Overview: Sawmill/gristmill/horse-leasing operation located around Greenwich or Norwalk, Connecticut, possibly owned by Robert Brush. Includes accounts of barter, cash, and credit transactions, lists of what was produced and the materials used, and lists of customers and their accounts. Also contains 1818 settling of accounts of a deceased John Rundle and a court document.

Sawmill/Gristmill Ledger

1 volume
Call no.: MS 195
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way | Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275 | scua@library.umass.edu | 413-545-2780

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This double-entry ledger, from Fairfield County, Connecticut - probably Greenwich or Norwalk - chronicles barter, cash, and credit transactions of a sawmill/gristmill/horse-leasing operation/"store" from 1793 to 1819. The owner may have been Robert Brush.

The sawmill turned out logs, posts, timber, joists and studs, "planks for a cheese press", "planks for stable floor", "oak logs for siding", and "bords for horse cart". Woods used included oak, chestnut, basswood, maple, buttonwood, white wood, ash, elm, walnut, and hemlock. Numerous sawmill accounts are detailed and amongst them are the less numerous gristmilling transactions involving wheat, oats, corn, buckwheat, and rye. Listed separately in the book are apparent brood mare leasings.

Barter transactions in exchange for sawing include "2 days work at the gristmill", tanning a hide, "mending shews", "work on a bridell", making a stone wall, "carrying a lode of apples to cider mill", and whitewashing. Several accounts include work done by the son of the debtor. Barter in grains, vegetables, fruit, whiskey, vinegar, "5 pounds of mutton", a "pigg", a "hogshead of cider", "leasing of a peace of land to plant witt potato", a "pare of boots", "1 sider barrel", and 100 clams. Pounds and shillings predominate in the cash transactions, though interspersed throughout are transactions in dollars.

Among the many names mentioned is Philetus Phillips, relative of Dr. John Phillips, founder of Phillips-Exeter Academy. Others frequently mentioned include Ebenezer, Jacob, and John Labdell; Titus Reynolds; Thomas Vail; Jabez Fitch; Thaddeus Mead; Samuel Randall; Nemiah and Jessham Hanford; Nathaniel Close; John Knox; Abner Benedict; Thaddeus Starr of Danbury; Thomas Gill, Enemiah Stebig and Lewis Worstrup of Lower Salem, and Col. Bradley and Samuel Sherwood of Ridgefield.

The book also includes the 1818 settling of accounts of a deceased John Rundle by the executors of his estate and separately, but found within the pages, a document that charges defendants Obediah and Elizabeth Ackerly "to prove where plaintiff Thomas Westcoat overspent any part of his wages".

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.




Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Paige Briggens, March 1988.


Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Sawmill/Gristmill Ledger (MS 195). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Barter--Connecticut--Fairfield County--History--Sources.
  • Fairfield County (Conn.)--Economic conditions--Sources.
  • Gristmills--Connecticut--Fairfield County--History--Sources.
  • Lumber trade--Connecticut--Fairfield County--Accounting --History--Sources.
  • Mares--Connecticut--Fairfield County.
  • Sawmills--Connecticut--Fairfield County--History--Sources.


  • Ackerly, Elizabeth.
  • Ackerly, Obediah.
  • Brush, Robert.
  • Brush, Robert.
  • Rundle, John.
  • Westcoat, Thomas.

Genre terms

  • Account books.