Textile Inventory from 1844

In going through the old papers from my husband’s family, I have come across an inventory from 1844, from his great-great-great-grandfather’s estate.

I don’t have the original, I am working from a Xerox copy that was probably made in the early 1960s.  I can’t decipher all the words — for example in this image, the first complete line says something like “1 baura,” and it was worth $5.00, whatever it was, but I can’t figure it out.

Also, sometimes things are grouped together in odd ways — like the line below that has “grapple coffeepot clock umbrella,” and altogether they are worth 50 cents.

Estate inventory with “bead steads.”

But the exciting thing to me was that there are lots of textile-related items.

There are two groups of bedding:

2 feather beads, 5 threads [?], 2 blankets, 2 sheets, 4 pillows, 2 bolsters and cases, 2 bead steads, 2 straw ticks — $14.00
3 feather beads, 7 old quilts, 4 old blankets, 4 pillows & cases, 2 straw ticks — $9.00

Sigh.  Seven quilts that were old already in 1844, what I wouldn’t give to see those!

Estate inventory with spinning wheel.

Other textile items:

8 yds of factory cloth — $4.50
11 yds of full cloth at the factory — $6.87
22 yds of carpeting at .62 per — $13.64
1 large spinning wheel — $1.50
16 flower bags — $2.50
1 wagon cover, 2 old quilts, 2 old sheets containing wool, feathers, and yarn — $6.25
1 lot of undressed flax basin [?] of wool — $.12
flax in bundle unbroke — $3.00

The “large spinning wheel” in the inventory would have been a great wheel, like this one from the Washington-on-the-Brazos museum.

To compare prices for the textiles and equipment to other categories, wheat was valued at $.50 a bushel, potatoes were $.25 a bushel, and oats were $.14 a bushel.  A mare was worth $20, a three-year-old steer was worth $7, and a wagon was worth about $20.

This man, Joseph Lanning, was born in New Jersey, but had moved to Ohio sometime after his marriage.  At the time of his death, he owned 22 head of cattle, 3 horses, 33 pigs, and 42 sheep, and “10 gees and a lot chickens,” but only one table and six chairs.  Lots of food items are mentioned in the inventory, including “2 barrels part full of vinegar,” and “one lot of baken and smoked beef,” but no clothing is mentioned. 

I really enjoyed seeing this glimpse of an ancestor’s life!