• Early Utica, NY, Settlers Receive Services from Local Tanner -- His Ledger-Journal

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    In this early 19th century tanner’s ledger-journal, likely from Utica, New York, 8 x 13 ½, about 90 pages with writing on both sides, we find hundreds of names of customers, the services performed for them and the charge for each service.  Bound by leather, the journal covers are lined with a May 11, 1819, front page of the Utica Patriot & Patrol, which was published from 1816-1821, proprietor Ira Merrell, leading us to conclude that the tanner resided in the Utica area, possibly Deerfield.

    The ledger-journal extends from 1820-1824.  Our unidentified tanner, repaired and created boots, shoes and dealt in veal skins, small calf skins, colt and hog skins. He accepted, on occasion, barter that included bushels of oats and received a fee for lodging to boarders. With charges ranging from under a dollar to a few dollars, our tanner provided services to hundreds of residents, each named with the service performed and the fee.

    Some of the names include many who were undoubtedly early settlers in Utica, such as Daniel Schermenhorn (making saddle and shoes .70), Cornelius Schermenhorn, Joseph Howe, David Crookshank (by boy and horse .50), Morton Wiser, Joseph Wow, Daniel Blew, Lewis Reed,  Warner Forbush, Jacob Forbush (mending your wife’s shoes), Werner Forbush (making two pairs of women’s boots $1.50), Morton Wiser (mending your girl’s shoes .19), Calvin Presson (making shoes for your girls .69), Joseph Coffin (making your boots $1.50).  Our tanner’s services were in great demand as many of his customers’ names appear repeatedly for additional services.

    Expected wear to this nearly 200-year-old record of early American business. Leather covers have some wear, ink blotching on some pages and some bleed through, expected toning and scattered staining, a few pages missing and a few have been trimmed. Back section is disbound from the main journal but intact and held together with black thread. This is a wonderful assemblage of early Utica and tanner industry history serving some very early Americans.

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