Warren County Historical Society Presents …

The Digital Version “REWIND”

August 15, 2018

 

 

Warrensburg Business

 

     The following article is excerpted from Warren County (New York):  Its People and Their History Over Time.  The 2009 history of Warren County is available from the Warren County Historical Society at 50 Gurney Lane for $20.00 plus tax.  You can stop by the office onGurney Lane, or call 518-743-0734 and we can send you a copy for an additional $5.00.

 

 

EARLY WARRENSBURG BUSINESS RECORDS

 

     In the early days of Warren County, there was no federal or state banking system, and the federal monetary system was new, based on the decimal and dollar system.  Gold and silver coins of Dutch, Spanish, French or British issue were the preferred currency over paper money issued by individual banks or states. Various states used different currency values; the New York system used pounds, pence, shillings and farthings; the new federal system used mills, cents, dimes, dollars and eagles.  The small mills, shops, and storekeepers extended credit regularly and readily for long periods of time to accommodate the farming schedule. Hard cash was scarce, and trade was often made through barter in crops, handiwork or labor.

     An 1815 math book owned by Charles Stewart of Warrensburg contains a whole chapter on Reduction (the process of exchanging numbers of one denomination to others of different denominations to retain the same value).  It also discusses finding common value in barter and alligation – “the method of mixing two or more simples of different qualities (such as wheat, barley and rye) so that the composition may be of a …. middle quality.” And the book covers a table of interest at six percent in pounds, shillings, pence, dollars and cents.

      The shopkeeper was often the local banker as well as provider of goods. He would regularly extend credit and barter for goods in payment. James Herrick ran a store in the first half of the 19th century on the south bank of the Schroon River in Warrensburg.  Old receipts and promissory notes dating from as early as 1824 still exist from his business endeavors. The notes and receipts follow a common format: payment for goods sold or money loaned was made in cash or other goods.  Once payment was made, the last name in the signature would be torn or cut off. This seems a brilliantly simple way to prove repayment was made.

 

Many of the names that show up in the early records and receipts of James Herrick are those of early settlers in Warrensburg, including Pelatiah Richards, Dudley Farlin, Nelson Warren, Thomas S. Gray and B. P. Burhans.  On the two promissory notes for value received (labor?) from Samuel Stackhouse, Herrick promises to pay in hay grain or neat stock.  These are dated 1828.  The bottom receipt relates to Herrick’s role as a Warrensburg Commissioner of Highways: payment of two dollars for work on the County House (Poorhouse) bridge to Aaron Varnum and signed with his mark. 

 

CREDITS

 All of the photographed records as well as the Charles Stewart math book, “The Scholar’s Arithmetic” are from the James S. Farrar private collection.  Photographs by Martha Strodel.

This article was prepared for the Warren County Historical Society by Martha Strodel, and excerpted from Warren County (New York): Its People and Their History Over Time.  This newest history of Warren County is available at the Warren County Historical Society (518-743-0734) at 50 Gurney Lane, Queensbury at Exit 20 of the Northway and various locations around the county.

 

 

Warren County Historical Society // 50 Gurney Lane // Queensbury, NY 12804 // (518) 743-0734

 

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