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Overview: By the turn of the nineteenth century, the Hampshire County town of Worthington, Massachusetts, was a significant crossroads on the Boston-Albany Turnpike, belying its small size. The population in Worthington peaked at 1,391 in 1810, declining to 1,134 in 1850 and slowly thereafter until rebounding after the Second World War. In 2016, the population stood at around 1,250.

This standard double column account book provides a concentrated record of financial and other transactions in the antebellum period, probably associated with a tavern in Worthington, Mass. Although the ledger's keeper is unidentified, it records an assortment of odd jobs filing saws, smoking meat, lending horses, carting, pasturing cattle, and tending sheep, along with the sale of significant quantities of beer and cider and a regular stream of hard brandy and rum. There are records as well of providing meals and, in one instance, caring for prisoners and their keepers overnight (p. 21). Most of the clients who can be positively identified were residents of Worthington (e.g., Persis Knapp, Chauncy B. Rising, Nathan Searl, Shubal Parish, Elisha H. Brewster, Addison D. Perry, Merritt Hall, and Otis Boies), however others are noted as wayfarers, passing through from towns such as Whately or Hadley. Clients settled their accounts with a motley mixture of cash, goods, and labor.

Worthington (Mass.) Tavern Account book

1826-1854
1 volume (0.1 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 421 bd
Special Collections & University Archives | UMass Amherst Libraries | 154 Hicks Way | Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275 | scua@library.umass.edu | 413-545-2780

Background

By the turn of the nineteenth century, the Hampshire County town of Worthington, Massachusetts, was a significant crossroads on the Boston-Albany Turnpike, belying its small size. The population in Worthington peaked at 1,391 in 1810, declining to 1,134 in 1850 and slowly thereafter until rebounding after the Second World War. In 2016, the population stood at around 1,250.

Contents of Collection

This standard double column account book provides a concentrated record of financial and other transactions in the antebellum period, probably associated with a tavern in Worthington, Mass. Although the ledger's keeper is unidentified, it records an assortment of odd jobs filing saws, smoking meat, lending horses, carting, pasturing cattle, and tending sheep, along with the sale of significant quantities of beer and cider and a regular stream of hard brandy and rum. There are records as well of providing meals and, in one instance, caring for prisoners and their keepers overnight (p. 21). Most of the clients who can be positively identified were residents of Worthington (e.g., Persis Knapp, Chauncy B. Rising, Nathan Searl, Shubal Parish, Elisha H. Brewster, Addison D. Perry, Merritt Hall, and Otis Boies), however others are noted as wayfarers, passing through from towns such as Whately or Hadley. Clients settled their accounts with a motley mixture of cash, goods, and labor.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Acquired from Dan Casavant, 2001 (2001-015).

Processing Information

Processed by Dex Haven, August 2010.

Digitized content

The Worthington ledger has been digitized and is available for viewing through SCUA's online digital repository Credo.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Worthington (Mass.) Tavern Account book (MS 421 bd). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Taverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Worthington.
  • Worthington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century.

Genre terms

  • Account books.