colonial & Revolutionary America Early National & Antebellum America American Civil War Modern America Sports

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