Abisha Lincoln Daybooks

Overview: Born in February 1800, Abisha Lincoln kept a general store in Raynham, Mass., selling groceries, hardware, dry goods, shoes, and many other items to residents of the north end of town. Successful in business, Lincoln won election to local and state office and was followed into business by each of his three sons.

These daybooks from Abisha Lincoln record customer names, goods sold (such as groceries, hardware, dry goods, and shoes) and the form of payment: principally cash, with some local trade of agricultural commodities.

Background on Abisha Lincoln

Born in Raynham, Mass., on Feb. 27, 1800, as the son of Ambrose and Lois Lincoln. After marrying Lettice Green in Easthampton, Mass., at the age of 25, Abisha settled in Raynham and operated a general store from which he sold groceries, hardware, dry goods, shoes, and many other items to residents of the north end.

As his business prospered and his family grew, Lincoln emerged into local prominence. During the 1840s, he was elected a town selectman and to the state General Court. By 1850 he was worth about $3,000 and had three sons -- Edward H. (23), Charles D. (16), and Elmer (14) -- living on his farm, which Edward worked. A decade later, Abisha's real property was valued at $6,000 and personal property at an additional $2,100. Soon to inherit the store with his brothers, Edward took charge of the farm at that time while caring for his wife and three-year-old daughter. The younger sons also had married, each with a one-year-old child, and lived in their own homes. By 1872, according to the Beer's atlas, Edward and Charles had taken over the store in the north end, while Elmer operated his own store in the center of Raynham.

Contents of Collection

The three daybooks document the consumption habits of Raynham residents in the 1860s and highlight the general store business in a largely agricultural community. They also shed light on the costs of goods during the Civil War. One can also note the declining portion of business conducted through exchange. n 1861, for instance, James Lothrop paid his bill with two dozen eggs; Edward Tisdale with eight pairs of boots; and Thaxter Harvey with over 70 pounds of ham.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1989.

Acknowledgments

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Abisha Lincoln Daybooks (MS 233). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Consumer goods--Prices--Massachusetts--Raynham--19th century
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Raynham--19th century
  • Raynham (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Raynham (Mass.)--History--19th century

Names

  • Lincoln, Abisha, 1800-1863

Genre terms

  • Daybooks