Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fort Lewis Store inventory ca. 1766

I recently went through an old (first published in 1938) favorite, Kegley's Virginia Frontier http://books.google.com/books/about/Kegley_s_Virginia_Frontier.html?id=Bp0nOrLrPlYC and realized that I had forgotten it contained another back country store inventory for Alexander Boyd's store at Fort Lewis, Virginia.  Boyd had previously been paymaster for the Virginia provincials and as such his name pops up quite a bit in Colony records.  As described by Kegley (p325):

People  of the entire  community seem to have patronized this store,  and from the list of articles obtainable  there  no one needed to suffer from the lack of manufactured goods, or from the absence of raw materials  from  which useful articles  could  be made.     The  stock  of goods, amounting to  £1092/9/5 and farm  were mortgaged  to Alexander Baine, merchant  in Virginia, to secure him as  surety   for  Boyd  to  James  Lyle,  merchant   in  Chesterfield.  

The inventory contains numerous varieties of imported cloths such as  Camblett, Nankeen, Spotted Flannel, Bear Skin, Plains, Callico, Holland, Damask, Thicksett, Forrest Cloth and a wide variety of woolens, linens, silks and blended fabrics.  Household goods included blankets, ruggs, funnels, ceramics and kitchen vessels, a wide variety of books, 38 lbs of Copperas, and sewing notions. Hardware included over 30,000 nails ( 4D, 6D, and 20D sized),  hinges, tools, '100 pains Window Glass', Guns, powder, lead, a still and numerous other mass manufactured and imported goods.  Boyd's personal items included 'Indian Garters, belt, & 1 pr. Mockasoons' ( valued at 1/0/0), 3 Raccoon Hats [Hats made of Raccoon fur], 'Pistolls', 2  Old Guns, 3 Razors, his wearing apparel, a number of horses, cattle, furniture, Servants under indenture and Slaves.  An advertisement for one of his slaves, Phil; appears here:

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/ot2www-costa?specfile=/web/data/users/costa/costa.o2w&act=surround&offset=670008&tag=Runaway+Slave:+Virginia+Gazette+%28Rind%29,+Williamsburg,+July+18,+1766.++&query=alexander++boyd

As noted in the runaway ad, Boyd also ran a store in New London, where Merchant John Hook would later establish himself.  I highly recommend this book, which covers Hook's operation in depth:  http://books.google.com/books?id=J0P6rmhhP6IC&dq=Ann+Smart+Martin&ie=ISO-8859-1&source=gbs_gdata .  All in all, another interesting account of the wide variety of imported merchandize  available in the Virginia back country prior to the Revolution.