Skip to main content

Windsor County, Vermont General Store Day book 1819-1821

 Collection
Identifier: SC MS 0205

The day book measures 16 cm x 40 cm x 3.5 cm. The front cover is cracked, spotted suede leather over board with an embossed rope-type edging, the back cover is a glossy print copy of the front cover. The spine is of blacken paper tape which continues inside to hold the covers together with the pages. The book contains approximately 140 pages written on both sides in brownish black ink. The entire book is stained and singed and has the aroma of wood smoke. There is modern basic conservation applied in an unprofessional manner. There is no title page to indicate the name of the owner. The daily entries begin Tuesday, November 9, 1819 and end Thursday, May 24, 1821 with a few scattered additional dates lacking the year. The entries are made in at least three different handwriting examples. Some of the back pages have cellophane tape reinforcing the pages. There are approximately 134 names listed on account with some misspelling or variations of family names.

Dates

  • 1819-1821

Creator

Physical Description

1 box, .5 linear feet

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Extent

1 box, .5 linear feet

Overview

This document is considered a store day book and begins on Tuesday, November 9, 1819 and ends Thursday, May 24, 1821. Based on the reoccurrence of family names as customers, the census records and left letters, the location of the country store/post office has been determined to be Weathersfield, Windsor County, Vermont. The daily entries list name of customer and items purchased or put on account. The purchased goods present an interesting view into life in nineteenth century rural Vermont. A country store seemed to stock almost everything from pearl ash (potash) for making soap to skeins of silk, shot, knives, rum, molasses, wine, tea, rope, yarn, brimstone and sugar. The individual customers are identified by their title such as Captain, Doctor, son, daughter, wife, boy, self.

Biographical / Historical

Based on the reoccurrence of family names in the day book and the early censuses, the locale of the general country store appears to be in Windsor County, Vermont, specifically the village of Weathersfield which in the years 1819 to 1821 had a store/tavern and post office. The reoccurring family names used to determine the Weathersfield location were: Jonathan Allyn family, Farwell family, George Potwine, Foster Henry, Reuben Squier/Squire, Spafford family, Elias Williams, the Grout family, the Kidder family, Oliver Wright, Sylvanus Billings (1781-1849) who married and died in Weathersfield/Wethersfield, Vermont and Isaac Eddy. In the History of Windsor County under post-offices and early stores classification is stated that the first post office established in Weathersfield was at “The Bow” (a bend in the Connecticut River separating Vermont from New Hampshire) previous to 1800 where a store and a tavern were kept by George Lyman. Reuben Hatch came from Norwich, Windsor County to “The Bow” and purchased the Lyman property. Lyman moved to Norwich. A second post office was established at Greenbush in the northwest part of the town of Weathersfield in 1820 where George Potwine was appointed the first postmaster. He was succeeded in 1827 by Reuben Squires who was succeeded by John Spafford in 1835. There was a store kept at Greenbush as early at 1818 by Foster Henry; also a tavern by George Potwine. According to Spooners” Vermont Journal, there were left letters in the Weathersfield post office addressed to: Reuben Squire, Abel Spafford, Elias Williams and Oliver Wright. Additionally Spooner reports that in the Weathersfield Graveyard were buried Jonathan Allyn who lost an ear at Bunker Hill and Sylvanus Billings. It is accepted that in the early nineteenth century, the post office was usually located in a store rather than in a separate building. Country stores seemed also to be combined with taverns.

Arrangement

Daily entries possibly made by the owner or family members list names of customers and the merchandise purchased or put on credit. The day to day entries begin Tuesday, November 9, 1819 and end Thursday, May 24, 1821. Examples of the merchandise sold are: rum, tobacco, skeins of silk, lengths of fabric, buttons, pearl ashes (potash), tea, paper, wine, sugar, molasses, yarn, buckets, shot, nails, brimstone, crackers, door handles, knives, fish, eggs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Book dealer - 2011

Accruals

No additions anticipated.

Related Materials

Aldrich, Lewis Cass and Holmes, Frank R. eds. 1891. “History of Windsor County Vermont.” Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason and Co.

Partridge, Henry Villiers and Goddard, M.E. eds. 1905. “History of Norwich (VT). Dartmouth Press.

Spooners, Alden. 1819-1825. “Spooners’ Vermont Journal, Windsor, VT.

Physical Description

1 box, .5 linear feet

Creator

Title
Finding Aid of the Windsor County, Vermont General Store Day book 1819-1821
Author
William Ying
Date
September 26, 2013
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • finding aid revision date not supplied: June 2011 : Finding aid created -- September 2013 : Finding aid revised -- September 26, 2013 : EAD created

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-4506
610-758-6091 (Fax)