Tavernkeeper’s account book

April 18, 2007 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Sometimes in the archives world I feel as if I am in a time warp.  Yesterday it was the Connecticut’s 9/11 Memorial Board and today, I am back in the 18th century!  A very recent purchase is an account book kept by Ichabod Brewster of Lebanon, Connecticut from 1752-1762.  Yes, another account book, but Brewster kept a tavern and probably did business with nearly the entire population of Lebanon at one time or another.  Among the libations he sold–filip, punch, cider and rum in any size from a dram to a pipe to a gill.  Only occasionally is there an entry for oats (so the horses did not get much, it would seem).  He appears to have delivered liquor to events as well as serving at this tavern.  He bills people for rum “at the election” or “at the coal pit.”  I know I read in my history books back in high school that rum was often present at elections–often to woo voters one way or another–but it is another thing to see an entry from an account book of the time that mentions the fact.

As a side occupation, Brewster was a cobbler so there are numerous entries of repairing and making shoes sprinkled among the liquor.  He also sold sugar, molasses and butter.  Many of the accounts were settled with cash, which seems unusual, but there are still a number in which individuals paid with their labor or service.

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