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                                Thomas Arvin                    

                                                                                            Part 1 – Colonial Times   



                                        The tenants on Lord Baltimore’s manors were fortunate to have secure

                                        tenures and low annual rents....But their life was still exceedingly

                                        difficult...and [they] could do little to improve their situation or to ensure

                                        something better for their family.                   —Gregory A. Stiverson

                                         Poverty in a Land of Plenty, Tenancy in Eighteenth-Century Maryland





     Thomas Arvin was born in the Kingdom of Ireland to a poor tenant farming family about 1725. Although there is no direct proof, circumstantial evidence indicates that he lived his early life in or close to the area of Ireland in which his clan had lived for centuries: Upper Ossory in County Laois. The single piece of documentation that we do have about his origin refers only to his nationality. It’s a biographical sketch written about his great grandson, James P. Arvin, for a county history book published much later. “James P. Arvin was born in Washington County, Ky., January 31, 1828, and is the son of Harry Arvin, born November 7, 1787, in Maryland. His grandfather, Edwin Arvin, was of Irish parentage.”1


The Family Name


     Arvin was not Thomas’s traditional family name. It was a shortened, English-sounding version of his Gaelic family name. Most Irish names had by this time become, of necessity, altered to suit the English ear. The Dictionary of American Family Names states that Arvin is “Probably a variant of the Irish ‘Irvin,’” which in turn is said to be “Irish: reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic ÓhÉireamhon, ‘son of Ó hÈireamhóin,’ a personal name of uncertain origin.”2 This alteration might have taken place gradually over several generations, but more likely it happened abruptly in a specific circumstance, such as when it was required by an English-speaking landlord or tenement steward. Perhaps it was even Thomas’s grandfather and father who had decided to allow the family name to become simply Arvin, at least for purposes of dealing with the ruling class, “the Ascendancy.” Ó hÉireamhón [oh AY-ra-vohn] means literally “of the descendants of Éireamhon.” It had been drawn from Irish mythology, derived from Éremón in Middle Irish, the name of the first Milesian (sons of Miled) king of Ireland. All later Irish kings claimed descent from him.3 Circumstantial evidence indicates that the name may have initiated with Áed Ó h-Éremón, who was bishop of the monastery of Kildare late in the eleventh century.
     As a boy Thomas may have learned some English, but Irish was the primary language of most of rural Ireland at this time. “English being taught at all the schools, it is understood by most of the younger part of the lower classes; but there are many persons, and particularly women, in the hilly districts, who cannot speak a word of English....The common people seldom speak any other language [than Irish] among themselves....The priests often preach alternately in Irish and English; but always in Irish, if they are desirous to be well understood.”4

     As mentioned, no records about Thomas Arvin in Ireland are known to exist, although there is a record of another Thomas Arvin (not the subject of this sketch) standing as godfather on 30 June 1800 for a Thomas McDonell, son of Patt and Fergy McDonnell of Kilmison, when the child was baptized in the Roman Catholic parish of Borris in County Carlow.5  It’s possible that both that Thomas Arvin and the Thomas Arvin who is the subject of this sketch may both have been Roman Catholic, as three quarters of the mere Irish were. And this makes it even less likely that his family generated any genealogical records. As Catholics, they would have been subject to the Penal Laws in Ireland. At the time when Thomas was a child and young boy, the King of England, George II, Hanover, ruled both the Kingdom of Ireland and the United Kingdom of England, with Wales, and Scotland: Great Britain.  The English had attempted to subjugate Ireland for centuries, both legally and militarily. The Penal Laws excluded the Irish Catholics from concentrating their land holdings, voting, seeking office, seeking public employment, religious assembly, and other activities. So, as you might expect, few if any records exist for Irish Catholics.

    The vast majority of Ireland was agricultural, and Thomas probably grew up in grinding poverty on the small acreage which his family farmed. They were probably barely able to pay the rent on their place. As Thomas grew to his majority, he came to realize that there were simply no opportunities for him in Ireland. “There was no mystery about the causes of the emigration, the lord lieutenant of Ireland wrote in the summer of 1773: rack renting, landlords’ absenteeism, and the collapse of the linen industry....The whole of Ireland was reported to be pitifully impoverished, hence naturally a source for emigration. Ulster was assumed to be better off than the Catholic south and west of Ireland—a land universally reported to be swarming with beggars, the peasants living so wretchedly in cabins no better than pigsties that the sight of them made the hearts of even the most frivolous travelers ache with pity—but the difference between north and south was believed to be marginal: just enough to make migration possible. The question, witnesses reported, is not why the Protestant Irish turned to emigration as a solution of their miseries but why they did not leave in greater numbers than they did....Accounts from Scotland...and northern England, stressed some of the same causes of migration—precipitous raises in rents; collapse of local industries; landlords’ absenteeism, though not on the scale of Ireland; the almost universal belief that ‘North America is the best poor man’s country in the world’; and the knowledge that transatlantic transportation was commonly available.”6  “Artisans and small farmers hovered always on the margin between subsistence and want, uncertain of their jobs, uncertain of their scanty holdings of land, not knowing when they might be depressed into the ranks of the wholly destitute. During those centuries the class which we know as the proletariat was in process of formation.”7 

     A great famine—An Gorta Mór—gripped Ireland in 1740/41. “It may all have started a year previously and on the other side of the world: great volcanic eruptions on the remote Kamchatka peninsula pumping thousands of tons of dust into the upper atmosphere, may have been sufficient to upset the meteoroligical equilibrium of the northern hemisphere....No definite scientific explanation for the extrordinary climatic shocks that hit Europe between December 1739 and September 1741 has as yet been advanced. In Ireland these twenty-two months of bizarre weather were without known precendent and defied conventional explanation....out of a population of around 2.4 millions...between 310,000 and 480,000 people may have perished as a result of the crisis.”8 “The general respite of the poor from the tyranny of famine ended abruptly in 1740. The preceding winter had been one of the three most severe winters of the century and ruined the Irish potato crop. Famine in its most acute form, not a mere shortage of provisions, followed and, though its visitation was a comparatively brief one, it left tens of thousands of dead in Ireland as a grim reminder of nature’s uncertainty and of Ireland’s helplessness....This particular catastrophe was confined to a single year, though its memory and after-effects must have had repercussions on Irish emigration for some time after that...the will to emigrate continued to be focused by the seemingly inexorable advance of rents, periodic visitations of famine and growing contacts with the American colonies.”9

    So Tomás Ó hÉireamhón, spurred by extreme poverty in his homeland, decided to go into white servitude in order to get to America, circa 1745, when he was about twenty years old.  Many others in the United Kingdom were doing the same thing, and had done so for nearly a hundred years. “White servitude as it existed in Maryland and the other colonies was only a modified form of the system of apprenticeship which had been in vogue in England for several centuries preceding. The wide use of this system of labor during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries accounts in great measure for the readiness with which persons in later years entered into a contract of servitude in order to reach the New World.”10       





        The usual way for a poor man in the British Isles or the European continent to get to the colonies in America was to agree, in writing, to become a servant for a set number of years to a master who would pay the costs of his arrival in the new country. The agreement was called an indenture, and the other party to the agreement was usually an agent of some description. “The agent might be some ship captain or merchant or emigrant agent, who would draw up a contract in duplicate on a large sheet of paper, which was then torn or cut in half, the cut being referred to as an indent; from this indent the term indenture was derived for the contract itself.”11  The servant was entitled to one copy, and the agent would retain the other copy and could then assign the indenture to a master in America when the transaction was completed.

     Every year, thousands of servants came to America, especially to Maryland. These immigrants were mostly young, unmarried men in their early twenties, and they have been referred to by historian researchers as the “unfree” labor force. “The destinations of this unfree labor force among the immigrants were found to be highly selective. The indentured servants were not migrating to all, or even to most, of the British colonies in America. About 90% of the entire group went to only three colonies: Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. More striking still, over half of them went to only one colony, Maryland, where no less than 97.2% of all registered immigrants were unfree. Maryland, to judge by these figures alone, must have had some special role as a labor market...”12  This special role was that “...the tobacco colonies of the Chesapeake offered, in return for service, land that grew a crop with ready buyers, a crop that required no more than an ax and hoe and a man’s strong back.”13  The perfect place for a poor man. No entry capital required, and there was a strong demand for labor.

     “Scotch-Irish and Irish started coming in large numbers in the 1720’s, and they furnished by far the largest percentage that century....Estimates indicate that not less than 50 per cent and not more than 66 per cent of all white immigrants belonged to th[is] group. They were to be found in every colony, but the smallest number was in New England, and the largest in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. Because most of these voluntary immigrants had been farmers in the Old World, and because agriculture in America needed laborers, it was only natural that the majority of servants...should complete their service on some farm or plantation.”14  “Beginning in 1728, a vastly increased movement from Ireland began, and by far the greatest numbers of servants...came from that country in the eighteenth century.”15  “‘A writer in the Dublin University Magazine for 1832’ calculates that from 3,000 to 6,000 annually emigrated in these years [1725-1768]”16

     “The economic importance of the servant in developing the resources of the colonies, especially the middle colonies, can hardly be overestimated. All the provinces were essentially agricultural, but the large tobacco plantations of Maryland and Virginia made a large supply of cheap laborers more necessary there than in the northern colonies. Maryland’s geographical position made her especially dependent upon the labor of servants and convicts. She formed the border line between the plantation system of the South and the diversified industry of the North, and possessed, therefore, many of the characteristics of both. Her soil and climate were especially adapted for large tobacco plantations, which created a great demand for laborers; but, while Virginia and the other southern provinces depended very largely upon slave labor at an early date, it was many years before slaves in Maryland took the place of white servants. The combination of the plantation system of the South with the labor system of the North made servant labor in Maryland a very important factor. Maryland early became one of the leading tobacco-growing colonies, and continued to hold her place in the first rank throughout the colonial period.”17

     Specifically, here is the way indentured servitude worked in Ireland: “The second party to an indenture was usually the captain of the vessel in which the servant sailed: this facilitated the taking out of indentures in Ireland and their sale in America though, in effect, the captain’s role was that of an agent for his owners or for merchants in Ireland or America. Servants had to appear before a magistrate to be indentured before embarkation. Not only had indentures to be signed with the formality required by the law, but such appearance was necessary under statutes relating to apprentices and minors. Though no reference to the procedure of indenting servants appeared in the Belfast News Letter, such references were common in advertisements in the newspapers of the south of Ireland....Intending applicants for passage were warned that no servants or apprentices would be taken without proper discharge from their last employers or without the consent of their parents or relations or their husband or wives. The examining and indenting of the servants was to take place in public before the lord mayor of Dublin.

     “It was customary for servants to receive some clothing after their indentures had been signed. Such promises as ‘servants will be completely outfitted and clothed’ were often included in shipping advertisements....Intending emigrants were warned that servants were bound for a period of years to an imperious landowner whose only object was to ‘derive a profit from their misfortune, and to aggrandise himself at the expense of industry in distress. The lot of the servant was compared unfavourably with that of the convict or negro....Judged by modern standards, the bartering of a transatlantic passage for years of servitude is reprehensible, but such servitude was the foundation on which many who endured it built a more successful life than would have been possible in Ireland....not a few became owners of holdings and became, in turn, masters of indentured servants. Servitude in the hope of real freedom was preferable to the shackles of high rents and recurring depressions: temporary bondage in heaven was preferable to a false freedom in hell.”18

     “It is plain that the servant himself was grievously exploited, for he was generally not sold for the cost of his passage, as is often stated, but for a considerably higher figure. If he could have begged or borrowed five pounds, he might have paid his own passage to the plantations and then, if he desired, have sold himself into servitude, keeping the profit for himself. Few servants could raise the money, and few who could do so cared to spend it in emigrating, for the real stimulus to emigration was not the desire of servants to go to America but the desire of merchants to secure them as cargo....a merchant who spent four to ten pounds getting a servant to America could count on selling him for from six to perhaps thirty pounds. This was a comfortable profit, despite the large risks that sickness and death might scale down the value of the cargo, but it was not exorbitant, for the time involved in these transactions was long and the total value of any shipload not great.”19 

      Most likely Thomas left his homeland from the port of Dublin, but New Ross in County Wexford is also a possibility. Even smaller ports and the larger creeks could accommodate a transatlantic sailing ship. “Anyone who chartered a vessel and sent forth a venture had full right and opportunity to collect as many passengers as he could. Servants sailed from every important port in the British Isles, but by far the greatest number came from London, Bristol, Liverpool, Dublin and Cork, and doubtless it was the merchants of Bristol, Whitehaven and Liverpool who controlled the trade from Ireland. Even colonials occasionally participated. Samuel Galloway of Maryland, for example, brought over one or two cargoes of servants each year during the early 1750’s and sold them in West River.20


     No matter where Thomas left from, it is easy to imagine a tearful scene of goodbye as he bravely left his family and his homeland, never to be seen again. He probably had no possessions other than the clothes on his back and a canvas travel bag. His parents caught a glimpse of him as he boarded the ship. A brief look back, then he was gone below decks and gone from them forever.



Passage to the New World


     The transatlantic passage itself was very dangerous and exhausting. “A speedy passage was ardently hoped for by all emigrants and was as ardently promised by the agents of all vessels. As the voyage lengthened, rations were reduced, adding to the dangers and discomforts that all emigrants had to face. The average duration of the transatlantic voyage remained fairly constant in the eighteenth century….Given favourable conditions, the voyage lasted for eight to ten weeks….The stay on the emigrant vessel sometimes did not stop with the entry into an American port. Any vessel on which fever had broken out during the voyage had to ride in quarantine until the danger of infection had passed....

     “All vessels that advertised passages from the north of Ireland to America before 1775 stressed the abundance of provisions that would be supplied to emigrants, but....In only one case did an advertisement detail the quantities of provisions....



                                These are to certify to all people that choose to take their passages on

                                board Britannia….the following allowance of provisions and

                                water will be, per week, faithfully given to each passenger viz. Six

                                pounds of good beef (which was put on board said ship at Cork)

                                six pounds of good ship bread (brought from Philadelphia in said

                                Ship) or six pounds of good oatmeal, as the passengers may choose

                                to take; one pound of butter, or a pint of treacle or molasses, and

                                fourteen quarts of water.



     “Provision other than meat and breadstuffs were carried...potatoes—‘large, not washed, but dried in the sun and not cut in the digging’—and rum which was sold on board many emigrant vessels in the ’seventies at 3s 9½d per gallon.”21  We shall see later that Thomas Arvin pays about this same price for rum purchased at a store in Maryland where he traded.

     “Emigrants were never fed on a princely scale during the voyage but actual starvation was the lot of but a few who sailed from the north of Ireland to colonial America….starvation and thirst were usually due to calms and westerly gales….Port-holes to provide ventilation and light in the often overcrowded space between decks were usually non-existent in emigrant vessels of the period….Not only did emigrants sleep between decks: there they ate and washed in bad weather, sang and wept, chafed under and obeyed the petty tyrants in their midst, and rejoiced for the newly-born and mourned for the dead.”22

     “The mortality rate during the voyage was often high and the selling price of the indentures of the servants who remained was often reduced by disease. A glut of servants naturally reduced the value of indentures during years when emigration trade was busiest….”23




     Mixed in with the indentured servants who came to America, and especially Maryland, there was always an undesirable element: convicts who were reprieved of serious crimes and shipped off to the colonies to serve a term for their crimes, usually for seven years.  “...dispossessed farmers and others who had taken warning from the writing on the wall were to be found on board most emigrant vessels, side by side with ‘the very meanest of people.’”24 These convicts were referred to mockingly as, “His majesty’s seven year passengers.”  

     Maryland was especially the dumping-ground for English jails, and received more convicts than any other plantation on the continent...A contemporary, in 1767, estimates the number imported into Maryland for the preceding thirty years at 600 per annum.”25   

        One such convict was a James Arwin(sic), of Rotherhithe (a town near London), who was “sentenced to transportation” to America at the Surrey Quarter Sessions in January 1764.26 However, it is not known if he was related to Thomas or any other Arvin.

      “ is evident that felons were reprieved and transported from Ireland to the plantations after 1661 in much the same manner as from England. The Lord Lieutenant issued the necessary reprieves and pardons. By an act of the Irish Parliament passed in 1704, judges acting with the grand juries were permitted to respite the execution of certain classes of felons and allow merchants giving security of 20 to transport them to the plantations.”27

     Although Ireland also had its share of convicts, “...only 270 convicts were transported annually from Ireland between 1737 and 1743...”28

     “The most famous comment on the problem was [Benjamin] Franklin’s proposal—published after a crime wave, perpetrated in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania chiefly by convict servants, was luridly reported in the press—that the colonies should be authorized to ‘transport’ their rattlesnakes to Britain in exchange for ‘the human serpents’ sent us by their ‘mother country.’”29      

     We cannot dismiss the possibility that Thomas was a transported convict, since we have no real evidence of the circumstances of his departure. However, judging from the life he was to lead, it seems improbable that he ever committed a serious crime. Quite the contrary, Thomas would prove himself a very capable and ambitious servant, and later a faithful husband and the father of a large family.  



Arrival in Maryland and a New Life


     Thomas may have arrived in the New World in the year 1745. Being Irish would have been to his disadvantage, and a handicap for him to overcome. “At first the religious liberty in Maryland drew large numbers of Irish to that province. They became so numerous that the Protestants became alarmed and imposed heavy duties on Irish servants, in order to prohibit their importation. The first duty was imposed by the act of 1696....These laws greatly lessoned the number of Irish sent to Maryland, but...some, ‘like the wheat-fly, showed themselves in spite of precaution.’”30

     Although Thomas Arvin could have been delivered to any number of small towns anywhere along the Chesapeake Bay or along the Potomac and its tributaries, the capitol city of Annapolis was the main port of entry at this time. (In Alex Haley’s Roots, the slave Kunte-Kinte arrived at the Annapolis dock in 1767.) Baltimore Town, founded in 1729, had fewer than 200 residents and twenty-five houses at this time and was just starting to gain in stature as a center for trade. “The papers record the arrival of large numbers of servants and convicts at Baltimore and Annapolis, but these records are fragmentary and incomplete. Hardly a ship arrived that did not bring from twenty to fifty and sometimes one hundred indentured servants or convicts.”31  According to figures tabulated from the Naval Officers Returns for the port of Annapolis, immigration of servants from Ireland numbered 218 for 1745, 124 for 1746, and 29 for 1747. (Almost all convicts also entered at Annapolis during this time, but for these three years there were only 28 arrivals.)32


     “As the servant ship approached the shores of America its cargo received what furbishing up was possible; faces were washed, hair cuts administered, and perhaps clothes put in slightly better condition. A clean list was made of the names and accomplishments of surviving passengers, and perhaps also the equipment with which they were furnished. Sometimes a little fraud was practiced; convicts were adorned with wigs to increase their respectability, and fictitious handicrafts were credited to some of the cargo. Usually the captains of ships made contact with their owners’ representatives on shore, and entrusted to them the selling of servants, but this was by no means necessary.

     “In later days a merchant might insert into the local newspaper an advertisement of his wares, giving more or less information about the kinds and qualities of servants available, and announcing the date for the commencement of sales. This practice was common, but by no means universal, and most shiploads were disposed of without any such assistance. Upon the appointed day buyers came aboard the ship. The servants were produced from their quarters; the prospective purchasers walked them up and down, felt of their muscles, judged their states of health and morality, conversed with them to discover their degrees of intelligence and docility, and finally, if satisfied, bought them and carried them off home. The whole scene bore resemblance to a cattle market; a number of servants afterwards compared themselves to horses displayed for sale. Towards the end of the colonial period ‘soul-drivers’ took over part of the trade, coming on board ship and buying considerable groups of servants, then driving them through the country ‘like a parcel of Sheep,’ and selling them here and there to the best advantage.’

     “However distressing to the dignity of men the purchase of servants may have been it was nevertheless the accustomed thing, and they had no particular reason to resent it...”33

     “‘As nearly all indentures were negotiable they were regularly disposed of at auction or private sale. The following is an example of the notices which appeared in the papers whenever a servant ship appeared in port:



                                                                    Just Arrived


                                          In the ship Sofia, Alexander Verdeen, Master, from

                                                    Dublin, Twenty stout, healthy Indented

                                                                  Men  Servants

                                          Whose Indentures will be disposed of on reasonable

                                                   Terms, by the Captain on board, or the sub-

                                                              scribers  .  .  .’  etc.



     “The price received for servants varied according to their skill, age and other personal qualities, but the average price for adults seems to have been about ₤15 to ₤20.”34

     “Scottish servants were esteemed the best and Irish Catholics the worst. Scotch-Irish were much more highly esteemed...The average selling price of a male servant indentured for four years was about 12 in the middle of the century and rather less for a female servant. The price was probably less in the southern colonies because of the relative cheapness of slaves. As the expense of clothing and indenting a servant amounted to a maximum of 2, a gross profit of 10 was made, at least twice the passage money for a paying passenger.”35  



Philip Key


        It seems most likely that Thomas’s indenture would have been purchased by a planter living in the established tobacco growing regions of Maryland, namely the lower western shore, which has become known as Southern Maryland. And although evidence is scant, Thomas’s new master just might have been Philip Key, called by Governor Sharpe, “a Gentleman of considerable Fortune & good Abilities” in the colony.36

      Philip Key, born in London in 1696/97 and educated there as a lawyer, had come to America about 1720 and had advanced steadily in His Lordship’s patronage in Maryland.37 He had practiced law in both St. Mary’s and Charles Counties, and by 1728 had begun to serve the first of what became five terms in the Lower House of Assembly, which met in Annapolis. He had also served in several local offices in St. Mary’s and Charles Counties, and by this time, 1745, was High Sheriff of St. Mary’s County as well.38  As a member of the aristocracy of the province, he was considered “gentle,” and was an Esquire. But most important to our story, he was in Annapolis quite often at this time, had bought other servants and slaves there, and was quite familiar with the indenture-buying procedure.

    Mr. Key had several properties scattered throughout the province and doubtless needed much help: slaves, indentured servants and overseers. Mr. Key “lived in great elegance at Bushwood Lodge,” an early colonial plantation in St. Mary’s County that had once been part of St. Clements Manor. It was the dowry of his wife Susannah nee Gardiner. This was part of the very same manor that had originally been patented by Dr. Thomas Gerrard, one of the first “churgeons” of Maryland, and his wife Susannah Snow. Dr. Gerrard was the very man to whom John Arvine [real name John Army] had advanced “blew tradeing cloth” back in 1640! 

     Mr. Key was quite successful, perhaps in part because he was an “enlightened” master. As an example of his thinking, consider this advertisement he ran in the 1 November 1745 edition of The Maryland Gazette and the 7 November 1745 edition of The Pennsylvania Gazette. The ad seeks the return of a black indentured servant who was actually not a slave. (See also The Maryland Gazette for October and November 1748.)



                                         WHereas Negro Joe, who formerly lived with Samuel

                                              Ogle, Esq; when Governor of Maryland, as his Cook,

                                         about 13 Months ago ran away from the Subscriber (who was

                                         then at Annapolis ), and has since been on a Voyage in one of

                                         the Privateers belonging to Philadelphia, and is since returned


                                               These are to desire any person who can apprehend the said

                                         Negro, so as he may be had again, so to do; for which on ac-

                                         quainting me therewith, they shall be rewarded with the Sum

                                         of Five Pounds Current Money.  Or if the said Negro will re-

                                         turn to me at my House in St. Mary’s County , he shall be

                                         kindly received, and escape all Punishments for his Offence.

                                                                                                                          Philip Key.



Good Fortune


     If Philip Key did indeed purchase Thomas’s indenture and become his master, it may have been one of the most fortunate circumstances that could have befallen the new arrival—at a time when he needed fortunate circumstances the most. For, as a new arrival in the New World, he was now quite vulnerable. And Irish at that. He may not even have been fluent in English yet.

     “Despite the benevolent eye of the colonial authorities, the life of the indentured servant was not an easy one nor was it free from exploitation at the hands of his master. The lot of the servant, especially in Maryland, was made more unpleasant by the intermingling of convicts and servants and the lack of differentiation between them in the public mind....Whipping and branding and the parading of erring servants in chains were unenlightened punishments, but it must be remembered that the same unenlightened punishments were meted out to apprentices in Ireland.”39

     “[The servant’s] social position, which for many years differed little from that of the freemen of the time, [had] gradually deteriorated with the increase of convicts and the growth of slavery. [They] labored side by side, the servant for a term of years, the slave for life, and the tendency was for many masters to treat them all alike.”40

     “The status of an indentured servant was that of chattel of the master, protected by the terms of his indenture, the ‘custom of the country,’ and the right of appeal and complaint to a county court or to the magistrates of the locality. He, or rather his service as expressed in the indenture, could be bought and sold freely….He could be alienated temporarily by his master so that his services might pay off a debt, or he could be taken by the sheriff for the satisfaction of his master’s debts. He could be disposed of by will; his own freedom might be left him as well. He might be won or lost in a card game. A servant was subject to corporal punishment for various offenses....

     “A servant could not marry without the consent of his master. He could not vote. He could hold property, but must not engage in trade....if he earned money in his spare time it must be given to the master. If he ran away, he was brought back under the auspices of rigorous laws and suffered heavy penalties. Although the point was not often discussed, the colonists felt that masters had property in the labor of their servants, and that the master’s rights were thus property rights,—a theory which became important only when the king’s officers took to enlisting colonial servants in the royal army.

     “Whether property or not, indentured servants were Christian and they were white, and hence they were protected against arbitrary and unnatural cruelties, as well as against insufficient maintenance and other injustices, by the right of complaining to the magistrates.  [These rights] indicate plainly the great difference in status between an indentured servant and a slave.”41           

      “Servants commonly lived in huts or cabins which they built for themselves; apparently they never lived with the Negroes, though the two worked side by side in the fields....Trees had to be felled, trimmed, and dragged away. Brush had to be cleared, and the soil had to be turned for the first time without benefit of good plows and sometimes even without draft animals....It is plain that work in the fields was required of all servants. This is what they were primarily wanted for....”42

      “Various types of servants can be distinguished….Rarely was any criticism leveled against the Scots….Irish were the least favored, and some colonies taxed or even forbade their importation. This was partly because of their religion, which was held to be politically dangerous, but mainly because of their tendency to be idle and to run away. Jefferson wrote that many of them were ‘good for nothing but mischief’; we read that they ‘straggled’ in Bermuda, that they rioted in Barbados, that they would never settle down to an obedient servitude, satisfactory to their masters. Welsh were highly esteemed. Germans came in for little criticism....”43

     “The willingness of merchants to recruit and finance potential servants, and the willingness of planters to purchase them, was tempered by the risk of losing them to illness, death, or running away.”44  In his book, Voyagers to the West, author Bernard Bailyn shows us a photocopy of a Ledger Book wherein a Capt. Charles Ridgely of Baltimore County records his expenses in tracking down two runaway servants in 1775, a John Arven and a William Jones. But we know nothing further about the runaway John Arven, including whether he is related to Thomas Arvin.45


       Although early indentures specified a term of just four years, some immigrants came to the colonies without the protection of a written indenture at all, and they had only “the custom of the country” to limit their terms of service. “Five years soon became the usual term for a ‘custom of the country’ servant of mature years....Earliest of the many laws on this subject which have survived is one passed at the first Maryland assembly in 1638/9, which provided that menservants over eighteen were to serve for four years and under eighteen until they reached the age of twenty-four....To avoid abuses under this act another was passed in 1654 requiring that servants considered to be eighteen or under should be brought before a court and registered, and their ages judged by the magistrates.”46  This is what happened to Thomas’s future father-in-law, Edward Darnall, who came to Maryland from England in 1688 without the benefit of a written indenture:



                                   Edward Darnoll servant to Mr. Phillip Lynds [Lynes] being according

                                   to act of Assembly brought hither to hand [have?] his age adjudged

                                   for Conveying to this country without indenture it is adjudged by ye

                                   court hereupon bein’ of ye said servant that he is seventeen years of

                                   age and ordered that he serve his said master or his assigns according

                                   to act in that case made and provided.47


    Phillip Lynes, who had recently become the innkeeper of the ordinary next to the Charles County courthouse, may have been increasing his staff at this time. Edward, found to be younger than eighteen, therefore had to serve for seven years rather than five years.



     The first year of a new arrival’s time in America was described as a time of “seasoning,” of getting used to the new climate, with all its contagions and diseases. “Of all those things which caused misery to white servants, the first and most important was...simply the climate of the country in which they landed....If the unfortunate immigrant did not perish of the ‘bloody flux,’ he was apt to be taken off the ‘dry gripes,’ while malaria, until the use of  ‘bark’ was understood [a source of quinine], wrought havoc among all. A period of one year was supposed to ‘season’ the new arrivals, and servants partially immunized to the climate sometimes brought a higher price than newly imported ones.

     “...Hours of labor, furthermore, had to be suited somewhat to climatic conditions. Three hours [of rest in the heat of the day] was the rule in Maryland. Saturday afternoons and Sundays were free from labor in all colonies, and in Maryland at least masters were haled into court for working their servants on the Sabbath.”48

     Not everyone adjusted well to their new homeland. Henry Callister, former indentured servant and now a clerk on the Eastern Shore, wrote home to friends:



                                           Imprimis, The Country being altogether wild & savage at

                                      the first discovery, it was found to be an immense forest, full of

                                      Vermin of various sorts and sizes. European merchants have

                                      found it their Interest to introduce a new brood of Vermin wch

                                      they keep the Country supplied with, viz. Cats, Dogs, Negroes,

                                      & Convicts. We are swarming with Bugs, Musketoes, worms of

                                      every sort both land & water, spiders, snakes, hornets, wasps, sea

                                      Nettles, Ticks, Gnats, Thunder & Lightening, excessive heat,

                                      excessive cold—irregularities in abundance, I mean according to

                                      our Notions of regularity; Great variety of strange Birds, Beasts

                                      & fishes, trees & plants. Nothing less than a whole Volume

                                      could give you a Catalogue of the rarities of this new World.

                                      The best Character of the Country, I think, is, that the indus-

                                      trious ma live very well here; those that love pleasures, but

                                      poorly; & no Encouragement for Thieves—This is the Purgatory

                                      of Rogues & Fools.


                                                   Our fires are wood, our houses as good,

                                                   Our diet is Sawney [bacon] and Homine,                        

                                                   Drink, juice of the Apple, Tobaccoe’s our Staple

                                                   Gloria tibi Domine 49



     But Thomas Arvin was one of those who managed to survive his seasoning and apparently adapted to life as an indentured servant. And it was as an indentured servant that Thomas learned how a tobacco plantation operated. Perhaps it was indeed Mr. Philip Key, Esquire, a progressive planter using motivation rather than discipline to achieve his goals, who purchased Thomas’s indenture. And perhaps Mr. Key put Thomas to work on one of his several properties, tending the tobacco that was everywhere—it seemed to be the colony’s very reason for existence. And perhaps Thomas impressed Mr. Key as being unusually motivated and good natured, despite being mere Irish. Mr. Key may have recognized young Thomas’s enthusiasm and potential, and made sure that he advanced in responsibilities and authority during his five years of servitude. “For the ambitious and intelligent servant, his term of servitude was by no means time lost. He became seasoned to the colonial climate, if he did not perish first, and he became accustomed to the modes of living and working which colonial conditions made necessary. He learned the best methods of farming, and the system of marketing farm products. He made acquaintances which might be worth something to him among the planters of the vicinity….a decent master often gave his servant a plot of land, or even a few beasts, which he could have in possession during his servitude, and which would build him up a small substance before his term was over.”50 

     “There were many advantages to voluntary servitude. Servants...provided perhaps the greatest immigration agency of the colonial period. They also ultimately formed the backbone of the colonial middle class, without which America would not have become strong. The indenture system not only saved many persons from imprisonment for debt and other cruel punishments in England, but also relieved the mother country of some undesirables. The system was the source of a goodly percentage of skilled and unskilled workers in America, who contributed to the well-being of the colonies. And, what has been generally overlooked, it was a factor in education. Thousands of servants were taught to read and write, and thousands more were given vocational training; indeed, this system has been referred to as the first large-scale program of vocational training, and it was undertaken without any assistance from a governmental agency.”51

     “Perhaps it was a fortunate thing that pioneer conditions were as difficult as they were, if there is any truth in theories of heredity, for the weak, diseased, and unenterprising were not preserved. The strong and competent survived, and if this manner of separating sheep from goats put too great a premium on sheer physical health, that at least was something well worth distinguishing and preserving. There was a speedy winnowing of the vast influx of riffraff which descended on the settlements; the residue, such as it was, became the American people.”52    



Freedom,  Marriage,  Sharecropping


     At long last, about 1750, Thomas’s five years of indenture was nearing an end. And he was not alone. “If, as the Maryland census of 1755 reported, there were then approximately 9000 indentured servants including convicts in that colony, something like 2000 of them were being released from their bonds every year.”53

     It had always been the responsibility of the master to provide food and shelter for his servant during indenture, and upon its termination to provide something for the servant to help him get started as a free man. So, if Mr. Key was Thomas’s master, it was now time for him to pay Thomas his freedom dues. “...all servants were to receive ‘freedom dues.’ These freedom dues were payable to the servant on the expiration of his term of service and, in the seventeenth century, usually included about fifty acres of land as well as corn, clothing and a musket. By the eighteenth century, these dues were discharged by a money equivalent and gifts of clothing.”54

      But perhaps Thomas had justified Mr. Key’s faith and confidence in him, and had proved himself to be a capable servant, and perhaps Mr. Key welcomed the opportunity to continue an association with Thomas when he became free. If so, Mr. Key might just have done more for Thomas than simply pay him his freedom dues. He might have set him up with some land leased from Lord Baltimore, to be worked under a share-cropping arrangement. He might even have made Thomas an overseer of other workers on this property.

     First, a little background. The Calvert family, holders of the hereditary title “Lord Baltimore,” had been granted the colony of Maryland as a proprietary by the King of England in 1634.  Since then they had consistently developed it, and its land had gradually increased in value over time. “The Calverts made provisions for sharing in the increase in land values by setting aside specific tracts of land known as proprietary manors….The proprietor had the option either to sell the manors as the price of land increased or to lease land on them to persons who were unable to acquire a freehold....the Calverts were primarily interested in the long-term revenue potential of the the end of the colonial period the proprietor was the largest landlord in the province.”55  In all, there were twenty-three manors in Maryland, including six in St. Mary’s County (where Mr. Key lived) and three in Charles County.  

     So Mr. Key—fifty-four years old and in his fourth term in the Lower House of Assembly—knowing that Thomas’s indenture was about to expire and perhaps knowing he was competent, likeable and ambitious, may have set up a lease in one of his Lordship’s manors specifically for Thomas to farm or perhaps even to oversee. “...the abler servants were in great demand as overseers as the plantation system developed and they were also often offered favorable sharecropping terms...”56

     Mr. Key must have always been on the lookout for good help. “From the beginning, the problem of the people who took up big tracts was to find labor to work them, and particularly overseers to operate the separate units….It was hard to persuade servants to stay on and work for a former master. A few, it is true, were willing to stay on a crop-sharing basis until they were able to buy tracts of good size….Washington did not have any overseer or manager he could really trust with his estates when he left to take command of the Revolutionary Army.”57  It was the same everywhere in the tobacco colonies. “Employers tried to hire people known for their ‘Sobriety, Industry, and Integrity,’ their ‘knowledge and fidelity,’ but performance did not necessarily match expectations, as Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer learned to his dismay. As a proprietary official Jenifer frequently was absent from the county, and in 1769 he hired an overseer to manage his plantation there. The man signed a contract in which he promised to be, ‘Dilligent, faithful, honest, and Industrious.’ Yet he repeatedly rode off on Jenifer’s horses and ‘left the Negroes without any Control or Direction’; embezzled hogs, corn, and tobacco; and ‘Corrupted one of the Slaves’ by convincing him to lie about who owned the tobacco. Even when at the plantation, the overseer managed poorly—or so Jenifer thought after once finding him ‘Shut up in the House at ten O’Clock in the Day time after being out all Night and on another day discovering him ‘playing Cards with Negroes’ from the neighborhood.”58 


     Thomas, who was now about twenty-five years old, probably would have readily agreed to a sharecropping partnership. The days of being granted land as freedom dues were long gone, and this was a way to begin freedom. “Renting a plantation also offered a means of starting out, and working for shares of the crop furnished still another. The distinctions between sharecropping, renting, and leasing were never clear-cut, so that considerable room for negotiation always existed between interested parties.”59

     We know that Mr. Key did negotiate a lease on a certain Lott No. 34 of Zachiah Manor in Charles County from the proprietor, Lord Baltimore, and that the lease began on Christmas Day, 1750. The annual rent was set at 1 and 10 shillings per year, and the term was to extend over the life of his youngest son, Francis Key, who was Clerk of Cecil County.60  (Lord Baltimore allowed leases on his manor lands to be set for a term extending over the lifetime of up to three persons designated by the lessee, or over a set number of years.) Perhaps Mr. Key and Thomas Arvin had indeed arrived at a sharecropping arrangement, whereby they agreed to split the proceeds of the crop harvest between them. One could even imagine Mr. Key stopping by Zachia Manor from time to time on his way to and from the capitol to visit Thomas, check on his progress and encourage him. Visits like this might have caused quite a stir in the manor. And, since nearly all the tenants in Zachia were generally too poor to have servants or slaves, the possibility of Mr. Key (a wealthy man who did not live in Zachia) having been Thomas’s master seems therefore strengthened.


     And if Thomas did began living in Zachia Manor in 1750, it was here that he first met the young lady who would become his wife—Miss Sarah Darnall. As it happened, Lott No. 34 adjoined Lotts No. 36 & No. 42 to the north (as shown on this plat of Zachiah Manor made in 1789), and those lots were in the possession of a certain Edward Darnall, his wife Sarah and their family. As stated earlier, and according to Darnall family history, Edward Darnall had also come to the province of Maryland as an indentured servant in 1688. He had married into another English family—the Roby's—and had settled in Charles County.61  Several Roby’s still lived in Zachia Manor and were leasing lots there.

     Edward Darnall and his wife Sarah nee Roby had a large family. The children’s names were John, Edward, William, Isaac, Thomas, Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth. The order they were born in is not definitely established, but Darnall family history does explain that the first-born son of the family, John, had died tragically as a young man in 1735; he had drowned while crossing the Patuxent River at the age of 30.

      Lord Baltimore’s records show that the young Edward Darnall, now the oldest living son, would take out his own lease in Zachia Manor, Lott No. 54, in January 1754. And Thomas Darnall, age 36, was at this time taking over the operation of Lots 36 & 42 from the father, who was almost eighty years old. Thomas Darnall’s wife was also named Sarah (maiden name McQueen.)62   


     We don’t know why Philip Key chose to lease this land in Zachia Manor rather than somewhere else, but Charles County was certainly familiar territory to him. He had been admitted to practice law there and had been the Clerk of Indictments of Charles County in his younger years.63 And he had to ride through the county periodically as he went back and forth from Bushwood to Annapolis. Perhaps it was close to his usual route, and he could conveniently check in with Thomas from time to time. The lease was relatively cheap—Zachia Manor had the poorest soil of any of Lord Baltimore’s manors. And Lord Baltimore’s leases were on better terms than private landlords could afford to offer.

     Whatever the reasons, Mr. Key’s placing his former servant on Lott No. 34 of Zachia would turn out to be another very fortunate circumstance for Thomas Arvin, because he met Sarah there. Thomas might have appeared to Sarah like a knight in shining armor, newly freed and working or even overseeing for the famous Mr. Key. Thomas Arvin soon became Sarah’s charming new neighbor living just to the south! 

     The year of young Miss Sarah Darnall’s birth is unknown (she may have been older than Thomas), but we do know that her father had recorded a cattle mark for her and her older brother, Thomas Darnall, with the county court on 14 December 1726.64  “Maryland planters generally made no attempt to restrain their animals, letting them run loose in the woods year around….General roundups were necessary every spring so that planters could mark the young animals by notching ears and branding hides…” And almost everyone had livestock, and even “The poorest families...kept about 10 cattle, 2 horses, and 8 swine.”65


     So at this pivotal time, about 1750, after working off his indenture and now free, Thomas Arvin “made his addresses” to Miss Sarah Darnall. They soon married. Although we have no documentation, we rely on Darnall family traditions to substantiate the event, which was probably a civil ceremony. “The clergy were so few that marriages were in general performed by justices of the peace.”66 (Although the preface to the Maryland State Archives, Vital Records - Marriages, section states that civil marriages were not legal in Maryland until 1963.)





      This sharecropping arrangement with Philip Key may have lasted to the satisfaction of both parties for a few years. But, although the evidence is indirect and insubstantial, it appears that Sarah and Thomas may have eventually become restless or dissatisfied with it. They had the growing needs of a growing family, and may have sought a better life for themselves. So they decided to strike out on their own.

    The timing might have been decided by the death of Sarah’s father, who passed away in 1754. They probably relocated northwest, to newly organized Frederick County, which had been set off from Prince George's County a few years earlier and was rapidly developing as prime tobacco country. The new county began at the confluence of the Potomac and Rock Creek and stretched off 150 miles into the vast frontier of the province. It now had 14,000 inhabitants, second only to Baltimore County. “...a considerable number of settlers of the same British nationality and type as on the tidewater took up land and established themselves in the Maryland west....Frederick county enjoyed natural advantages of fertility and climate which the tidewater did not have.”67                               

     Sarah’s older brother, Edward Darnall, now lived in Frederick County with his wife Priscilla and their family. They had apparently abandoned Lott No. 54 in Zachia Manor and had already moved north before Thomas and Sarah did. Edward was doing well there, and even owned his own land. He was a “freeholder.” He may have helped the Arvins get started, although we have no record of where either family lived at this time. We do know that Edward Darnall was one of the freeholders who petitioned the governor in 1756 to have All Saints Parish, impossibly large in size, divided because it encompassed almost the entire area of Frederick County.68

     Thomas and Sarah probably could not afford to buy any land, and therefore could have rented from a private landowner in Frederick County. As you might expect, there are no surviving records of a private transaction such as this still in existence. Or perhaps they simply squatted on unoccupied land. “Others might choose to make for the frontier where they could squat without the costly formalities attendant on surveys and registration.”69  “It is hardly surprising that some settlers left for other colonies and others squatted on the frontier—or wherever else they thought they could make two or three crops before being discovered.”70    

     The Arvins might have lived a few miles up into Frederick County (present day Montgomery County), north of a little town named after the king—George Town—newly established on the east bank of the Potomac River in 1751. This was great tobacco growing country. The Arvin’s probably located fairly close to the Potomac, and below the falls, since they had to get their tobacco to market via the river or one of its tributaries, or via a “rolling road” over which the casks of tobacco were rolled to the river wharfs.

     Thomas may have traded at a store in George Town, and here’s the rationale. As we shall see later, Thomas would trade at another store managed by a certain Scotsman named James Brown, in Piscataway Town. Now, Brown was also a partner in Cunninghame, Brown & Company, which had a store located at George Town.71  So perhaps Thomas had also traded with Brown when he was at George Town. Planters were very loyal to their storekeepers. “Because most of them were chronically short of cash, tenants were usually forced to market their tobacco through storekeepers who would extend them credit for needed store goods during the year. The storekeeper’s dual role as crop purchaser and merchant created a strong tie between him and the small planter.”72  (It is also possible, although less likely, that Thomas may have sold his tobacco crop by consigning it to William Molleson, a Baltimore merchant who also operated a store at George Town.73  But selling on consignment was usually practical only for the larger planters, not poor farmers like Thomas whose production was small.)





     Typical of the times, Thomas and Sarah had a large family. They had a child, a son, whom they named Elias, born in late 1750 or early 1751.74  His name in Irish would have been Oillil (AHL-yil), meaning sprite or elf. And this leads to an interesting speculation. If Sarah and Thomas followed either the English or the Irish naming pattern, they would have named their first-born son after the father’s father. Thus, Thomas’s father’s name could also have been Elias Arvin. But because of the loss of records in Ireland we cannot document this.

     Another child, also a son—Elisha—was born in late 1752 or early 1753. Perhaps he also was named after someone in Thomas’s family back in Ireland.75  Later evidence indicates that the two boys apparently stayed close their entire lives.

    Another child was probably born about 1755; perhaps this was their son Thomas, Jr.76  And they must have been blessed with daughters amongst the sons as well, although there are no written records of them. (No doubt one of the daughters would have been named Sarah after her mother and grandmother.) We have no written records of any of these children’s births, which would help to definitely place the family in Frederick or Charles Counties at this time. But we do know that Thomas and Sarah had yet another son born in January or February 1757, who was named Edward Darnall Arvin either to honor Sarah’s father or her brother, or both. Edward Darnall Arvin would later state on a pension application decades later that he was born in this area of Maryland, and this is our best evidence of the family’s presence there. Still another son, Joshua, was born later.


     The Arvin family was very poor. “The big incomes came from selling land at mounting prices, from trade, and from job-holding in the higher ranks of government. Some men [like Mr. Key] managed to achieve all three. But for every man in these prosperous classes there were perhaps 50 who were either in bondage or merely managing by hard work to support their families on a limited scale, almost entirely by farming and farm work. And the only cash crop of the great majority was tobacco.”77  But poor or not, these southern families took care of their children. “...the apparent niggardliness of some Massachusetts patriarchs toward their grown children is in stark contrast with the attitude of the Chesapeake parents. Perhaps it was the likelihood of early death that led the Marylanders to settle their children with sufficient land and other means as early as possible in order to protect them....They sought not to bind their children to them but to enable them to stand on their own feet, and to do so while still in their teens, if necessary.”78 

     Growing tobacco was a family affair. “...everybody in a planter’s family, except among the gentry, had to toil over the money crop. As an anonymous visitor of 1705-06 explained:


                                                 ‘...the cheifest Comodity which is so much

                                                 Looked affter is Tobacco which imploys all

                                                 hands in every Family.  for with that they

                                                 by there slaves and white servants as also

                                                 theire Cloaths and all there liquors as Wine,

                                                 Brandy, Rum, Stout English Beere, etc: and

                                                 also Cattle horses sheep, and they likewise

                                                 buy there Land with itt.   there is more

                                                 Paines taken to raise itt than any one thing

                                                 in the world again.’”79 





         “Most tenants in [the lower Western Shore manors ] lived in diminutive frame dwellings [such as this replica of a 1771 poor tenant family’s house at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run] with little else on their leaselots except a tobacco house, one or two outbuildings, and an orchard.”80  Many of these dwellings had an upper half story. “An upper story, a ‘loft’ if reached by ladder and a ‘chamber’ if by stairs, was over the parlor and open to the hall.”81  “Part of the house would perhaps have been ceiled over with planks to make a storage and sleeping loft. Unshucked ears of corn, flitches of bacon, strings of onions and apples hanging from the rafters, a few tools not currently in use—these might be stored out of the way overhead. The hearth warmed the entire chimney stack, which radiated some of the heat to anyone sleeping nearby. Although comfortably snug in winter, lofts such as these would be unbearably close and hot in the summertime.”82  “As the preferred roofing material, shingles replaced thatch despite their voracious appetite for nails. A well-made thatch roof will long outlast one of shingles, if a fire does not intervene, but repairing a shingle roof is a simple matter.”83      

     “In short, the average proprietary tenant...lived in a very small frame house covered with clapboards [boards split thinner on one edge than the other, which allowed them to be nailed horizontally to the wall posts and insulated with ‘nogging]. His dwelling measured about sixteen or eighteen feet wide and twenty-four feet long. The fireplace that dominated one end of the house had a chimney constructed of wood and clay....The ground floor of the house was divided into two, or at most three, small rooms….Part of the floor might be covered with planks, but the remainder of the floor was probably nothing but packed earth, especially at the end of the house where sparks from the fireplace caused a greater fire hazard....In physical appearance, the average tenant’s house lacked any suggestion of architectural refinement; it was cheaply and unskillfully constructed, and it was ugly. Little wonder that travelers so rarely described the dwellings of the poor people in Tidewater Maryland—they were a blemish on the landscape.

     “Most tenants cooked in the open or over a fire in their dwellings, not by choice but because they could not afford to erect a special building for that purpose.”84  “The poorer planter families worked and slept in the same room in which they cooked and ate. There was only one woman to handle the cooking and laundry chores until a daughter grew big

enough to help.”

     “Crowding was common, by our standards. There may have been as many as four people to a bed in the poorest families...probably half the households lived in just one or two rooms...with some members sleeping on the floor by the hearth at night....[those with] the necessary resources [had] the soft feather bed set on a lattice of rope strung between the sides of a crude oaken bedstead. This, together with a few chests and trucks, a table and benches, made up the required complement of necessary furniture. Without these, [a] Marylander would have felt deprived. With them, he had the luxury of choice, and added sparingly to the contents of his house.”

     “The houses of the Maryland planters, then, tended to be small, inconspicuous, and inconsequential. Built entirely of green wood, they required frequent repairs, and became virtually uninhabitable after a decade unless they were substantially reconstructed. Since they were inexpensive to build anew rather than repair the old, with the additional advantage that one could relocate closer to fields under current cultivation. A process such as this eventually left a scattering of abandoned houses in various stages of decay for shocked visitors to moralize about. Throwaway houses became a new American tradition….Perhaps the most appropriate adjectives to apply to the Maryland life style are, ‘simple and unaffected.’ One is tempted, however, to add ‘crude, untidy, even dirty.’ The smaller houses must have been crowded, particularly when the weather drove everyone indoors. Certainly they were drafty and cold in the winter, insect-ridden in the summer.”85





     Maryland was one of the most backward of all the English colonies as to the opportunities offered for education. It was difficult to get teachers for the poor salaries paid, and those that were secured were often incompetent and unfitted by character for their responsible position. It seems that quite a number of the teachers were indentured servants. A contemporary writer, even as late as 1773, said that ‘at least two-thirds of the little education we receive are derived from instructors who were either indentured servants or transported felons’...there is enough evidence to show that the schools in this province were exceptionally scarce and poor. One reason for this was that in the eighteenth century the teachers were required by law to be Anglicans, while most of the people were dissenters. In 1750 the lower house of the legislature of Maryland pronounced the schools a failure. The governor in an official statement made in 1763 said that there was not a good grammar school in the province.”86    

     “The educational situation in Maryland was not by any means wholly a result of scattered character of the farms. Basically, the trouble was a general indifference, for, with horses running wild, any farm boy would have had a chance to reach a school if his parents and their neighbors had been anxious to support one. Some of the gentry did send sons abroad for an education...and around the middle of the eighteenth century a few small private boarding schools...became available for boys whose parents were well-to-do. Some families may have had tutors, though none have been as yet discovered….No such services, nor anything like them, were available to the lesser freemen’s sons and illiteracy long continued in Maryland into the Federal period. “If the situation was bad for boys, it was even worse for girls; few if any, even in the families of the gentry, had any formal education.”87



Prosperity in War,  Depression in Peace


     The Seven Years War began in 1758. It was called the French and Indian War in America—a confrontation between France and England over control of the western frontier of this continent. It created a classic boom economy in the English colonies, and a trade imbalance with their mother country, England. “Indebtedness was nothing new in Maryland, but it reached a new level between 1759 and 1763, when Maryland planters and merchants acquired a long-term imbalance: they imported far more than they produced or could pay for, made purchases far in excess of the value of their crops or sales. Planters in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, Prince George’s, and Talbot counties selling on consignment to the London house of William Molleson, for example, each owed about 15 sterling; numerous smaller planters carried debts of 6 or 8 with Molleson’s stores in Bladensburg, Georgetown, and Pigg Point in Anne Arundel County.”88

     During this war one of Thomas’s young neighbors across the Potomac in Virginia, George Washington (born in 1732), had risen in rank from major to colonel in the Virginia militia (a sort of auxilliary to the British Army.) After the war, he had resigned his commission and retired to Mount Vernon, on the western bank of the Potomac across from the mouth of the Piscataway River. 

     Maryland, like Virginia, supplied some troops for the French and Indian War. One of those troops was a William Arvin, whose relationship to Thomas Arvin is unknown, but he was likely related. William is listed on the Roster of Maryland Troops, 1757-1759.89  “The Maryland Troops were present with Captain Dagworthy at Braddock’s defeat; they suffered severely  at Major Grant’s defeat near Fort DuQuesne, September 14th, 1758....”

     William Arvin is listed on the “Muster Rolls of Maryland Company of Fort Cumberland by Francis Ware” from 8 November 1757 until 8 October 1758, when his death on 14 September 1758, was recorded. These troops were to be paid 9 pence a day for their service, as recorded in the roster compiled from 53 of these muster rolls. Francis Ware Sr., born 1732, is later known to be a resident of the Port Tobacco East Hundred. He rose to colonel and second-ranking officer in the Maryland Line for a time in the War for Independence. Thomas’ son Edward Darnall Arvin was also in the Maryland Line.


      Back in England, King George II died in October 1760 at Kensington Palace in London. He was buried at Westminster Abbey. His son had predeceased him, and so his grandson ascended to the Hanoverian throne of England as King George III. The War ended in 1763, but its end compounded a depression in Europe, which spread to America the following year. Many provincials were overextended. In attempting to pay their debts, the poor planters simply tried to grow more money

in the form of their cash crop, tobacco, even though more production meant a lower overall price in the marketplace.

“...their relative poverty would have acted to spur them on to produce more tobacco, not less, when its price foundered, even though the ultimate result of such effort was to worsen the glut, at which point one might not be able to sell the crop at all.

     “If no one would take their crops, the planters’ families could not obtain the things they depended on the market to provide: clothing, shoes, tools, nails, powder and shot, or salt—to name only the most important. Their reliance on imports made them critically vulnerable to shipping interruptions of any kind as well as to cyclical downturns in the market. So long as anyone would take their tobacco, they were lured into staying. If no one took it, they were not only destitute but helpless.90

      “...oversupply led to a fall in the Continental tobacco market, a drop in prices paid Maryland growers, and the failure of many Glasgow trading houses....Dutch bankers after the peace of 1763 tightened credit. London firms called in their own debts to meet demands, and soon the shock wave struck Maryland debtors. ‘Every honest fair trader fail’d more or less on my right and my left,’ explained Henry Callister, (the clerk from the Eastern Shore, who had had such a hard time adjusting to the New World) a factor who had gone in merchandising himself and by 1765 was ruined. ‘It is madness now to sue for debts. If people are not able to pay you must let them walk away or stay to defy you.’”91

     Compounding these problems, Parliament was struggling to meet the costs of paying for the war and maintaining a standing army in America, as had been done in Ireland for nearly a century. It came to the conclusion that the costs should be born by those being protected. It settled upon a measure which would require a crimp embossing, or “stamp,” on all contractual papers in order to make them legally enforceable. This act, called officially called The Stamp Act, descended upon the colonies at the worst possible time. “Thus the Stamp Act—a principal British measure to recoup costs of the French and Indian War through taxation, and through it to confirm parliamentary jurisdiction in the colonies—landed among Marylanders like a thunderbolt.”92  The Stamp Act, coming in the midst of the depression, would trigger the start of something which would grow to be very significant—the American Revolution. John Adams would later observe that, “The Revolution was in the hearts and minds of the people” long before the War for Independence began. This was the start.


     “The tobacco trade had rallied, after the adversities of war, in a brief advance of 1763, but in 1764 it dropped into a severe decline which was marked by both falling prices and diminishing expectations...From the great and the lowly alike, there was but one report, that of depression, in 1764 and 1765. The councilor, Benedict Calvert, wrote to his uncle, the secretary, that ‘our trade is ruined we are immensely in debt, and not the least probability of getting clear. Our gaols [jails] Are not half large enough to hold the debtors, upon every road you ride you meet people going from different parts of the province to get out of the way of creditors. I can venture to say that the people of America were never in such a distrest situation as they are at present.’”93



Back to Zachia


      As a consequence of the depression commodity prices plummeted, and times were rough for small farmers like the Arvins. In addition to this, there had grown up a fear of attacks in the frontier from both the Indians and the French, and this had a strong psychological effect on everyone in Frederick County. Thomas and Sarah may have decided that, all things considered, it would be best to relocate to a safer area of the province. They may even have had to default on a lease to a private landlord. “The tenants of private landlords, who by the mid-eighteenth century were often forced to pay rents that exceeded the annual income from their cash crops, moved from place to place in search of land and economic opportunity, but the number who attained these goals constantly declined.”94  For the family to survive—Elias, their oldest, was only twelve—Thomas and Sarah would have to fall back on the help of Sarah's family down in Charles County and simply start over. Perhaps Thomas sought out his kindly old master, Mr. Key, to see if they could again work out a sharecropping arrangement. Perhaps he would be willing to take them back and let them work his land as they had done in the past…

     So with the assistance of Sarah’s older brother, Thomas Darnall, and his family, the Arvin family returned to Zachia Manor. Zachia Manor, which had the poorest soil of all his lordship's manors. It was home and there were no alternatives. It would have to do.


     And apparently the compassionate Philip Key, now sixty-seven years old, did allow his former servant Thomas Arvin, now close to forty and with a large family, to return to old Lot 34 and to sharecrop it once again. Most likely this would have been in the spring of 1764.

    Philip Key, Esquire, had become more influential in the colony—and wealthy—than ever. After having “quitted and made room for his son” in the Lower House of Assembly,95 he was now a member of the Upper House of Assembly. And he was not only the Presiding Justice of St. Mary’s County, but also a member of the court of appeals for Maryland—the Provincial Court—which met in Annapolis.96  In addition, Governor Sharpe had repeatedly urged his appointment to fill the next vacancy on the Council of State, and Lord Baltimore had assented. (In a letter dated 21 August 1763, the governor writes to Lord Baltimore that, “In consequence of His Lordship’s pleasure signified to me, I have advised old Mr. Key of his being appointed a Member of the Council & shall, when he comes hither next month to the Provincial Court, introduce him to the Board to be qualified.”)97 “Old Mr. Key” would henceforth be referred to as “the Honorable Philip Key, Esquire.”

     Holding public office helped make him a wealthy man indeed. “ 1754, the average income of each member of the council from his several offices was about 372 currency...the fees of office in 1774 were at least fifty percent greater in value than they were in 1754.” (There was a price to be paid for holding high office, however. “The lord proprietor, Frederick, seems to have thought the income of some of the members of the council large enough to ask four of them to contribute, at first 250, and later 400 each year toward the salary of Secretary Calvert.” This contribution was called a “saddle.”)98    

     Mr. Key still held his lease on the manor land, which consisted of approximately 300 acres.  And after Thomas had gone to Frederick County he may have had other sharecroppers on it. Or it may have simply lain vacant all this time. Now the Arvin family was returning, and the Honorable Mr. Key allowed them to re-establish their homestead there, which was probably along the north side of the lot, where there was running water. “Dressing branch,” ran easterly into the “Zachia main fresh,” which itself ran south to the Wicomico River.

     Best of all, Thomas and Sarah Arvin and their family would again be neighbors to Thomas Darnall (now age 50 or so), and his wife Sarah Darnall. Their two lots to the north contained a total of 245 acres. The Darnalls, with their children John, Elizabeth, Samuel, Isaac, James, Thomas, Mary and Nancy, probably lived along Dressing branch as well. With these three lots there was probably was more land than the two families needed or ever could make use of, even if it was poor quality. “In colonial parlance, plantations were the cultivated parts of one’s holdings. A relatively small proportion of a Maryland farm was under cultivation at any one time, the rest being in woods that provided timber and fuel, or in bramble-covered discarded fields whose soil had been exhausted by tobacco, or tobacco and corn.”99  Thomas and Sarah could now try to get their lives back in order again.



Death of Philip Key


      But the Honorable Philip Key, Esquire, died on 20 August 1764. He had been in good health the prior year, as he mentioned in a letter to his second eldest son Edmund Key (who would soon become Attorney General of Maryland.)100  We don’t know exactly what happened, but for the first time in over twenty years the Assembly did not meet. “The small-pox kept the Assembly from meeting in 1764.”101  Now he was gone, and all his business affairs were left hanging, including his sharecropping arrangement with Thomas. Here is his obituary, as published on the front page of The Maryland Gazette on 30 August 1764:



                                                             A N N A P O L I S,   August 30.

                                                          On Monday the 20th of this Instant, Died, at

                                                         his Seat in St. Mary’s County, in the LXVIIIth 

                                                         Year of his Age, the Honble PHILIP KEY, Esq;

                                                         one of the Council of this Province.  He was a

                                                         truly pious and devout Christian, an affectionate

                                                         and tender husband, and indulgent and fond Pa-

                                                         rent, a humane Master, a warm Friend, a friend-

                                                         ly Neighbor, and a most agreeable and chearful

                                                         Companion.  His Death is sincerely lamented by

                                                         his Family, and all his numerous Friends and





      “In his will he disposes of a very large and landed personal estate.”102  In fact, he disposes of an estate worth more than 7,000, with sixty slaves, an unknown number of indentured servants and over thirty properties containing as much as 11,000 acres of land, including “‘my manor land in Charles Co. near Zachia, 300 ac.” which went to eldest son Richard Ward Key.103   He names three of his sons, Richard Ward Key, Edmund Key and Thomas Key, as the executors, with instructions to them to “collect money due me and divide into 8 equal parts” to be paid to the family members he names. But despite their best efforts, the executors may not have been able to manage Mr. Key’s complex business affairs as well as he had done himself, or perhaps without his personal touch. As we shall see, they may not have paid all the estate’s payables nor collected all the money due it.

     The Honorable Philip Key, Esquire, was one of “those individuals...whose large estates raised them far above the fortunes of many...Every county had its gentry...The Keys of St. Mary’s...the Bennetts on the Eastern Shore.”104

     As an aside, remembering John Arvine [John Army] of the seventeenth century, we note that “...The death notice of Richard Bennett, a great landholder and trader on the Eastern Shore [grandson of the puritan leader Richard Bennett, who was John’s neighbor, who had established Providence, Maryland in 1649, been governor of Virginia 1652-1655, and who had “reduced” Maryland to the will of Parliament in 1658], tells as much about the power of money as about the benevolence of the individual. Bennett, it says, always used his fortune for the general good, he strove to prevent difficulties among his neighbors, he never deprived widows and orphans who were his debtors of the means of their support, and in his will he forgave one hundred fifty debtors.”105  At the time of his death, Richard Bennett was said to have been “the Richest Man on the Continent.”106


     But back to Thomas Arvin.  Mr. Key’s sons may have struggled to manage his vast and scattered estate after his death. They may have had their hands full with their own interests, or not have had their father’s personal touch with people. And they may never have collected the estate’s share of the crops grown on Lott No. 34 of Zachia Manor for 1764. We know that Mr. Key willed the manor lease to his eldest living son Richard Ward Key, but Richard Ward Key himself died on 10 April 1765, and this undoubtedly complicated the sharecropping arrangement further.107  Philip Key's estate was not probated until late in 1769.108 The estate may never have collected its share of the 1765 crop either. Listed in two places among the 622 debtors of the estate of Philip Key is a Thomas Arwin (sic). The two debt listings may represent the estate’s belated claims for its share of Thomas’s crops for 1764 and 1765.



     The fate of Lot 34 is unclear after this. It may have “escheated” (reverted to Lord Baltimore) at this point, because there is no disposition of it in the wills of his sons. Richard Ward Key, although he inherited the lease from his father, does not mention it in his own will.109  Perhaps the lease passed to Edmund Key, but he himself died at Annapolis on 4 May 1766.  Edmund’s will 110 does not mention any property at all. Perhaps the lease passed to Thomas Key, the last surviving executor, and he did not die until 1772.111  But since the lease was written upon the life of Philip Key’s youngest son, Francis Key, it would have ended upon his death in November 1770. (In later times, Francis Key’s son, John Ross Key would become an officer in the War for Independence. And John Ross Key’s son, Francis Scott Key, would write The Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812.)


    But in the summer of 1765, with the deaths of Mr. Key and then Richard Ward Key, and contact with the Key family drastically reduced or nonexistent, Thomas Arvin may have come to the conclusion it was time for him to establish his own tenement in Zachia. The rent on Lott No. 34, at 1 and 10 shillings per year, had not been paid since Philip Key’s death, and as of February 1768, Lord Baltimore’s books would show 6 in “fines due” on it.112  Perhaps, if the land had not already escheated to Lord Baltimore, the remaining executors of the estate (Thomas Key and Edmund Key at this point) were only too happy to “alienate” it (transfer possession) to Thomas Arvin. Since Edmund Key died in May 1766, he might have been in poor health. This left only Thomas Key to handle the estate of his father, and perhaps to handle the business affairs of Richard Ward Key and Edmund Key also.


     But whatever the circumstances, we know for a fact that Thomas Arvin did indeed initiate his own lease in Zachia Manor in 1765. Thomas apparently wanted, or needed, or thought he could afford to rent, just 19 acres. It was probably fairly close to Dressing branch. It lay just south of the Darnall family Lotts No. 36 & No. 42. The lease which Thomas negotiated with Young Parran, steward of all His Lordship’s manors in St. Mary’s and Charles Counties, was for Lott No. 39. Decades later it can still be seen as the northern section of Lott No. 34. Lott No. 34 is described much later (1783) as being “Forest” with “midling lively soil, midling light sandy soil” and having “1 small dwelling & old tobo house. Very good apple orchard.” This likely was the homestead which Thomas and Sarah seated in 1750 and returned to in 1765. (See 1789 Zachia Manor plat.)

     The proprietor was no longer granting leases based on three lives now, but only for a set number of years. So Thomas was only able to lease the lot for 18½ years, meaning it would expire in 1784, rather than upon anyone’s death. The annual rent was only 3 shillings 10½ pence, a very modest amount. Thomas may have also agreed to pay the “alienation fine,” due when property changed hands, of 3 shillings 10½ pence. This would give him and Sarah a secure, long-term lease, and they could at least control their own fates. And both the Darnall and the Arvin families could work all their land in common, and in so doing, survive the depression. “The best land was inevitably surveyed first, leaving poorer land vacant. Frequently, land excluded from previous surveys was in such small strips and irregular pieces that it was of little value to anyone except persons owning land on either side. Most vacancies were too small to support separate families….When a tenant applied for a lease on one of the proprietary manors, the manor steward surveyed the lot, beginning at a point and following a course indicated by the lessee. Poor soil, land without adequate water, and thinly timbered sections of the manors were avoided by lessees….tenants were eventually required to incorporate vacancies whenever their leaselots were resurveyed, but as late as the mid-1760s many vacancies were still to be found on every manor.”113



The Tenement Survey


     Young Parran had the land surveyed according to Thomas’s directions and arranged for the lease to start on the 2nd of September 1765.114  “Young Parren...was the steward for all the manors in St. Mary’s and St. Charles counties, a total of more than 35,000 acres of land. Although his responsibilities were great, Parren’s annual [5%] commission could not have been exceeded 18...Despite the low pay, Parren was a conscientious steward...”115  Of course, he was also a member of the Lower House of Assembly, and he had the use of 1,100 acres of land rent-free from Lord Baltimore as additional compensation.116  

      Here is an abstract of the survey. It is the earliest documentary evidence we have of Thomas Arvin which still exists. With a touch of Irish humor, he wryly named his land, “Littleworth.”



   Charles County

                        Laid out by Order of Mr: Young Parran for Thomas Arvin

   of the County afsd: a Tenement or Pcel of land in his Lordp: Manor of Zachia

   between the lands of Thomas Darnall and Mr: Key which is called Little

   :worth and bounded as follows Viz: Beginning at a bounded white Oak standg

   in the head of a Glade near Dressing branch Runing thence South

   Eighty one degr: East fourteen perc: then North thirty two degr East thirty

   two pcrs: then South fourteen pcrs then South forty six degr: East nine

   pcrs: then East one hundred and Two pers then North sixty degr: East Elevin

   pers: then East forty pers: then South seventeen pers: then West Two

   hundred pers: thence with a Strait line to the first beginning Containg

   Ninteen Acres as by the plat hereunto Annexed may Appear

                                                           Survey’d & laid down by a scale of 50 pcrs  [perches]      

                                                           in an inch this 2d of Septem: 1765                                         

     [Here a drawing of the perimeter

      of the lot, including sketch of

      the bounded white oak tree]                           Pr W Harrison dcw       




     “In addition to an annual rent, proprietary tenants were required to pay an alienation fine equal to not less than one year’s rent whenever they renewed their lease or sold it to a third party. Alienation fines were rarely collected....however...In 1760 Lord Baltimore complained about the small revenue produced by the alienation fines, and thereafter Governor Sharpe attempted to increase that part of the proprietor’s income. Each leaseholder was assessed for the arrears of fines due on his tenement...The proprietor’s income from fines did not increase in the 1760s, but the size of the arrears indicates widespread noncompliance by tenants in paying the alienation fee...”117 

     “Despite the liberal lease terms, most tenants were very poor. Their poverty was reflected in the small number of them who owned slaves or servants, in the value of personal property recorded in their inventories, and in the small size and poor quality of the dwellings and other improvements on their tenements. Few resident manor tenants were able to accumulate sufficient assets either to improve their own standard of living or to insure that their children would do better.”118


     The tenement is described as containing nineteen acres, but in the rent rolls which Young Parran kept for Lord Baltimore for 1768, this same property is described as Lott No. 39, containing 15 acres. Surveying techniques were not precise, and boundary disputes were a common problem.

     The survey and lease may have been hurried along because that infamous Stamp Act was set to become effective on the first of November. It would require a crimp embossing, or “stamp,” (which created a raised seal) on documents to make them legally enforceable. It had been announced in The Maryland Gazette on 18 April 1765, bemoaned all summer long, and was now approaching the crisis point of actually going into effect. Parliament saw the Act as a step toward having the colonies help cover the expenses of their own defense, but the colonies saw it as "taxation without representation," and a great burden in the depression. In Charles County, it was ultimately ignored, but Young Parran may have chosen not to defy the law of the land, and so held off having a lease “certificated.” Due to the unexpectedly strong opposition to the Stamp Act, culminating in Benjamin Franklin’s extraordinary examination before the House of Commons in Parliament in February 1766, it was to be rescinded effective the first day of May, 1766.

     News of the repeal reached Annapolis on April the fifth. The Maryland Gazette printed news that “the repeal was certain” on April the tenth. “The news of the repeal brought great rejoicing and a cooling of animosities in Maryland. The citizens of Annapolis celebrated twice: when they heard of the repeal they gathered for the drinking of ‘all patriotic toasts’; and in June, when official notification had been received, they had a city commemoration directed by the ‘worshipful mayor.’” On the reverse side of the document, Thomas's lease is shown as being “certificated” on 3 May 1766. William Harrison, who signed off on the lease, was the Charles County Justice of the Peace.119  The document does not look to be “stamped.”


     The rents on the manors were cheap because Lord Baltimore, as the proprietor of the colony, used what author Gregory Stiverson refers to as “developmental leasing” of his manor tenements—leasing at a low rent if the tenant improves the property during the lease. “The principal object of developmental leasing was to develop previously uncultivated land into working farms and plantations so that the rental or sale value of the tract would be increased. Ideally, developmental leasing benefited both the landlord and the tenant. The tenant received a tract of land for a low annual rent, and the landlord could charge much higher rents when the first lease expired, counterbalancing the years of small income from the developmental lease....tenants were forbidden to cut more wood than was necessary for constructing improvements on their lots or clearing land for cultivation....Tenants were required to plant an orchard, generally consisting of 100 trees. The orchard had to be planted within five years of the execution of the lease, the tenant had to protect it with a strong fence, and he was required to replant trees that died or were destroyed….tenants of Zachiah Manor were required to plant 200 trees regardless of the size of their lot….Most leases also required a 20 ft by 30 ft house with a brick chimney to be built, but Zachia Manor had such poor land that the requirement to build such a large house was not included in the leases that survive in the Maryland Hall of Records.”120 We get a good description of Littleworth from the 1783 Tax Assessment. At that time the assessor described the land as being “Forest” with “midling lively soil” and “midling light sandy soil.” It had “1 small dwelling & old tobo house” and a “Very good apple orchard” on it.  



Attempted Sale of the Manors


     No sooner had Thomas and Sarah started leasing their own tenement in Zachia Manor than they had to again face the uncertainty of losing their homestead. Word spread that the Sixth Lord Baltimore, Frederick Calvert, had decided to sell his manors. He had instructed the governor to begin sales immediately. The sales were to be conducted by a commission composed of Governor Sharpe, Daniel Dulany (deputy secretary of the province), and John Morton Jordan (a merchant a friend of the proprietor.)  The first set of instructions to the commission had been written in January 1765, but the commissioners thought the price set was too high. “Although Gov. Horatio Sharpe protested the proprietor’s order to sell the manors, Lord Baltimore remained adamant. The proprietor’s second sale order, addressed to Sharpe in February 1766, left no doubt about Baltimore’s intention: he wanted all his manors and reserved lands in the colony sold as expeditiously as possible.” And so, “between September 1766 and April 1768 the commissioners traveled to all parts of the province to sell the...proprietary manors.”121

     “The most striking thing about the proprietary that most tenants were unable or unwilling to purchase their tenements and that other people failed to bid on their lots. The proprietary sales were least successful on the lower Western Shore, confirming Governor Sharpe’s apprehension that tenants in the region would be ‘in general very poor & unable to bid’ at the proprietary auctions….First, the price the proprietor expected was more than most tenants could afford….Second, most tenements were encumbered by lives or years remaining on the leases....Third...was the ‘Scarcety of Money in the Provence’….Finally...tenants who were well-to-do refused to bid on their neighbors’ tenements.”122

    Frederick Calvert, Sixth and last Lord Baltimore, died in September 1771; his illegitimate son Henry Harford took ownership of the proprietary. The commission’s attempts to continue selling the manors ceased when news reached the colony. Ultimately, of the 5,407 acres offered for sale in Zachiah Manor, only 103 acres were sold. Neither Thomas Arvin’s “Littleworth” nor Thomas Darnall’s two lots were sold, and the Arvins and the Darnalls were able to continue their subsistence farming.



Trading at the Colonial Stores


     As Thomas and Sarah Arvin “seated” their tenement in Zachia Manor (e.g., rebuilt their house and re-established the homestead), they may have started trading at a store located at Chickamuxen Creek. Although were have no records for any stores there, we do know that there was a tobacco inspection station and warehouse located there, making the placement of a store or two likely. Perhaps Thomas and Sarah Darnall had already established credit and were trading there when the Arvins relocated to Zachia Manor. Or perhaps Thomas continued to trade with Scottish factor James Brown after Brown left Cunningham’s store at George Town and started managing a store for another Scottish company called Simson Baird & Company.

     While the English had stores which were located in the larger cities, and many of the larger planters dealt directly with London via consignment agents who operated the stores (such as William Molleson in George Town), Scotland had gained legitimacy after its Union with England in 1707 and was rapidly establishing stores in the smaller towns and villages in Maryland and was concentrating on dealing with the small planters. “It is probable that most stores were at the warehouses. About the time Piscataway was established as a town, a revolution was in progress in the tobacco trade….Instead of sending out vessels that poked around from wharf to wharf, bargaining and selling goods—a costly and time-consuming process, the Scots sent out factors to key spots to establish warehouses where they bought up and stored tobacco before the tobacco ships arrived and sold goods that met local needs. While some men continued to use the English factors, the majority found the Scottish system more satisfactory, particularly since the local factors could provide them at once with the wares they wanted. The new system throve particularly after passage of the Tobacco Inspection Act of 1747, which forced exports through official ports.”123

     Both Chickamuxen Creek and Piscataway Creek had been designated as being among the eighty sights for tobacco warehouses by the Act for altering and establishing certain Warehouses of June 11th 1748: “ other Warehouse be and is hereby established to be at Chickamuxen Creek, on the Land of Henry Moore. And that one other Warehouse be and is hereby established, and shall be erected at the Head of Piscataway Creek, on the land of John Hawkins, junior...”124  By 1763, probably because of silting up of the creek, the Chickamuxen Creek warehouse was described as being “on the land of Bayne Smallwood.”125  And by 1773 it was “on the land of William Smallwood.”126  More about this father and son later. 

     Scotland enjoyed a natural advantage over England in the tobacco trade because it enjoyed a quicker route to America, had better financial and commercial facilities and, most importantly, had lower operating costs. And as it came into eminence, the old tobacco ports of Southwest England like Plymouth, Fowey and Totnes, where John Arvine [Army] and William Newman had once done business, were undergoing a secular decline and were “moribund.” Tobacco accounted for about 80 percent of all Scottish imports from North America at this time, and Virginia and Maryland received about 80 percent of all Scottish exports to North America.127  

     One of the largest of Glasgow’s “Tobacco Lords” was John Glassford. “By the latter part of the eighteenth century, he controlled a major portion of the Chesapeake tobacco trade, despite having never been to America. Represented by agents or factors, Glassford established a system of branch stores along the Potomac River for the purpose of purchasing tobacco directly from planters. By this method of direct purchase, Glassford and his associates were able to pay higher prices for tobacco than English consignment merchants. While higher prices brought the Scottish firm new customers, its ability to extend credit and provide planters with consumer goods helped to insure its domination of the Chesapeake tobacco trade. “The sale of goods such as hardware, rum, wine, sugar, salt, and slaves became a major source of revenue for the branch stores.”128

     Glassford didn’t have all the business. Another Scottish concern was Simson Baird & Company, which established a store in Piscataway Town. James Brown was employed as the “factor” at this store. Scottish firms concentrated efforts with poor rural farmers/planters and extended about one-third of total credit in province. English merchants in Maryland concentrated on Annapolis and Baltimore Town. This store opened in 1766 with, “goods to supply the Necessities of the people.” We get a description of the store from an advertisement in The Maryland Gazette for its sale in July, 1777: “...a dwelling-house two stories high, thirty by eighteen, two rooms below, and two above, a stone cellar the dimensions of the house, a stable thirty by fourteen, a story and a half high, and an old storehouse, new covered about three years ago, and with a small expence may be made either a convenient storehouse or kitchen ; the lot is enclosed with locust posts and oak paling, and contains near an acre....”

    “The great Glasgow syndicates reach[ed] new extremes in the number as in the size of their stores. The Cunninghame interests had seven stores in Maryland...These were almost entirely in the newer regions away from the tidewater, for it was from such areas that the great additions to the colonies tobacco crops were coming, and it was there that one found the smaller planters, who were the stores’ usual customers….Cunninghame, Brown & Company’s two stores were at Georgetown and Newport, Maryland”129  James Brown was now managing the store at Piscataway Town for Simson Baird & Company, and we can speculate that Thomas continued to trade with James Brown at Piscataway Town. Thomas may have transferred his account from the George Town store to a store in Chickamuxen, and in 1767, transferred it again to Piscataway Town. This is speculative, however, and there is no evidence. 

     “A Scots factor was commonly a salaried employee. He was supervised by a chief factor, who might receive a percentage commission as well as a salary. Chief factors were sometimes partners in the employing firm. The subordinate factors were each in charge of a store or two, and assisting the factor in each store would be one or more storekeepers, clerks, or ‘boys,’ commonly under contract or articles.”130



Piscataway Town


     Piscataway Town, in Prince George’s County, was about four miles—an hour on horseback, two hours walking, if you didn’t stop to visit the neighbors—from the Arvin/Darnall homesteads. “So far as can be made out, the ‘town’ developed chiefly along the road paralleling the south side of the creek (but some distance from it); this road, now Floral Park, ran directly across the peninsula to Notingham on the Patuxent. The road also was for a short distance part of the more important route between Port Tobacco and Upper Marlborough...The Port Tobacco Road, now Livingston Road, developed a branch northward to Broad Creek Church and, later, to the Addison ferry to Alexandria.131  Though described as a “mere landing,” Piscataway Town was large enough to have a rival store run by Thomas Claggett, and another by Stephen West. Although they were competitors, “...there is evidence of cooperation between the...firms. Cooperation was undoubtedly an economic necessity for both the many small Scottish merchants and the native Marylanders in the the face of common difficulties with the tobacco growers, who sought in combinations to raise the price of tobacco, and as individuals to evade paying their debts. A third element...were the consignment merchants, chiefly from London and Whitehaven, who offered the possibility of a better price for their tobacco than was being given by the factors in the neighborhood to those planters who would ship directly to England, using these firms as brokers and pay a commission.”132

     This is precisely what one prominent nearby planter did—Colonel George Washington. As a member of the Virginia militia, Col. Washington had distinguished himself fighting alongside the British in the French and Indian War. But, unable to obtain a commission in the British army, he had resigned from the militia and had returned to plantation life at “the old manse.” He ultimately expanded his operation to over 18,000 acres with over 200 slaves and indentured servants (at least some of whom were Irish.) The manse was situated on a bluff on the Virginia side of the Potomac just across from the mouth of the Piscataway Creek—Mount Vernon. Colonel Washington always dealt with the firm of Robert Cary & Company, consigning tobacco directly to them and thereby gaining access to all the goods that London had to offer planters of the “better sort.” Small farmers like Thomas, “poor indigent fellows,” dealt with the factors, who bought tobacco “on the spot” by issuing credit for customers in their stores. “The difficulties of the merchants on the spot were compounded by the possibility of paying higher prices than the British market would warrant....The chief problem for [all] the tobacco merchants was the collection of debts.”133



The 1767 Piscataway Account

     Customer purchases were initially written on throw sheets, kept each day, then carefully transcribed by the clerks into a ledger, everything, of course, handwritten with quill pens. The ledgers were large 11 x 17 inch bound books of vellum paper. These ledgers were acquired by the Library of Congress in 1899 and are now in the custody of its Manuscript Division in Washington, D.C. They were microfilmed in 1983. The collection is made up of “disbound items rebound for archival purposes into volumes.” James Brown uses the beautiful “English Round Hand” style of writing, a sign of his good breeding. Wikipedia tells us that, “by the mid-18th century the Round Hand style had spread across Europe and crossed the Atlantic to North America.”

     The English style bookkeeping system, typical of the times, was used to record the debits (Dr) and credits (Cr) of customer accounts at Simson Baird & Company’s new store in Piscataway Town. “The factors well represented the established interests and purposes of the old British mercantilism. As employees rather than free correspondents of the British firms, their status was inferior and their attention consequently devoted to the conventional exchange of finished products from the mother country for colonial tobacco. Their contracts required them to keep in regular communication with the chief factor of the firm in the colony or with the firm itself, and they were required periodically to go before a judge and swear to the accuracy of their books.”134


     Written on the first page of the Simson Baird Ledger No. 1 for 1767 is the following:




     Prince George County ss} 1st April 1767

                                           Then came James Brown Attorney in fact for Messrs

     Simson Baird & Compy Merchants in Glasgow, and made Oath on the holy Evangelis

     of Almighty God, before me one of his Lordships Justices of the Peace for the County

     aforesaid, that all the Accounts contained in this Book from folio One to folio two

     hundred and One inclusive were Just and true and that he nor any person for their Use

     hath received any part, parcell, security or Satisfaction for the same more than

     Credits given to the best of his Knowledge





     “They [the factors] received salaries of from five to ten pounds sterling monthly, and were given allowance for maintenance and the hire of some assistance. They were sometimes allowed to import and sell on their own accounts, but under restrictions which were calculated to prevent injuring the interests of their principals.

     “The factors’ stores represented a large British investment in Maryland trade. An inventory of 1772 gives a picture of a Scottish store: it was equipped with a mahogany desk and bookcase, copies of the collected laws of Maryland and Virginia, pictures of the king and queen, a miscellany of furniture and utensils, some broken; and there were a slave and three horses. This capital was valued at 132 15s. 6d., more than any provincial not of the wealthy class could have readily assembled. The goods held in stock by the factors were often extensive. Cunningliffe’s store at Oxford, on the Eastern Shore, in 1756, carried a great variety of textiles, most of them inexpensive; but there were plushes, velvets, and linens as well as India goods such as chintzes, calicoes, cambrics, and ginghams, and such corse goods as German and Irish osnaburg and sail canvas. There were also finished items such as petticoats, draperies, counterpanes, blankets, and rugs. In the same store, aside from the dry goods, was a great variety of hardware and other manufactures, such as hats, shoes, gloves, saddles for men and women, paint, rope, rum, stationery, mariners’ equipment, window glass, ammunition, and dozens of miscellaneous items for life on the plantations and the inland waters....Such stores operated largely on credit, trading in expectation of tobacco payment, and they tried to secure settlements by the end of each calendar year....the factors were held in general disrespect and were spoken of ‘by the ill fitting epithet of foreigners.’”135


      Thomas does not appear on Brown’s Ledger No. 1, but by June, 1767, it appears from an entry on this Ledger No. 2 that Thomas had a note transferred to this store in Piscataway from Chickamuxen, Maryland. It is apparent that Simson Baird & Company knew who their customers were. His account is clearly titled, “Thomas Arvin” on folio 157 of Ledger No. 2. Thomas was in his early forties with a large—and growing—family. His purchases begin in June of 1767. Here is the left side of folio 157, where customer debits were recorded.
     Shown below is an abstract of the left side of this folio, where Thomas and another person’s accounts were maintained. All debits and credits are denominated in goods, or in Maryland currency (pounds, shillings and pence), or in crop tobacco. To help make sense of this folio, think of a Maryland pound (written as ₤ from the Latin libros, meaning pound, and a separate currency from the English pound sterling) as perhaps $400 in today’s money, a shilling (20 to the pound) as perhaps $20, and a penny (12 to the shilling, written as “d” from the Roman coin denarius) as about $1.50. Amounts were often recorded in the form “₤..s..d,” or simply “ s/d ” for small amounts. Thus, a quart of rum, priced at 1/6, would have cost about $29.00 in the currency of our times. Quite expensive. An unidentified French traveler noted in his journal as he passed through Piscataway that “Some merchants have stores or shops here full of all Sorts of Dry goods which they sell at an intolerable Dear rate.”136      If prices do seem high, keep in mind they included shipping (a term we still use today) from England or other colonies, easy store credit and a captive clientele whose produce had to go to the store. “...high prices of imported goods resulted not so much from deceit and collusion among sellers as from the high cost of marketing in a rural economy.”137




                                                    Maryland                       Goods   Currency  CropTobo


          Benjamin Dent                  Dr           

   June  9 To 12 Ells Oznab @1/3..¼e Oznab thread 1/1.  .  .   . .  .  .   .  .  .   .  .   .   . .  .  .  . . __..16.1



                  Thomas Arvin                   Dr

   June 13 To 1 Quart Rum 1/6 .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .  .  .__  1..6

        20 To Cash  .  .  .  .  .  .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .  . . . . .   .   . . . . . . .   .    .  . .  . 452 .. .  .  5..9..8

             To 1 Quart Rum 1/6 /25/1 Quart Rum 1/6  1 Pair Taylors Shears 2/6.  .  .    .  .   .   .__..5..6

        25 To 500 Pins 11/6  Yds Check @ 2/6..3¾ Yds Check holland @  .   .   .    .   . __.19..6¼ 

             To 1 pair Garters @ 5..6 Yds White sheeting @ 2/4. .  .  . .   . . .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    . __.14..5

             To 1¼ Yds Russhia Drab @ 2/6..2 Oz W/Brown thread @ 8d .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .    __. 4..5½

             To ½ d Oznab thread @ ¾ ..2½ Yds @ 1/ .. 1 Twine papers 1/ .  .  .   .   .   .   .  .    .   __.. 5..2

             To  Cash .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .   .   .  . .  .  .   .   .  .  .  .  .173.   .   .  .  21.__..__

             To  50 needles 6d ..30 Ells Oznab @ 1/3 .. pr Sleeve butts @ 2d  .  .   .    .   .  .   .    .    1..18..4

             To  1 hatt  10/   Chock hand for  2/8  1 ditto 1/ ...1 Quart Rum 1/6 .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    __..15..2

             To  yds Irish Linen @ 1/7.. ½ yard @ 2/6.  .  .   .   .   .   .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .__..5..2½

        29 To ½ dozen knives & forks 6/ ../July 25th  100 8d nails 10d .  .  .   .   .   .   .    .    .  .   . __..6..10  

July  28 To 50.. 8d nails 5d  /Augt 3d / 1 Quart Rum  1/6 .   .   .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .    .   . __..1..11

Augt  3 To 1 Transfer note on Chickamuxen  N 46..187

                                                                    Eff 6 per Cr.. ..10}.  .  .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .  .   .    .   .   .  .  . .177

          7 To Ivory Comb..21..3 Ells oznab @ 1/3 Ells do @ 1/4.. 4 Ells rolls @ 1/1 .  .   .   .  . .   . 1..16..9½

             To pint mug  7/2.. 1 quart mug 1/.. 3 pint Dutch do damaged 9d.  .   .  .    .   .  .      .   .__  9..1½

             To 1 man’s Castor hat 10/.. ½ ee Brimstone d3 .. .. ¼ ee oznab thread 1/1.  .    .      .  . __..11..½

             To ½ ee Allum @ 9 ½ d.. 2 felt hats @ 3/9..½ee Soap @ 1/3.. 100..d/2 nails @ 5  .  ..   .  .__.. 9..

             To 1 oz Indigo Blue 1/.. 1ee Copperusd/2 /20/ 2..1/10:3 Ells oznab @ 1/6.  .   .   .    .   .__..15..

        19 To ¾ yards Bagging @ 1/4 .  1 Quart rum .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .   .   .  .  .  .__.. 1..1

        25 To 8 Ells Rolls @ 1/1. 1 yard white Linen 1/10: 3 Ells oznab @ 1/6 . .  .  .   .  .  .  .     . .__..15..

        29 To  /4ee Oznab thread .   .  .  .   .   .  .  . . .. .  . .   .   .  . . . . .  . .  .   . . . . .   .  . . . . . . . .__.. 1..1

Sept 18 To Cash . . .  . .  ..  .  .  . .  . . ..   .  . .  . .  . .  .  .  .  . .  .  . . . . . . .  .  .  . .  266 ..  . .  .  __.. 5..

        22 To ½ yard Linnen @ 2/6. yearn stock@ 33 /Aug Third 5d 11yd Tape 1/.  .  . .  .   .   .    .__..5 ..8


                                                                                                                                               36..15..9     177 




   Ells:  An Ell was a measure of cloth containing a yard and a quarter (45 inches.)

   Rum came to Maryland from the Caribbean, but also from New England as well. “There were so many distilleries in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut that they were known as the Rum Coast. Rum, to a degree hard to believe in a later and much different world, was essential to the New England economy. It was one of the main means of profitable exchange for furs from the Indians and slaves and ivory from Africa, as well as in intercolonial trade. Boston alone was said to have about fifty distilling houses.”138  Simson Baird also had a “Rum Store,” associated with it, perhaps as a separate room or a detached structure.139  “Rum from the West Indies and New England ultimately replaced all other strongly alcoholic beverages in the poor man’s diet, just as cider gradually crowded out beer.
     “Rum was most often taken neat, straight out of the bottle or tossed off from a dram cup that was then refilled and passed to the next person in turn. Rum and cider, mulled with sugar and spices, made a popular drink for large gatherings such as funerals. Rum served more than convivial purposes, and offered readily available anesthesia for surgery, tooth extraction, and childbearing. Furthermore, it fended off the rigors of winter and kept the work crews going in harvest time….Rum, although cheap, cost far more than cider, and required an outlay that poorer planters tried to avoid if they could. Milk and milk products played a far smaller role in their diet than cider. Both milk and cider were seasonal in nature....The variety of fresh fruits in Virginia and Maryland occasioned many rapturous comments from visitors and residents alike....apples and peaches were abundant.”140

    Taylor Shears: Sarah and the older daughters made all the family’s clothes.

    Oznabrigs was an unbleached linen or hemp cloth commonly used for trousers, sacking and bagging. It was available in brown, blue, white and probably other colors as well. Originally made in Osnabruck, Hanover, Germany (where King George I, first of the line of Hanover, was born.)

   Russhia Drab was another very durable cloth, and might have been one type of “Russia sheets.”

   Rolls may have been short for Brown Rolls, another type of cloth.

   Check is “a fabric made of many fibers in plain weave with colored warp and weft stripes intersecting at right angles to form squares....May also be printed.” Red, blue, green and tan were combined with white; stripes were sometimes added.

This fabric was very popular in England and the colonies for household decoration or furnishings as well as for sailor’s and children’s clothing.
   Holland is a linen cloth originally produced in Holland and generally later applied to other linens. It was often of very fine quality and used for clothing.141  “So time-consuming was the production of ‘countrymade’ cloth that even in times of low tobacco prices it cost as much per did the kerseys with which it competed….Yet for all the investment in time and effort that it required, homemade cloth was likely to be ugly, coarse, and scratchy. Given its price, there should be little wonder that the inhabitants preferred the professionally finished materials imported from abroad, which in most years their tobacco could purchase.”142 

     Historical note: It was not known in the colonies yet, but on the very day that Thomas bought “½ dozen knives and forks,” 29 June 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Revenue Act, to become effective 20 November. It imposed import duties on British glass, red and white lead, painter’s colors, paper—and tea. This act would play a dramatic role in the development of the American Revolution.

   Allum, Indigo Blue, Copperas (iron sulfate) were all used to dye fabrics, but in the “backwoods” it had a home remedy use also. “In the ‘backwoods’ both physic and surgery were rough, rude, and tainted with many prejudices and superstitions. People believed in ‘spells’ and witchcraft, and in charms and remedies. If a child had worms, he was given salt, copperas, or pewter filings...”143 

   Castor hat was a cap made from felted beaver wool. Castor is Latin for beaver.

   Brimstone is an old term for sulphur; one of the ingredients of black gunpowder, and matches. William Byrd’s advice on keeping cider drinkable: “‘keep a lighted match of brimstone under the cask for some time. This is useful in so warm a country as this,’ he explained, ‘where cider is apt to work itself off both of its strength and sweetness’”144


     Here is the right side of folio 157, where customer credits were usually recorded. And here is an abstract of the right side:




                                                                   Anno 1767           Goods   Currency Crop Tobacco



                                                         Contra          Cr

Septr 25  By Cash .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .   .   .  .   .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .  .  .  .   .   .  . .285  .   .   .__..16..1 




                                                          Contra          Cr                                                            

 June 11 By 1 Hhd Tobacco on Piscataway T H n 234..1060..100..960

                                                                                      4 p cr. . . ... ... . 38}.  . . . . .   . . . . .  .  .  .  . . .  . .998

          25 By 1 hhd  Tobo   on  Piscataway   T A  n 280..1064..116..948

                                                                                       Cash . .  . . . . . 37}.  . . .. . . . .  . .     .  . . . . ..  . .985

  Augt  3 By John Moland 185ee transfer as.  .  .    . . .  . . .  .  .  . .  .  .   .  .   . .167 .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .   .  .  . . 175

  Nov   7 By charges of merchandize for 13 ½ Bushells Oats @ 2/.  .  .  . .  .  . 199.  .  .   .  . 1..7..__

          25 By do .  .   .   .  .  .  . .  .do  for 3 ½ Bushells Oats .  .  .. 2/ .  .  .  .  . .199 . .  .  .  . .  .__..7..__


                                                                                                                                            1..14..__      2158    

               By 1981lb Tobo discod to Currency @ 30/.. per Cent .  .  .   .   .  .  . .  .  . . . . .  .   .  29..14..3½

              ~By Ballance due for Settlement & carried to Ledger No 3 .  .   .   .   61  .  .   .  .  .   11..16.. 4


                                                                                                                                            43.. 4..7½     2158



            Ditto                                      Dr 

              To amount brought over .  .  .   .   .   .  .  .  .   .  .  .  .   .   .  .  .  .   .    .    .   .   .    .  .   .    .36..15..9.    .   177

Octr 23 To part of ½ m pins 4d..1 Bottle Snuff 2/6..2 Shoe knives @ 5d .  .  .  .   .   .   .    .   .    .   .  .__.. 3..8

              To 1Pr Stockings 4/ .. 6yds welch Cotton @ 2/9.. ¾ yard Duffle @ 9/4. .  .  .   .   .   .    .   .  1.. 7 ..6

              To 2 doz small butts @ 5d.. 1 oz thread 5d .. ½ ee oznab thread 1/1 .     .   .   .  .   .   .     .  .  __..2.. 6

              To Cash .   .   .  .  .   .  .  .    .   .   .   . .  . .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .  .   .   299 .   .   .  .    .    . 2..  2..6

         28 To 2 Shoe knives @ 5d ..2 Boys felt hats @ 2/ .Pepper Corn 6d.   .   .  .   .  .   .   .  .  .   .     .__.. 5..4

              To ½yds blue Duffle@7/6..1oz thread 5d..½ ee p   ir 1/9.1 Silk Bonnet 14/. .  .   .   .   .  .   .  .  .  1.. 7.. 5

 Novr 25 To 8 middle butts.1/2. 1/pr Garters 8d 1ee Soap 1/3   aid Duffles@ 7/6~.     .   .  . .  .   .    . __..4 ..9½

 Decr 24 To 1 hank Silk 10d: 1 Doz Butts 10d ..2 Gallons Oil @ 6/ ..2ee Brown Sugar @ 10d ~  .   .    .   .  __..15..4


                                                                                                                                                                43.. 4..7½ 177

              % Tobacco discod per Contra .   .   .   .  .    .   .   .   .   .  .    .    .   .    .   .   .   .     .    .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .  . 1981


                                                                                                                                                       43.. 4..7½     2158




     To save space in the Ledger, James Brown carried Thomas’s debits over to the right side of the folio.

      Duffles was a coarse woolen cloth.

     Butts.   Buttons. Most if not all the clothing in the Arvin household must have been hand made by Sarah and the older girls.

     Soap:  “The laundry was probably done at the waterside instead of at home, perhaps by using soap purchased especially for the day’s needs. Imported hard soap must have seemed far more desirable [than boiling the homemade kind] to those who could afford it, and one suspects that most Marylanders did so or went without.”145


     Maryland money, “currency” (paper) or “specie,” (coins) was based on the mother country’s system—sterling—but was consistently valued less by a third or so on exchange. And because actual currency was very scarce, the stores acted as de-facto banks. Customers could receive advances on their accounts, and credit could be transferred to other provincials. In this Ledger, cash advances are cross-referenced to another folio number. Thomas received a very large cash advance on 25 June 1767, which was referenced on folio 173 of the Ledger. Other cash advances to other customers were also documented on folio 173 as well. And by June 30th of 1767, James Brown had advanced over 288 to his customers—all

carefully recorded on folio 173. The large size of the cash advance to Thomas seems to reinforce the idea that he had been previously known to James Brown. Perhaps Thomas and Sarah needed this money to complete their relocation to Manor.

     On the right side of folio 157, Thomas received credit for two hogsheads, or hhd (large wooden barrels packed with cured tobacco), which by law had been inspected, warehoused and certified by tobacco inspectors. “Another beneficial feature of tobacco was that by the mid-eighteenth century people the methods of cultivating the crop were well understood and the marketing system was highly developed.”146  “In 1747, in response to years of poor prices for Maryland tobacco and numerous complaints from merchants concerning its quality, the General Assembly established a formal system of tobacco inspection and quality control. No longer could planters sell their tobacco directly to tobacco merchants. Instead, they first had to bring it in to public tobacco warehouses...”147 one of which was at Piscataway Creek. Planters then received certificates which they could present to the stores. Store factors used a shorthand code in their ledgers to account for the hogsheads: the grower’s mark (usually his initials) on the barrel, the number of the certificate, the gross weight, the weight of the cask, and the net weight. There could also be other adjustments made, and the total was recorded as a credit on the account. Thomas’s mark was apparently, “T A,” but he also received credit for a hhd marked, “T H.” This leads to an intriguing question — who was “TH,” and how did Thomas come to get credit for that tobacco? Or did the inspectors mistakenly mark “TH” to signify Thomas Arvin?

      “One thousand pounds of tobacco can safely be considered the maximum amount grown by most tenants who did not own slaves or servants.”148  Therefore, the 1,981 pounds brought to market by Thomas probably represented the efforts of his family as well as Thomas Darnall and his family.

     Also notice that on August 3rd Thomas received credit for 175 pounds of crop tobacco by transfer from a John Moland, cross-referenced to folio 167. And sure enough, folio 167 shows the account of John “Molland,” with, Thos Arvin Security

written in small letters after his name. Apparently Thomas was guaranteeing payment of John Moland’s account. For what reason we do not know. Perhaps he was kin or a close neighbor.

     A typical small farmer, Thomas apparently adhered to crop rotation on the tenement, and this year grew a few acres of oats in addition to tobacco (and probably other grain crops such as wheat, rye, beans and Indian corn.) He probably kept some of the oats for their own family’s consumption and sold the balance to the store. The store credited him with the oats he had brought in, and it perhaps warehoused them at Piscataway for shipment to Glasgow along with the tobacco. This scenario was quite typical throughout the southern colonies, from the smallest farmers like Thomas to biggest plantation owners like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Colonel George Washington, who dealt in large sums of sterling with merchants in London such as Robert Cary & Company.


     This year Thomas Arvin’s end-of-the-year “Settlement” with James Brown shows he still owed 11..16..4, almost a third of his purchases for 1767. No matter, Simson Baird simply carried forward its customers’ balances to the next ledger for 1768. To summarize:


     Thomas’s total purchases at the store for the year 1767 were 43..4..7½.

     He and his family (probably along with Thomas Darnall and his family) produced 2158
        pounds of crop tobacco and also sold 17 bushels of oats to the store.

     Total credit for this production was 29..14..3½.

     He still had a “Ballance due” of 11..16..4.  This was “carried to Ledger No. 3” for 1768.

     “Probably a family of seven required something like
50 currency in the country and 60 or so in the towns to maintain themselves at the subsistence level. Food would cost 30, clothes 12, medical expenses and schooling ₤5, firewood, taxes and miscellaneous essentials a few more pounds. House rent might add another ₤5 or ₤10. These estimates assume that the family provided none of its own food or clothing.”149  The Arvin household had a minimal rent and provided their own housing, food, and clothing. But things were still very tight, and we can see there would be no chance to set aside anything for emergencies or to accumulate any wealth at all. In addition, a bad crop year or weather calamity could prove disastrous. There was no such thing as insurance.  

     Note the tobacco was discounted to currency at a rate of 30 shillings per hundredweight in Maryland currency. This was a good rate and reflected the economic good times, the short tobacco crop that year and the competitive pressures of the marketplace.“...the Glasgow merchants did not enjoy a monopoly of Maryland tobacco...firms of local merchants offered substantial competition.”150 

     Thomas Arvin and Thomas Darnall had problems of a different sort from the problems of the merchants. “With little personal property, few assets, and a large family to support, a tenant had to be as self-sufficient as possible. But only by producing large cash crops could he hope to improve his economic condition. If a tenant grew tobacco at the expense of food, however, he could only fall more deeply into debt to the local planter or storekeeper who extended him credit for necessities. Even when a tenant attempted to be self-sufficient, he still had to purchase a few store goods each year and pay his rent, and expenses often consumed all the profit the tenant and his family could make from the tobacco and other cash crops the grew.”151


     There are small vignettes of the family’s life recorded on this folio also. On Wednesday, 28 October 1767, Thomas bought “2 Boys felt hats.”  Making purchases at the store—later known as “shopping”—was still a male-dominated activity in the colonies. Most accounts were in men’s names. (Though not all. Nancy Darnall had an account later on.) One can imagine him taking the oldest boys, seventeen year-old Elias and fifteen year-old Elisha, to the store that day, and letting them pick out new hats as a special reward for working long and hard in the fields that year. Notice he also bought Sarah an expensive silk bonnet for 14 shillings. This purchase must surely have been an extravagance; the rent on Lot 39 of Zachia Manor, after all, was only 3 shillings 10½ pence per year. Thomas, like just about everyone else, was attracted to the “Baubles of Britain.”



The 1768 Piscataway Account


     The colonies were starting to rebound from the depression of the past few years, and in a limited way, the Arvins—thanks to the help of the Darnalls—shared in the slowly building prosperity. But the seeds of the American Revolution were growing as Parliament implemented the Townshend Acts. “The Townshend Acts of 1767 returned goods to the center of American political discourse. These ill-conceived statutes levied a duty upon imported glass, paper, tea, lead, and paint. Patriotic leaders throughout the colonies advocated a campaign of nonconsumption, revealed the powerful capacity of goods in this society not only to recruit people into a political movement but also to push take ever more radical positions. As in the Stamp Act crisis, imported British manufactures provided a framework in which many colonists learned about rights and liberties.”152

     “Perhaps it is safe to say that the increased emphasis on personal decision in the selection of goods introduced people of that era to what we call shopping….by the middle of the eighteenth century the retailing system and the cultural needs of the populace had arrived at the point where purchasing had become at least a rudimentary form of shopping.”153


    In 1768 James Brown got an assistant at the store—Alexander Hamilton, a factor who had come up to Piscataway Town from Port Tobacco where he had worked for James Lawson. He would have a profound effect on Thomas and his family over the next three decades. “Alexander Hamilton was a Maryland tobacco factor of note, though of less renown than the more famous American bearing that name...Alexander Hamilton the merchant was born in Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland. Seeking employment in the tobacco trade, Hamilton emigrated to America. In 1768, he became an assistant factor in Simson, Baird & Company’s store in Piscataway, Prince George County, Maryland. The store was managed by factor James Brown of Glasgow, Scotland. Soon, Simson, Baird & Company merged into James Brown & Company, and Hamilton became the factor at the Piscataway store as a result of this change.”154  (And in a footnote to history: Robert Burns, the famous Scots poet, had been a tenant-farmer on the estate of Hamilton’s father. Alexander Hamilton’s brother, Gavin, befriended Burns, and is mentioned in several of Burns’s works. Burns wrote Gavin’s epitaph.)


      This year the store ledger is kept in a different hand, probably that of Hamilton or one of the other assistants. “...James Hoggan, who also appears on the Piscataway books in 1766, was probably a clerk or stock-boy as he drew only 5 a year. In 1767 Hoggan’s wages were raised and Brown’s brother, Miller Brown, joined the staff at Piscataway on the lowest rung. Hamilton’s arrival at Piscataway and James Brown’s return to Scotland resulted in a complete reorganization of the Simson, Baird firm between 1768 and 1773. The older firm was merged in[to] James Brown and Company….Alexander Hamilton succeeded Brown as factor at Piscataway and James Hoggan went to Bladensburg to manage the company’s store there....Hamilton appears to have been the chief factor of the firm and Hoggan his subordinate. Hamilton certainly had authority over a third store at Lower Marlboro.”155

       Here is an abstract of the “Dr” side of Thomas Arvin's account in Simson Baird & Company’s ledger for the first part of 1768. His balance at the store is carried over from the previous year, to folio 61 of this Ledger No 3.   

     The Arvin surname is now spelled “Arvine.” Did Hamilton, James Hoggan or Miller Brown mistake the Arvin surname for a variant of Irvine, which is a Scots surname and also the name of a coastal town in the Scottish lowlands?



             Thomas Arvine                 Dr

Janry  1 To Ballance from Ledger N.2 .   .   .    .   .    .    .   .    .    .   .   .   .  157 .  .    .  .  .  .   .   .11..16.. 4

         15 To narrow ax No.2  5/  2 yds white sheeting @ 2/4 Rugg 14/ ..bedbord 3/.  .     .    .   .       .    1..  6.. 8

              To Cash .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .    .  .   .   .  .   .   .   .  .   .   .  .    .   .     1  .  .  .  .    .    ~.. 1.. 9

Febry 20 To 3 ¼ yds Bagging @ 1  ½ yd brown thread 3/8  1 Bushell Salt 3/ .   .   .  .    .   .   .    .  ~..  9..2

March  2 To 3 pints Rum@9d /1.3/ 1 Quart Rum 1/6 .  .   .  .   .   .   .  .    .    .  .  . .    .     .     .   .   .   .  . ~ .. 3.. 9

            12 To Cash .   .  .   .   .   .     .     .      .    .      .     .     .     .     .    .     .   .  .    .    . .  3  .   .   .     .   .~  .. 1 ..~

            26 To 2ee Brown Sugar @ 10d 1oz thread 8d ¼ yds Linen @  1 /4 .   .    .     .    .        .   .   .  .  ~ .. 4 ..8¾

            31 To 5 Bushells Salt @ 3/..  3 Ells OZnab @ 1/6  250 8d nails @d8/..  .     .    .    .  .    .    .   .    . ~1.. 1.. 6

                 To 1 quire paper 11½ .   .     .      .      .     .    .    .   .    .     .    .    .   .   .     . .  .  .    .  .  .  .  .  .. ~. .~ ..11½

                 To     John Lovejoy .   .    .    .     .     .    .    .      .      .       .    .       .    .  .    .    .  .130  .  .  .   .  ~ .. 2.. 8

April    2d  To Cash to buy fish .    .     .      .       .       .       .       .       .      .    .     .    .  5 .    .  .  .    .     .1 .. ~ ..~

May     6  To 25 needles d3..1 razor d8. 1 oz thd 5.d  1 doz butt 7d  1  d  bearskin  7/6 .   .    .   .   .   .   .~ ..  9.. 5

                 To 1 pr Spectacles 1/ .     .    .     .      .      .      .     .     .     .    .  .   .     .     .     .    .  .   .    .    . ~ ..  1..~

                 To Mrs Elizabeth Kelly .    .   .      .     .     .      .      .      .       .      .   .     . 39 .   .   .  .    .   .   6.. 1½

June     4   To 1 pint rum 9d  1 Broad hoe 3/6..7th Bottle Snuff 2/6 ..1 qt rum 1/6 .    .     .      .  .   .      ~ .. 8..3

July     7   To 2 yellow poringers 1/. 1 yellow mugg 9d 50 Ells Oznab @ 1/6. /8/ 2½ yds linen a 3/. 7/6  .   .    .   .  .   .    4..  4 .. 3

                  To 1 oz blue 4d 3½ oz indigo 3/6 2 knives  1/4 .25 needles 3d 1/00 knitting needles3d.1e bro thread.4/4  .   .    .   .  .   ~ .. 10..__

                  To  2 yds Durrant[?]6/8 1½ doz buttons1/ Steaks tenant[?]1/. 2 oz thread@10d  1 oz@ 6d.    .    .   .   .   .   . .  . ~. .10..__ 

                  To 8½ yds Irish Linen@ 2/10 2 de/t.  1 yd broad Cloth 15/. 5 yds blue@ sory[?]@4/6 22/6 .    .      .   .   .   .   .   3.. 1  ..7

                  To 4½ yds pink Durrant[?] ¾ . 15/. 2 oz thread 10d 4oz @ 1/8. 1½ Ells Rusi 1/6 .   .    .    .     .  . .   .   .    .   .  .  ~.19.~½

                  To silk thread@ 6/8..1¾ 1/2eepepper 1/9.  9th 2 felt hatts .4/6. 2 ditto 6/8. 23d 250 8d nails 2/ .   . .  .   .   .   .   .     1 ..8.. 3

             23 To 2 Gallons rum 10/. 1 Ell Oznab 1/6. 29th_.. ½ m pins 6/1. 1 oz thread 5d 2 yds ribbon 2/  .   . .    .   .    .    .   ..  ~..16..5

             29 To 2 Snuff boxes 1/8. 1Gl rum 4/3 .     .      .       .     .     .     .    .     .      .     .      .      .     .      .     .   .   .   .   .    .          .    2.11

Augt .  .  4 To 1 hhead tobacco on Nanjamoy R T S No 204.1015. 105. 910. 36 .   .   .     .    .    .    .    .  .   .  946

                  To Cash for daybook .    .    .    .       .       .       .     .    .       .        .        .      .    .   .   .   .    .   .   10   .   .   .   . .    .       . 18. 3. 4

               6 To 1 hank shoe thread 1/.12th Cash 140/20th 2 pr black leather Breeches 15/.2 felt hatts 13/4  . .  .  11 .    .      .   .    .   .  8.. 9. 4


                                                                                                                    Amount carried up                                                     55.18.5½


[Writing becomes smaller and less legible as space available on folio diminishes.]   


       Bedboard: The Arvin home must have been big enough to allow room for bed(s). This was probably a big day for the Arvins. Perhaps Sarah and Thomas could now move down from the loft, or perhaps raise the bed off the ground. By 1787, Thomas has four bedsteads.     

     Porringers were small, hemispherical, somewhat shallow vessels with one or two handles, used for eating foods like soup or porridge. Earthenware pottery, it was an improvement over wooden bowls.156     

      1 quire paper refers to one-twentieth of a ream, equal to 24 sheets of handmade paper or 25 sheets of machine-made paper. Presumably this was writing paper, and we can conclude that Thomas must have been at least semi-literate.

     Leather Breeches were an outer covering for the legs ending just above, or more usually just below, the knees. “Although knee breeches became stylish, they were confining, and many farmers probably wore instead short, floppy trousers extending to a little below the knee. Breeches made of crudely tanned leather...must have been hot for ordinary fieldwork and were probably intended for the messy tasks of tanning, butchering, and the like. For special occasions, if he could afford them, the planter wore a linen shirt bleached as white as his purse allowed, cloth breeches a little baggier than those fashionable in the eighteenth century, cloth or knitted stockings, leather shoes with wooden heels...these last were sewn and buckled rather

than closed by ties. With the breeches, the planter wore a cloth waistcoat over the shirt and under the coat, for a complete outfit. Only the most affluent men wore a greatcoat in winter; the others just kept moving.

     “Work clothes for women were also designed for comfort. A simple linen shift, with or without sleeves, tucked into a full skirt that ended above the ankles composed the basic outfit. Over the shift, what we would now call a long blouse, a woman wore a pair of ‘bodies’ if she could afford them. This garment could be short or long, and might even have sleeves. For warmth, she added more petticoats, as skirts were often called, and to keep them clean, an apron over all….Probably no woman of the poorer classes wore stays….Fieldwork, particularly at the hoe, is not conducive to the upright posture so greatly in favor among the better sort of the time, so the dumpy figure and stooped carriage of the poor woman served to declare her status, even before her weathered face and horny hands could give it away….Women wore neither brassieres nor underpants, both of which are inventions of the nineteenth century.”157 


     By August, Thomas’s balance was over 55. This would be reduced by credits for his crop production for 1768 later in the year. On folio 277 of this Ledger we find the “Dr Ballance accompt,” showing the balances of the accounts as of 31 December 1768. Thomas’s balance was ₤31..1..4, which was carried over to 1769 in Ledger No. 4 by Hamilton.

     Zachariah Moreland is also a customer of the store. His account is recorded on folio 159 of this ledger. He will marry Thomas Darnall's daughter Mary. More about him later. 

    Bayne Smallwood also appears in the ledgers during these years. Mr. Smallwood was an aristocrat and prosperous planter living in the area, retired legislator and owner of Mattawoman Plantation. His son, William Smallwood, was gradually taking over the operation from his father. William was destined to play an important role in the upcoming War for Independence. He would achieve the rank of Major General and later become the state of Maryland’s fourth governor.

    Colonel George Mason, a revolutionary activist and member of the Virginia Legislature, who was approximately the same age as Thomas, also traded at this store. Mason owned Gunston Hall, which, like Mount Vernon, is located on the western bank of the Potomac. Mason also owned a ferry which ran to the Smallwood property at Chickamuxen Creek on the Maryland shore. (Both Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall are restored and can be toured today.)  



The 1769 Piscataway Account


    The store is still owned by Simson Baird & Company at this point, although Hamilton is probably taking over the operation from James Brown. Ledger No. 4 was kept in 1769. At the front of Ledger No 4 is an inventory of the store with the following notation:




                                          Inventory of Goods belonging to Messrs Simson Baird & Company

                                          at their Piscattaway Store taken 2nd January 1769  by James Brown  




     Once again Thomas’s credits had fallen short of his debits, and a balance had been carried forward from 1768. No matter, the demands of his farm and family went on, and the balance continued to grow in 1769. By 4 May Hamilton must have asked him to sign a Demand Note for most of what was owed, and Thomas complied. This note probably gave Hamilton more legal options for collection of the debt later, even debtors’ prison, “the only possible judicial response in cases where creditors had earlier obtained judgment and the defendants proved unable to pay. During the colonial period such insolvents languished in dank, dark confinements or were sold into indentured servitude to satisfy their creditors.158  This was serious business. And, more ominous, the note probably carried interest. Interest would become a very sensitive issue with the planters in the years ahead.


     In response to the Townshend Revenue Act, Maryland, like other colonies, attempted to regulate importation of English goods. But the attempt was half-hearted and full of exceptions. It seems conspicuous consumption was then, as now, a problem for those with easy access to credit. “Planters never hesitated to buy in the spring against the late summer’s crop, so that Maryland indebtedness was scarcely confined to tenants or the poor. According to time-honored patterns, small and middling planters borrowed from Maryland merchants or the large merchant-planters. After the 1730s Scottish factors, representing the Glasgow firms most aggressive in the Continental tobacco market, prospered in the Potomac and Patuxent regions by selling on credit. Large planters and merchant-planters often shipped their hogsheads on consignment to British firms, to whom they usually were indebted. Some of them dealt with Maryland merchants who handled large quantities for export.”159  Across the Potomac, Colonel Washington was burning through his family’s assets at the rate of well over 1000 per year. At one point in this time period, he was shocked when informed by Robert Cary & Company that his balance on their books in London was 1800.160 “In 1768, buried in debt to his English correspondents and turning every way he could to extricate himself through initiation of a host of new ventures, Washington collected unexpectedly on an old debt of 300. Did the money go to Robert Cary and Company to reduce what was owed? Apparently without a second thought, Washington ordered a new chariot and a handsome suit. Although he was planters on every side crumpling under the burden of their debts, Washington had to keep fashionable goods flowing from London as if they were his life’s blood.”161


          Here is folio 119 of Ledger No. 4 for 1769:



          Thomas Arvine           Dr

                    To Balance from Ledger No 3   .  .       .    .    .    .   .    .   .   . 61.  .   .   .  .   .  .  .    31. 1. 4

February 11 To 5¼ yards white Sheeting at 2/0 14/..10 oz W.B. Min @ 7d ..1 at rum 1/6 .  .  .  16 1

               18 To 1 primer 8d (March 13th) 5½ Ells Oznaburgs at 1/6. 8/3.. 2 yds durays 6/ .  .  .14 4

March     13 To 1 doa Small twist butts 8d..3 large ditto 3d  1 stick twist 6d .   .    .     .    .   .  .    1  5

                    To 1 oz thread 5d (17th) Cash 2/6 (20th) 1 pint rum 1/6 9d .   .   .    .   .   3 .   .     .  3  8

                27 To John Turton for your order in favors of  Frans Jenkins .    .    .165 .    .    .    .    5  2

  April       17 To Cash 10/ .    .     .    .      .    .   .    .    .      .      .      .      .    .     .      5 .   .  .      .  _..10._



                          ===============================                                                                                              ==============

  May      4  To Your Note on Demand For .      .    .     .     .    .     .    .     .    .   .  .       . .    37.._..2½

  July     31 To Allowance for prazing 4/6(?).1 pr Wool cards 1/6 2 Snaffle bridles 3/2.4.8 .  .   .  4  6

                   To 2 mens felt hatts 3/2..2 ditto 2/10 ..1 linnen Hankff 10d .   .   .   .   .    .    .    .  .  .  6.10

                   To 13 ¾ Ells Hessians at 7 ¾ ..8/10L. 25 Ells Oznaburgs at 7d .   .    .    .   .  .   .   1. 3 .5½

                   To ½ [?] oznaburg thread 10d..1 pack rope 9/.. 100 needles 6d.       .   1. 4.    .    . .     2 ~

                 To 4 penknives 10d..4 yds. Ribbon 1/8: 1 quart Cherry Rum 1/6 .  .  .  . 2. 6   .   .   .    .1 .6

                 To 1 pr Women worsted Stockings 2/4..1 felt hatt 1/ 2.   .     .  .  .   .   .  3  6

   Augt  4  To 12 Ells oznaburgs 8/. .. 1 pr Scizears 4½..½m pins 6½..1[?] Shott 2d.   .   .  .  .  .   .   . 9  1

                      To Elizabeth Kelly .   .     .      .     .         .   .   .   .   .   .   .      .  .   .   .   .  . 24 . .       8 .6

            15 To 1 pr filetting 10½..2 hanks Silk 8d scilt[?]3/. .. ¼[?] oznby thrd 5d .  .  .1.11½ .  .  .  .    .  .3 ._

           26 To trans Tobacco 47wt is 45wt .:Cash 45/  .   .   .    .       .   .      .    .   .  12    .   45 .  .  9  5.~

                To 100 8d nails 4½ / Oct 6th . 3 Ells oznaburgs 1/8¼ 1ee Brown Sugar 10d .. 2..¾ .   .    .    .  . 10

October 6 To dzn Shoe Tacks1d(16th)1 pint Rum 9d..Cash 1/11½..2¼ yds Temmy 2/2   15 .   .    2 .3   .  .    . .   .2.8½

           16 To 2 pr garters 5d.. 2 qts rum 3/. ..1 timbler 3d 1ee B. Sugar 10d..7/8 yd ribbon.6½ .   .   . 1.2¼  .  .  .   .  3.10

                To 1 Caroline felt hatt 2/6..1 ditto 3/. .. 2¾ yds Duffle at 9/10 7/9½ .   .   .  .   .   .   .  . . .13.3½

           24 To 1 quart rum 1/6.. 7 yds binding 7d 10 dzn large basketbutts 6½ ..1ozthread 2d . .  .  .  1 3½.  .   .  . .  1 6

                To yds Cotton at 9½.1/17¾..4½ yds Silk ferreting 9d 1 pr sleeve butts .            .   .   . .     1.9¾

                                                                                                                    ­­­         _____________________________ 

                                                                                                                              45 3 16.2¾   40 13 7




   Basket buttons were buttons covered with an interlacing pattern or a metal imitation thereof, especially fashionable on men’s coats.

   Caroline felt hatt was a felt hat made of Carolina Beaver. The fur, from the Carolinas and inferior to the Canadian or “French Beaver,” was generally black in color.


    Thomas’s account is carried forward to another folio within Ledger No. 4. Hamilton’s helpers continue to add a

gratuitous letter “e” to the Arvin name. And still the account balance went higher. By the end of this year it stood at over

₤56. This was a sizable amount of money for a poor planter. By way of comparison, Alexander Hamilton’s wages for

1769 were ₤45164






                              Thomas Arvine            Dr

                    To amount from folio.   .   .    .      ...         .     .     119.  .   45     7 13 3 ¼      40 16 7

December 23 To 1½ oznaburgs1/¾..2ee B.Sugar 1/8..1 dutch Oven 9[?]..2 6¾ 1/5yarnhose 1/5 5. ½ .     1 8


                                                                                                                                         7 18 3¾   15 16 7


                                                                                                              45                         56.14.10




     At the end of the year, the store has a folio titled,  Dr  Ballance Accompt, which is a listing of all the balances owed by its customers. Thomas is shown owing  27..18..4½ in currency, as carried forward from his account in the 1769 Ledger (folio 138). So even after he was credited for his crop for 1769, he still had a balance owing to the store. In fact his is one of the larger balances being carried forward into 1770 by Simson Baird.


     An inventory taken by the store at the beginning of the following year, 1770, includes a folio titled “Inventory 1770 Continued.” On this folio is “A list of Crop & Transfer Tobacco on Hand 1st January.” For each hogshead in its inventory the store lists the maker’s mark, the number of the cask, the gross weight, the tare(?), the net weight and the name of the warehouse. Two of the casks have a mark of  T A on them. If these belonged to Thomas, we can get an idea of how much he and Thomas Darnall produced for the year 1769. One has a net weight of 1042 pounds and the other a net weight of 1048 pounds. So their total production for 1769 would have been 2090 pounds of tobacco. Both casks were listed as being at the Broad Creek warehouse at the time of this inventory.

     Store owners like Brown gave the planters credit for their tobacco in goods at the store, or in cash, but “...problems arose from the so-called “two price” system. At Piscataway, in James Brown’s regime tobacco was discounted to goods at 15/- per hundredweight and to currency at 30/- per hundredweight. As Hamilton noted in his correspondence, a poor selection of goods might well leave the store overstocked and thus operating at a loss, while the merchant paid out large sums to reach his assigned purchase of tobacco for the year. To remedy this, Brown attempted in 1769 to sell his stock at a single price, whether for tobacco or cash, but had to reluctantly abandon the experiment on January 1, 1770”161  These sheets were found in the front of John Brown’s Ledger for 1772. These ads might logically have been placed in The Annapolis Gazette, the newspaper which served this part of the province. However, they could not be found in the May or June 1769 editions of the paper. Perhaps they were simply written out and nailed to doors of the places mentioned below.







        This Subscriber just opened a very full and general Assortment of Goods, which

he will sell on the lowest Terms for ready Money or Tobacco. ~ Those who deal with him

and pay Tobacco any Time this Inspection, shall be charged Goods at the real genuine

Cost, as they are imported from Britain, or in Currency with an Advance of One hundred

per Cent on the final Cost, only, and the Cost Price allowed them, for said Tobacco, that is

given in Piscataway this existing Market, by Merchants residing there.  ~ Those who

deal with him for Money paid ready down, or to be paid, any time before the first Day of

January next, shall have their Choice of any Goods in his Store at One hundred per Cent

advance on the genuine Cost of said Goods. ~       And as he thinks it is just and

reasonable, that a proper Distinction should be made between those Customers, who pay

ready down, and those whose Circumstances require some time of Credit,

in which he hopes every reasonable Man will join him. he gives this public Notice to all his Customers

that they shall be all charged with Goods at the real genuine Cost, from this Day forward

and any Payments made him in Tobacco this Inspection, or in Money before the first of

January next, shall be settled as above, and any Balances remaining due on his Books

at the End of the Year, in Cost of Goods will be turned into Currency, at One hundred and

twenty five per Cent advance, and Tobacco will be taken in Discharge thereof, at the genuine

                                                                                                                     is paid    

Cash Price Tobacco sells at in Piscataway, when such Tobacco ^ or may be discharge in Money   

       The Subscriber hereby assures his good Customers, that are now, or may hereafter choose to become such,

that they shall all be treated on the above mentioned Terms, untill further public

Notice is given to them, as many Occurrences may happen which cannot be foreseen, and

which may require some Attentions in Business, and being well convinced from

Experience that Short Settlements make long Friends, he is determined

to settle regularly and fully with all his good customers, Once in every Year,

which he hopes will be as agreeable to them as it will be to

                                                                                 their very humble Servant 


Piscataway 29th May 1769                                                                James Brown



                     May 29    put up a copy of the above @ Broad Creek Church    sent by A Hamilton

                                                                    on the Store Door

                              30  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .Piscataway Warehouse.  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .by Ign Ward

                   June     2    sent a copy to  Bryan Town .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  by Smith Midleton

                               4    put up a Copy @  Ben. Brookers  U. Marlborough             by James Hoggan

                              11   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Courthouse  Door  Porto                            by Jas Brown 










The Subscriber finding from a short Trial that the Method he proposed in a former

Advertisement of changing his Goods at the first Cost Prices, was disagreeable to

many of his good Customers, now informs them agreeable to his former Promise, that

from this Day forward, he will leave off that Method, and charge the Goods either in

the Cost or Currency Prices, as his Customers may choose at the time of taking up the

Goods   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  

                                                                                                         James Brown

Piscataway  1st January 1770                                           




     Alexander Hamilton was beginning to take over operations at the store. “Hamilton had close associations with Colonel John Baynes, from whom he rented his Piscataway store and with whom he boarded, and eventually hired his son, Joseph Noble Baynes, as an assistant factor. According to Baynes’ accounts, he was paid 100 for store rent and board, boarding each employee at 20 per annum.164 Actually, Baynes was a competitor of Hamilton’s, as he ran a store of his own. Here is an advertisement which Col. Baynes ran in the Maryland Gazette:



                                                                                 Piscataway,  April 8,  1772.     

                                         Just imported, and is to be sold for Cash, Bills of Ex-     

                                                change, or Crop Tobacco,  at a low advance,     

                                          A  BOUT    670 Cost of Goods,   consisting of     

                                                Osnabrigs, Irish Linens, Irish white and brown     

                                          Sheeting, home made Checks, coarse and fine Hats,     

                                          low priced Clothes,   10d and 20d Nails,  and many     

                                          other Articles too numerous to particularize.     

                                                  (6w)                                       JOHN BAYNES.     



     Advertising in the papers was the exception rather than the rule. Many merchants did not advertise, as many of their clients could not read, nor could they afford to subscribe to the papers.


     The Townshend Acts, with the exception of the tax on tea, were repealed at this time.  “The repeal of the Townshend Acts in 1770 retarded the growth of national consciousness in the American colonies….Repeal, in fact, unloosed a frenzy of consumption. Though the tax on tea remained, the colonists could not be deterred from buying British manufactures. Between 1770 and 1772 they set records for the importation of foreign goods.165



Public Entertainment


     Life in colonial Maryland was not all about growing tobacco. “Aside from the casual meetings in ordinaries [inns], the

chief public gatherings were at church services, courts of the commissioners, and race tracks. Probably the main attraction

of the churches was that people could there gossip with friends and neighbors and make arrangements for future visits at this home or that….While the Court of the Prince George’s County commissioners was in general held at the county seat...the commissioners did sit occasionally elsewhere, using a room in an ordinary. Marylanders were a litigious lot and the courts provided drama, comedy, and tragedy on occasion.

     Also popular was something transplanted from the mother country: “A[n]...occasional entertainment in Piscataway Hundred was brought by touring theatrical companies...They were using a tobacco barn in Upper Marlborough, and this seems a likely house for performance in Piscataway, too.”166  The company’s repertoire was known to include Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, among others.

     “Equally popular was horse-racing. With horses running wild, farm boys grew up riding and racing each other long before fast thoroughbreds were introduced to Maryland by governors Benjamin Tasker and Horatio Sharpe.

     “At least two planters near Piscataway Town, and possibly more, had tracks. George Fraser had his at St. James Hill, west of the town, and George Hawkins had one north of the creek. In 1768, the Gazette announced a race at the ‘Piscataway Race Ground,’ whatever that was...”167

     Here is part of an advertisement which ran in the Maryland Gazette on Thursday, 26 October 1769:




                                                            P I S C A T W A Y      R A C E S.

                                   TO   BE   RUN   FOR,  at Piscataway, on

                                                     Tuesday the Seventh day of November next,

                                                     A   PURSE   OF   TWENTY   POUNDS,

                                                                       Fee for any Horse, Mare, or Gelding, the

                                                     best of Three Three Mile Heats, to carry Weight

                                                     in Size [etc, etc.] ...


                                                      The HORSES for the First Day, to be entered

                                                     with Francis King, on Monday the Sixth, by

                                                    Twelve o’Clock, and to pay, if Subscribers, One

                                                     Shilling in the Pound, if not, One and Six-pence,

                                                     and if at the Post, double.----------The winning

                                                     Horse, &c. the First Day, only excepted.

                                                     Proper Judges will be appointed to determine all

                                                     Disputes that may arise.




     It is quite possible that the Darnall and Arvin families both attended this event, which was held in the style of a two-day fair drawing the people of the area. Often times the innkeepers got involved in the event. Francis King, mentioned in this advertisement as handling the entrance fees, had been a member of the Lower House of Assembly, but he was now a tobacco inspector and the innkeeper of an ordinary in Piscataway Town.168  “Ordinaries were the true centers of the communities. Here letters, packages, and messages were left and picked up. Here gossip was exchanged, magnified, and interpreted. On occasion, the justices of the peace held court in such public places. [And perhaps even held wedding ceremonies?] Katherine Kellock, in her Colonial Piscataway in Maryland, tells us that there is now a brick structure on the south side of the road nearly opposite the villagestore, which may well be a successor to this ordinary. Today the local people call it the Hardy House, because Isadore Hardy took charge after Francis King.  

     Francis King died in 1771, and debts due the estate are listed in the Inventories. One of the names listed is Thomas Arvin.169 And this leads to another interesting speculation: was this a debt associated with the races? Perhaps an unpaid entry fee for one of the boys? Or perhaps a gambling debt? Could it even have been for some event the Arvin’s held at the ordinary, even a wedding ceremony for one of the children? Or even the location of Thomas and Sarah’s wedding? We cannot tell from the information we have. All we can do is speculate. 



Prosperity,  The Boys Move Out.  Then a Panic


          The economic rebuilding of the late 1760s was almost complete, and good times once again prevailed for the colonists in America. “By the 1770s Chesapeake planters were well along the road toward the consumer society. They enjoyed comforts unknown to earlier generations, they were using artifacts and social rituals to advertise social position...The poor shared less than others in these changes, but even they paid attention to comfort and ceremony in ways their seventeenth-century predecessors had never thought of doing. The world of the seventeenth century in both Europe and America is difficult for the twentieth-century mind to comprehend; in the famous phrase of Peter Laslett, it is, ‘the world we have lost.’ The world of the 1770s contained the cultural foundations for consumer demand that was to help fuel industrialization; it is a world that we can recognize.”170


     It appears that in these expansive times Elias and Elisha may have decided to move out of the family homestead and away from Zachia Manor and establish their own households. It’s not too hard to imagine this scenario:

     Elias, approaching his majority, marries and moves out. He settles in St. John’s Hundred in Prince George’s County, few miles west of Piscataway Town. Perhaps a year or two later, Elisha also gets married and moves off the manor. Perhaps they squatted on unoccupied land or tended some rented land owned by a private landlord. (There are no records to confirm any of this.)  Just as they are beginning their new married lives, things turn rough again, as another economic downturn spreads across the American colonies. To conserve their very limited resources, Elias and Elisha and their wives lived cooperatively on a single homestead. Naturally, they grew tobacco along with other crops, just as their parents had done. And by 1776 a census will find them, their wives and two young sons still living in the same household in St. John’s Hundred, Prince George’s County. These two sons, as far as we know (and whose names we do not know), were Sarah and Thomas’s first grandchildren! 

     Although James Brown & Company’s Ledger No. 5 for 1770 and Ledger No. 6 for 1771 have not survived, we can see from the ledger for 1772 that Elisha Arvin has his own account at the store in Piscataway Town. And in subsequent years we will see that Elias also maintains his own account with James Brown & Company.   


     The American Revolution increased in intensity as a classic financial “panic” and its resulting depression, on the order of the Great Depression of the 1930s, settled over the colonies. “A number of factors combined to produce a depression in 1772 and 1773. In 1771 and 1772, Glasgow and London merchants competed for tobacco, pushing the price paid in Maryland to 30/- per cwt. To pay for the tobacco they drew bills of exchange on themselves or bankers...who advanced credit on the assumption that the sale of tobacco in Glasgow or London would cover the amount drawn with interest. The price of tobacco in the European market did not hold, however, and the London merchants were not able to pay the bills their agents in Maryland had given for tobacco. Compounding the situation was the generous credit advanced by London merchants in 1771 and previous years to merchants in Maryland. Because the demand for imported goods was so strong,

by 1771 merchants...supplied Maryland buyers with enormous quantities of goods with little regard to their ability to pay, trusting to a good market and rapid turnover of inventory to speed remittances. It was usual for goods to be sent on twelve months credit, but those British merchants who agreed to ship cargoes for little or no prepayment counted on their customers to pay sooner. As tobacco prices fell and the supply of money available to the colonists constricted, Maryland merchants found they were forced to give longer credit terms and ask lower prices if they were to sell their goods at all. As a consequence, the British merchants were unable to pay their suppliers. Although the colonists found it increasingly difficult to pay their debts to storekeepers, the depression had its greatest and most devastating effect on the British middlemen, who supplied the Maryland merchants with goods and who sold the colony’s tobacco...By ‘dabbling’ in a ‘vile circulation of Paper’—bills of exchange drawn on sales expectations rather than cash or commodities already in London tobacco merchant found himself in a desperate situation. During the fall of 1772, almost all the major London tobacco firms fell into financial straights. In January 1773 even Amsterdam, the major continental market for Maryland tobacco, was effected, and several prominent firms there failed. By February 1773, all the major London firms...were protesting every bill of exchange offered them.”171

      “...the Scottish firms seem to have had a hard time. Hamilton, the factor at James Brown’s store at Piscattaway, did a diminishing import business in the seventies.”172



The 1772 Piscataway Accounts


     “Walter Wilson came to Piscataway in 1772, ‘as an assistant to a considerable factor there [e.g. Alexander Hamilton]’...Wilson received 10 sterling as Hamilton’s assistant in 1774, but his wages were raised to 15 per annum the following year.”173

     The store kept Ledger No. 7 in 1772. Thomas’s account balance is carried over from Ledger No. 6 from 1771, although the Ledgers No. 5 for 1770 and Ledger No. 6 for 1771 apparently have not survived. The handwriting in the 1772 ledger looks to be different from prior years.







          Thomas Arvine            Dr


                    To Balance from Ledger N 6                              261                                     32.  7.   1

January   16  To 4 Ells rolls 4/4..13 Ells Tucklenburghs @ 1/10 . 23/10 .  .     .   .  .    .    1   8   2

                    To 3 Ells oznabgs 3/9..1/5 oz oznbg thrd 1/.. 3oz colld thrd 1/3  .     .    .  .   .     6  __

                    To 1 hank silk 10d ..2 bushels Salt 6/ ../23 March/ 1 Spelling Book 1/8 .     .    .    .   .    3   6

   March  25 To 1 Taper Ink Ponder 1/.. Thos Clagett for Inke holder 4d    . .  .  16.   .    .    .    .    . 1  4

                    To 12 Ells Tinklenburgs @ 22d 1.2.__1/6 ld Oznaburg thread 10d .    .    .    .    .   .   .  1  2  10

                    To 1 Paper Fins 11 ½.. Pints Rum 1/11../4 April / 1 ½ Bushl Salt 4/6 .    .   .   .   .   .      7 

   April      9  To Cash 3..~..~..  ..:2 Ells Osnaburgs 1/6 . 3/.. 2 Ells Rolls @ 1/2/  2    .    .   .   .     .  3. 5.  ~

                 "  To 3 ½ Yds Bagging @ ¼ 4/8../ 20 May / 500 8d Nails @ 8./  4/.   .    .   .   .  8.  8.

    May     20 To 3 ½ Yds Drillings @   3 / 4..11/8d ..1 Oz thread 5d ¼ tt Oznabg ditto 1/½ . .   .   .  .     13 2½

                 "  To 10 Ells Oznaburgs @ 1/6 15/..3 Yd Whited B Sheeting @ 2/6  7/6  .     .    .   .   .  .  .1.  2. 6

                 "  To 1 Pint Rum 9d../June 12th/Sheriff of Chas County per Order 9 ott To cr.152.85      .  .   .   __.9 

June . . 19 To 2 Oz Whited B Thread 1/8d ..2 Oz Coloured ditto 10d ..1 Oz ditto Yuns 10d . .   .   .    .   . 3. .4

                 "  To tt Osnaburg thread 1/1d 1 Pair Wool Cards 3/9d 1 Bale Rope .  .   .  .    .  . 7  .4

                 "  To 15 Ells Osnaburgs  1 / 4 20/. 15 ditto 1/6  22/6 .     .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .  .   2. 2. 6

    July . .  .3 To 2 Gallons Rum 10/._ .. / 10 / 3 ¼ Gallons Rum 5/.  16/3 .  .    .    .    . .   . 1  6  3

                23 1 To 4½ Ells Osnaburgs 1/6 6/9d..300 & 8d Nails 2/9 .. 2 tt Osnabg thread ½       .   .  .   .   9 

                 "  To 2 Galls Rum 10/.~./August 10th/ 1 Pint Rum 9d..    .    .     .    .   .    .  .    .  .10 .9

  August   24 To Yds Stampt Cotton 4/6 31/6d 2 Oz Indigoe Blue 1/ 2/.~. 1ee Pepper 1/6  .     .   .  .   .   1 15  ~

                      "  To 1 Card SleeveButtons 1/6d... ¾ Yd Broad Cloth 11/30/3 Stock loves[?]/10d    .   .   .   6 12.7

                                                                                               ==========        ==============

                                                  Carried up to Cr side .  .   .   .  .   .  .    .  .  .   . 85      .  .49 18 .9½




    The Spelling Book purchased on March 23rd is especially intriguing, another indication that Thomas was at least semi-literate, and trying as best he could to educate himself and his family despite the lack of schools in the province. This book might have been one of the very few books the family owned. Imagine the disadvantage this put the children at. “During the early years of the Province of Maryland, public schools were nonexistent; education of youth was a private matter, left to the parents to accomplish according to their means and inclinations.”174    

    Noah Webster did not publish his famous American Spelling Book until 1783. The book purchased was probably Daniel Fenning’s Universal Spelling-Book; or, a New and Easy Guide to the English Language. which was first published in London beginning in 1756. There was a new edition released in 1767.  The Universal Spelling Book was more than simply a spelling book for teaching children to read. The first part follows more or less the conventional pattern for the time, although Fenning introduces his own ideas on the teaching of reading and the way in which children learn. There are three more sections, however, and these include a brief grammar of English, a selective dictionary of useful words intended to be of use in ‘School, Shop, or Compting-House’ and, finally, a section of miscellaneous information with such things as recipes for making ink, alphabet copies and instructions for writing, and passages in prose and verse, ‘not only diverting to the Mind, and improving to the Morals, but a great Help to prevent Youth from falling a Sacrifice to the common Temptations of Life, and their own unguarded Passions.’ The fourth edition of 1760 added a further section on history.”175

     Taper Ink Ponder: Although no information on this item could be found, it might be a type of ink well and therefore could considered addition evidence that Thomas was literate.


     At the end of the year the store recaps its accounts. On folio 242, we find that Thomas Arvin and Thomas Darnall have a single account, written on one single line. This gives credence to the Darnall family tradition that “Thomas Arvin was involved in a number of business transactions with Thomas Darnell...”176  The folio is written thus:



                     Balance                  Dr                   242

                                                                                   Sterling    CropTo    Goods   Currency 

  Thomas . . . .Arvine .   .   .&Thos Darnall .   .   .      .   .   .    .   . 1039 .     .    .   .   17..5..6½

  John. . . . . .  Addison . .  .   .    .    .    .   .    .     .    .    .   .    .    .   .   .     .1..4..2 .  .1..7..5

  John .  .  .  . .Allen  .   .   .   .   .    .   .    .    .   .   .    .    .    .   .    .  .   .   .   .    .    .  . 1..8..1½

  James .  .  . . Alder .   .    .    .   .   .     .    .   .   .   .    .     .    .    .    .     .     .      .   .   2..6..8

  John.  .   .  . .Anderson   .    .    .    .     .    . .   .   .    .   .   .   .    .    .    .      .   .  .   .   5..4..6

  Miss Sally. . Allford  .   .   .  .   .    .     .    .    .   .   .    .    .     .    .     .    .    .   .   .   .  .. 1..~

  Monica .  .   .Brook  .   .   .   .    .    .    .     .      .     .    .    .    .    .    .   .    .    .    .  . 2.15.10

  John.   .   .  . Bloinfords.  .  Exrs.   . .    .    .    .  .   .    .    .    .   .   .    .   .    .   .   .    3..17.8½        




    Also in 1772, we find for the first time an account for “Elisha Arvine of Thos.” This must be Thomas’s second son. Elisha, who is now 19 years old and is apparently out on his own. Elisha may have been listed by the store as “of Thomas” to distinguish him from an older person named Elisha Harbin, who lived in the area and had established an account at the store

in Port Tobacco prior to this time. The Harbins were apparently not related to the Arvins. It’s also possible that Elias and Elisha, with their wives and the children, lived in a single household and that they maintained just one account at James Brown’s store, under Elisha’s name this year.


     Here is an abstract of Elisha’s account:



       Elisha Arvine of Thos         Dr

 April       3 To1 Pair Traces 3/..1 Pair Leading Lines 1/.. 3 Ells Rolls 3/3 .   .     .    . .   . 7..3

                "   To Cash 12/6..4½ Bushls Salt 13/6 .. /24th /Cash 2/6.   .   .2&3.  .    .   .  . 1..8..6

 June        3   To 3 Ells Osnaburgs@ 1/7d 4/9 1 Pair Knee Buckels 1/..   .      .    .   .   .  .  5..9

                "   To  3 Yds white Sheeting  2/6  7/6  1 Oz whited B thread 10d .    .    .   .     8. 4

                "   To 1/5th Osnaburgs thread 10d . 1 Ivory Comb 1/10½ .  .    .     .    .    .   .  2. 8½

 July        10  To 2½ Ells Osnaburgs 1/4d 3/4d .1 Broad Hoe 4/6d ./28/1 Hair Sifter 1/6.  .    .    .   ..  9. 4

 August    29 To 1 Pair Mens Common Shoes 8/.~ ..10¼ Yd Russia Drab 2/6  25/7½d.    .    .   .   1.13. 7½

                "   To 6 Ells Osnaburgs 1/7 9/6d 2@5 Osnaburg thread 10d 1/8d..4 Ells Hessian 6/.~ .   .  . . . 17. 2

                "   To Womans Silk Bonnet 12/6d .. 1 Check Handkff 2/4d.      .  .   .   .   .  .  .14.10

Septemr   12 To George Wilson 750$Transferr is .     .  .    207.  . 705@ 32/6 pr   .  .   . 11. 9.1½

October   29 To 1 Shoe Hammer 2/6d.. 1 PrPinchers 3/3d..1 Bushel Salt 3/.~.   .   .   .   .   8. 9

                 "  To 1 Iron Pott 18½ @ 4d 6/2d 200 8d Nails 1/10ddoz Auls 6d 9d .    .   .   .   .   .  .   .  8. 9

                 "  To 1 Pegging Aul 3d..1/2 ee Shoe thread 3/6d 1/9d..3 7/8 Ells Osnabgs ½ 4/6¼.   .   .  .   .  6. 6¼

                 "  To 4 5/8 Yds Welsh Cotton 2/9 12/8½..2 Shoe Knifes 1/4d .. 1 Hankff 1/4d.  .   .  .  .    .    15 7½

Novemr     6 To 3 Snuff Boxes 3/.~1Bottle Snuff 2/6d ..5 Soots pr Lauden 1/8 8/4.  .     .   .   .   .   .   .13.10

                 "  To ½ Yd I Linen 2/4½d 1 ¼ Yd German Serge 8/.~ 10/.~ 4 Oz thrd 1/8.  .   .   .   .  .   .    .14~ ½

                 " To 1 Paper Pins 9d .. 3½ Yds Bagging 1/8d 5/10d..1 pr Sleve butts 6d .   .     .   .   .   .  .    . 7..1

Decemr     5 To 1 Stock Lock(?) 2/6d.. 1¼ Yds Sercy 3/9d ../10/ 1½ Ells Osnabg 1/2 1/9d .   .   .   .   .   . 8 ~

                27 To 5 Quarts Rum 7/6d .   .   .   .   .   .      .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  .   . 7 6


                                                                                                                                     22   6 




   Knee Buckles were used to fasten men’s breeches to his stockings at the knee.

   Iron Pot: “Not only were cast-iron pots very heavy but they were also very brittle and susceptible to burning out, so they were not ideal cooking utensils. On the other hand, they were cheap and could be patched by a blacksmith. Pot iron in early Maryland cost about threepence a pound, and cooking pots weighed from 20 to 60 pounds or more, so that one cost from four to fifteen shillings...The people of the period used the term ‘pot’ for the larger vessels, with capacities usually measuring in the gallons, fitted with loop handles and hooks for suspension over the fire, not seating them in the fire. The smaller capacity of ‘kettles’ was generally measured in quarts, and these had lids, whereas pots did not.”177 



The 1773 Piscataway Accounts


          As the American Revolution continued to grow in intensity, the depression in the colonies ground on through 1773. “‘Such times has never been in the memory of man,’ wrote Joshua Johnson as he predicted, ‘I should not be surprised at a general revolution of the mercantile world.’”178

     Thomas Arvin and Thomas Darnall apparently did not make any more purchases on their joint account in 1773. In fact, they were not to trade ever again with James Brown & Company.  However, the store continued to carry their account on its books, which was brought over from Ledger No. 7 to Ledger No. 8. Below is what appears to be a summary of the accounts for 1773.

     Hamilton began to classify each account based on his assessment of his ability to collect the money from the debtor. Each account was rated as 1st Class (Supposed Good), 2nd Class (Supposed Doubtful) and 3rd Class (Supposed Bad). The Thomas Arvin & Thomas Darnall account was considered “1st Class” at this point in time, no doubt due in part to the fact that both families were permanently settled in Zachia Manor and Thomas had signed a bond for the amount of the debt, making it easier to enforce legally. Here is an alphabetical index folio, showing the store customers’ balances due. The joint account of Thomas Arvin (now spelled without the gratuitous “e”) and Thomas Darnall is listed as number 5, and written within brackets, as shown here:




                                   1st Class                                        

 1  Miss Sally.  .   . Allford   .    .  Dr To Balance from Ledger N 8   .   .  .  1 .  .   .   .   .  .  .  1  ..


 2  James .  .  .   .   Atchison of Wm  To ..ditto  from   .    do  .   do  .   .   .  1 .   .    .   .   .  .   3. 2


 3  John  .   .  .   .  .Anderson.  .   .  . To. .ditto . from     Ledger  N 8.  .    .    43  .  .   .   .    .6  3  2


 4  John .  .   .   .   .Addison .   .  .   . To ..ditto . from .  .    do.   .  do  .   .  .  . 67.   .    .    .. ... 4  6

5{ Thomas .   .   .Arvin &} .   .    .To  ditto  from . .   do     do prBond 100 . .1039   .   17..5..6½  

      Thomas .   .  . Darnall


 6  Thomas .  .   .   .Addison .   .   .  . To ditto . . from   . . . do .   . .    .   .   . 112  .   .   .   .  4.. 2..~


 7 Miss Betsey.  .  . Acken .  .  .    .   . To ditto .  .from   do.  .  .      .   .   .   .122 .   .   .  .   15..7½  5   


 8 John .  .   .   .   .   Allan.  .  .   .   .  .  To .ditto . . from  do   .  .    .  .   .  .  .  203 .     .   .    4..4 ~


 9  Hezekiah.  .   .   .Athey .   .   .   .  . To .ditto. .  from   do.      .  .   .   .   .  .207.        .   .    (?)  6


 10 Hilliary.   .   .   .  Baal .   .    .   .  .  To  ditto . . from . do .  .    .   .   .  .   . (?).  . .   .  .   .  19..10


 11 Eleanor .   .   .   .Blanford .   .  .  .  To. .ditto . . from  do .   .   .    .    .  .    1   .   .   .    .   . 2.  6


 12 Nancy .   .   .   . Barrel .   .    .  .  .  To. .ditto.  . from  do    .   .   .     .    .  .  1  .    .    .  (?) 17.5   




     Thomas Arvin’s son Elias did make purchases at the store in 1773. The account for him and his brother Elisha may have been maintained in his name this year, for whatever reason. Their families were still dependent on what James Brown & Company had to offer.

     “The colonists came increasingly to rely upon British merchants not only for what they now perceived as the necessities

of daily life but also for a continued supply of credit. So long as the Anglo-American economy remained relatively prosperous and stable, it was possible to maintain the fiction of personal independence in a market system that in fact spawned dependence.”179    

    Elias’s purchases are listed on folio 158 of Ledger No. 8. They run from 27 March through 13 November 1773. Total store credit at the end of the year was 5..3..6¼. An abstract is shown here:



158                      Maryland         

              Elias Arvine                    Dr


March 27 To 1½YdsHampt Mon 4/6 ..6/9d ..1 Check HKff 1/9d..1½ B.Salt 4/6d . . . .  .19..9

            "   To 1½YdRibbon 1/1d 1/7½d 1Yd Oxnaburg thread 11¼d ..  .   .   .   .   .   .    . 2.6¾

April...10 To 1 Pair Traces 1/6d ..1 Pair Leading Lines 10d..2½ Ells Rolls 2/6d .  .  .  .  . . 4..16

            "   To 3 Ells Osnaburgs 1/7d 4/9d..Pocket Looking Glass 1/3d..QuartR(?)6d.  .  .  7.. 6

June     22 To 2¾ Fine ditto 1/3d 4/7d ../July 26/1 Pair Sleeve Buttons 6d .  .  .  .  .  .   .  .  5.. 1

July      26 To 1 Castor Hatt 12/6..1½ Yds Drillingo 2/3 .. 6/4¼ .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  .  . 15.10½ 

                 To  1 OzWhited Bronin Thread 7d..1 Bottle Snuff 2/6d .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  .  3..1

                 To 1 Pint Rum 9d.. /30/ ¼ Yd Muslin 2/5d .. Stock Buckle 1/3d .  .  .   .   .   .  .  4..5

August   7 To 1 Pair S:Chr Pumps 12/6d .. 2ea Brown Sugar 1/6d..1 Snaffle Bridle 5/.  .  . 19..2

Novembr13To Sundries paid Thomas Arvine 20/.~../Decembr/ 500 10 Nails 5/6 800 3d ditto .     .   .   .    1..8..3


                                                                                                                                        5. 3.6¼ 




Here is an abstract of the right (Credit) side of the folio:



                    Anno  1773                             158

                                                                                                                          Folio CropTo  Goods Currency

                Contra               Cr

December 11..  By Francis Mudd.   .     .    .     .    .    .     .    .    .  75  .    .     .    .    .  ~..6..~

                         By Balance to Ledger No 9  .    .    .    .    .    .    .    8 .    .    .    .   .   4..11..6¼ 




   Francis Mudd: This is likely the family which, in a later era, would produce Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. Dr. Mudd set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, who was fleeing through Zachia after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Historical notes: On 10 May 1773, The Tea Act was passed in Great Britain. It gave the East India Company a monopoly on tea imported by the colonists (tea which still carried the Townshend duty), and reasserted Parliament’s right to tax the colonies. On 16 December 1773, in response to this Act, a group of Massachusetts Bay provincials dressed as Indians, boarded three vessels at anchor in the harbor and threw the cargoes of tea into the water. Similar incidents would later occur in other colonies, including Maryland.     


     Zachariah Moreland, whose family lived in Zachia Manor, still had an account at the store. Zachariah would marry Thomas Darnall’s daughter Mary in 1773. He will play a role in Thomas’s life later.



The 1774 Piscataway Accounts    


     “Something extraordinary occurred in 1774. Thousands of ordinary people responded as they never had done before to an urban political crisis. Events in Boston mobilized a nation, uniting for the first time artisans and farmers, yeomen and gentlemen, and within a few months colonists who had earlier expressed neutrality or indifference about the confrontation Great Britain suddenly found themselves supporting bold actions that led almost inevitably to independence.”180

    Hamilton’s business is slowly deteriorating in the turmoil of the times. The Maryland Convention of 1774, held at Annapolis, decided on non-importation of British “manufactures” and non-exportation goods to Great Britain. This was all part of the Continental Resolves. “When the colonists finally and reluctantly decided that they could do without the ‘Baubles of Britain,’ they destroyed a vital cultural bond with the mother country. ‘The country,’ explained James Lovell to his friend Joseph Trumbull in December 1774, ‘seems to be determined to let England know that in the present struggle, commerce has lost all the temptations of a bait to catch the American farmer.’ Lovell may have exaggerated, but he helps us to understand why in 1774 the countryside supported the cities.”181


     James Brown & Company found itself overextended and caught in the middle. On 28 May 1774, Alexander Hamilton, under pressure from his employers, writes, “You say you are astonished at the small remittance made you last year from this store, where so much money is due you. I can assure you that I did every thing in my power to make it Better and did not a thing neglect your Business. But there being no Inspection Law and People not obliged to Bring their Tobacco to the Warehouses until they pleased, and the prices lower than they expected, many of them would not carry at all [not deliver to the store], and to sue them, which has been the case with many, has not yet compelled a payment; from the State[ment] I

sent you last, you will see that I have sued a great many, few or none of which I have Received any Payment from yet, nor do not expect before the 10th day of February next; although I expect to get Judgement against them at August Court, I shall not received the payment then, as they will Superside until February. You are very well acquainted with the tediousness of the Law here and the generally litigious disposition of the people, how well they are acquainted with every chicanery that the Law will admit of to keep off payment of their debts & what good use they make of that knowledge. Last Charles County March Court I expected Judgement against several people whom I Sued the March preceding. The Court was adjourned until the 26th instant, and has since been adjourned to a further time. By such things as these I have been prevented from making you a better remittance. I have not nor shall not neglect any opportunity of making as good and Speedy a remittance as possible, and if it Should not answer your expectation, I cannot help it. On inquiring you will find that remittances from most of the Stores on Potowmack Last year fell greatly Short of which might have been reasonably expected from so many debts, and I daresay they think as you do, that the Business, unless it takes a turn for the Better, will not be worth the Continuing. You may rest assured that every thing in my power shall be done for your advantage and that, I shall be satisfied with whatever your determination may be with respect to your future operations.

     “It is true I have a great many Goods on hand, but they are not Such as I want or Such as I can sell at this time….You will see by the Inventory that it will take a Considerable part of my scheme to assort the Store & that Large Quantity of Goods on hand is much owing to many of unsaleable goods,…I mean not, nor desire not, to increase your debts, but I should be glad to have such a Supply as will Command some respect to this store and enable me by the Sale of them to help pay for the Charge of Storekeeping and at the same time not injure the Collection & lessening of many of your debts.

      “I shall give due attention to your orders, and shall not draw on you for any part of the Tobacco purchase, but confine myself to what I may receive in payment of debts…The first time I see Daniel Jenifer [a prominent lawyer, older brother of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer] Shall present our order for payment.

     “From the present prospect there will be a great deal of Tobo. planted, most people are prepared, and many have planted part of their Crops.”

      “30th      Since writing the within the post has brought the Resolutions of the City of Annapolis [calling for non-importation and non-exportation. See The Maryland Gazette, 26 May 1774] which you have herein inclosed. Despatches have been sent to the Burgesses of every County to convene at Annapolis and enter into further Resolutions. I should imagine they are too violent to Continue. However time will show. Should they adhere to those Resolution the consequences will be extremely fatal to the People trading from Great Britain, at all events it will be productive of a great deal of Mischief by encouraging those, who at all times are tardy, to delay the payments of their debts. I am afraid I shall find it a difficult matter to make any kind of Collection, & it will be prudent if more Lenient measures are not pursued, to shut up Store at once and wait the Event of all this heat. It is said the Bostonians have strongly recommended to the Southern Colonys to distress as much as they can the trade from Scotland, giving for Reason that the Scots members in the House of Commons were unanimous against them. But it is suspected that this is done to terrify the trade of Glasgow & force them to petition the Parliament for a Repeal of the Tea Act, well knowing they have a very considerable property in this part of the continent. The most thinking part of the People with whom I have had any conversations on these Resolves blame these violent measures of the Metropolis, & say that Such an inconsiderable Province as Maryland ought not to have taken the Lead at any rate, but have waited the Resolves of the more Considerable ones & then have assembled and weighed maturely their Resolves & the Consequences.”182                       

     Although “there was a growing despair among the colonists that their self-imposed embargo caused economic fluctuations in Maryland,” they persisted. Soon the inventories in the stores began to wane. On 6 August 1774, Hamilton writes to James Brown that, “…I am at present vary bare of the staple articles, not 200 Ells Osnab[urg]s altogether good & bad, no Irish Linen under 1/6, about 100 yds. Of Brown sheeting, not a yard of White, no Dunlaps of any kind, no Osnabg. Thread, Coarse cloth, Berman serge & Druggets, shoes Men’s saddles, snuff, writing paper, not one Ell Rolls, but fine white which does not answer, no Nails but one Cask of 8d., no Locks, Iron potts, Dutch ovens, Best cord, Trace and seine Rope, thread stockings, sticking thread, pine, Needles, Men’s & Boy’s Felt Hatts, & low priced Castor Hatts;…Messrs. Cuninghame & Comy. Have declined three of their stores, viz. Leonardtown, Portobacco, & Bladensburg, at the two first of which or Newport there is good openings for any house that can advance some cash and keep a good assorted store.”183

     On 31 October he reiterates, “I need not say much more about Goods you have sent out than what I have already said. The lateness of their coming and the small quantity has proved very prejudicial to my purchase, & many of my best

customers have been under the necessity of lying out part of their Crops at other places. You made a very great mistake in sending hoes instead of Irish Linens, having a greater quantity of the first than I wanted, and no low priced of the last, and Check and stript Holland will not suit women…”184 

     Again on 31 October he writes, “The Colonys are extremely adverse to the late Parliamentary Measures, and the say they will never submit to be taxed without their Consent, but would be willing to pay any reasonable sum towards the Exigencys of Government provided they are allowed to raise it as the Judge most convenient for themselves….Should the difference betwixt Britain and the Colonys continue on twelve-month longer, and the imports & exports be strictly adhered to, the poor people and all those who could not lay in more Goods than would answer their present Necessitys will be in the Utmost Distress, and will I am afraid be exceedingly riotous against the better sort of people who have fully supplied themselves for a Length of time. If the Premier [Lord North] who seems to be thoroughly acquainted with the Situation of

the Country and its Inhabitants, and a man of great firmness, should persevere in his Plan, I am greatly afraid he will gain his point, however it will not be without some Bloodshed. It is said the people of Massachusetts bay are very desirous of cutting off General Gage, before he has fortified himself and received fresh reinforcements from Britain & the other parts of the Continent. I sincerely wish these disputes were amicably settled, and to the Satisfaction of both parties.”185

     Later in the year, there were even bigger problems. “James Brown & Co. came into direct conflict with the revolutionaries by the end of 1774 when goods consigned to its Bladensburg factor, James Hoggan, were confiscated by the Committee of Observation for Prince George’s County and sold at public auction. Hoggan purchased the goods at auction but was forced to pay 3 over their cost which was sent by the Committee for the relief of Boston. Mr. Hoggan’s stock apparently arrived after the December 1, 1774 deadline for non-importation of British goods and he was made an example of by the Committee.”186 


     At the end of 1774 all the account balances shown on the closing folios of Ledger Number 9 were “Carried By Balance to Ledger Number 10.” Thomas Arvin & Thomas Darnall’s account was also “Carried By Bond to Ledger Number 10.” Alexander Hamilton again classifies his debtors as 1st Class, 2nd Class and 3rd Class. The account titled “Thomas Arvin & Thomas Darnall” is listed as 1st Class. Accounts of the 1 st Class alone number 300 and total over 10,500.

     After the listing of the 1st Class debts, Hamilton lists the debts of 2nd Class, beginning with number 301. The three Arvin sons are listed here. Hamilton may have assumed that the boys, all in their twenties, might as easily move out of the province as settle up.



                 Number 303 is Thomas Arvine, with a total owed of     42..18..~½

                 Number 304 is Elisha Arvin, with a total owed of          12..~..14

                 Number 306 is Elias Arvin, with a total owed of              4..17..6¾  




     Elias seems to be the most conservative, or perhaps simply more resistant to the “Baubles of Britain.” He makes few purchases and keeps his account balance low.  For reasons we do not know, he apparently gave John Roby 3 in September.




                Elias  Arvine         Dr

January    1 To Amount Brought from .  .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .   .  .  . 8  .   .   .    .   .   .  4..17..6¼ 

    April    6 To Broad Hoe 4/6..1 Bushell Salt 3/..Ells Rooled 1/..2/6  .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .  .  ..  10. ....

              16 To Cash..2/6 / May 23/ ¼ ea Powder..8d ..1ea Shott 5d .  .  .  .  17 .  .       .   .  .   .  3.. 7

   Septr     9 To John Roby son of Richd 3 .  .    .   .   .   .   .   .   . 165 .   .   .  .   .   .   .3.. ~..~



 ==================                                                                              =================================

                "  To Final Bill Pr Contra . .  .   .   .  .   .    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   7..11 ..6

                ..  To John Roby ..60/~. (October 21st)3 Wlls Oznab 1/6:4/6 .   .165.   .    . .    .   .  .   .  3..  4 .. 6

October      22  To Elisha Arvin for ½ bushel salt ozd him April 23d  .   .   .   .116.    .    .   .   .   .  1 .. 6

Decemb        7  To Cash 5/~../24th/ ½ Gallon rum 3/..  .   .    .    .    .   .   .    .   .   .  .     8. . ~ 


                                                                                                                                   11..5.. 6

 ====================                                                                         ==================================== 


     And here is the credit side. He brings no tobacco to market this year, at least not with James Brown & Company, but

he gets credit for some tobacco from the estate of Thomas Owens. He appears to be settling his account with Hamilton,

and has a “final bill” in September, which will bear interest from the first of January next.


                                    Contra                 Cr


   July     16 By The Estate of Thomas Owens ..7.3dCropTobo &5/.. is.  . .  179 .  .  19 .7¼

 September 9 By Your Final Bill on Int. fr 1st Jany next .  .    .    .     .    .     .     .     .    .    . 7 .11 .6



     ================                                            ======================================================

 October      1 By Cash 37/1 . ..(21st)By Cash  21/1 .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   . .  22 .  .   .  .   .   .2..18..2

  Decem. . . 10 By Cash 5/~ .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   . 28 .   .   .    .   .  .    5..~

                       By Bond .  .   .   . 7..1..16}

                       By Ballance .  .   .   . 10.18} To Ledger No. 10 .   .    .    .    .  9  .      .    .     8.. 2.. 4


                                                                                                                                              11  5  .6

     ==================                                                                             =============================================



      Second son Elisha Arvin, who turned 21 this year and may also be married, continues his own account into 1774. Here

is the Debit side of folio 116. Note Elisha purchases some of those 8 penny nails, the only kind Alexander Hamilton has in stock.



                         Elisha  Arvin  Dr

January   1 To Balance Brought Forward   Your Notes of hd & 9..1..3}  7   .  .   .    .  12.  1 .7

                                                                                                                                      Balance                      2..6..11

February  7 To Dutch Ax 10/~  March 19  (?)Henry Muren  29/7 . .  .  147.   .   .   .  . .   1..19. 7

April . . . 23 To ½ Bushell Salt 3/- 1/6~ /26/ 5¾ Ells Osnabrigs @&/7½   .   .   .   .  .  .   . .  .10.1½

August~  19 To 50: 8d Nails 6d ../27/ To Luke Lovelas 150eaC.Tobo . 199. 150  .  .     .   .   6

                27 To Allowance for Poricing(?) 4/6 .   .    .   .   .   .    .    .    .     .    .     .    .   . . 4. 6

                     To Inor on The Conra Credit   .     .     .    .    .    .   .    .   .    .      .    .   .   . 

                                                                                                  ====                      ========= 

                                                                                                                                                                                     150                14.16.3½            

      ======================                                                     =======================================

October   22 To Bond per contra  .  .  .   .   .   .    .    .    .     .    .   .    .    .   .   .   .    .    . 11..~  ½

                     To Pint Rum 9d..December 12th 5 yds Sects Pladen(?) 1/6  7/4 .   .    .   .   13.3½



===================                                                                  =================================



     And the credit side of folio 116. Elisha also gets credit from the estate of Thomas Owens. He apparently earned this

by “stiping, packing & prizing a light hhd” of tobacco for the estate, although the actual amount of credit is not recorded.




                        Contra        Cr

  July   16 By The Estate of Thomas Owens for Striping packing} 179 .  .   .  .   .   .   .   .    

                                & prizing a light Hhd Tobo .   .   .   .  .

August 17 By Crop Tobo on Piscattaway E H 474.609.105..504.   .  92

                                                                             4PrCt            20

                                                                                               --------  524

                  By Elias Arvin for ½ bushel Salt of april 23d .   .    .  .   .  156 .   .   .    .   .  .   .   . 1.6

October 22 By Discounted to Currency @ 20/ PrCt .  .   .   .   .   .   .   374..  .   .   150.  ..3.14.9   

                  By Bond due 1st Novbr bearing Int. from 1st March next .     .   .  .  .   .    .  .  11.~.½

                                                                                                                                                ======  ==========


                                                                                                                                                                                          150  4.16.3½  

   =================                                                                           =====================================


     He brings no tobacco of his own to market this year, at least not with James Brown & Company.                                                                                                

   Prizing: packing the tobacco leaves tightly into the cask, usually done with leverage 


     Third son Thomas Arvin, Jr., now probably 19 years old, has an account. He may also have married and moved out of his parents’ home but later censuses will show he is still living in Charles County. Here is the debit side of folio 61. These accounts are all in Ledger Number 9 of James Brown and Company, for the year 1774.



61                                    Maryland                  Crop

                                                                                     Folio   Tobacco  Goods Currency                                              


           Thomas Arvine          Dr

January 1  To Balance Brought forward .   .   .   .   .    .    .    .    .    .   .    .   .   .    .42..18.~ ½


             27 To Your Note on hand pr Contra .   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .   .   .  .  42..18.~ ½

              "  To ½ yd Shoe thread 1/4½  ..1Yd White Sheeting 2/6..2 Yds Bed Tyoke5/10   .   .  .  .   .    9. 8½

 March  17 To 1 Pair Leading Lines 10d ..200 8d Nails 2/~1 .   .   .   .   .    .   .   .   .   .  2..10

  June     2  To 20 Ells Osnabrigs@ 1/6~30/~..3½ Yds Irish Linen @ 3/2..11/1  .  .. .  .11..1

              "  To Gimblets @ 3d~6d..1 oz Nuns Thread 10d .   .   .   .   .     .     .     .  .   .  . 1..4

             11 To ¼w Osnabrigs thread 10d..1 paper Pins 6d .   .   .   .    .    .    .    .       .   . 1..4

August   8  To 100: 8d Nails 1/~..50: 10d Ditto ~1/2 7d /27th/1/6 Leading lines 10d .  .     .    2..5

Septbr     3  To ¼ yds fine Irish Linen @ 8/~ 2/~../6th/2 Felt hatts 5/~ 10/~ .   .   .   .   .  12.~

              6  To Snaffle Bridle 4/4.. (27th) 2 ½ Ells oznabr ½.. 2/11 .   .   .   .   .    .    .   .  7..3

October 25 To 20 Ells Oznab 1/8.. 3¾ .9yds beaty Ike(?) 3/~ 2 7/~ .   .    .   .   .     .   .3  .~..4

              26 To ½ doz awl Blades 6d~3d /31st/ 2½ yds Bearskin 10/~25/  .   .   . .  .   .1 .5 .3

              30 To 1¼ doz Large metal Buttons 1/3 ~ 1 6¾ 2 Stickshair 6d~1/~  .  .   .   .   2 6¾

               "  To 2¾ yds Bearskin 8/4..2 2/11..3 oz cold thread 5d~1/3.  .   .   .    .   . .   .1. 4  .2

               "  To 1¼ yds shalloon 3/8..4/7.. 50: 4d nailsa  6d~3d .   .   .   .    .   .   .    .   .  . 4.10

               "  To Allowance for Reprising .   .    .    .    .     .     .    .    .    .    .    .    .     .   . 4.  6

               "  To Inspection at Piscatty for Tobo mered(?) in T A  490.  .  176 .216  .  . 

 Novem  7  To 13 Yds Cotton 3/~. 39/~ ¼ Yds Muslin 6/~. 1/6.   .    .    .  .  .    ._____.  .2. ~.6

                                                                                                                            216      54.2.6¾

 Decem --24 To 1 Gallon Rum 5/~:  .   .     .     .    .     .     .     .    .    .    .    .  .   .   .    .     5. ~

                                                                                                                     =====   ========    

                                                                                                                      216  .  . .54.2.6¾  



   Nuns thread was a white sewing thread, also known as “ounce,” made from linen yarn. Introduced in 1722, its main seat of production was Paisley, Scotland. With the introduction of cotton thread it fell off almost as rapidly as it had risen, and by the early nineteenth century it was almost extinct.

   Shalloon: a lightweight wool or worsted fabric, used chiefly for coat linings


     Thomas also buys some of the 8 penny nails.

     Here is the credit side of folio 61, Ledger Number 9:



                             Anno 1774          61

                                                                                                  Folio  C Tobo    Goods   Currency

                                     Contra       Cr 

January   27  By Your Note of hand of this date .   .    .   .    .   .    .   .   .    .   .    42..18~ ½

                                                                                                                         _________                                                                   ==========================================

  June        2  By Crop Tobacco 1 Thread T A  75..1050..94..956          90

                                                                         4 PrCt                    98

                                                                                                  _______ 994

October   31 By ditto on Piscattaway T A  490..1020:110:910 .   .   .   .  220

                                                                   4 PrCt on 694..   . .  27

                                                                                                       ____ 937


                         By Discounted to Currency @ 20/. PrCt                    1715 .  .    216 17  .3.  ~

                     By your Note of  Hand due thereon to Lr No. 10 .    .    9 .   .     .   .    .37.. 4..6¾

                                                                                                     =====            ===========

                                                                                                                             216   54.. 7..6¾

                                                                                                    ======================                                =======================================================



     Thomas, Jr. seems to be living a very intense life. He brought to market more than he two other brothers combined, as much tobacco as two people. He also purchased a great deal more than his older brothers this year. Did he have extra help? A larger family than the brothers? Debts to pay? In his August 24th letter to James Brown, Hamilton says, “‘The people in debt have been extremely careless in Cutting down, housing and management in the House and that has proceeded greatly from an opinion they had entertained that there would not be any Inspection Law…’ Hamilton accuses them of wanting to produce tobacco in quantity in order to meet their debts.187


1774 historical timeline:

 31 March   King George approves several measures called The Coercive Acts. They include the Boston Port Act, which is meant to punish Massachusetts Bay colony for the tea party. Instead of isolating the colony, the acts—known popularly in America as the “Intolerable Acts”—increase a spirit of unity among all the colonies.

April   What would be the last meeting of General Assembly of the province of Maryland convenes.

17 June   Massachusetts Bay colony calls for a “continental” meeting. All colonies with the exception of Georgia begin electing delegates. In Maryland, committees appointed by the counties meet at Annapolis and resolve to unite with the other colonies in a special meeting, a congress, to be held in Philadelphia. It will be called a continental congress.

6 August   Hamilton writes, “The people have been resolving violently in Virginia. I was informed the other day by a Gentlemen from Albemarle County, that at a meeting of the people about the tea act, it was proposed among other violences by one of the Leaders that the people should go into the Merchts.’ Stores, and take what goods they wanted, and pay for them what it suited them at their own price, that the traders had hitherto made them pay very dear and at their own prices for goods they had sold them; That now it was their turn and they would take them at what they thought proper. This proposal met with applause. Such is the Confusion this Country is at present running into.”188

5 September   The First Continental Congress opens in Philadelphia at Carpenters’ Hall and runs through October 26th. It establishes the Continental Association to implement non-importation of British goods beginning on 1 December, and non-exportation to Great Britain beginning on 10 September 1775. It agrees to meet again in the upcoming year. Massachusetts Bay colony establishes elite companies from among their militia units. They are made up of men required to be able to mobilize very quickly when necessary. They will be called minutemen.

14 October   Hamilton writes, “In the Northern Colonys the people are Determined not to submit to be internally taxed by Great Britain and will go to any Lengths rather than give up their Libertys. I wish this affair will be amicably settled, it will be extremely prejudicial to both parties.”189 

19 October   Maryland provincials burn to the waterline the ship Peggy Stewart, loaded with 2000 pounds of tea, as it lay at anchor in Annapolis harbor. “The provincials in Maryland have outdone even the provincials in Massachusetts Bay.”  

31 October   Alexander Hamilton knows there is a lot of work to be done in the area of debt collection. He writes to his employer, “The Collection of your debts I have given due attention to, and shall continue it while I have the Management of your Business. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to get Bonds and Notes as well as signed Settlements, which I am very sensible is very advantageous in Collecting debts, as well as conducting Business with propriety….I have sold one of the Horses on hand at the Inventory; the other three are still on hand, one of which came from the Lower Marlbro’ store. He shall be sold as soon as possible. I can assure you I do not want to burden the Store with any unnecessary expense, being as sensible as any person can be, that the small purchase I make, cannot afford it. If one horse answer for the Business of the Store I should desire no more….George Anderson left this in April last to take charge of Messrs. George & Andrew Buchanan’s Store at Newport. In his place and at the same Wages, 30 Stg. pr Annum, I engaged Mr. Noble Baynes.” (He is the son of Col. John Baynes, Hamilton’s landlord.)190

8 to 12 December   The Maryland Convention meets at Annapolis. (It is destined to become the colony’s supreme governing authority, with the Council of Safety its de facto executive branch. It will gradually usurp Governor Eden’s authority. The governor will leave Maryland in June, 1776.) The Convention recommends that all men between the ages of 16 and 50 years old form themselves into companies of militia. Each man is to be provided with a good firelock, powder and lead, to be in readiness to act in any emergency. This will, it is hoped, render it unnecessary for Great Britain to keep a standing army in the province on that account. County committees meet afterward to carry into effect these recommendations. A militia—a sort of universal response team—would soon exist in almost all areas of the province of Maryland.


     Found in Unpublished Revolutionary War Records of Maryland, by Mrs. G. W. Hodges, is the following entry. No dates are given. Per Mrs. Hodges, “This company consisted of a Captain, 2 Lieutenants, an Ensign, 4 Sergeants, 5 Corporals, a Drummer and 59 Privates. It was part of the 26 Batta(lion) commanded by William Harrison, Esq. The 12th and 26th Battalions were commanded by Colo. (Francis?) Ware, and were drawn from Charles County.”






Capt. Benjamin Cawood’s Company                 (page 234)


line 184.      Thomas Harvin, Jnr.     private      (page 234)

line 191.      Edward D. Harvin         private      (page 235)

line 222.      Armanias Harvin           private      (page 236)        [His relationship to Thomas is unknown.] 








Continued in Thomas Arvin   Part 2 – Revolutionary Times 

Researched and written by Robert Joseph Arvin, Jr. © Copyright A.D. 2006




1.  History of Knox and Davies Counties, Indiana (1886), p 873

2. Patrick Hanks, ed., The Dictionary of American Family Names (2003)

3.  The Internet Surname Database (

4. William Tighe, Statistical observations relating to the county of Kilkenny 1800 and 1801 (1802), p 515

5.  Bob Joyce, Baptismal Records, Borris Roman Catholic Parish, County Carlow, Ireland. Website of Joyce

     Family Research (

6.  Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West (1986), p 43-44

7.  Abbot Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage, White Servitude and Convict Labor in America 1607-1776
     (1947), p 46

8.  David Dickson, Artic Ireland (1997), p 11, 69

9.  R. J. Dickson, Ulster Emigration to Colonial America 1718-1775 (1966), p 52-55

10.  Eugene Irving McCormac, White Servitude in Maryland 1634-1820 (1904), p 7

11.  Oscar Theodore Barck, Jr. and Hugh Talmage Lefler, Colonial America (1967), p 312-313

12.  Bailyn, Voyagers to the West, p 205, 208

13.  Gloria L. Main, Tobacco Colony, Life in Early Maryland 1650-1720 (1982), p 9-10

14.  Barck, and Leffler, Colonial America, p 315

15.  Smith, Colonists in Bondage, p 336

16.  Charles A. Hanna, Scotch-Irish (1995), Vol. 2, p 180

17.  J. M. Vincent, J. H. Hollander, W. W. Willoughby, eds., “Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical
       and Political Science,” Series 23, No 3-4, (Mar-Apr 1904). Also, McCormac, White Servitude in
, p 34

18.  Dickson, Ulster Immigration, p 90-97
19.  Smith, Colonists, p 39
Smith, Colonists, p 209. “Galloway’s servants came in the brig Grove and were advertised for sale in
       The Maryland Gazette
February 20, 1752; March 22, 1753; October 2, 1753; May 30, 1754.” The Maryland
can be viewed online at the Maryland State Archives website.
21.  Dickson, Ulster Immigration, p 205-208
22.  Dickson, Immigration, p 208-214

23.  Dickson, Immigration, p 90-97
24.  Dickson, Immigration, p 90-97

25.  McCormac, White Servitude in Maryland, p 98-99

26.  Peter W. Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775 (1988), p 20

27.  Smith, Colonists, p134

28.  Dickson, Immigration, p 90-97

29.  Bailyn, Voyagers, p 263

30.  McCormac, White Servitude, pp 7-31, quoting J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland, From the Earliest

       Periods to the Present Day, (1881) p 370-371

31.  McCormac, White Servitude, p 30

32.  Smith, Colonists, p 325-326

33.  Smith, Colonists, p 221-222

34.  McCormac, White Servitude, p 42

35.  Smith, Colonists, p 38, 39 and note

36.  Archives of Maryland, Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, Letter Book 4, Vol.14, p 77

37.  Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan and Gregory A. Stiverson, A Biographical Dictionary of

       The Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, (1970) Vol. 2, p 507-508. Also: “Chronicles of St. Mary’s,” (October

       1959), Vol. 7, No. 10, p 384-385. Also: “Maryland Genealogies, The Key Family,” Maryland Historical

       Magazine (1998) Vol. 2, p 121

38.  Donnell MacClure Owings, His Lordship’s Patronage, Offices of Profit in Colonial Maryland (1998) p 145

39.  Dickson, Immigration, p 90-97

40.  McCormac, White Servitude, p 76, 78

41.  Smith, Colonists, p 233-235

42.  Smith, Colonists, p 257

43.  Smith, Colonists, p 289

44.  Gloria Main, Tobacco Colony, p 99

45.  Bailyn, Voyagers, sketchbook insert, p 452 ff

46.  Smith, Colonists, p 229-230

47.  Charles County Court Records, 1688, Book N, f 336

48.  Smith, Colonists, p 255

49.  Quoted from the papers of Henry Callister by Lawrence C. Wroth, “A Maryland Merchant and His Friends in

       1750.” Maryland Historical Magazine, VI (1911) p 218-219

50.  Smith, Colonists, p 291

51.  Barck and Leffler, Colonial America, p 316

52.  Smith, Colonists, p 306

53.  Bailyn, Voyagers, p 266

54.  Dickson, Immigration, p 90-97

55.  Gregory A. Stiverson, Poverty in a Land of Plenty, Tenancy in Eighteenth Century Maryland (1977) p 1

56.  Katherine A. Kellock, Colonial Piscataway in Maryland (1962) p 10

57.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 43-44

58.  Jean B. Lee, The Price of Nationhood, The American Revolution in Charles County (1994), p 66

59.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 121

60.  Dr. Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Maryland Records: Colonial, Revolutionary, County and Church, from Original

       Sources. State of His Lordship’s Manor of Zachiah in Charles County February, 1768, (1915), Vol. 2, p 31.

61.  William Grafton Robey, Robey/Roby/Robie, The Family History From Early England to America (1994). Also,

       Darnell ancestry information on the web.

62.  Brumbaugh, Maryland Records: State of His Lordship’s Manor, Vol. 2, p 32. Survey of Zachia Manor used with

       permission of Maryland State Archives. Accession No.:40,283-186 MSA No.:S65-220 Location: B5/10/1/

63.  Papenfuse, Day, Jordan and Stiverson, A Biographical Dictionary of The Maryland Legislature, Vol. 2, p 508

64.  Marlene S. Bates and F. Edward Wright, Early History of Charles County Settlers 1658-1745, p 74. Cited as

       Land: L # 2, 312

65.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 62-63

66.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 45

67.  Charles Albro Barker, The Background of the Revolution in Maryland (1940), p 10-11

68.  Petitions of Freeholders and Freemen of All Saints Parish in Frederick County For Its Division Into Two

       Parishes. Maryland State Archives, Vol. 52, p 669-671

69.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 10

70.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 8

71.  Jacob M Price, “The Rise of Glasgow in the Chesapeake,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, 11, note p 195.

       Also, T. M. Divine, The Tobacco Lords (1975) p 87

72.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 99

73.  “William Lux Letterbook, 1763-1769,” New York Historical Society

74.  Extrapolated from 1776 Census, Prince George’s County, folio 81, Maryland State Archives. Elias Harvin was 25 in

       1776. A facsimile is printed in Brumbaugh’s, Maryland Records, Vol. 2, p 81. In the preface of his book is the

       following caveat: “Many of the names of the Colonial period were phonetically and otherwise poorly spelled. The

       spellings found in the original records have been followed….The searcher should constantly keep in thought the
       possible phonetic variations of the names being sought in the index.”

75.  1776 Census, Prince George’s County, folio 81, Maryland State Archives. Elisha Harvin  was 23 in 1776.

76.  Second Census of the United States (1800) Thomas Jr. is listed as “of 45 and upwards.”

77.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 41

78.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 265

79.  “Narrative of a Voyage to Maryland – 1705-1706” American Historical Review (1907) XII, 327-341 as quoted by

       Katherine Kellock in Colonial Piscataway in Maryland, p 41

80.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 82

81.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 142

82.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 167-168

83.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 145. The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, in McLean, Virginia, is a historically

       accurate replica of a poor tenant family’s farm circa 1771. It is authentic in every detail.

84.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 64

85.  Main, Tobacco Colony, pp 153, 166, 221, 254

86.  Oliver P. Chitworth, A History of Colonial America, p 461, quoting Newton. D. Mereness, Maryland as a

       Proprietary Province, p 141, in turn quoting Maryland State Archives, Sharpe Correspondence, Vol. 3, p 115

87.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 46-47

88.  Robert J. Brugger, Maryland, A Middle Temperament, 1634-1980 (1988), p 103. Molleson’s records are in the

       Maryland State Archives.

89.  “Calvert Papers,” as reprinted in the Maryland Historical Magazine (September 1910). Also T.J.C. Williams and

       Folger McKinsey, History of Frederick County Maryland (1910) Vol. 2, p 660-661. See also Henry C. Peden,
       Revolutionary Patriots of Charles County Maryland, 1775-1783 (1997), p 313.

90.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 182

91.  Brugger, Maryland, p 103

92.  Brugger, Maryland, p 103

93.  Charles Albro Barker, The Background of the Revolution in Maryland (1940), p 295-296

94.  Stiverson, Poverty, p. xiii

95.  Maryland State Archives, Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, Letter Book IV, Vol. 14, p 77

96.  Newton D. Mereness, Maryland as a Proprietary Province (1968), p 177

97.  Maryland State Archives, Gov. Sharpe, Vol. 14. p 20, 45, 70, 77, 110-111

98.  Mereness, Maryland, p 177

99.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 42

100.  Maryland Historical Society, Howard Papers, Part 3 of  4

101.  Mereness, Maryland, p 206. Also Maryland State Archives, Proceedings and Acts of the

         General Assembly 1764-1765, Vol. 59, Preface 17

102.  The Key Family, Maryland Genealogies from the Maryland Historical Magazine

         (1980) Vol. 2, p.121

103.  “Key Family Papers,” MS650, Maryland Historical Society. Also Jane Baldwin Cotton, Maryland Calendar of

         Wills, 1764-1767, Vol. 13, p 32-34

104.  Pennsylvania Gazette, 5 December 1749, as quoted by Charles Albro Barker in The Background of the

         Revolution in Maryland (1940), p 36, 40

105.  Barker, Revolution, p 40

106.  Obituary in The Maryland Gazette, 18 October 1749, p 3. Also see 8 November 1749.

107.  Carolyn Key Hazen, Key Family – Philip, p 2

108.  V. L. Shinner, Jr., Abstracts of the Inventories of the Prerogative Court of Maryland 1718-1777, p 58-59,

         from Liber 102, folios 101-114 of the Court Records

109.  Jane Baldwin Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills 1764-1767, Vol. 13, p 73

110.  Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, 1767-1772, Vol.14, p 103

111.  Owings, His Lordship’s Patronage, p 155. Also, Jane Baldwin Cotton, Maryland Calendar of Wills, 1767-1772,

         Vol. 14, p 240-241

112.  Brumbaugh, State of His Lordship’s Manor, Vol. 2, p 31

113.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 14-15

114.  Unpatented Certificate # 263, Charles County Land Records. Maryland State Archives. Used with permission. Also

         see Brumbaugh, Maryland Records: Colonial,Revolutionary, County and Church From Original Sources

         (1915) Vol. 2, p 31

115.  Stiverson, Poverty, p18. Also Papenfuse, Biographical Dictionary, p 637-638

116.  Papenfuse, Biographical Dictionary, p 637-638

117.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 21

118.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 137

119.  J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland from the Earliest Period to the Present Day (1879), Vol. 3, p 757

120.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 10-11

121.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 104-105

122.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 110

123.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 39

124.  Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly 1748-1751, Maryland State Archives, Vol. 46, p 160. They can

         be viewed on-line at the website of the Archives.

125.  “Bacon’s Laws of Maryland,” Maryland State Archives, Vol. 75, p 595

126.  Assembly Proceedings November 16—December 23, 1773, Maryland State Archives, Vol. 64, p 152

127.  Jacob M. Price, “The Rise of Glasgow in the Chesapeake Tobacco Trade, 1707-1775,” William and Mary

         Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 11 (1954) p 179-185

128.  “John Glassford and Company Records” Collection Description. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division,

         Washington D.C.

129.  Price, “The Rise of Glasgow…” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 11. p 179-185. Also, Richard K.

         MacMaster and David C. Skaggs, eds., “The Letterbooks of Alexander Hamilton, Piscataway Factor.

         Part 1 - 1774,"Maryland Historical Magazine, (1966) Vol. 61, Issue 2, p 150

130.  William Allason Manuscripts, Virginia State Library, as noted by Jacob M. Price in “The Rise of Glasgow…”

         William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 11. p 194

131.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 39

132.  MacMaster and Skaggs, “The Letterbooks of Alexander Hamilton. Part I, 1774,” p 151

133.  MacMaster and Skaggs, “Letterbooks. Part I,” p 151-152

134.  Barker, Revolution, p 74

135.  Barker, Revolution, p 75-77

136.  “Journal of a French Traveler in the Colonies, 1765, II,” American Historical Review (Oct 1921)

         p 70-71, as quoted by Katherine Kellock in Colonial Piscataway in Maryland, (1962) p 53

137.  J. H. Soltow, as cited by T.M. Devine, The Tobacco Lords, p 87

138.  Theodore Draper, A Struggle for Power, The American Revolution, p 95

139.   Letterbooks of Alexander Hamilton. Part I, 1774.” p 157

140.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 198-199

141.  Maryland State Archives. Inventory Glossary

142.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 184

143.  Scharf, History of Maryland, Vol. 2, p 8

144.  Louis B. Wright, ed. The Prose Works of William Byrd of Westover, p 349, as quoted by Gloria Main in Tobacco

         Colony, p 198

145.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 185

146.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 92

147.  Prince George County Tricentennial website

148.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 98

149.  Jackson Turner Main, The Social Structure of Revolutionary America (1965), p 117

150.  Letterbooks. Part I.” p 151

151.  Stiverson, Poverty, p 48

152.  Cary Carson, Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds., Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the

         Eighteenth Century (1994), T. H. Breen, “‘Baubles of Britain’: The American and Consumer Revolutions of the

         Eighteenth Century,” p 466

153.  Of Consuming Interests:  Ronald L. Bushman, “Shopping and Advertising in Colonial America,” p 233

154.  Georgetown University - Robert Fergusson Papers: Collection Description

155.  Letterbooks. Part I,” p 150

156.  Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland website. Historic Ceramic Terms

157.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 188-190

158.  Jean B. Lee, The Price of Nationhood, p 239

159.  Brugger, Maryland, A Middle Temperament, p 102

160.  Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency George Washington, (2004) p 48 ff

161.  Of Consuming Interests:  Richard L. Bushman, “Shopping and Advertising in Colonial America,” p 233

162.  Letterbooks. Part I,” p 149

163.  Letterbooks. Part I,” p 152

164.  Letterbooks. Part I,” p 151

165.  Of Consuming Interests:  T. H. Breen, “Baubles of Britain,” p 473

166.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 48

167.  Kellock, Piscataway, p 47-48

168.  Papenfuse, Day, Jordan and Stiverson, Biographical Dictionary, p 511

169.  V. L. Skinner, Jr., Abstracts of the Inventories of the Prerogative Court of Maryland 1718-1777, p 64, from

         Liber 112, folios 105-115

170.  Of Consuming Interests:  Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh, “Changing Lifestyles and Consumer Behavior in

         the Colonial Chesapeake,” p 145

171.  Edward C. Papenfuse, “In Pursuit of Profit: The Annapolis Merchants in the Era of the American Revolution,

         1763-1805,” American Historical Review, (April 1976) Vol. 81, No.2, p 61-63

172.  Barker, Revolution, p 343 note

173.  Richard K. MacMaster and David C. Skaggs, eds., “Letterbooks of Alexander Hamilton, Piscataway Factor.

         Part III, 1775-1776.” Maryland Historical Magazine (June 1967), Vol. 62, Issue 2, p 154

174.  Louise Joyner Hienton, Prince George’s Heritage, Sidelights on the Early History of Prince George’s County,

         Maryland from 1696 to 1800, (1972) p 143

175.  Frances Austin, History of Reading News, Vol. 23, No. 2. The Universal Spelling-Book can be viewed online at

         the University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Research Library website, in The Nietz Old Textbook Collection (19th Century


176.  William Grafton Robey, Jr., Roby/Robie/Robey, (1994) Vol. 1, p 64

177.  Main, Tobacco Colony, p 220

178.  Hoffmann, Spirit of Dissension, p 103

179.  Of Consuming Interests:  T. H. Breen, “Baubles of Britain,” p 466

180.  Of Consuming Interests:  T. H. Breen, “Baubles of Britain,” p 444

181.  Jensen, Founding of a Nation, p 561. Cited in Of Consuming Interests, p 482

182.  Letterbooks. Part I,” p 159-162

183.  Richard K. MacMaster and David C. Skaggs, eds., “Letterbooks of Alexander Hamilton, Piscataway Factor.

         Part II, 1774-1775.” Maryland Historical Magazine (Dec 1966) Vol. 61, Issue 4, p 310

184.  Letterbooks. Part II,” p 315

185.  Letterbooks. Part II,” p 318-319

186.  Letterbooks. Part II,” p 306

187.  Letterbooks. Part II,” p 311

188.  Letterbooks. Part II,” p 312

189.  Letterbooks. Part II,” p 314

190.  Letterbooks, Part II,” p 316-317


Arvin Ancestry Biographical Sketches