Click the images below for bigger versions:
Account Book of a tailor, possibly David Smith, in or near Oldtown, Allegheny County, Maryland, or Green Spring, Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia), 1787-1792

oblong small quarto, 26 manuscript pages, entries dated July 1787 to December 1792; no binding, lacking wrappers or covers, stitched, entries written in ink, in a legible hand, paper tanned, soiling to front and rear leaves, some foxing, and wear to edges.

$ 650.00 | Contact Us >

The account book is not signed, but several of the customers listed in the account book show up as living at the Old Town, Allegheny County, Maryland, or across the river in Hampshire County, area, which at the time was the state of Virginia (today’s West Virginia). The names of Gabriel Jacob, John Jacob, William Twilly, and Michael Cresap, all have accounts in the book and can be found  in the historical record as living in this area. Other names that show up in the account book are: Joseph Shepard, Nancy Stump, John Stayle, Daniel Coller, Daniel Feter, Duncan McCoy, Old Mr. Staly, John Clark, and others. In all, there are about thirty different accounts over the 26 pages.

Indications in the volume appear to show that it may have been kept by a man named David Smith, who besides having entries in the book for his tailoring work (“making coat & jacket,” “making your father’s coat,” “making a pair of britches for boy,” etc.), also has entries for general merchandizing of foodstuffs, laboring, and farming activities (“cutting flax,” “1 day of  David work on the road,” “hauling forty bushels,” “drawing hay one day,” “carting 1 load of wood,” etc.).

There are entries showing David Smith signing for money accepted to pay off an account of a Daniel [Lane?]. On Michael Cresap’s account there is an entry for: “to six day of David to hoe corn,” with other entries showing David working for different people. This could be the same David Smith, or it could possibly be a slave hired out with the name of David, it is unclear, and further research would have to be conducted.

Two accounts in this volume, Michael Cresap and William Twilly, both show up enumerated in the same district in the 1790 Census for Hampshire County, a list taken by Michael Cresap. Cresap and Twilly are unusual enough surnames that one can be fairly certain they are the same men, especially since other surnames (as above) show up in the book and the Hampshire census for 1790. There is also an entry on one account in this book that reads “1787 John Stayle by Cash promius for going to Cumberland with [crockery]…,” which presumably is the city of Cumberland, Maryland, which is the seat of Alleghany County, Maryland.

      Cresap Family and Oldtown, Alleghany County, Maryland

Oldtown was founded in the 18th century colonial era and was initially called "Shawanese Old Town" because it was the site of a Shawnee Amerindian village abandoned about a decade earlier. Oldtown was begun (on a soon to be busy road) with the building of a trading post along an old Native American trail, the Nemacolin Trail, as traders, especially fur traders (and trappers) pushed through the Cumberland Narrows mountain pass into the Monongahela River valley.

In 1741 Thomas Cresap (1694-1787) established a trading post at the abandoned village. A few years earlier, Cresap had figured prominently in the Conejohela War, (also called Cresap's War) concerning the Conejohela Flats area of the Susquehanna River valley, later York County, Pennsylvania. Shortly after his release from prison in Pennsylvania for advocating Maryland's claims, Cresap moved west to the sparsely settled frontier. Lord Baltimore claimed lands at the headwaters of the Potomac River. The move positioned Cresap and his patron to open the as yet uncharted Ohio Country. Cresap and the Delaware chief Nemacolin opened a road westward under the auspices of the Virginia and Maryland speculators of the Ohio Company once they received a charter.

Thomas Cresap had five children: three sons and two daughters. One of his sons was Capt. Michael Cresap 1742-1775), who spent part of his adult years in the Ohio Country as a trader and land developer. He led several raids against Native Americans s who he believed were hostile to white settlement. The war leader Logan (c. 1723-1780), of the Mingo Indians, accused Cresap of murdering his family. Logan's wife and pregnant sister were among those murdered. In fact, the killings were almost certainly perpetrated by Daniel Greathouse, yet Cresap was immortalized in Logan's speech — quoted in Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia (1785) — as the murderer of Logan's family.

As a result of the murders, Logan waged war on the settlements along the Ohio and in western Pennsylvania, killing nearly thirty men, women and children. Lord John Murray Dunmore, the British Royal Governor of Virginia, raised an army and appointed Cresap to the rank of Captain. The decisive battle of Lord Dunmore's War was the Battle of Point Pleasant (10 October 1774) in Virginia (now West Virginia). Here Dunmore's forces defeated a band of Shawnee Indians led by Cornstalk.

After Lord Dunmore's War, Cresap returned to Maryland and subsequently raised a company of riflemen for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He died from illness in New York City while in the service of the army; he is interred there in Trinity Church Cemetery.

     Michael Cresap died in 1775 and his son Michael Jr. was born the same year as the father’s death.

Thomas Cresap’s oldest son, Daniel Cresap (1728-1798), remained in Washington County, Maryland, and became a large landholder and a celebrated hunter as well as a farmer. He was about fourteen when the family left York County. As an adult, he was colonel of militia. By his first wife he had a son, Michael Cresap (1750-1788), who was buried in Oldtown Cemetery. It is likely this Michael Cresap listed in the present account book, as his uncle Michael died in 1775 and his cousin Michael was not born until 1775.

A scarce account book for this area of western Maryland and western Virginia, then the western frontier.