I’m not caught up after all.  I conveniently forgot that I spend a couple of mornings adding new inventories to the index before tackling Peter Bouchell’s apothecary shop.  And so we continue.

  • Sarah Combs, Widow, Prince George’s County

No Creditors as yet known by the Admr. & the Relations refuses to sign without any objection to the Appraisement of the Goods of the Deced

Process of probate again.  I wonder what objections the relations had to the appraisal.

  • Mr. William Clarkson, Prince George’s County

one Sane

I am still perplexed by this item and the wide variety in appraised values that I have seen.  This one was deemed to be worth £4 – is it really a fishing net?

  • Elizabeth Plumer, Prince George’s County

1 Potwreck 9 ½ lb.

Should this be pot rack?  Did colonial kitchens sometimes have pot racks?  The previous entry is 4 Iron Pots 1 Iron Kettle, so a pot rack would be logical.  Also I now know that ‘to potrack’ is to ‘make the natural high shrill noise of a guinea fowl.’

5 Hogsheads Oyster Shells

Modern uses of crushed oyster shells (or oyster flour, which you can buy at Home Depot) include making cement, treating wastewater, and amending garden soil.  That third use strikes me as the most relevant — and specifically the use of oyster shells to control soil acidity.  Plus, you can feed crushed oyster shells to chickens.  Oh, and you can also use oyster flour to maintain your bocce court.

Bocce players scoring.jpg

  • John Watson, St. Mary’s County
  • Robert Taylor, St. Mary’s County

a parcell of Tradesmans tools

a parcell of Planters working tools

a parcell of Shoemakers Tools

The distinction between the tools of tradesmen and the tools of planters makes sense to me, but I don’t know why shoemakers get special treatment.

  • William Bladen, Esqr., Anne Arundel County – Account of Tobacco Received
  • Stephen Ward, Senr., Somerset County

19 Pd of Nails 9s 6d

49 Pd of Nails 1l~4~6

10 Pd of Nails 5 Shillings

The appraisers of this estate valued nails by weight instead of number, which may not be unique, but is certainly unusual.

5 Alcome Spoons

Any ideas?

6 ½ of Slease Linnen

Searching for this led me to another book that I am sure I will find useful going forward, George S. Cole’s A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods and History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, Wool and Other Fibrous Substances (1892).  Of ‘silesia’ Cole says:

Formerly a thin linen fabric, or sleasy kind of Holland, so called because made in Silesia, a province of Germany.  At present the term describes a fine-twilled cotton fabric, highly dressed and calendered, used for linings.

If you are wondering, a number of online dictionaries and blogs do assert that ‘sleazy’ derives from the idea that ‘Sleasie Holland’ was a cheap imitation of the fine linen made in Silesia, but this theory is (I think) effectively de-bunked at Mashed Radish.

  • Edward Vegros, Somerset County
  • William Turvil, Senr., Somerset County

1 old Howell with old Iron

Unlike a few people I know (well, one person, really), I have not spent much time learning about different woodworking tools, so I had to look this up.  I did quickly discover that a cooper’s howel is ‘a carpenter’s plane mounted in a convex sole,’ which was used by coopers ‘to champfer the inside edges of barrels’ ends so the lids would fit snugly.’  (This information is from Discovering Lewis & Clark, ergo discussing tools in the early 19th century, but there’s no suggestion that the characteristics of a typical howel changed at all between 1737 and 1803.)

  • Samuel Roach, Somerset County
  • Jonathan Shaw, Somerset County

an old Joynter Croze & Wimble

Ah, more cooper’s tools — also helpfully explained by Discovering Lewis & Clark.  A jointer was used to bevel the barrel staves, and a croze to groove the ends of the staves.

But the Wimble.  First of all, not a wimple (but wouldn’t that have been interesting?).

A wimple as shown in Portrait of a Woman, circa 1430-1435, by Robert Campin (1375/1379–1444), National Gallery, London.

Rather, a gimlet — but not this kind:

Image result for gimlet


I confess that although I have known from context that a gimlet is a woodworking tool, I could not have told you what it looks like or the task for which it is used.  Now I can do both — it looks something like this:

Good Vintage Gimlet Auger Drill Bit in Boxwood Handle Pretty 19317
Good Vintage Gimlet Auger Drill Bit in Boxwood Handle, courtesy of The Vintage Tool Shop

And it is used to drill small holes without splitting the wood (at least by craftsmen who, for one reason or another, don’t want to use a power drill).  Do you want to know more?

A gimlet is always a small tool. A similar tool of larger size is called an auger. The cutting action of the gimlet is slightly different from an auger, however, as the end of the screw, and so the initial hole it makes, is smaller; the cutting edges pare away the wood which is moved out by the spiral sides, falling out through the entry hole. This also pulls the gimlet farther into the hole as it is turned; unlike a bradawl, pressure is not required once the tip has been drawn in.

Yes, I pulled all that straight out of Wikipedia.

  • Mr. James Lindow, Somerset County

1 Dutch tea table

1 brass Extinguisher Snuffers & stand

Well, good grief.  I always thought that a candle snuffer was the useful and often highly decorative tool that you employ to put out the candles after a holiday dinner (holiday dinners generally being the only times we use candles) but it seems I am wrong.  Well, not precisely wrong; rather, the nomenclature for candles has . . . evolved?  What is now typically called a snuffer (as evidenced by Wikipedia and every shopping site that comes up if you search ‘candle snuffer’) used to be called an extinguisher.  But before the middle of the 19th century, a snuffer was the tool used to trim candle wicks.  These tools still exist — I know, because I have one — but now they are called ‘wick trimmers.’


(It took me a while to find these.  As I have indicated, they don’t get a lot of use.)

1 Banhan

Thanks to Tuesday’s post, I can confidently identify this as another banyan.

1 box of Doctors means

2 Boston Axes

Way, way back in July 2017 I went on a little riff about New England axes, which show up in Maryland inventories pretty regularly.  I still don’t know whether New England axes were actually imported from the New England colonies or if ‘New England’ identified a specific style of axe head but not necessarily a specific place of manufacture.  Either way, Boston Axes are a new variation on this theme.

  • Samuel Horsey, Somerset County
  • John Donelson, Somerset County

8 lights in frame for Vessells

Portholes?  Not likely — although Donelson’s inventory also includes 1 old vessell Gun.  These lights (in this instance panes of glass, which is not strictly speaking the correct terminology) are in a frame, and therefore looked more like this:

Antique Casement 8 Lite Window Sash Cabinet Cupboard Door image 0

than like this:

— although I don’t expect they really looked like either.  More like this (but surely not nearly as grand):

about a peck Indian beads

Definitely beads, not beans or peas.

some old Junk

  • Ezekiel Denning, Somerset County

1 old quilted Jacket

Not a banyan . . . I guess Ezekiel wasn’t a super studious guy (or at least not in comparison to Benjamin Rush).

  • John Linch, Sr., Somerset County – Additional Inventory
  • Mr. Boar Outterbridge, Somerset County

1 minute glass broke frame

  • Mr. Thomas Layfield, Somerset County – Additional Inventory
  • Clare Mackeel, Dorchester County
  • Joseph Nicolls, Dorchester County – Additional Inventory
  • James Barkhurst, Queen Anne’s County – Additional Inventory
  • Thomas Barber, Queen Anne’s County
  • William Burroughs, Junr., Queen Anne’s County
  • Henry Johnson, Queen Anne’s County
  • James McLeane, Queen Anne’s County
  • Mr. John Rowles, Queen Anne’s County

a parcell Tea Geer

Still Life: Tea Set, ca. 1781–83, painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard
  • William Pinder, Queen Anne’s County

2778 Pounds of Tobco.

600 Pounds ground leaves

I don’t often see the ground leaves appraised — aren’t they useless?

mans Phila. Saddle

First Boston Axes, now a Phila[delphia] Saddle.  Can’t Marylanders make anything for themselves?  (But seriously: What would make a saddle a Philadelphia saddle?)

6 pr. small x garnets

pr. Dufftailes Ditto

Hinges, in both cases.  Cross garnets are now more commonly called strap hinges, and dovetails are butterfly hinges.  [Thanks to Captain Gray’s Houses: A History of Sion Row, Twickenham for a concise presentation of this information.]

3 ½ Bushell Wheat Sowed

2 ½ Ditto for house use

  • William Pinder, Queen Anne’s County – Additional Inventory

Still not caught up.  And my next post will build on the Wimble and the Extinguisher — I plan to come clean about lots of things I should have known but didn’t.


Just Seven Today

But then I will be caught up — and I may even have time to bring Colonial Libraries up to date, too.  [Update: No such luck.  But tomorrow is another day.]

  • Saml. Harper, Dorchester County
  • John Howison, Charles County
  • Henry Mudd, Charles County
  • Jess Jacob Bourne, Gent., Calvert County

Several things to discuss here, but like items are not listed consecutively in the document, so I am taking the liberty of rearranging a bit.

1 five foot Chest & 1 old Dutch Case

1 Large Strong box L & K

1 Case L. Key & 12 bottles

1 small Dausick Case (no L Key) & 8 bottles

It would be great if that ‘u’ were clearly an ‘n’ — so Dansick, which could be Danzig, and then I could show you this, from The Antique Dispenary:

Antique Case Goldwasser Bottle

Danzig No1

Antique Case Goldwasser Bottle Danzig No1
A rare sealed bottle indistinctly marked DANZIG below a crown. Light aqua glass with circular pontil to base. Danzig is another word for Gdansk in Poland and these bottles were made in this region of the Baltic states.

But it really looks like a ‘u’ — pity.

4 hanging Maps

2 small Maps & 3 small pictures

a small Mapp

The first of these map entries made me realize that I had always just assumed that the maps that show up in inventories were intended to be hung.  I don’t know why . . . perhaps because in my mind’s eye antique maps are framed and hung for display, and by definition these are antique maps (now, that is, not necessarily then).  Plus if a map were more along the lines of a rough sketch on a piece of parchment, then would it have been appraised at all?  Inventories do not, to the best of my knowledge, include random pieces of writing (letters, promissory notes, household accounts, that sort of thing).  I expect maps that get appraised fall somewhere in the middle: enough of a trade-able commodity to merit enumeration, but not necessarily so fancy as these 4 hanging Maps.

1671 - Nova Terrae-Mariae tabula
Map of Maryland by John Ogilby, 1671
Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center

1 pr brass button Moulds

1 pr Do. bullet Moulds

1 pr Do. Spoon moulds

A trifecta.

1 pr wt Mettal Spurs

1 small old spur box

1 Man’s old Saddle wth. old Cloth Housen

1 Mans Saddle With fringed housen & bridle

2 new Cart bridle bits

Keeping up with my evident interest in all things equine and equestrian.  I especially like two different descriptions of saddle housing (i.e., saddle pads, if you happened to miss the earlier discussion), which suggests that the value of a decedent’s tack could be affected by the quality of the housing.

1 tin Lanthorn a Shark Hook & short Chane

Image result for what is a shark hook

Shark hooks . . . I didn’t see anything on the Internet that discussed shark hunting in a colonial context.  I did see a lot of disturbing images of modern shark hunting.

  • Mr. Henry Brome, Calvert County
  • Johanna Hall, widow, Baltimore County

1 pr. Girls Lamb Mittens

a pcell. of old unsorted Mohair

1 ½ lb. of fine Bellendine Thread

Well.  Searching ‘Bellendine thread’ turned up absolutely nothing.  Searching ‘Ballendine thread’ yielded two hits — and both of them are transcriptions of the 1751 estate inventory for Mr. Henry Holland Hawkins of — wait for it — Charles County, Maryland.  So . . . why can I not find a trace of this specific type of thread anywhere except in these two Maryland inventories?

a Frett line

Also a mystery; I could not get the Internet to give me anything except information about guitars.

1 pr. Spanish Leather Shoes

I prefer Boots of Spanish Leather.  (Actually, I prefer the Nanci Griffith cover.)

2320 lb. of Corn fed Pork

Why specify corn fed?  My best guess is that the hogs had been kept in a pen and fed corn, rather than being permitted to forage about the countryside eating goodness only knows what.  Whether people would pay a premium for corn-fed pork, as I do for grass-fed beef, I do not know — but evidently the appraisers felt the corn-fed-ness of the pork was noteworthy.

  • George Drew, Baltimore County

2 pair of hound Couplas

A new one for me.  It’s to do with fox-hunting — which I now know thanks to Harvard Fox Hounds.  Hounds are always counted in couples, and a couple is a device for keeping two hounds joined for training.

Leather collar couples with brass coupling chain.
Berney Bros. Ireland
Saddlery & Riding Wear

a Shark hook

Another one.

Watson and the Shark
John Singleton Copley, (1738–1815)
Oil on canvas, 1778
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This fellow is using a spear, not a hook, but the image — gruesome as it is — is so much less disturbing than the hooked sharks I could show you.

3 Plough Muzzles small

Interesting.  The first hit for my search was the Dictionary of the Scots Language, which tells us that a plough muzzle is ‘the bridle or iron loop at the front of the beam to which the draught is attached and which has holes or notches so arranged to regulate the depth or width of the furrow.’  Please note: Using ‘plough’ and not ‘plow’ makes a difference; the top hit for ‘plow muzzle’ is about muzzling cats.  Yes, cats.

600 Gallons of bad Cyder £7.75

It’s bad, but still worth £7.75?

1 old Cheese fat 6d

So appetizing.

a Gold ring Sett with a Turkish Stone

I checked: There’s no folk song titled ‘A Ring of Turkish Stone.’

And that’s it.  I am all caught up, which means tomorrow bright and early I can start indexing some more inventories.

A Short Break, Indeed

Diving right back in, and hoping to chip away at my inventory backlog.

  • John Crockett, Baltimore County

A Stript Ginghan Banian

That would be a striped gingham banyan (also called an Indian gown).  As this helpful page from Colonial Williamsburg explains, a banyan was a loose, informal robe worn instead of a coat.

2 yards ordinary Chex

Fabric, of course – not the party mix.

1 best London Razor 1 best Surgeons Do

3 ordinary Razors

1 Neat Razor Case with a hone Glass Oyl bottle & pair of Scizzars

1 Londo Lancet

3 old Ditto and Case

Crockett is not identified as a doctor or chirurgeon, but he certainly has the equipment.

A Seed Plow with furniture

1 Harrow Plow with Clevis Bold & Chain

A fluke Colter and Stock

Flukes again — and this time definitely a plow, not a hoe or an anchor.  [You can find previous musings about flukes here and here.]  I thought at first that perhaps Colter was actually supposed to be a collar, but my friends at Merriam-Webster set me straight: a colter is ‘a knife, sharp disc, or other cutting tool that is attached to the beam of a plow to cut the sward in advance of the plowshare and moldboard.’

A pad Saddle

And saddle housing again, but this time described more in line with modern terminology.

one brass kettle wt 7lb at Joppa

Another item abroad, but at a specific location, not left somewhere vague like Peter Bouchell’s cloak.

A Circumferentor and Seal Skin Case with a pair Compasses 4 Sparelegs & Protector and 2 Perch Chain

Fancy surveying tools.

And just in case you haven’t been paying meticulous attention to both blogs, I refer you to Colonial Libraries, which has a post devoted to Crockett’s extensive library.

  • Samuel Lowe, Baltimore County
  • Thomas Tolley, Junr., Baltimore County

An old Saddle ^bridle^ and Gambadose

What the heck could gambadose be?  I thought this would be a challenge to interpret, but actually my first search attempt yielded gambadoes, which dictionary’ explains is the same as gamashes.  What’s that you say? You are not familiar with gamashes either?  I guess you are not up on your archaic Scottish.  According to the ever-helpful Merriam-Webster site, these are leggings or gaiters worn by horseback riders — in other words, what my equestrian expert calls half chaps.

  • Jonas Hewling, Baltimore County

a parcel of Smiths Tools

a parcel of Shoemakers Tools

a parcel of Sea Instruments

a parcel Ship Carpenters Tools

a parcel of Joiners Tools

a parcel Coopers Tools

Quite an assortment of trades represented here. Tools for shoemaking and cooperage are pretty common, and joinery tools show up fairly frequently, but I believe the combo of blacksmith tools and navigation instruments is unusual.  [These are not consecutive entries in the appraisal, by the way, with the longest gap between the first two sets of tools.]

  • Richard Stevenson Vickry, Baltimore County
  • Mr. John Spencer, Kent County

Like Jonas Hewling, Mr. Spencer’s inventory includes tools for a couple of different trades, except the items that could loosely be considered smith’s tools are just 1 pair of old bellows and 1 pair of old Smith Vice [sic] and then there’s a random Bricklayers Trowel. Woodworking tools, however – whoa, Nellie. Would you believe 53 entries for woodworking tools, including more than 15 different kinds of planes?

2 Pannel Plans

7 Rounding Plans

6 Hollow Plains

2 quarter Round & Groving Plans

3 quarter round Plans

4 Plow Plans

2 Nosticles planes

2 Square head Plans

2 hallow and round Plans

3 Cornish Plans

2 Back Ogee Plans

1 small hallow Plan

1 Beed Plan

1 Stoon Moulding Plan

1 Sash Plan

1 Ogee and Beed

2 long Jointers

1 Jack Plan and 2 small Do.

1 Turning Plan

1 old Cornish Plan

I *could* have spent a lot of time cutting and pasting pictures of different of planes . . . but instead I will refer you not only to Wikipedia (for the basics) but also this fun site: The Vintage Tool Shop.  And just in case you think I’m slacking, I did search for both Nosticles and Stoon Moulding to no avail; the other descriptive terms are easy to find.

Additional items of interest:

1 Joiners Iron Stand

1 Scribing Iron

11 Shifting Scribes

I thought perhaps a Shifting Scribe might be something along the lines of a pantograph (invented in 1603, and nothing to do with the kind that collects energy for buses or trams).  But it seems unlikely that Hewling had 11 such contraptions, however useful they might be.

Pantograph used for scaling a picture. The red shape is traced and enlarged.

[Don’t ask me how Wikipedia got that animated image or why I was able to keep the animation when I pasted it here; I have no idea.]

2 old Muzling Turnovers

This one should have been easy, as Muzling is surely muslin and therefore a turnover is some sort of garment.  Still, it took me a while to zero in on turnover as a category of collar.  Although one generally thinks of a collar as an integral part of a shirt, Wikipedia explains that “among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or cut part of the same piece of fabric used for the main body of the garment.”  So there.  In hindsight I realize I should have figured this out more quickly, given how often Georgette Heyer’s heroines need to freshen up by putting on a clean collar — although in my defense I don’t believe Heyer ever specifies a turnover collar.

  • Mary Anderson, Kent County
  • Mr. Richard Normansell, Kent County

3 Dozen bottles of red wine

But only one wine Glass — I guess he didn’t like to share.

2 Dozen and nine Milkpans

Mr. Normansell only had one Cow and Calf and two year old heifer, so I am not entirely sure why he needed so very many milk pans.

The end of this inventory provides useful information about the process of probate.  In order to be accepted by the county’s deputy commissary (the local agent of the colony’s Commissary General, who held administrative and judicial authority over matters of probate) as an accurate appraisal of a decedent’s estate, an inventory had to be signed by two kinsmen (or women) and by two creditors (who also could be – and not infrequently were – women). Because close relatives and creditors had the most to gain from the distribution of the assets, their approval was a check against any fraudulent valuation of the items.  In this case, however, the administrator (Normansell’s widow) explained to the dep. comm. (as I like to refer to him) that she was unable to collect the necessary signatures:

Katherine Normansell Admx. of Richard Normansell being duly and Solemnly Sworn on the Holy Evangels of Almight God Deposeth to the Justness and truth of the foregoing Inventory in such manner and form as is prescribed by his Honour the General Commissary in his instructions directed to me [the dep. comm.] and she further made Oath that she caused a Letter to be wrote directed to Capt. William Finch and Robt. Bradley Mercht. signifying to them (believing them to be two of the Greatest Creditors to the Deceased) to be at the Appraisement of the said Deceased Estate and that she hath great reason to believe the said Letter of Notice came to their hands but that neither the said Finch or Bradly were at the said appraisemt. nor had she a convenient opportunity to tender the Inventory of the said Deceased Estate to them to Sign the same they living at so great a distance from her and that she knows of no Person Related to the said Deceased but the aforesaid Capt. Willm. Finch

  • Peter Dozen, Kent County
  • Abraham Milton, Kent County

A prsell Shoemakers tools, & Seat

Tools for making shoes are very, very common – but I don’t believe I have seen a seat specifically designated for shoemaking before.  (In a Maryland inventory, that is; of course I am familiar with a shoemaker’s bench, having been to many, many living history museums.)

Shoemaker’s bench attributed to Brother Richard B. Woodrow, 1845 [Shaker Museum, Mount Lebanon]
  • Thos. English, Kent County

6 Slays for a Weaver’s work

3 pair Weavers harness

a Weavers Loom, warping box & quilling wheel

The quilling wheel, I should point out, obviates the need for a swift, and the yarn is spun directly onto a quill for weaving.

  • Capt. Harmanus Schee, Kent County
  • John Borris, Kent County
  • Patrick Gault, Kent County

One very old Stampt linen Banjan

Ah, another banyan.

Ward Nicholas Boylston in a brilliant green banyan and a cap, painted by John Singleton Copley, 1767.

Gault’s inventory lists a number of tools that I am reliably informed are those of a silversmith, including:

14 Crucibles

2 pr old tongs

1 Silver Smith Ladle

2 pr Silver Smiths old bellows

And in case you’d like to try some silversmithing for yourself, here’s a handy WikiHow page to teach you to melt silver. [Step 2 is ‘Get a foundry crucible’ and Step 3 is ‘Find some good heavy-duty crucible tongs.’  Sure thing — let me just hunt for those out in the garage.]

  • St Legr Codd, Esqr., Kent County – Additional Inventory
  • Richd. Jerman, Kent County
  • Mordock Dowlin, Anne Arundel County
  • John Fanning, Kent County
  • George Gleaves, Kent County – Additional Inventory
  • Charles Baker, Kent County
  • Joseph Carman, Kent County
  • Danl. Cox, Dorchester County – Additional Inventory

2 old Indian Gowns at 5/ pr.

Suddenly banyans are everywhere!  And why not?  As Benjamin Rush observed,

Loose dresses contribute to the easy and vigorous exercise of the faculties of the mind. This remark is so obvious, and so generally known, that we find studious men are always painted in gowns, when they are seated in their libraries.

1959.0160 A, B Painting and Frame, view 1
Benjamin Rush 1746-1813
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
Oil on canvas, 1783 and 1786
Winterthur Museum

Not so much studious women, however.  We get corsets.

Anne Catherine Hoof Green, c. 1720–1775
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
Oil on canvas, 1769
National Portrait Gallery

An Apothecary (And An Apology)

Yes, it has been nearly two months since I dangled an apothecary shop before you.  Yes, I indicated I would share its wonders shortly after the 4th of July.  And yes, my efforts to make good on that pledge have been stymied by travel and family and a certain lack of self-discipline.  So I offer my apologies, and hope you will find the 55 items in the appraisal of the shop worth the wait.  (Yes, 55 items.)

  • Dr. Peter Bouchell, Cecil County

This inventory contains many interesting items, even before we get to the apothecary.  For example:

a 30 hour clock & case

Why 30 hours?  Wouldn’t 24 make more sense?

to a stand of Delf ware with a Vinegar & Oyl Cruit to it

a bird Cage with Chimes

2 cast Iron plates of a dutch stove one split

Wikipedia states that “virtually any recipe that can be cooked in a conventional oven can be cooked in a Dutch oven.”  I’m trying to imagine making cookies in a Dutch oven . . . it really does not seem possible.

An American Dutch oven, 1896

Wheat in the Straw

Rye in the Straw

Barley in the Straw

Oats in the Straw


Indian corn on the Stalk

But no turkey in the straw, so far as we know.  These entries have unusual wording for crops — and it must have been a large crop of wheat, as it was valued at £37.5!

a blew broad Cloth Cloak left abroad so as [the administrator of the estate] cant produce it

Another example of the logistical difficulties that sometimes complicated the probate process.

a Weavers Swift & 18 Spools

I don’t recall seeing a swift before, although they are such useful tools that I wonder why there are not more of them.

An umbrella swift in the background, holding a skein of red yarn.

[The swift in this painting is, regrettably, in shadow, and therefore a trifle difficult to see — but it’s so much more interesting than a photo of a modern swift.  Plus it has the red yarn, which looks eerily like the skein of silk that was on my swift for months while I tried to untangle it after an ill-advised effort to wind a ball just using the back of a chair.]

A pharmacist making up prescriptions in his shop. Woodcut, artist unknown, 1800s
A pharmacist making up prescriptions in his shop. Woodcut, artist unknown, 1800s. Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection (CC). [Appropriated from Jars of “Art and Mystery”: Pharmacists and their Tools in the Mid-Nineteenth Century.]

Finally we arrive at today’s star attraction.  [I’ve done my best to transcribe accurately; you can check my work here.]

In the Apothecarys shop

1 ¼ lb Lapis Hopatitis

10 oz: Sal Prunella

A salve made from one variety or another of Prunella (also known as ‘self-heal’).

Leaf of Prunella vulgaris var lanceolata

7 oz: Radr Irias

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that Rad. and its assorted forms of abbreviation means Radix — which is the Latin word for root (clearly I should have consulted my Latin expert).  My best guess for Irias is, indeed, iris — or more specifically, orris root.

1 oz: Sal. Saturny

11 oz: Sperna Cety

10 oz: Gum Ammoniack

13 oz: Antimony Diaphoreticum

1 ½ lb Sal Armoniac

1 oz: Oculy Canery

1 ½ lb Rhenish Tartar

5 oz: Cantharides

Spanish fly (or secretions from other blister beetles) — potentially poisonous, but nevertheless used as an aphrodisiac.

7 oz: bacca Lawry

1 oz: Mace

5 oz: Cloves

1 oz: Cinnamon

3 oz: small Cardamom

Elettaria cardamomum - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-057.jpg
True cardamom (E. cardamomum)

Who knew the flowers were so lovely?

3 oz: Chrystal Tartary

1 ½ oz: Oyl mint

½ oz: Mercury Priscipitate Rubre

Red precipitate (i.e., mercuric oxide)

3 Oz: Cinnaber

Cinnabar — more toxic mercury (just what the doctor ordered, apparently).

3 Oz: Spirt. Nitry Dulces

1 Oz: Oyl Cloves

¾ Oz: Sal Absinty

1 Oz: Conchenell

Cochineal?  Near as I can tell, this was used as a dye, not in medicine . . . but as we have seen in a handful of other inventories (Henry Vanbeber springs to mind), dyes and medicinal herbs tend to show up together.

Wool dyed with cochineal

5 Oz: Cinnaber Nativy

2 Oz: Mercury Vivi

3 lb Lapis Hopatitis

½ Oz: Camphire

4 Oz: Venice treacle

2 Oz: blue stone

4lb Diascordium home made

A ‘stomachic and astringent electuary made from the dried leaves of the water germander or other herbs’ (so says Merriam-Webster).

½ lb read allum

2lb Gum Araback

4lb white Vitriol

Zinc Sulfate.jpg
Zinc sulfate

3 Oz: Gum Caranini

2 Oz: Liquorish Bal.

½ Oz: Scammony

2 Oz: Gum Boollum

1 Oz: Sanguis Draconist

3 Oz: Alistos. longa & rotunda

Aristolochia, sometimes called ‘birthwort’ (although I prefer the more colorful ‘Dutchman’s Pipe’), and thought to aid women in childbirth.

Aristolochia labiata.jpg
Aristolochia labiata

2 Oz: Gum Labdanum

2 Oz: Gum Tabramack

1 Oz: Euphorbium

½ Oz: Bensoim

Bensoin, a balsamic resin (and — fun face — a major component of the type of incense used in Russian Orthodox churches).

Laurits Tuxen’s depiction of the wedding of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and the Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt

2 Oz: Radr. Sucdoaria

¾ lb bole Armonick

4 ℥ Mirrh

This is interesting (and not a typo).  Every other entry given in ounces clearly uses the common “oz.” abbreviation (and without putting the ‘z’ in superscript).  But this one line uses ℥, the symbol for ounce in the apothecaries’ system of weights and measures.  My questions, then, are 1) how did an appraiser (or, more likely, the clerk who transcribed the inventory) know the apothecary symbol; and 2) why did he use it just for this one entry out of forty-one items measured in ounces?  [I encourage you to look at the document; the distinct use of the apothecary symbol is quite striking.]

6 oz: gutta gum

4 oz: poporis albi

2 oz: Mercury dulces

2 qts. Linseed oyl

2 quts. Honey


4lb Aqua fortis

‘Strong water’ (i.e., nitric acid).

8 lb Red lead

3 lb Supher Viccum

a parcell of Physical books

11 pewter boxes @ 18d

a parcell of square bottles some which contain the drugs many Empty yellow pots vials bottles Jugs glass funnels &ca.

4 Iron Spadulas

1 silver Spadula wt. 5/6

a parcell of Retorts & bolt heads

A copper retort

a parcell of Physical books

a pot metal Ingues

I had a dream the other night (yes, a lyric from ‘Something I Need’ by OneRepublic, a frequent earworm for me) in which I figured out what an ingues could be . . . but, alas, no.  I hypothesize a tool for preparing, measuring, or compounding drugs, something analogous to the retorts, and I spent a fair bit of time looking at chemistry equipment, but I am still at a loss.

Clearly I have not tracked down all of these items (because I’d like to do something else this week, if possible).  Some items also appear in Henry Vanbeber’s inventory and are investigated in that post, but if you want to decipher others for yourself, I recommend this source:

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.38.47 AM.png

There are scads of similar works and websites, but this is the one I discovered this morning, and very helpful it was.

I had intended to jump right into another batch of inventories, but this apothecary business has taken so very long that I need a break.  I have quite a backlog of material, however, so it had better be a short one.

A Quick Step Back

Just moving backwards for a moment to address a reader’s helpful comment on the previous post. She asserts (and we consider her to be a reputable source) that a housewife is also called a chatelaine – and she has provided instructive photos.

A chatelaine, as it would be worn . . .
. . . and with its contents.

Lovely, but somewhat grander than I envision for Mrs. Alice Murphey’s Silk Housewife, valued at just 6 pence (or £0.025, if you prefer).

Moving on to today’s batch of inventories:

  • James Barkhurst, Queen Anne’s County
  • Samuel Wright, Queen Anne’s County

1 Bell mettle Spice Mortar

1 bell mettle Skillet

I now know (thanks to Wikipedia) that bell metal is a form of bronze with a higher tin content than usual, which increases its rigidity – hence its use for bells. Curiously, Wikipedia only discusses the use of bell metal for cooking in India.

Mr. Wright was very catholic in his taste for container and utensil materials; his inventory includes numerous items made from brass, tin, Pewter, Iron, Glass, Delphware, Stone, and white Stone ware. Also quite a bit of Earthen (i.e., earthenware), including:

3 large 2 Eared Earthen pots

2 small Do

3 very small Do

Something along these lines, one assumes. Apparently this type of pot is now universally known as a ‘bean pot’ (which – if you have a college friend who’s very into hockey – can’t help but bring to mind Boston’s Beanpot tournament).

  • David Thomas, Kent County

1 new Silver watch with Case

1 Suerveyers Compass, Staff & Pocket Instrumt with Loadstone flye & Chain

There are a surprising number of sites with lengthy discussions of surveyor’s tools, including one devoted specifically to 18th-century surveying in the British colonies (Colonial Surveyor, the existence of which I find astonishing), and one devoted to colonial instruments for surveying and astronomy (with a couple of microscopes thrown in for good measure; Colonial Instruments). Each and every one of the sites that discuss tools does a far better job than I ever could, so I am going to let them do the heavy lifting. In addition to the two sites already referenced, I recommend a brief article by Jon Dotson.

one Glass Sand Dish

My search attempts led to a wide array of sites, from a definition of sand-fish (even though I typed “sand dish”) to Parenting Tips on Family Identity Formation. It’s a good idea to light candles and place them in containers of sand – who knew? There were also numerous hits for kinetic sand . . . we used to have quite a bit of kinetic sand.

The Original Squeezable Sand You Can’t Put Down! (

1 small Oval Table Shattered

As is so often the case, one wonders why the appraisers even bothered. Perhaps they felt the table could be repaired – or the wood thereof repurposed.

  • Henry Hosiere, Kent County

5 lb. Hops

But not New England hops, mind you.

1 large Silver Tankard

This must have been a large tankard indeed – it weighed over 33 ounces and was valued at nearly £18. My far more modest pewter mug, for comparison, clocks in at 14 ounces. According to Hauser & Miller (Precious Metals Since 1909), silver is 1.425 times as heavy as pewter, ergo Henry Hosiere’s tankard was about 65% larger than mine.


  • Darby Shehawn, Kent County

a Set of Flukes

The fluke plot thickens. A set of . . . hoes of different sizes? Plows of different sizes? A hoe and a plow? (Probably not a set of a hoe, a plow, and an anchor, but you never know.)

  • Mr. Benja. Hopkins, Kent County
  • Edward Davis, Senr., Charles County
  • Thomas Wheeler, Charles County

a parcel of Lumber Iron

a parcel of Lumber wood

The second entry seems redundant – what is lumber, if not wood? As for the first, I assume iron hoops for barrels/casks/hogsheads, but that’s little more than a guess.

Charred white oak barrels filled with new bourbon whiskey and resting in a rack house.
  • John Fairfax, Charles County
  • Eliza. Fendall, Charles County – Additional Inventory
  • Mr. Robt. Hanson, Charles

1 Ink glass

I thought this could be interesting, but the Internet consensus seems to be simply an inkwell, albeit a glass one. All the search parameters I tried led to glass bottles that happened to hold ink, even as I wondered whether I might be missing an archaic object (maybe something alchemical, which would have been extra fun). That daydream ended when I found this quote from Villette, one of Charlotte Brontë’s novels, in which Lucy Snowe finds “comfort . . . tinging the black fluid in that ink-glass.” A nod of thanks to Deborah Lutz’s The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects, without which I would never have turned up this quote. [Not least because, I confess, I am not a fan of the Brontë sisters – although I did quite enjoy Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair.]

A small matter of Sallad Oyl

This entry is followed by Some Emetic, so I tried to discover if perhaps salad oil had some medicinal use in colonial times, but again the Internet results let me down – all I got was an overwhelming number of sites touting the health benefits of assorted vegetable oils. I did learn that ‘salad dressings have a long and colorful history, dating back to ancient times’ – at least, according to The Association for Dressings & Sauces. (Yes, that’s a real thing)

1 kilable Stear

Oh dear – flashbacks to the appalling discussion of cattle and feedlots in The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

  • James Angell, St. Mary’s County

a parcell of Tradesmens tools

As opposed to the next entry:

a parcell of Planters tools

  • Mr. James King, St. Mary’s County

one gold Lockit

  • James Simonds, St. Mary’s County

Another peek at wealth disparity in the 18th-century – the entire estate is comprised of:

1 old Saddle & bridle & whip

the Deced wearing Apparell

1 Pocket bottle & sleeve buttons

1 pair of Shoes & buckles

1 old felt hat

And valued at just £2.3, a stark contrast to David Thomas (up there with the silver watch and surveyor’s tools), whose inventory totals a mere £1045.88.

  • Loftis Bowdle, Talbot County

one box of spice Drawrs.

A spice rack, in effect.

Cut-To-Size Insert Spice Organizer for up to 50 inch Drawers
Cut-to-Size Insert Spice Organizer for up to 50 inch Drawers by Rev-A-Shelf

[I just can’t let that missing hyphen in Rev-A-Shelf’s caption slide – why would anybody need a drawer that’s only an inch wide, let alone 50 of them?]

  • William Jones, Talbot County
  • Joseph Howard, Anne Arundel County – Partial Inventory
  • John Thompson, Cecil County

some Wheat & Rye in the Ground

  • Thoms. Bavington, Cecil County


Next time we’ll begin with Dr. Peter Bouchell and his apothecary shop (although likely not until after the 4th of July – but I think you’ll find it’s worth the wait).

Deep Breath

A deep breath is needed before diving into Volume 22.  It’s another long one, so settle in.

  • David Peterkin, Dorchester County

16 Yards of Black Crape

Black crepe again — we really need to get some closure about mourning in colonial Maryland.

Two Trundle beds

1 underbed

If I had just seen 1 underbed, I would have assumed it was a trundle bed — but apparently they are two different things?

4 Wheat Hogsheads

Wheat is usually in bushels, and hogsheads are for tobacco, ergo this is odd.

  • Mary Cook, Dorchester County

By a Weeding Harrow given in and Appraised at 7/6 that did not belong to the Deceased as appeared afterward

More evidence of changes made after the initial viewing of the estate.

  • Thomas Mannyng, Calvert County
  • John Readin, Kent County

Sixteen Squirrel Sculps

one Crows head

Yes, squirrel scalps and the head of a crow. Both creatures were such a nuisance for colonists that the county court paid bounties for killing them. Many of the Somerset County tax lists, for example, include the number of squirrel heads as well as the number of taxable people in each household.

Somerset County Tax List for Wicomico Hundred, 1745     [Maryland State Archives, MSA C1812-19]

The first column is the number of taxables; the second is the number of dead squirrels [Sqs].  When the county justices compiled the year’s levy, Charles Ballard received payment for 26 squirrels. [I know that second household is headed by Charles Ballard. These are “my” lists — do you really want to challenge me?]

[I can also report that the squirrel and crow problem persisted well into the nineteenth century. Legislation passed in 1831 that I encountered just the other day included ‘An act to encourage the destruction of Crows, in this state.’]

two Swevell Stirrips

I needed a minute to decipher this; in the text stirrips looks an awful lot like turnips. But these are stirrups, and probably something similar to these. (Modern stirrups tend to be ‘swivel and lock’ which supposedly, among other things, ‘reduce leg burns’ – and having seen my equine expert’s occasional leg burns, I can assure you they should be reduced as much as possible.)

  • Mr. John Hall, Kent County

108lb gut fat

Blubber, I hope.

  • Mr. William Tidmarsh, Kent County appraised October 1736:

This inventory is a doozy. For starters, it includes nearly £74 just in silver:

1 large Silver bowl, 1 large and 1 small Tankard Do 1 Cann, 1 Salver 1 Punch Spoon and Strainer 1 Cup, 5 Tea Spoons, Strainer and tongs, 2 pepper box, 1 small Dram Cup and five Spoons all Silver

46 Silver buttons

1 pr Silver Spurs

1 pr Do and one Shoe buckle

1 Silver Stone Seal

Cash in Silver

Tidmarsh has a fascinating array of items above and beyond the silver, including jewelry and fine clothing and many luxury items like tea sets and enameled china and mahogany furniture. I was happy to see the BackGammon Table and Dice (being fond of backgammon myself), but my favorite entry is:

23 Punch bowls of Different Sizes

That seems excessive – even if Mr. Tidmarsh was running the 18th-century equivalent of a gaming hell (another Georgette Heyer reference), why would he need 23 Punch bowls?

One other thing about this inventory: As my occasional research assistant pointed out several years ago, this estate (valued at £464.83) includes only household goods and bound labor. That is to say, no livestock, no crops, and no tools – highly unusual.

  • Thomas Maxfield, Kent County

Here’s a good example of wealth inequality in colonial Maryland – William Tidmarsh juxtaposed with Thomas Maxfield, whose modest and largely uninteresting estate totals a mere £15.77.

  • Mr. John Ward, Anne Arundel County
  • William Mockbee, Prince George’s County

1 Saddle with cloth Housing and bridle

At last! I’ve been chasing the meaning of ‘housing’ in the context of saddles for weeks and kept coming up empty. The closest I could get was a couple of sites that sell Western saddles with custom back housing – in this example, the piece with ‘tan buckstitch trim.’

But by some strange alchemy of search terms, today I finally turned up – following a citation buried in the Wikipedia entry for harness saddle – this definition:

HOUSINGS or PAD-HOUSINGS, SADDLE-CLOTHS or SADDLE-LEATHERS, as they are termed according to their various forms, are made of leather or cloth and are placed under the saddle, the general outline of which they follow, but beyond which they extend on the sides.

Like Wikipedia, this source only discusses housings in the context of harness saddles. But it is clear to me that the housings in the inventories, with all their descriptive variation that I shall occasionally point out going forward, are essentially saddle pads. That was my hypothesis, but I am pleased to have it confirmed.

(For the record, the author of The Private Stable: Its Establishment, Management, and Appointments, has strong feelings about acceptable styles of housings; he also refers many times to housings used with ‘the panel-boot victoria,’ whatever that may be.)

  • Mr. Robert Magruder, Prince George’s County

This is a lovely inventory that organizes Mr. Magruder’s goods by location (for items in the house and the outbuildings, including the Cow Pen) or by type (e.g., Horses). One section is for New Goods; it lists one piece of cloth and:

5 m 6d Nails

8 m 10d Do

6 m 20d Do

And just what does that ‘m’ mean, you ask? From the context, it’s shorthand for 1,000 – using the line to distinguish the ‘m’ as a Roman numeral rather than a letter. Thus Magruder’s New Goods consist almost entirely of 19,000 nails.

The superscript ‘d’ denotes pence (which seems to make no sense, but the English penny is derived from the Roman denarius, and the ‘d’ symbol stuck).  Family Handyman offers a little tutorial on nail sizes billed as ‘The shocking truth about nail sizes!’ – but Wikipedia is more succinct, albeit less sensational.

  • Joseph Howard, Anne Arundel County

a parcel Nails Vizt 20d : 10d : 8d : 6d & 3d

There’s no quantity listed here, but Howard must have Magruder beat by a mile.  Howard’s nails were appraised at £13.45, which is almost exactly 1¾ times the value of the brand, spanking new ones in Magruder’s inventory.

½ part of an old Sain and Ropes

You may recall my trouble with ‘Sain’ in an earlier post, when the simplest explanation (a seine, or fishing net) did not make sense to me because the item was valued at £6.  Here we have the same spelling, but the half owned by Howard is only appraised at £0.65, so the full value (including the ropes) is still only about 20% of the value of the earlier item.  Could there really be that much variation in the quality of seines?

[There’s quite a bit of 19th-century Maryland legislation to limit seine fishing . . . just in case you are interested.]

  • Edmund Evans, Anne Arundel County

Here we get more about the process, and reasons why an additional inventory might be necessary. In her oath, Abigail Evans (the executor) states that the inventory includes everything that has come to her hands possession or knowledge except some Tobacco which is Shiped to England which she intends to Account for.

  • Capt. Burden Crosby, Calvert County
  • Thomas Summerset, Prince George’s County
  • George Drew, Dorchester County
  • William Shipley, Dorchester County

Nearly all of Shipley’s livestock was a shared investment:

the half of Eight cows

the half of four head of [Steers]

the half of five two year olds

the half of Six yearling[s]

half of three heifers

the quarter part of Six head of Cattle

  • Wm. Carman, Queen Anne’s County

2 old Bedticks

Not what you might be thinking (rest easy, my readers who hate ticks and fear bedbugs), but rather a crude mattress. [Curiously, neither Merriam-Webster nor my beloved 1970 edition of the American College Dictionary has a definition for ‘bedtick;’ I had to resort to Collins for verification.]

  • Mrs. Alice Murphy, Queen Anne’s County

1 Silk Housewife

I am not quite sure how I could have spent so much time immersed in the 18th-century (not to mention the Regency period) without learning that a housewife could be an object rather than a person. Many dictionary sites helpfully define housewife as a pocket-size container for small articles (such as thread).

  • John Bath, Queen Anne’s County

1 Dwarf Horse

According to Wikipedia – but without a source, so immediately suspect – by 1765 miniature horses were frequently pets of the nobility.  I doubt John Bath was noble, plus we are thirty years or so too early, so I think we can discount that explanation for his dwarf horse.  It is not entirely clear to me from my quick perusal whether a ‘dwarf horse’ could result from a random genetic mutation (like a runt, except not one of a litter), or if a horse small enough to be described as a dwarf would have to be the product of selective breeding. But either way, John Bath’s horse is unusual.

A demonstration image of a miniature horse working as a service animal.
  • John Droughton, Queen Anne’s County


That’s twenty inventories and time is a-wastin’. It would take me another twenty to get to Dr. Peter Bouchell, whose apothecary shop I dangled in front of the readers of Colonial Libraries; they will just have to check back in a few days.

And Volume 21 Thankfully Comes To An End

  • Mr. Samuel Gooding, Kent County
  • Mr. Leonard Brooke, Prince George’s County

13 yards and a quarter of Turkey Silk

11 yards ¾ of Green Camblet Spotted with silk

5 yards of mourning Crape

Aha – evidence that colonial Marylanders did wear black for mourning!

½ a Kitt of Shoemakers Tools

I interpret this as ‘half of the usual assortment of tools needed by a shoemaker’ – because the turn of phrase used by an innkeeper in Derbyshire who wanted to know ‘what kind of kit’ we had before advising us about hiking trails has stuck with me all these years. But I am also reminded of those bushels of oyster shells in kills (not kilts), and I started wondering if a ‘kitt’ could be either a unit of measurement or some kind of container. After skipping over several irrelevant hits (such as the site that will share Eartha Kitt’s height, weight, and other measurements), I found, a treasure trove with all kinds of random information. Lior (the saywhydoi-meister) shares this theory about why a pot of money is called a kitty:

“Around the 1300s, the Middle Dutch word “kit” (also spelled kyt, kitt, or kitte) referred to a wooden tub, barrel, pail, jug or tankard. If tools were put into this container, it became a toolkit, and if medicinal tools were put into it, it became a medical kit, but if money was put into a small container, it was just known as a kit, kitte or a kitty.”

This works well to explain the kit of shoemaker’s tools (and our hiking gear) but is less helpful for the oyster shells, which were already in bushels so why would they need another container?

  • Joshua Calvert, Prince George’s County
  • Thomas Holland, Prince George’s County – Additional Inventory

3 Hogs catch’d wild

Just a little reminder about those animals that are only located after the main appraisal.

  • Samuel Perrie, Prince George’s County – Additional Inventory
  • Peter Knight, Prince George’s County
  • John Capshaw, Charles County
  • Charles MacDaniel, Charles County
  • John Lewin, Charles County
  • Ignatius Luckett, Charles County – Additional Inventory
  • Mr. Thomas Warren, Baltimore County

a pair of small Cross Garnets

These turn up fairly often, and I have made a couple of half-hearted and therefore unsuccessful efforts to figure out what they actually are (or were). But this time I persevered, and I can now tell you (thanks to Merriam-Webster) that cross-garnet is an archaic term for a T-shaped hinge. (It was actually really easy to find this information; I don’t know what my problem was.)

  • Abra: Parkinson, Anne Arundel County
  • Mr. Richard Vowles, St. Mary’s County

part in a Grindlestone

This one always makes me think of Gellert Grindelwald, but it’s just another word for grindstone.

a flute Whone Razor and Lumber in the drawer

Not a fiddle, but a flute – less common, but still an instrument that shows up from time to time. And just in case you are up on your eighteenth-century tools and think the flute might be a fluke hoe, one of those is listed later in the appraisal. (It was actually really hard to find anything on the Internet about fluke hoes even though they are in inventories fairly often, but I did finally find this reference in an agricultural journal from 1839.)

  • Robert Clark, St. Mary’s County
  • Jacob Morris, St. Mary’s County
  • John Hayes, St. Mary’s County
  • Mr. Richd. Coade, St. Mary’s County

2 old fluke plows

Wait, is it a hoe or a plow? The sailors among you might also be wondering if it’s an anchor. Of the three options, anchor is by far the easiest to find online. The 1839 reference cited above is definitely about hoes, and yet this inventory entry is unmistakably for plows. I think all three are correct, and it’s a matter of context. (I should point out that the first Internet hit for ‘fluke plow’ is a site about ‘The Plow Anchors’ – which leads me to hypothesize that a type of hoe morphed into a type of plow which then was appropriated by anchors . . . but that’s still just a guess.)

  • Benjamin Gough, St. Mary’s County
  • John Barwick, Talbot County

4 ½ bushels of planting Potatoes

Potatoes again – they are shaping up to be a common item that I thought was unusual until I started paying attention.

  • Isaac Martain, Talbot County

4 bushels of planting Petatoes


  • John Loveday, Talbot County
  • Philip Kacey, Talbot County

half a pew in St. Peters Parish Church

Searching ‘pew’ gets you to the Pew Research Center and the Pew Charitable Trusts (I can just hear the NPR support promos), but fortunately Wikipedia has a concise history of church pews. The pew page (I like the alliteration) explains  that some congregations sold pews to underwrite the cost of building a church (which I already knew) but also says that “title to pews was recorded in pew deeds, and were used to convey them.” I have occasionally seen the ownership of a private pew bequeathed in a will, but I have not encountered a ‘pew deed’ – something to watch out for when (if?) I shift back over to combing through the Somerset County deeds.

  • Robert Skiene, Somerset County

22 Thousand 8d Nails

18 Thousand ten penny Do

2 Nail barrels

I did know that nails were sold by the thousands (although perhaps not usually quite this many) but I didn’t expect barrels just for nails. I have a vision of the kind of barrels that sometimes hold dill pickles. (Or is that just an old-timey fantasy courtesy of Cracker Barrel?)

Image result for pickle barrel

  • Mr. John Stevens, Somerset County
  • Thomas Tate, Somerset County

18 Packs Cards

Thomas Tate is giving us a run for our money, but I am confident that we have more (because we keep buying them as souveniers).


9lb Codd fish – followed by 46 [lb] dryed pork and 7lb Dryed beef

I need to find out more about this guy – where is he getting his cod?

2 Dozn knitting Needles

I think he has me beat in this category.

  • Peter Cearsey, Somerset County
  • Richard Harper, Somerset County
  • John Murry, Somerset County

6 Black chairs

I think you know what I’m thinking . . . but no, not chairs for funerals.

  • David Addams, Somerset County

three old Wheels almost useless

These are appraised in the same part of the inventory as casks, tubs, and canoes so we can be pretty confident that they are for carts, not spinning.

  • Mr. Thomas Haskins, Dorchester County
  • Thomas Haskins late of Dorchester County

This inventory is for his property in Anne Arundel County.

And that’s it for Volume 21.

Final tally, you ask?

364 inventories

545 pages

On to Volume 22 . . . which is nearly as long.