Leather Workers in Colonial Virginia

Harold B. Gill, Jr.

August, 1966

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 0107
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library

Williamsburg, Virginia



Harold B. Gill, Jr .
August, 1966


I. Introduction1
II. The Development of the Leather Industry in Colonial Virginia5
III. The Leather Industry in Colonial Virginia29
IV. Leather Workers in Williamsburg61
I. Indenture of Apprenticeship90
II. A List of Williamsburg Leather Workers92
III. Advertisements of Williamsburg Leather Workers98
IV. Inventories of Estates of Some Eighteenth-Century Leather Workers113
V. Directions for Tanning and Currying137
VI. Virginia Tanneries in 1810141


Chapter I

Leather is a manufactured product. It is produced by the tanner from the skins or hides of animals, reptiles, fishes and birds, and leather made from human skins is not unknown. The process by which skins are converted to leather is broadly covered by the term "tanning, " although tanning proper is only one of the operations necessary to produce finished leather. The object of tanning is to preserve the pelt against putrification through chemical processes and, at the same time, to preserve the natural fibrous structure from which ultimate strength and pliability are derived. This was originally attained by the use of natural substances, but manufactured chemicals are now increasingly employed for this purpose.

The conversion of hides and skins into leather is an art of such antiquity that its origins can only be conjectural. It is known that properly tanned leather was in regular use by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks and others, but the evolution of leather making probably extended over thousands of years prior to even the earliest period of 2 which approximate dates are known. A leather cup believed to be of the neolithic period, has been found in London, and flint implements of an earlier period——the paleolithic——have been identified as hide scrapers.

By the eleventh century the tanner's art had been reduced to well-established techniques, but the chemical principles involved were not defined until the nineteenth century. Until the latter part of the nineteenth century, the methods of producing leather were substantially those of the preceding two thousand years.

Leather played an important part in many early machines and it was essential for everyday life. In 1812 Tench Coxe wrote: "The uses of leather are of the utmost importance to health, the facilitation of industry, the diffusion of knowledge, and the military operations of the United States by land and sea." Coxe's list of the uses of leather contained only "ready necessaries or plain conveniences." Of these he named "shoes, boots and slippers, saddles and Briddles, harness, carriages (many of which have leather bootes, tops, curtains, and aprons), drums, gloves, leaterhn breeches, rigging and other hides for ships and vessels, bound books, manufactured cards and carding machines, military equipments, and other leather goods."1


In addition, Coxe noted that the tanner's essential place in society was strengthened by the fact that "the manufacture of hides and skins are of great importance to agriculture." For example, "bark, abundant everywhere, is redundant in new settlements, where the tanning facilitates the destruction of the forests, which obstruct agriculture."2

Coxe here neatly summed up a century and a half of leather-making experiences in America——a basic industry, meeting the needs of an essentially agrarian society; and it had been so ever since the arrival of the first settlers.

^1 Tench Coxe, Statement of the Arts and Manufactures of the United States of America for the Year 1810, part 1, xiv, xv, quoted in Peter C. Welsh, in the United States to 1850: A Brief (Washington, 1964), 3-4.
^2 Ibid.

Chapter II

The craftsmen whom the Virginia Company planned to send to the New World included at first no tanners, curriers, or shoemakers. The Company probably intended to supply the settlers with shoes as well as every other form of clothing. The author of Nova Britannia mentioned no leather workers in his list of artificers whose services would be needed in the colony1 . This may indicate that he was anxious to advance the interests of the colony, and was careful not to present it as a possible rival to any branch of English trade and manufactures. Possibly he wished to make Virginia appear in a favorable light to the English by showing that an increase in colonial population would provide a larger market for English manufactured goods which was one of the purposes of founding the colony. In a broadside issued by the Virginia Company in 1611, however, tanners and shoemakers were among those to whom inducements to emigrate were offered. The need for such craftsmen in Virginia may have resulted from the failure of the Company to provide the colony with supplies. In addition, by 1611 the increasing number of 6 cattle in the colony as well as vast numbers of deer provided the settlers with a plentiful supply of raw hides2. The inducements offered by the Virginia Company apparently were effective, for it is known that tanners and shoemakers followed their trades in Virginia in 1616.3 In 1620 tanners, shoemakers, and leather dressers were among the tradesmen the Virginia Company again attempted to persuade to settle4 in the colony .

After the dissolution of the Virginia Company in 1624, the colonial government continued to encourage the leather industry in the colony. The colonists found supplies from England slow and uncertain and the scarcity of commodities forced the government to encourage certain local manufactures. In an account of Virginia presented to the Board of Trade in 1625 the author claimed that the health of the colonists was endangered because of the "most extreme want of hose, shoes & all other apparell…. " In 1632 Governor Harvey complained of the great want of shoes in Virginia.5 During the same year the legislature passed an act designed to provide tanners, shoemakers, and other leather craftsmen with materials by prohibiting the exportation of hides and skins from the colony.6 In accordance with royal instructions sent Governor William Berkeley in 1642, another act 7 was passed in 1645 which prohibited the exportation of hides and skins "that all manufactures should be sett on work and encouraged in this colony." 7 Again in 16 58, the exportation of iron and wool in addition to hides and skins was restricted because the Assembly claimed "the exportation of hides, wool, and iron is gennerallie conceived to be much prejudicial to the commonwealth and good of this colony."8 In 1659 this act was repealed by the legislature, and "liberty given to any one to make their best advantage of it."9 An abundance of cheap land and such a profitable crop as tobacco lured many craftsmen and tradesmen to agriculture with the result that manufactures languished.10

Among the other causes that induced craftsmen to abandon their trades was the scarcity of money and towns in the colony. Governor Harvey complained in 1636 that craftsmen could not be paid because of the lack of money.11 Henry Hartwell, James Blair, and Edward Chilton reported to the Board of Trade in 1698:

For want of Towns, Markets, and Money, there is but little Encouragement for Tradesmen and Artificers, and therefore little Choice of them, and their Labour very dear in the Country. A Tradesman having no Opportunity of a Market where he can buy Meat, Milk, Corn, and all other things, must either make Corn, Keep Cows, and raise Stocks himself, or must ride about the Country to buy Meat and Corn where he can find it, then is puzzeled to find 8 Carriers, Drovers, Butchers, Salting, (for he can't buy one Joynt or two) and a great many other Things, which there would be no Occasion for, if there were Town and Markets. Then a great deal of the Tradesmen's Time being necessarily spent in going and coming to and from his Work, in dispers'd Country Plantations, and his Pay being generally in straggling Parcels of Tobacco, the Collection whereof costs about 10 per Cent. and the best of this Pay coming but once a Year, so that he cannot turn his hand frequently with a small Stock, as Tradesmen do in England and elsewhere, all this occasions the Dearth of all Tradesmen's Labour, and likewise the Discouragement, Scarcity, and Insufficiency of Tradesmen.12

The legislature repeatedly attempted to establish towns where it believed craftsmen and tradesmen would settle. Anthony Langston remarked in 1663: "Towns & Corporations stored with Trades and Manufactures is the onely defect we have to make us the most florishing and profitable Plantation his Majesty hath."13 As early as 1636 Richard Kemp, Secretary of Virginia, suggested that all ships should unload and load at certain places where he thought towns would soon arise and where craftsmen would settle.14

After previous failures, another attempt was made to promote industry in Virginia in 1662. This time the Assembly enacted three laws to encourage manufacturing. The first act relieved any "artificer or handycrafts man" from the payment of levies for three years if he would follow his trade and not plant tobacco.15 The second law required each 9 county to erect "one or more tanhouses, and … provide tanners, curryers and shoemakers, to tanne, curry and make the hides of the country into leather and shoes."16 The third act prohibited the exportation of hides, wool, and iron under heavy penalty.17

The last act was strengthened by another act passed during the next session of the Assembly in December 1662:

Whereas the act restrayning exportation of hides lays the penalty only upon the buyers, and therefore produced not the effect that was intended thereby which was the supply of the country with leather, Be it therefore enacted that whosoever shall sell or otherwise dispose of any hides contrary to the intent of the former act shal be fined for every hide soe by him sold or otherwise disposed of to be exported one thousand pounds of tobacco; and it is granted by this act that sale may be made of hides to any person liveing in the country, the clause in a former act comanding them to be sold in the county to the contrary notwithstanding. 18

The following year, Edmund Scarborough, planter, industrialist, and member of the House of Burgesses from Accomack county, proposed that deer skins and calf skins should be added to the list of hides not to be exported.19 This was accordingly done, because the Assembly considered them "useful and beneficial to the Country as hides, for promoteing the manufacture of shoes." At the same time the 10 Assembly placed a still heavier penalty on anyone who exported "shooes, hides, or leather."20

The efforts of the legislature, however, were not altogether successful. In 1671 the act prohibiting the exportation of hides, wool, and iron was repealed:

Whereas it was hoped that weavers, tanners and smiths would have been encouraged with greater diligence and cheerfulness to have improved their severall callings for the good of the country when they were sencible what tender care was taken for supplying them with materialls for to work upon, in reference to which the exportation of wool, hides, and iron was by an act of assembly … under greate penalties prohibited, and that act strengthened by diverse others since, but noe successe answering the conceived hopes and apparent losses accrueing to all inhabitants by the refusall of those concerned to buy the comodityes aforesaid, Be it therefore enacted by the grand assembly and the authority thereof that all acts tending to the restricting of selling or exporting of any of the comodityes aforesaid stand repealed and every one permitted to make the best he can of his owne comodity .21
It is clear that the Assembly intended to stimulate industry by assuring craftsmen of an abundant supply of raw materials. But local craftsmen refused to buy raw materials from local producers. They evidently managed to supply themselves with sufficient raw materials from their own plantations and from English imports.

In 1680 the Virginia government made another 11 attempt to prohibit the exportation of hides and deer skins and a more sweeping act was passed two years later which included, besides hides and skins, woolfells and iron.22 This law provided heavy penalties for anyone engaged in the exportation of "any iron, wool, wool fells, skins and hides, or any manner of leather, tanned or untanned of any deer, oxen, bull, cow or calf." The justices of the peace in the various counties were given the responsibility of enforcing the law and "every collector in this country shall at the entry of every ship or vessel acquaint the master of such vessell or ship with this act, and enter a perticular clause in the condition of their entry bond for the performance of the same."

The Commissioners of the Customs in England had other ideas. They reported to the Lords of Trade that the Staple Act of 1663 was designed to make England the source of supply for the colonies and the Virginia act of 1682 not only violated the intention of the Staple Act but injured the customs and trade of England as well. The Lords of Trade confirmed the report and instructed Lord Howard of Effingham, Governor of Virginia, to have the Virginia act repealed, which was accordingly done.23 As such laws had proven practically useless, this action was of little 12 importance, but it marked a distinct step in English policy. Attempts to divert the colony from tobacco culture were hereafter abandoned by the Mother Country. The most influential factor in inducing the change in the government's attitude was the large revenue derived from the customs on tobacco, which was greatly increased by an additional duty imposed in 1685.

Now the problems of the Virginia legislature were reversed——instead of encouraging industry they now had to discourage it. After 1682 there were no more attempts by the Virginia government to restrain the exportation of hides and skins. Now the colony placed a duty on all hides and skins, tanned and untanned, carried out of Virginia by land or sea . The money arising from the duty was applied "towards the better maintenance and encouragement of a learned and pious ministry and advancement of learning and towards lessening the levy on the people." It was later designated for the support of the College of William and Mary.24

The Virginia Assembly passed a law in 1691 entitled "An Act declareing the dutie of Tanners, Curryers, and Shoemakers,"25 which was apparently intended to regulate the leather industry by placing tanners, curriers, and shoemakers 13 under careful restrictions in following their callings and in no way was it intended to represent governmental encouragement of the industry. The legislature probably hoped that if better leather were produced in Virginia, the inhabitants would be less dependent on England for leather articles. During periods of low tobacco prices, Virginians were often unable to buy English commodities and without some local supplies of leather products, they would find themselves short of many necessary articles, such as shoes, saddles, and harness. During these times, and they were frequent, the colonists turned to locally manufactured products.26

The primary purpose of the act, however, may have been to eliminate those tanners, curriers, and shoemakers whose work was of poor quality, and thereby to reduce the quantity of leather articles produced. The act indicates that leather and leather products were being manufactured in Virginia of an inferior quality. Poor workmanship usually results from lack of skill and knowledge, or from lack of time to do the work thoroughly, or perhaps from both deficiencies. It is not surprising that much care less work resulted from inadequate and often unskilled labor, especially when there was an abundant supply of materials. It is significant that in restrictions imposed upon tanners, 14 curriers, and shoemakers by the act, the element of time plays an important part. For instance, no leather was to be over-limed nor was leather to be put into the tan vats until the lime had been thoroughly soaked out of it. The currier was not permitted to "curry any hyde or skin being not thoroughly dry" and he was to use "good stuff, nor with less of that, than the leather will receive." He was also warned not to use salt in preparing leather. The shoemaker was cautioned to use only thread that was sound, twisted, and waxed and rosined, and the stitches were to be drawn with the utmost care.

The law, to take effect March 29, 1692, required each county to appoint searchers to examine all leather produced in the county and approve for sale only that "leather well tann'd and curry'd." They were also to approve for sale only those "boots, shoes, and bridles and other things made of tann'd or curry'd leather" fabricated of good material. The act empowered the searchers to confiscate all leather and leather articles of poor quality.

On June 24, 169 2, York County Court appointed Richard Appling and Robert Harris, a shoemaker, as searchers and sealers of leather. The court provided them with seals 15 or stamps engraved with the letters "YC".27 In Surry County, on March 1, 1691/2, John Moring, "a person of good integrity, skill, and knowledge in the well tanning & currying of Leather, " was appointed searcher for that county. He was to be furnished with a seal "with SC at one end and the broad arrow at the other."28 In February 1691/2 Henrico County Court appointed Arthur Mosely searcher and ordered John Dawson to make a seal in the form of a hammer with a double face "one of w[hic]h to be engraved HC & [the broad arrow] on the other."29 On May 31, 1693, William Kemp and Thomas Chancellor were appointed leather searchers for Westmoreland County "of which all persons concerned are to take notice and permit them quietly to execute the office."30

Even though some leather workers were prosecuted under the act, the law seems to have been generally unenforceable. From 1698 to 1713 England was in an almost constant state of war and the resulting restriction of shipping to the colonies forced Virginians to turn to the manufacture of many necessary articles. Colonial governors often complained that uncertain supplies from England forced the colonists to manufacture their own clothing. In 1708, for example, it was reported that the failure of the planters to receive supplies from England forced many of them to manufacture 16 woolens, cotton, flax, and leather. The report claimed that the manufactures were brought to such perfection "that four whole Counties, and part of several others, not only clothed themselves, but sold great Quantities of the same Manufactures toother neighbouring Counties." The report concluded with a warning: "Establishing of Woollen, and other Manufactures in America, will not only lessen the Planting Tobacco, but consequently very much diminsh the Revenue and Navigation of this Kingdom."31 In 1734, George Webb wrote that the act of 1691 had proven to be "impractiable here, as not well adapted to our practice, and therefore the Execution is neglected."32 The law was repealed in 1748.33

The act of 1691 seems not to have improved the quality of leather and leather products in the colony if we are to believe some contemporary observers. In July 1697 Governor Edmund Andros remarked: "There are no manufactures setled in Virginia Except Inconsiderable tanning and shoemaking (bad Leather) and some lynning [linen] and Woolen made when not supplyed from england and then all laid by for Tobacco…"34 In 1705 Robert Beverley wrote: "…most of their Hides lie and rot, or are made use of, only for covering dry Goods in a leaky House. Indeed some 17 few Hides with much adoe are tann'd, and made into Servants Shoes; but at so careless a rate, that the Planters don't care to buy them, if they can get others; and sometimes a better manager than ordinary, will vouchsafe to make a pair of Breeches of a Deer-Skin."35

Not all commentaries were so critical of Virginia-made leather. A Major Wilson testified before the Board of Trade in England on September 1, 1697: "…very good leather made and shipped to New England; labourering men's shoes made there [i.e. in Virginia] worth half a crown, and will last much better than ordinary sale shoes they receive from England."36 About the year 1700 it was estimated that the importation of shoes had decreased by about two thirds because of the increased local manufacture of shoes.37

It is possible that the contradictory reports may be explained by the fact that Andros and Beverley were trying to minimize the importance of leather manufacture in Virginia in an attempt to present the colony and themselves in a more favorable light to the English government. The Board of Trade instructed colonial governors to discourage the growth of certain manufactures in the interest of English commerce.38

Hugh Jones wrote that hides might be tanned very 18 cheaply in Virginia "because of the plenty of bark" and he believed "that good use might be made of their sheep and calf-skins, which are now of no value nor use worth speaking of. " He continued, however:

But I see that these propositions may raise the loud clamours of thousands of people concerned in England, in the trades belonging to all the commodities here spoken of: In answer to whose various objections it may be replied that all these things would be wrought by their own countrymen, poor neighbours, or friends; that it will ease them of their poor, vagabonds, and villains: That all these goods transported to England, so that in reality Virginia would be only as a yard or work-house where these servants and journeymen would labour for the English: besides several of these things are such as we are wholly or in part supplied with from other nations; and certainly we had better have goods of the produce of our own people and countries, than buy them of strangers, who make them for us; and if too great quantities of any kind should be made, more than our own consumption requires, surely it will be very advantageous for us, if we can supply other nations with such goods, the best of their kind, and at the cheapest rate.39

When a depression in the tobacco trade in the late 1720's produced a flurry of industrial activity in Virginia, the Council in 1731 tried to quiet the fears of the English authorities by assuring them that the shift to manufactures had happened before and they predicted that as soon as tobacco prices rose all these "new-fangled manufactures" would vanish.40

Nevertheless, the leather industry persisted. In 19 1742 Governor William Gooch reported to the Board of Trade that "some of our people, with Hides of their own tanning, tho' the Leather is very indifferent, make shoes for sale, as well as for their own familys."41Governor Francis Fauquier commented in 1766 that shoes were made for domestic use "but few manufactures of any kind carried on and those that are, are for the Consumption of the Inhabitants, who do and will import all matter of Elegance and Conveniency; for the nature of the people is such that they are too indolent to engage in Manufactures or work of any kind."42 Two years later James Blair, president of the Virginia Council, wrote: "We make shoes but chiefly for negroes."43

If Fauquier was not trying to minimize the importance of the leather industry in Virginia, he was certainly out of touch with his colony. It is significant that in 1765 the Virginia Assembly passed an act exempting exporters of dressed hides and skins from the payment of duties. The act stated: " … that the manufactures of leather hath of late years very greatly increased in this colony, and become a considerable article of commerce, and would be much more extensively prosecuted but for the excessive duties imposed on the exportation of skins and furs …." The law relieved tanners from payment of duties or impositions on leather 20 exported provided it was made from imported hides and skins.44

The Sugar Act of 1764, however, placed hides and skins on the list of enumerated commodities——those which could be shipped only to English or colonial ports.45 This act, in effect, eliminated colonial leather from the export market and acted as a sort of control on the American leather industry. Colonial leather could hardly find a market in Great Britain where the best leather in the world was reputedly produced. If American leather were re-exported from Great Britain, the price would be so inflated with impositions and increased freight rates as to drive it from the market altogether. In any case, the Virginia act of 1765 proved to be useless and it was repealed by royal order in 1767.46

Some Virginia-manufactured leather was exported to New England and the West Indies. However, the demands of local craftsmen apparently exceeded the supply of locally-produced leather and a ready market existed for English leather. Francis Jerdone, a merchant in Louisa County, ordered leather from London in 1743. He requested that it be "speedily" sent by the "first Ship that Sails from London to York river" because his shoemakers were idle.47 From 1758 to 1767 almost one hundred thousand pounds of tanned leather and over half a million pounds of "wrought leather," which 21 included "all manner of manufactures of Leather," were imported into Virginia and Maryland from Great Britain.48 The desire for the best leather may have been one reason for the importation of such large quantities of that article. For example, Robert Gilbert, a boot-and shoemaker of Williamsburg, advertised that he imported "the whole of his materials from Great Britain."49 Fisher, Bragg, and Fleming, saddlemakers of Norfolk, Virginia, and Whitehaven, England, boasted that "the greatest part of the Leather they use is imported from their own Tanyard in Whitehaven, which is well known to be neater and more durable in general than the leather of this Country."50

English made shoes were always in demand in Virginia. Planters were probably more accustomed to English made commodities and imported articles have always had a special glamor. Captain Robert Ranson, a York County merchant, received a shipment of shoes from England in 1696:

To 9 pr mens falls att 3/4£1.10..0
To Six pr womens ditto att 2/615..0
To 3 pr boyes ditto att 2/36..9
To 6 pr Childrens ditto at 168..0
To 5 pr womans wood heels ditto at 2/411..8
To 4 pr girls wood heels ditto at 28..0
To 13 pr mens plane ditto att 2/61.12..6
5.11. .11
51 22 Joseph Walker offered both imported and Virginia-made shoes for sale in his store:
4 pr high topt Spatterdashes @ 7
1 pr Shooe boots
1 pr woms leather heel'd Shoes 2/6 ,
2 pr Do Damaged 2/
4 pr mens Shooes handsome @ 4/6 18/.
2 pr Do Damaged 4/
6 pr Country Shooes 18/ 13 pr large Youths Shooes 2/6
15 pr Girls calve leather Do 2/
4 pr mens turkey leathr Slippers 4/
4 pr Girls turkey leathr shooes 18/
1 pr womens breeded do 2/6
35 pr English plains @ 3/
34 pr Virga Do @ 3/
4 pr Boys Do 8/

Beginning around the middle of the eighteenth century, shoes made by John Didsbury of London became especially popular with Virginians, who sometimes ordered shoes from him made to measure. For example, in 1760 John Walker sent full instructions to Didsbury for a pair of boots:

  • 1.From the Knee Buckle to the Bottom of the Heel 16 Inches
  • 2.Round the Middle of the Calf 15 Inches
  • 3.From the Middle of the Calf to ye bottom of ye Heel 13 3/4 Inches
  • 4.Round the Heel & Instep 12 3/4 Inches
  • 5.Round the Ball of the Foot 9 7/8 Inches
  • 6.Length of the Foot 9 3/4 Inches

Nearly every merchant sold Didsbury's boots and shoes. Catherine Rathell, a Williamsburg milliner, advertised in 1768:

… Didsbury's best shoes and pumps for Gentlemen, red, 23 blue, and yellow slippers for do. Didsbury's best and neatest black and white sattin and callimanco pumps Ladies ….

John Blaney & Company of Petersburg advertised shoes made at their factory to be of "the newest Fashion, and equal in Goodness and Workmanship to any imported from London, many of the Hands having worked with Didsbury and other capital Tradesmen in that Branch."55 Shoes made by other English shoemakers such as Davis and Gresham were also popular in Virginia.

Virginians were alarmed when the British government proposed to lay a stamp duty on paper, leather, and other commodities in 1764. The Virginia Committee of Correspondence wrote in July 1764: " … the immediate effects of an additional heavy burthen imposed upon a People already laden with Debts, contracted chiefly in Defence of the Common Cause & necessarily to continue by express Stipulation for a number of years to come, will be severely felt by us and our children…."56



^1 Nova Britannia: Offering Most Excellent fruites by Planting in Virginia (London, 1609), in Peter Force (ed.), Tracts and other Papers…. (1836, reprinted, New York, 1947), I, tract VI, 21.
^2 Philip A. Bruce, Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century (New York, 1895), II, 475. (It should be noted here that "cattle, as horses, Kine, Hogs, and Goats do thrive most happily" in Virginia and Lord Delaware reported in 1611 that the cattle were much increased and "thrive exceedingly with the pasture of the Country." Quoted in Wesley N. Laing, "Cattle in Seventeenth-Century Virginia," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography LXVIII (1959), 148.] "Virginia in 1656-58," ibid., XVI II (1910) , 155 . W. Nelson, The Office and Authority of a Justice of Peace, 10th edition ([London], 1729) , 447-451 .
^3 Bruce, Economic History of Virginia, II, 475.
^4 "A Declaration of the Supplies to be sent to Virginia by the Counseil in 1620," in Force (ed. ), III , Tracts, III, tract V, 17.
^5 "Discourse of the Old Company," Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., I (1893-1894), 155-167. "Virginia in 1632-33-34," ibid., VIII (1901) , 149.
^6 W. W. Hening, Statutes at Large: Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia (New York, 1823), I, 174.
^7 George L. Beer, The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1598-1660 (New York, 1933), 248. Hening, Statutes, I, 307 .
^8 Hening, Statutes, I, 488.
^9 Ibid., 525.
^10 Carl Bridenbaugh, The Colonial Craftsman (New York, 1950), 4-5.
^11 Harvey to Sir Francis Windebank, 26 June 1636 , PRO co 1/9, ff . 40-41.
^12 Hartwell, Blair, and Chilton, The Present State of Virginia and the College, ed. Hunter D. Farish (Williamsburg, 1940), 9-10 .
^13 "Papers relating to the American Colonies," British Museum, Egerton MSS 2395, ff. 147-1 95.
^14 Kemp to Sir Francis Windebank, 11 April 1636, PRO co 1/9, ff. 17-18.
^15 Hening, Statutes, II, 85. The scarcity of trained laborers was certainly a serious problem. There was no army of unemployed from which workers could be recruited to replace departed employees. For example, Hugh Yeo of the Eastern Shore of Virginia wrote in 1666 that he had a tan house for seven years and had no trouble in obtaining hides, but that he did lack workmen. In some years when he had good workmen he had tanned two hundred hides, and he claimed he could handle five hundred a year if he had a person to negotiate the work. He employed two shoemakers and, he declared, if he could get more he could employ them. Susie M. Ames, Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore in the Seventeenth Century (Richmond, 1940), 134. The inventory of the estate of Roger Long of York County included "45 hides greene most of them rotten" which may have resulted from the lack of workmen. York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 4, 1665-1672, 337. With hides so readily obtainable, there was no unemployment problem for the tanner; in fact, the difficulty was that there were not enough of them. In 1663, John West had five hundred hides "spoiled for want of timely tanning." Ames, Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore, 135.
At times the shoemaker was unable to obtain curried hides even though he may have had access to a plentiful supply of tanned hides. In 1668, Edmund Scarborough complained that Martin Moore, a currier, had departed from his work when there were more than a hundred hides ready for him, all of which were needed and the want so great that fourteen shoemakers were
^16 Hening, Statutes, II, 123. This act referred to a similar act passed in 1660; however, the laws of the 1660 session of the General Assembly have not been located. In 26 January 1661/2 the tan house and pits of William Calvert in York County were to be "maintained and kept as his … charge as ye county's tanhouse and pitts for 7 years from this time …. " Calvert agreed to "take all ye hydes of ye county that shall be brought him and allow for them according to Act of Assembly also to tann, curry and make shoes of ye said hides and sell them at ye ratio appointed by ye said Act. In consideration whereof the Court hereby order that ye said William shall have paid him and his heirs at ye next leavy 4400 lbs of Tobacco as convenient as can be." York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 3, 1657-1662, f. 145. This action of York County Court resulted from the 1660 act rather than the act of 1662.
^17 Hening, Statutes, II, 124-125.
^18 Ibid., 179.
^19 H. R. McIlwaine (ed.), Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia 1659/60-1693 (Richmond, 1914) , II, 23.
^20 Hening, Statutes, II, 216 .
^21 Ibid., 287.
^22 Ibid., 482-483; 493-497.
^23 Leonard W. Labaree (ed. ), Instructions to British Colonial Governors, 1670-1776 (New York, 1935) , I, 161 . H. R. McIlwaine (ed.) , Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia (Richmond , 1925) , I, 61-62 . Letters and Papers concerning American Plantations, 1683 , PRO CO 1/5 3, ff . 104-105 .
^24 Hening, Statutes, III, 63; V, 237 .
^25 Ibid., III , 75-80. The Virginia act was evidently based on an English statute of 1604. Nelson, Office and Authority of a Justice of Peace, 447 ff . See also John W. Waterer, Leather in Art and Industry (London, [1946] ), 84.
^26 Arthur P. Middleton, Tobacco Coast: A Maritime History of Chesapeake Bay in the Colonial Era (Newport News, Va., 1953), 159. Correspondence addressed to the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations from the Governor and President of 27 Virginia, PRO CO 5/1315, ff. 26-29.
^27 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 9, 1691-1694, 123, 141.
^28 Surry County Court Orders, 1691-1718, 32, 34.
^29 Henrico County Order Book, 1678-1693, 403.
^30 Westmoreland County Order Book , 1690-1698, 97.
^31 The Present State of the Tobacco-Plantations in America. No date, endorsed Dec. 16, 1708. PRO CO 5/1316, f. 31.
^32 George Webb, The Office and Authority of a Justice of the Peace (Williamsburg, 1734), 211.
^33 Hening, Statutes, VI , 133.
^34 Original Correspondence CO 5/1 309, f. 67.
^35 Robert Beverley, The and Present State of Virginia, ed. Louis B. Wright (Chapel Hill, 1947), 295.
^36 Minutes of the Board of Trade, 1697-1698, PRO CO 5/391/10, 230-231.
^37 Papers regarding French refugees in Virginia & Misc., 1698-1701 , Rawlinson MSS A. 27 1, Bodleian Library, f. 47.
^38 Oliver M. Dickerson, American Colonial Government , 1696-1765 (Cleveland, 1912), 25. The Board of Trade expected the colonies to abstain from manufacturing in any form, and to confine their activities to the production of natural commodities for England's use only. Charles M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History(New Haven, 1938), IV, 303-304 .
^39 Hugh Jones, The Present State of Virginia, ed. Richard L. Morton (Chapel Hill, 1956), 146-147.
^40 Memorial from the Council of Virginia to the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations. No date, endorsed 28 "received 17 Jan. 17 31/2, " PRO CO 5/1322, ff . 194-199.
^41 Governors Correspondence with the Board of Trade, 1735-1747 , PRO CO 5/1326, ff. 46-47.
^42 Letters to the Secretary of State, 1762-1767, PRO co 5/1 345, ff. 176-177.
^43 British Museum, King's 206, f. 26.
^44 Hening, Statutes, VI II, 142-143.
^45 Oliver M. Dickerson, The Navigation Acts and the American Revolution (Philadelphia, 1951), 11. . Lawrence A. Harper , The English Navigation Laws (New York, 1939), 399 .
^46 Letters from Fauquier and Botetourt to the Secretary of State, 1767-1770, PRO CO 5/1332, ff. 15-16.
^47 Jerdone to William Bowden, July 1743, Jerdone Letter Book, 1738-1745. William and Mary College Library.
^48 Board of Trade, Commercial , PRO CO 390/9, f. 67 .
^49 Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), June 30, 1768.
^50. Ibid., August 8, 1771.
^51 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills, No. 10, 1694-1697, 391-395.
^52 York County Orders, Wills No. 16, 1720-1729, 329-334.
^53 Slater and Hanrott vs Burwell, Exor. of Pasteur, 1798, Pleadings and Exhibits, d19. U.S. Circuit Court, Virginia District, Ended Cases, 1791-1862.
^54 Virginia Gazette (Rind), October 6, 1768.
^55 Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), November 18, 1775.
^56 "Proceedings of the Virginia Committee of Correspondence, 1759-'67," Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., XII (1905), 9.

Chapter III

Leather manufacture is peculiarly suited for a plantation industry——its raw material is a by-product of the cattle industry, and bark is plentiful in most rural areas. In addition, during much of the tanning process, hides lay unattended in the pits which allowed the farmer to employ his labor force in other plantation duties. It is not surprising then to find that the leather industry developed as one of the earliest industries in Virginia. Wild animals as well as domesticated ones have always furnished a source of leather. Deer skins are used in the manufacture of leather clothing and beaver and bear skins are important in the manufacture of hats.

The cattle industry developed early in Virginia. In 1639, Governor John Harvey wrote that there were "about twelve hundred head of neate cattell besides goates" in the colony.1 Ten years later it was estimated that the number had increased to about 20,000 including "kine, Oxen, Bulls, and Calves." Beef, pork, and bacon were not only sold as ships' provisions but were also exported from Virginia to the West Indies.2 The hides of 30 slaughtered cattle were made into leather for the manufacture of shoes which were in short supply in Virginia during most of the seventeenth century. Governor Harvey complained in 1632 that shoes were greatly needed in the colony and English shoes "sell at … most excessive rates."3

1. Tanning

Most of the tanneries in colonial Virginia were apparently carried on as plantation industries, designed principally for the supply of leather used in the manufacture of shoes. For this reason tanning, shoemaking, and other leather crafts will be considered together in this report.

In England it was the rare case for one man to engage in more than one leather craft. For example, a shoemaker did not dress leather nor did tanners or curriers make shoes. In Virginia leather crafts were not separated along such lines. Inventories of estates of leather workers often show that one man might own tanning tools, currier's tools, and shoemaker's tools.

John Rolfe mentioned in 1616 that "artificers, as shoemakers, taylors, tanners, &c. doe work in their professions in the colony …"4 George Ashall is mentioned as a tanner and shoemaker in Lower Norfold County in 1647.5 An 31 account of Virginia published in 1649 mentioned "Captaine Matthews, an old planter of above thirty years standing", who "hath a Tan-house, causes Leather to be dressed [and] hath eight shoemakers in their employment."6 The evidence available clearly shows that leather and leather articles were being manufactured in Virginia before the first half of the seventeenth century. After 1650 with increased population and the development of a more stable society, leather workers as well as other craftsmen began to emerge as an important element in Virginia society and in the colonial economy.

John Heyward built a tannery on his plantation in New Poquoson before 1661. William Calvert, who married Heyward's widow, agreed to "engage himself and negroes that ye tann house and pitts and other things appretaining shall be maintained and kept at his … charge as ye County's tan house and pitts for seven years … also to tann, curry and make shoes of ye … hides … " belonging to the county.7

Colonel Edmund Scarborough of the Eastern Shore had so developed the industry that by 1669 he had a trade justifying the employment of nine shoemakers and he shipped one hundred and forty-three pairs of shoes to York County in 1671. Two years previously, Scarborough enlisted the aid of 32 the county court to see that Nathaniel Bradford, a currier , maintained the standards set for the industry. Bradford must have had a considerable trade for there were almost four hundred and fifty hides in his shop at one time.8

In 1671, Henry White of Marston Parish, York County, devised his tan house and leather to his son and all "debts due upon the Tannery Book" to his wife.9

Henry Jenkins, a tanner and shoemaker, of James City County, was forced to tan hides and furnish shoes for Bacon's rebels in 1676. After the rebellion Jenkins claimed Governor Berkeley took away his cattle for aiding the rebels. William Drew, who commanded Bacon's men at Green Spring, supported Jenkins' claim:

I William Drew doe depose upon oath that sometime before Christmas laste, there was a pcell of leather that the governrs men had privately Carryed to Dan: Hayleys Tobacco House, being about one and twenty halfe hydes which hydes were carried to Poetan Mill by a Negroe boy of the Governrs in a Carte and there delivered to Henry Jenkins to make shooes for the souldiers, but the souldiers haveing present occasion for shooes, before that leather could be wrought up the souldiers took from Henry Jenkins at least fourty paire of shooes in leiu of the sd leather which shooes were disposed of to the souldiers and eleven of the Governrs servts; and the sd Henry Jenkins was commanded to make the sd leather into shooes for the souldiers, and I doe further make oath, that aboute five and twenty greene hydes being taken out of the tann fatts [vats] att Green Spring being some rotten & others very bad, and 33 fearing that they would be utterly lost, the sd Henry Jenkins was sent for to greene Springs, to see if he could prserve the sd hydes, Henry Jenkins promised he would doe what he could, and thereupon the hydes were carried to his house to be tanned; likewise I doe depose that being informed some of Mr Drumonds servants and one of the Governrs servts had carryed several hydes to Henry Jenkins I went to Henry Jenkins and seised them for the use of the soldiers.

Lastly I make oath that I heard Richd Lee the Governrs overseer say, that the Governr gave order that the tann fatts should be filled up whi ch would have utterly Rotted and spoiled the Hydes, and I doe make oath that if Henry Jenkins had not taken those greene hydes, they would have been troden in peices and not worth anything.10


A Lancaster County tanner and shoemaker, Daniel Harrison, employed two shoemakers and a tanner in his shop. Harrison's estate included at his death in 1677 an assortment of tools, 122 hides of leather, 20 raw hides, 72 pairs of shoes, and "12 doz lasts greate and small."11 The estate of Nicholas Toope of York, recorded in 1679, included:

72 hides
16 hides & 12 of leather
a pcell of tanners tools & other triffles belonging to the tan house
2 barking irons
1 ½ gal of traine oyle a pcell of lasts & Shoemakers working geare
59 lb of Shoemakers tred.12

In 1688 James Fleming is mentioned as being a tanner in York County.13 In Surry County, Joseph Rogers 34 and Robert Caulfield joined forces in the establishment of a tanning and shoemaking business in 1689. The enterprise was carried on by Rogers after his partner's death in 1691.14 The estate of Thomas Cocke, whose will was recorded in Henrico County Court in 1697, included a tan yard, among other things.15 In 1692, William Fitzhugh, of Stafford County, wrote a merchant in England for "a shoemaker or two with their tools as lasts, tacks, awles, knives, &c., with half a hundred of shoemakers thread and about twenty or thirty gallons of train oyle, & sound proper colourings for leather, I having this year set up a Tan House." 16

The estate of Elisha Stanton, recorded in York County Court in 1694, included:

1 pr glovers shears
2 tanners knives
200 20d nails
4 hides of sole leather
3 ½ lb shoe thread.17

Robert Crawley's estate, inventoried in 1697, also included leather and tanner's tools:

18 hides of leather
11 Kipp skins lether
25 raw Hides
1 Barke stone
2 fle shing knives, 2 hookes
7 ½ tan'd hides
5 raw hides
1 old Copper bottle 8 gallons train oyle
A parcell of Shoomakers tooles
35 1 trestle, 2 Currying knives & Steele
2 Tanners barke sheafs.18

The inventory of the estate of Captain Charles Hansford of York County, included: 45 ½ sides of leather, "82 Hides of Leather in ye fatt [vat]," and "1 cureing knife & steale beame knife & cork knife." Hansford also made shoes for sale on his plantation. In 1703 his executors were sued for a sum of money and "four pair of Large Plaine Shoes Due by Note Dated under ye sd Decedt Hand December ye 30th 1699 …."19 The inventory of the estate of Captain Matthew Pierce, who also owned a plantation in York County, included: "14 hides & 2 skins in the tann vatt."20

Nathaniel Harrison, who died in Surry County in 1728, owned:

49 Sides Tannd Sole Leather
10 Tannd Deer Skins
3 Sett Shoemakers Tooles
107 Lasts, mens, womens, & Childrens
22 Raw Hides
80 Sides Tannd upper Leather
2 Red Morrocco Do
1 Spanish Do
70 lb Deer Skins
10 lb Bever Do
50 pr Negro's Shos
242 Hide s in the Tann Pitts
60 Calf Skins in Do
2 Deer Skins.

Harrison also owned a large number of slaves and 36 an indentured shoemaker, William Wallis.21

John Davis, who died in York County in 1734, possessed a "Set of Tanners Tools: and "12 hides of Leather."22

Many more examples of plantation tanneries could be described, but those already mentioned clearly show that the leather industry did exist, at least in a small way, from the early days of settlement. An account book of one such tannery and shoemaker's shop owned by James Bray is extant. Bray apparently operated his tannery and shoemaker's shop on his plantation, "Littleton," in James City County. It appears that the business was carried on after Bray's death by his executor Carter Burwell of "Carter's Grove," an adjoining plantation.

Bray's tannery was evidently operated on a commercial scale. Bray, and later Burwell, hired experienced tanners to operate the yard. The account book contains accounts with two tanners: Edward Hughes and Mathew English.23 Bray and Burwell not only tanned leather for their own use but also manufactured leather for their neighbors, supplied local shoemakers with leather and even manufactured shoes for sale. In March 1742, Bray charged "My Lady Randolph" with "1 pr work'd shoes."24 In the same month he shod Major Edwin Daingerfield and his family: 37

March 12, 1742To 1 pr Mens shoes @ 7/6 ....0..7..6
17To 1 pr Womens yor Lady ...0..5..0
31To 2 pr Shoes for your Sons ...0..6..0
To 1 pr for Billy Allan ...0..4..0
In 1749, Bray's estate furnished Col. Charles Carter with sixty sides of leather at a cost of £ 22.10..026 The tannery also supplied local shoemakers with leather:
Mr Cheny Slater [Shoemaker]Dr
Dec. 27To 1 side Leather0..6..0
Septr 23To 2 sides Leather0.12..0
Octr 19To 1 side Do0..6..0
24To 3 sides Leather0.18..0
May 4To 1 side Leather0..6..0
Octr 6To 12 days work Harry0.18..0
June 7By making 6 pr Negroes shoes0..7..6

Burwell also tanned hides for his neighbors:

Mrs Anne GoodwinDr
Mar 14To taning your Leather0.15..0
To leather sold you by Mr Powell0.15..0
Nov. 21To Taning 4 hides1..0..0
Peyton RandolphDr
May 16To makg a harrow0..5..0
Dec 10To 4 pr Negroes Shoes1..0..0
Aug 19To 2 pr Negroes Shoes0.10..0
Octr 24To tang 12 hides at 5/3..0..0
Jan 22To makg a Cart & plankg it 0.12..6
Mr John Lester Sen.Dr
Nov. 21To taning 5 hides @ 5/1..5..0

Thomas Jones operated his plantation tannery on a commercial scale too. The precise location of Jones' tannery is uncertain; however, it was in King William County on or near his plantation called Horn Quarter.31 The earliest reference to Jones' tannery is contained in statement from David Davis, a currier:

May ye 29th 1730
To Currying 122 Hydes7.10..0
To Currying 38 Skins1.18..0
To Currying 11 Hydes of Sadlers Leather1..2..0
To Currying 3 Hydes of Harness Ditto- 6..0
To Washing 22 Skins-11..0
To 3 Weeks attendance in the Tanyard3..3..0

In 1732 Jones mortgaged the tanyard as well as other property in King William County to Thomas Nelson, a merchant of Yorktown. The tannery was described as being on "Lower Quarter on Horn Quarter Creek." Two slaves were included in the transaction——each described as "Tanner, Currier, and Shoemaker."33 Evidently Jones paid off the mortgage by supplying Nelson with shoes and other commodities. An account dated 1738 from Jones to the executors of Nelson 39 included 800 pairs of shoes "to discharge what I had at the Tanyard." Jones was credited with "Sundries belonging to the Tanyard, Currying Shoemaking & Leather as by Temples acct."34

Jones apparently prepared leather to the specifications of his customers. For example, he sold Col. William Dandridge a variety of leather:

DrColl. William Dandridge
Feby 1To 20 Sides of Soal Leather£ 5.10..0
To 14 Sides of upper Leather black'd on the flesh at 6/64.11..0
2 Sides Do Russet at 5/6-11..6
1 Skin black'd on the Grain-6..0
1 Do Black'd on the flesh-6..0
1 Do-5..0
2 Do8..0

Jones probably had trouble with his process for manufacturing sole leather for in 1749 Carter Burwell sent him instructions "for raising soal leather." Burwell offered to send more complete instructions but he thought Jones' "people understand all the other parts of the Business."36

Captain William Coles of Coles Hill, Hanover County, built his tannery on the bank of the Pamunkey River before 1768.37 Colonel James Gordon of Crondall, Richmond County, built his tanyard in 1759 and in 1776 he borrowed lime from Landon Carter "to tan the leather."38 Hugh Walker 40 of Urbanna, wrote the Board of Trade in 1779 "planters chiefly Tan their own hides…."39 William Cabell, who owned a large plantation in Amherst County, recorded in his diary some operations of this tannery:

April 25, 1786 Begin to get Bark for our Hides.
June 6, 1786 finished putting our leather in the first Bark.
July 1, 1786 finished putting my leather second Bark.

As late as 1791, Edward Carrington wrote Alexander Hamilton: "… the owner of every plantation tans the hides of the cattle which are killed or casually die, and, by that means, supplies the slaves in shoes for winter …."41 Even though plantation tanneries may have been fairly large operations they were established primarily to serve the plantation and were not necessarily business ventures in themselves. Any large farming operation requires certain subsidiary industries and in many case s the farm produces the raw material s needed in such industries. In short, it is good agricultural economic s for a farm to have its own tannery to make use of raw hides that may otherwise spoil. Throughout the colonial period most Virginia leather was apparently produced on plantations, but some independent commercial tanneries were established by the middle of the eighteenth century.


Tanning is an operation in which there are economies of scale. Because of the slow nature of tanning, commercial tanners need to have a large number of hides evenly spaced throughout the manufacturing process so that there will be a steady supply of leather ready for the market. In addition, to make the most of labor employed it is necessary to tan a fairly large number of hides. Therefore, the establishment of large commercial tanneries was impractical in Virginia until well into the eighteenth century when the increase in population resulted in a wider market and a larger labor force.

One of the earliest commercial tanneries established in Virginia seems to have been built by John Langdale in Norfolk. In 1747 Langdale advertised for a runaway breeches-maker and referred to himself as "Tanner, of Norfolk."42 He advertised leather for sale in Norfolk in 1750:

The several Sorts of Leather following: viz. Sole and Neats, wax'd and black-grained Calf and Cabaritta Skins, for shoes; Saddlers, Skirt, Seat, Bridle, and Stirrup Leather, Hides and Skins, suitable for Coaches, Chaises, Couches, Portmantuas, and Chair Bottoms, made and sold by the Subscriber in Norfolk, who has a Quantity of each Sort ready finished.43

Five years later, Thomas Thompson, also in Norfolk, 41 announced that he had "lately erected a new Tan-yard, and takes in Hides and Calf Skins to tan." Thompson assured his customers that their hides and skins would be "very well done by the best English workmen." He claimed to pay the "best prices in ready money, for Hides Skins, & Furs."44

Thompson later formed a partnership with Edward Park. In 1776, after their tanyard in Norfolk was destroyed, they moved to Richmond where they erected a new tannery which became an important source of leather for the state during the Revolutionary War. 45

In 1764 James Campbell and Company established a tannery in Norfolk and by 1774 it was believed to be the largest in America——valued at sixteen thousand eight hundred pounds sterling. 46 John and George Bowness, tanners of Westmoreland, England, came to Virginia in 1760 and established a tanyard in Portsmouth. They valued their tanworks at about four thousand pounds sterling in 1779, not including "slaves, Leather tan'd, Raw Hides, European Goods, a Sloop, Books, Debts, Bonds, Notes, and other property of which no Account can … be obtained."47 Other large tanworks were constructed during the last half of the century in Richmond, Petersburg, Fredericksburg, and Williamsburg.


2. Shoemakers

As mentioned previously, John Rolfe wrote that shoemakers engaged in their trade as early as 1616. As the colony grew, shoemakers increased in number until by the beginning of the eighteenth century there were many successful cordwainers in the colony. Shoemakers often carried on their craft in conjunction with tanning, currying, and saddlemaking. For example, Robert Harris, searcher and sealer of leather in York County, curried leather as well as having made shoes.48 John Hall was apprenticed to Will Green in 1698 to learn the trade of a shoemaker and tanner.49 The Justices of Princess Anne County bound John Smyth to Richard Butt to learn the craft of a shoemaker and saddler.50 In 1763 George Bowness accepted John Harper as an apprentice. Bowness promised to teach Harper "to Read and Write and the Art &c. of a Tanner and Currier …."51 The combination of leather crafts carried on by a single person seems to have been common in Virginia even though it was the rare case in England for a man to carry on more than one leather craft at a time.52

Most plantations included among its slaves and indentured servants at least one shoemaker. Francis Jerdone, a Virginia merchant, wrote that many Virginians "have 43 shoemakers in their own families, and have no occasion for any but stuff shoes from England."53

Many indentured servants are mentioned as shoemakers. John Stevens, a shoemaker and servant of James Crawford, agreed to teach the trade to Crawford's sons.54 John Newland, servant of Isham Randolph, made an agreement with his master:

John Newland, cordwainer and indented servant to Isham Randolph, of the county of Goochland, for four years ending the 8th day of April 1737, in satisfaction for the time of servitude due from said Newland he did agree to make for said Randolph two hundred and fifty pair of men's, women's, children's, and negro shoes, and mend shoes, horse harness for a chariot and cart as occasion should require, till the shoes above mentioned should be made and then the sd Newland to be set free, reserving to himself his freedom dues, to wch agreemt we, the subscribers, desire the courts approbation, and pray that it may be recorded .

Ralph Wormley had a shoemaker's shop on his plantation in Middlesex County which was operated by an indentured servant.56 John Taliaferro, who owned a large plantation in King George County, had a shoemaker's shop operated by Joseph Emmet, an indentured shoemaker. Taliaferro's estate included at his death in 1756:

364 pairs of Negro Shoes72.16..0
45 pairs of blacked Shoes @ 4/610..2..6
32 Sides of Tand Leather at 4/ and one piece of Bend Leather at 1/6.12 .. 0
The estate of Henry Harwood, who died in 1718, included:
15 p mens Virga Shoes @ 2/61.17..6
5 p womens Do @ 2/10..0
A Shoemaker & a pcell of old Shoemakers tools & a pcell of old Lasts18..0..0
15 Aul blades0..3..0

Francis Jerdone had two shoemakers whom he paid £ 5 a year and he wanted another who could make boots. He was willing to pay to bootmaker £ 8 a year and provide him with "every necessary except clothes."59

Mrs. Mary Clopton, of New Kent County, owned a Negro shoemaker who also made harness and spatterdashes:

Mrs . Mary CloptonCr
1748By your Negro making 60 pair Shoes£ 3..0..0
By his making 1 pair of Stitch Downs0..0..6
By his making and mending of Harness0..3..0
By his making 1 pair of Spatterdashes0..2..6

The tannery and shoemaker's shop of Thomas Jones was apparently operated by Negroes under the supervision of a white overseer.61 Jones manufactured shoes in large quantities. From 1741 to 1744, for example, he supplied John Mansfield of King William County with 79 pairs of "plains for the Negroes."62 He also supplied shoes at wholesale prices to Thomas Nelson for sale in his store in Yorktown.63 Jones wrote in 1754 that he charged fifteen shillings to make a pair of "English" shoes.64 The following extracts from his 45 account book show the type of work done in his shoemaker's shop:

Dr.Mr Christopher Smith of Hanover
Jany21To 2 pr of Plains and 2 pr Mended for Mr Pages Negroes0.10..0
24To 1 pr Do0..4..0
Feby25To Mending a pair for Sam Soaling and Heeling0..1..6
March1To 4 pr of Plains John Wynn0.16..0
Dr.Mr Robert Jenings of Hanover
Jany27, 1739To 1 pair of Mens best Shoes0..6..0
April23To 8 pr of Plains at 3/61..8..0
To 1 pr of Woms Shoes0..4..0
To Mending 4 pr of Shoes0..4..0
Feby7To a pr of Plains......
To a pr of boys large Falls......
Dr.Mr. Augustine Greyham of Hanover
Jany2To a pair of Womens Shoes0..4..0
To a pair of Mens Best Shoes0..7..6
June22To a pair of best Pumps0..7..6
Dr.Mr. John Garland
To making 9 pr of Plains0..9..0
To Do 2 pr of Shoes0..2..6
DrCol. John Chiswell
Feb13To 4 Sides of Soal Leather and
To making a pr of his own Lear0..0..7 ½
1744To 2 pr of Clapdowns0..3..0
Dr.Capt John Bickerton
JulyTo Tanning 7 Hides 5/1.15..0
Dec.17To 28 pr of Shoes 21..8..0
2 pr of Girls wooden heels0..2..6
1 pr of Woms Pumps0..1..6
Dr.Mrs. Taylor Widow
1748To Tanning a Skin0..2..6
To Mending and Leather for a Chair Bridle0..1..0
To Currying 7 Sides of Leather0..3..6
DrJohn Lipscom
Dec9To Soaling a pr of Shoes putting in new Welts and sewing them all round0..2..0
DrThe Reverend Patrick Henry
Dec.17To Capping a pr of Shoes0..0..6
To a pr of Spatterdashers for ye Negro Boy0..1..0

Jones also hired out his shoemakers to his neighbors. Jones' shoemakers did the following work for the Reverend Patrick Henry:

1747Making 14 pr of Planes0..14..0
Making 4 pr of Shoes0..5..0
1748Making 8 pr of Men's & Woms Pumps0.12..0
Making a Pr of Mens Falls 0..1..3
Do 18 pr of Plains0.18..0
In 1756 Henry again requested the use of Jones' shoemakers to make his leather into shoes, but Jones replied that they were already engaged for more than a year.67

John Bolithoe of Princess Anne County, owned a Negro shoemaker and he also trained apprentices in the art of shoemaking. In 1724 Bolithoe promised to teach Joseph Pleadger " … to read the bible distinctly, to write a good Leadgable hand, also the Trade of Shoemaker …. "68 John Fare, a servant of Dunn Armistead, agreed to serve two additional years if Armistead would teach him the "Art of a Shoemaker." 69

Many young Virginians learned the trade of a shoemaker by serving a term of apprenticeship with established artisans. For example, Abraham Martin, who later became a successful craftsman, served a six year apprentice ship with George Brown of York County.70 John Wilson, who owned a shoe factory in Norfolk, trained several apprentices.71 In 1718 the Church Wardens of Princess Anne County paid George Kemp a fee of one thousand pounds of tobacco to take Thomas Robertson, an orphan , as an apprentice.72


The following entry from the Princess Anne County Minute Books demonstrates that the County Court was encouraging local manufactures in 1725:

Ordered that John Brown an orphan of James Brown Deed be bound to Thos Cooper till he come of age that he teach ye said boy to read ye bible disstinct1y ye trade of a Shewmaker & at ye end of his time to give him Shews & Stockings two Shirts Coat vest & britches all new & of Virginia produce.73

Journeymen shoemakers seem to have always been in demand. Heslop and Blair, shoemakers of Fredericksburg, advertised in 1770 for "A JOURNEYMAN shoemaker who is master of his business."74 Samuel Daniel offered special advantages:

Wanted immediately, A JOURNEYMAN SHOEMAKER that understands the Business well in all its Branches. Such a one, that can come well recommended, for an honest, industrious, sober Man, will meet with Encouragement to his Satisfaction, a good seat of Work, and his Money paid every Saturday Night if he chooses it. Inquire for the Subscriber, near the upper Church, in Middlesex County .75

By the middle of the eighteenth century large establishments were producing shoes in great numbers. The center of shoe manufacturing in Virginia seems to have been in the Norfolk-Portsmouth area. James Campbell and Company established a shoe factory in Norfolk in the 1760's . Their factory was purchased by John Wilson in 1771:

I take this Method to acquaint the Publick, and my 51 Customers in particular, that Messrs. James Campbell and Company have resigned the SHOE FACTORY in favour of me, by which means I carry on double the Trade I did formerly. Gentlemen who may please to favour me with their Orders for Negro Shoes, or others, are desired to send them soon, that I may be capable of supplying them better than it was in my power last Fall, on Account of the Scarcity of leather. Ladies and Gentlemen may depend on being supplied with as neat shoes either Leather or Calimanco, as any from London: as I have on Hand London, Philadelphia, and New York Calf Skins, red, green, and blue Morocco Leather, Calimancoes of all Colours, and of the best Kinds. Those who choose to favour him with their Custom shall be served on reasonable Terms, by applying to him at the Sign of the Boot and Shoe, in Norfolk.
When John Wilson died in October 1771, the shoemaking business was taken over by George Wilson, Junior, and John's widow, Mary. The partnership was dissolved the following year when George moved to Williamsburg.77

In 1771 James Ingram and William Forsythe established a "Shoe Manufactory" in Portsmouth where could be had "BOOTS and MENS, WOMENS, and CHILDRENS SHOES of all Kinds, in the neatest and best Manner, and of as good Materials as can be procured in Britain," at moderate prices.78 The partnership was dissolved two years later and Forsythe continued the factory, which was destroyed at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.79


3. Saddle and Harness Makers

Like other leather workers, saddlers and harness makers, often combined their trade with some other leather craft. For example, William Houston of Fredericksburg owned a tanyard and engaged in saddle making as did Miles Taylor of Richmond.80 Benjamin Grymes of Spotsylvania County is mentioned as both shoemaker and saddler in 1767.81

Saddlers were not as numerous as other leather workers in Virginia and most of them seem to have been successful. Their work, for the most part, probably consisted of repairing and mending saddles and harnesses.

Large quantities of saddles and harnesses were imported into the colony every year. From 1698 to 1703, 27,500 saddles and 178 pairs of harness were exported from England to Virginia and Maryland. In 1696 Captain Robert Ranson of York County received a shipment of saddles on consignment:

To Six round Skert Saddles wth furniture att 123.12..0
To 3 Snaffle bridles att 140..3..6
To 6 pr holsters att 72..2..0
To 4 neat lether Callers att 6d0..2..0
To 4 Square Girts att 4d0..1..4
In 1762 William Allason, merchant of Falmouth, imported a variety of saddlery from the Glasgow Tanwork Company: 53
Mens Hogskin Sadles2 @ 25/2.16..0
Mens Sadles No .B4 @ 20/4.12..0
C6 @ 19/5.14..0
D6 @ 16/4.16..0
E2 @ 15/1.10..0
A2 @ 13/1..6..0
Sadle Cloths1 Dz1.16..0
Sarsingler1 Dz-18..0
Snaffle Bridles2 Dz@ 24/2..8..0
Coat straps2 Dz@ 4/60..9..0
Fring'd Housing2 @ 11/1..2..0
Twigg ditto3 @ 24/-6..0

Thomas Holmes announced the opening of his saddle and harness shop in 1771:

THOMAS HOLMES, Saddler and Harness Maker, hereby informs the Public that he has opened Shop opposite to the Long Ordinary, where he intends carrying on his Business in all its Branches; and as he has just imported a large Assortment of Materials in his Way, those Gentlemen who please to favour him with their Custom may depend upon having their Work done in the neatest and best Manner, and on very reasonable Terms.85
Fisher, Bragg, and Company, saddlers of Whitehaven, England, opened a branch in Norfolk in 1771:
Henry Fleming, from the house of Fisher, Bragg, and Company, wholesale ironmongers and Saddlers in Whitehaven, begs leave to acquaint the publick that he is just arrived at Norfolk, and has opened store with a good assortment of the following kinds of goods viz. HARDWARE of all Kinds: nails and saddlery of their own manufacture; And to accomodate those who may be pleased to favour them with their orders, they intend carrying on a manufactory of Saddlery goods at Norfolk; where may be had every article in that branch, made in the newest and neatest fashion, and in every respect agreeable to fancy. 86


Other leather workers who are found in Virginia during the eighteenth century include glovers, leather breeches makers, collar makers, and upholsterers. These appear to be fewer in number than shoemakers, saddlers, and tanners, and they often carried on their trade along with a related craft.


^1 "Virginia in 1629 and 1630," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, VII (1900), 377-378.
^2 Wesley N. Laing, "Cattle in Seventeenth-Century Virginia," ibid., LXVII (1959), 151.
^3 "Virginia in 1632-33-34," ibid., VIII (1901), 149.
^4 "Virginia in 1616," The Virginia Historical Register and Literary Advertiser, I (1848), 107.
^5 "The Church in Lower Norfolk County," Lower Norfolk County Virginia Antiquary, III (1901), 29-34.
^6 Richard Wodenoth, "A Perfect Description of Virginia" (1649), in Peter Force (ed.), Tracts and Other Papers… (1836, reprinted New York, 1947), II, tract VIII, 1, 4.
^7 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 3, 1657-1662, 145.
^8 Susie M. Ames, Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore in the Seventeenth Century (Richmond, 1940), 133, 137.
^9 York County Deeds, Orders and Wills No. 4, 1665-1672, 369.
^10 Letters and papers concerning American Plantations, 1677, PRO CO 1/40, ff. 18-19.
^11 Lancaster County Wills &c. No. 5, 1674-1689, 44-46.
^12 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 6, 1677-1684, 106.
^13 Ibid., No. 8, 1687-1691, 56.
^14 Surry County Orders, 1691-1718, 29.
^15 Annie L. Jester and Martha Woodroof Hiden (eds.), 56 Adventurers of Purse and Person (Princeton , 1956) , 81
^16 "Letters of William Fitzhugh," Va. Mag. of Hist. and Biog., IV (1897), 69 .
^17 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 10, 1694-1697, 22-23.
^18 Ibid., No. 11, 1698-1702, 19-20.
^19 Ibid., No . 12, 1702-1706, 27, 161.
^20 York County Wills & Inventories No. 18, 1732-1740, 416-419.
^21 Surry County Deeds, Wills, Etc., 1715-1730, pt. 2, 843-850.
^22 York County Wills & Inventories No. 18, 1732-1740, 172.
^23 Ledger I, 17 36-1746, 27, 61, Burwell Papers (Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.) .
^24 Ibid., 10 .
^25. Ibid., 25.
^26 Account Book of Carter Burwell, 1738-1755, Cash Account 1749, Burwell Papers.
^27 Burwell Ledger 2, 1764-1776; 1779-1786, 34, ibid .
^28 Ibid., 31.
^29 Ibid., 26.
^30 Ibid., 44.
^31 Jones Family Papers, item 431 (Library of Congress).
^32 Ibid., item 404.
^33 Ibid., item 431.
^34 Ibid., item 573.
^35 Ibid., Account Book, f. 3, item 1361 .
^36 Ibid., item 797.
^37 "Journal of Dr . Walter Bennett & the Bennett Family" Va . Mag. of Hist. and Biog., XIX (1911), 91.
^38 "Journal of Col. James Gordon," William and Mary Quarterly, 1st series, XI (1902-1903), 105; "Diary of Col . Landon Carter," ibid ., XX (1911-1912), 175.
^39 Walker to the Board of Trade, Oct. 18, 1779, Brock Collection (Huntington Library).
^40 William Cabell Diary, 1751-1795, 108, 110, 111 (Virginia State Library).
^41 "Home Manufactures in Virginia in 1791," Wm. and Mary Qtly., 2nd series, II (1922), 140.
^42 Maryland Gazette, November 11, 1747.
^43 Virginia Gazette, February 28, 1750/1. By 1765 Langdale had moved to Haddon Field, West New Jersey, where where he established another tannery. See will of Christopher Perkins, Principal Probate Registry, Will Register Books, Probate Act Book 1765, 462 Rushworth; and William Nelson (ed.), Documents to the Colonial History of New Jersey (Paterson, 1904), 1st series, XXVI, 156.
^44 Virginia Gazette (Hunter), April 25, 1755.
^45 Virginia Gazette (Purdie), September 20, 1776.
^46 Parker FAmily Papers, PA 16-36-3 (Liverpool Record Office).
^47 "The Memorial of Revd Francis Bowness of Lowestoff…," Loyalist Claims, 1777-1787, PRO AO 13/27.
^48 York County Orders, Wills, No. 15, 1716-1720, 50-51.
^49 John Bennett Boddie, Seventeenth Century Isle of 58 Wight County, Virginia (Chicago, 1938), 634.
^50 Princess Anne County Minute Book 7, 1753-1762, 43.
^51 Ibid., Book 8, 1762-1769 , 33.
^52 L.A. Clarkson, "The Organization of the English Leather Industry in the Late Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," The Economic Review, 2nd series, XIII (1960), 245-253.
^53" "Letter Book of Francis Jerdone," Wm. and Mary Qtly., 1st series, XI (1902-1903), 154.
^54 Wi1liam A. Crozier, Virginia County Records, vol. I, Spotsylvania County, 1721-1800 (New York, 1905), 324.
^55 The Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers(Richmond, n.d.), III, 1347.
^56 Middlesex County Will Book A, 1698-1713, 126.
^57 King George County Inventory Book 2, 1745-1765, 134-136.
^58 York County Orders, Wills 16, 1720-1729, 20-24.
^59 Jerdone to William Bowden, May 20, 1744, Jerdone Letter Book, 1738-1745 [no pagination], (William and Mary College Library).
^60 William Massie Account Book, 1747-1748, f. 40 (Virginia Historical Society).
^61 Jones Papers, item 431.
^62 Ibid., item 722.
^63 Ibid., item 641.
^64 Ibid., item 1049.
^65 Ibid., Account Book, items 1361 ff.
^66 Ibid., item 798.
^67 Ibid., item 1319.
^68 Princess Anne County Deeds and Wills No. 4, 1724-1735, 235; Princess Anne County Minute Book 3, 1717-1728, 190.
^69 York County Wills & Inventories 19, 1740-1746, 387.
^70 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills 10, 1694-1697, 67.
^71 Princess Anne County Minute Book 7, 1753-1762, 437; Princess Anne County Minute Book 8, 1762-1769, 33; Norfolk County Deed Book 24, 1767-1770, 15, 16; Norfolk City Order Book 1, 1761-1769, f. 204.
^72 Princess Anne County Minute Book 3, 1717 -1728, 23.
^73 Ibid., 232.
^74 Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), October 4, 1770.
^75 Ibid., October 20, 1774.
^76 Ibid., May 16, 1771.
^77 Ibid., October 31, 1771; August 20, 1772.
^78 Ibid., October 17, 1771.
^79 Ibid., May 6, 1773; July 1, 1773. "The Claim of Penelope d'Ende, widow and representative of William Forsythe," American Loyalist Claims-Report of Commissioners to the Treasury, 1784, PRO T. 79/124A.
^80 Crozier, Spotsylvania County Records, 224; Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), April 28, 1774, June 16, 1774.
^81 Crozier, Spotsylvania County Records, 257.
^82 Ledgers of Imports and Exports, 1697-1703, PRO Customs 3/1-3/7.
^83 York County Deeds, Orders, and Wills No. 10, 1694-1697, 391-395.
^84 Invoice and Inventory Book, 1761-1764, f. 17, Allason Papers (Virginia State Library).
^85 Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), July 4, 1771.
^86 Ibid., November 22, 1771.

Chapter IV

Leather workers appeared in Williamsburg soon after its establishment as the colonial capital and there may have been some tanners and shoemakers in Middle Plantation before 1699. The earliest known leather craftsman to settle in Williamsburg seems to have been Henry Gill who arrived in the city from Charles City County in 1707. In that year he purchased lots 49 and 50 on Duke of Gloucester Street.1 He was referred to as both tanner and shoemaker and he later operated an ordinary at his house.2 In 1717 Gill purchased lots 263, 264, and 265 on the north side of Nicholson Street from Edward Ripping.3 His estate included "1 set of tanners tools," "300 hides and skins…in the Second liqr of Bark," and "1 mill to grind bark and furniture thereto belonging."4 At his death in 1721, Gill left his two lots on Duke of Gloucester Street to his son John, and the "three lots where Mr. Hollan keeps store" and his "Tann yard and the Lotts thereto" to his wife Margaret.5 There is no indication where the "Tann yard and Lotts" were; there are deeds in York County Court Records for only five lots——two of which Gill occupied and three where Holland operated 62 his store. The tanyard may have been in the James City part of Williamsburg; but Gill's inventory does not mention its location.

Thomas Allen, shoemaker, was in Williamsburg by 1710. In that year the death of his daughter was recorded in the Bruton Parish Church records.6 Six years later Allen purchased lot 40 in Williamsburg from John Anderson of York County.7 Nothing further is known of Allen.

Daniel Groome, tanner and collar maker, appeared in Williamsburg about 1713 when he purchased lot 169 from the trustees of the city. He evidently failed to build on the lot as the deed required, because the lot reverted to the trustees who resold it in 1716.8 Nothing further is known of Groome's activities in Williamsburg; he had moved to Henrico County by 1720.9

John Coulthard, a saddler, appeared in Williamsburg sometime before 1734.10 Little is known of his business activities. In 1751 Coulthard announced that he had moved his shop "from next Door to the Printing-Office to the Back Street, next Door to the house of Mr. Walter King, in Williamsburg, where all Persons may depend on being faithfully and speedily serv'd…"11 He evidently retired from business before 1756. In that year his estate was inventoried 63 and no leather workers' tools were included.12 From 1734 to 1742 Coulthard supplied Thomas Jones with harness and saddles in return for skins and shoes:

Collo Thomas Jones
Decr 5To a strong Snafel Bitt0..1..0
To makeing up a Bridle0..1..0
JuneTo aq Strong Kerb Bridle with a Common Bitt0.10..6
July 5To a Sturop & Leather0..1..0
Oct 29To a half Check Bridle0..4..0
Nov. 5 To Repairing a Sadle a Buckle to a Girt0..1..8
To 4 Strops put to a Sadle0..0..8
May 17To a pair Womans Rains mending a Brist plate0..3..9
To 3 Single Girts0..2..6
June 24To 5 Single Girts0..4..2
July 9To makeing 2 heads stall for Coach Bridles one cupling Rain0..9..6
Aug 7To a large hunton Sadle £1.17..6, a Snafel Bridle 3/62..1..0
To a pair Sturops & leather mending a Sadle0..4..7
12To a pair Coach Rains0..6..3
Dec 20to a half Cheeck Bitt0..1..6
Oct 25To a Kerb Bridle0..6..0
1739To a Cart Sadle pad a Girt & Strap0..5..0
June 1740To a Dutch Kerb Bridle0..6..3
May 2, 1741To makeing up a pad0..2..6
July 3To a Snafel Bridle0..3..6
Jan. 30To a new Seat put in you Sadle0.10..6
To a new pad 4 Strops 4 tuff nails0..4...8
June 10To a new pad a Single Gert0..4..3
12To a Martindale A Single Gert0..2..6
To a mail pilion & Strop0..4..6
Nov 15To a pad to a Cart Sadle0..3..0
Errors Excepted pr John Coulthard7..5..9
To a Portmantua omited1..6..0
To a further Acct for Chair Harness &c 5.19..2
Out of mistake a Port-mantua not enterd11.14..2
July 5By a Strong Bridle Returned0..9..0
AugBy a Hunton Sadle Returned1.14..0
By 26 Bushels of haire1..6..0
MarchBy 7 Skins0..7..0
By 3 Skins0..3..0
By Ball: of Acct 17353..6..7 ½
AprilBy 22 Skins1..2..0
By his Bond to Bowlers Estate dated April 1743
to be paid in July following9..0..0
Sept 21By Acct of Sh0es0.12..6
Nov 12By his whole Acct to this day26..5..1
Ball due Mr. John Coulthard 8..4..11 ½
Jan 6, 1745Received of Thomas Jones Eight Pounds four Shills and 11d ½ for the above Ball.
p. John Coulthard13

Another saddler, and probably one of the most successful craftsmen in Williamsburg during the colonial period, was Alexander Craig. It is not known when he established his business but an account of Craig with James Crosby 's estate is mentioned in 1748.14 In February 1749 Craig purchased lot 25 on the road leading from Williamsburg to Yorktown 65 where he probably built and operated his saddle shop.15 In 1751 he advertised leather for sale:

To be SOLD, at Mr. Alex. Craig's in Williamsburg, Best Sole and Neats Leather, wax'd Calve Skins and Hides, suitable for Coaches, Chaises, Couches, Portmantuas and Chair Bottoms in any Quantity .16

In January 1755 Craig purchased a section of lot 55 on the Duke of Gloucester Street.17 Craig evidently rented the shop that was on this site to James Currie, a wigmaker.18 A note dated 1763 in his account book indicates that he was building a new shop. 19 Since Craig owned several parcels of land in and around Williamsburg, it is impossible to locate his new shop; he may have been remodeling the shop on lot 55.

Sometime around the middle of the eighteenth century, Craig established a tannery on Capitol Landing Road near Williamsburg in partnership with Christopher Ford, carpenter, and Nicholas Sim, tanner.20 The tannery was evidently built between 1752 when Ford purchased the property and 1758 when Craig bought out his partners. In 1760 the tannery consisted of "Tan Vatts … New and Old Bark Houses, Mill House and Fleshing House … and other houses and buildings … used in the Business of Tanning and making Leather."21


When Craig became sole owner of the tanyard in 1758, Sim left Williamsburg to settle in Petersburg.22 It is probable that Craig then hired William Pearson, a tanner, to operate the tannery. In 1760 Pearson was renting a house adjoining the tanyard from Craig.23

Craig apparently built up a large and successful business. He had several indentured servants and slaves and he employed at least three leather workers. He hired James Hern, a harness maker, at piece work, Silas Smith at 7 shillings 6 pence a week, and John Shepherd, harness maker, at ten shillings a week. He also hired Thomas Wade whose profession is undisclosed.24 Even with his staff of leather workers, Craig could not handle all of his orders and he was forced to farm out some of his work to local craftsmen. For example, Craig paid James Taylor, a shoemaker, £ 6..3..6 for "Acct for Harness Work." He also paid James Swain, leather breeches maker, for making a shot bag.25

Craig's account books, two of which are extant, reveal a great variety of leather work carried on in his shop. He not only sold ready-made shoes imported from England, but also manufactured shoes in his shop:

Mr Robt NicholsonDr
Feby 15To Russ & making scarlet shoes0..4..0
March 4To Pumps for self Eng Lear0..9..0
12To Channel'd Do0.12..0
Apl 28To Pumps for your Man0..6..6
May 6To making 2 pr wos Shoes &c0..8..0
July 1To soleing your own Pumps0..2..0
21To a cover for a prayer Book0..2..6
Octr 10a pr of Wos Shoes0..5..0
Novr 23a pr of Girls Shoes-..4..6
29a pr of Childs shoes0..2..6
Mr Hugh OrrDr
Dec 21making Cloth shoes for yr Negroe Girls0..2..0
Jany 8To Stuff & making Valloore Shoes for Mrs Orr & not charged in our last Acct-4..0
July 27To a Ba ssil0..1..8
Mr. Jno Holt Mercht
Novr 13To a pr Double Channel pumps for Mr Clayton0.12..6
Mr. Thos Penman
Decr 10To 3 pr Wos Shoes yr own upper Leather0.12..0
Mr Anty Hay
1752making Silk Shoes & finding heels & soles0..6..0
Jany 242 Bassils0..3..6
Feby 28a pr of shoes yr own upper Lears0..6..0
a pr of pumps Do0..6..0
Mr Blovet Pasteur
May 12To a pr of Eng Lear Boys shoes0..6..0
Augt 12To Soles & Heels for Do Eng lear0..2..9


Craig either discontinued the manufacture of shoes or kept his shoemaker's accounts in a separate book, because his account book which covered the years 1761 to 1763 contains no accounts for shoemaking. However, it does contain sales of shoes, but in most cases the shoes were either imported or made by a local shoemaker:

Mr. Lewis Hallam May 14, 1761
To a pr of Shoes of Jno Wilson [shoemaker]
Col: Richd Randolph April 18, 1761
To a pr of Didsberrys shoes for yr Brother John0.16..0
Mr Jos Scrivener Jany 15, 1761
To Shoes made by Didsberry0.16..0
Col . Richd Bland Dec. 14, 1761
To a pr of English pumps for yr son at College0.14..0
Mr Walthoe Jan. 18, 1762
To a pr of shoes made by J. Cooke [shoemaker]1..8..0

The account book includes sales of other shoes without specifying the maker. Even though they may have been made in Craig's shop, it seems more probable that they were made by someone else since there is no evidence in three years of accounts to indicate that Craig made or repaired shoes after 1761.

Craig performed a variety of leather work in his shop. For example, he made cushions for couches, chairs, and even billiard tables. He also made sword belts, holsters, 69 gun buckets, leather pipes for a fire engine, razor cases, pistol belts , cartridge boxes, scabbards, and in one case a "strong Coller for a Bear." On several occasions he made and lined trusses for Dr. Patrick Adams of Surry County. But saddles and harness were Craig's specialties. In 1761, for example, he did extensive repairs to Mrs. Elizabeth Dawson's coach:

1761Mrs. Eliza Dawson
To a Calf skin for binding the Top of a Coach0..5..0
To Dressing a hide of English Lear for Do0..7..6
To 1 piece of Cord for the lining 0..3..0
To 250 Large fuller nails & doning the top of a Coach1..6..0
To new lining a Coach, new cushions, new bottom steps & Hammock Cloth & finding thread & some nails5..0..0
Craig made harness for all kinds of wheeled vehicles.
1749Mr. Wm TaliaferroDo
Feby 8To fringe & buckles & Strapps for a pantha Skin Housing0.13..0
June 17To a Sett of Harness for a Pole Chair & wt Pole Mans & Tail cases10..0..0
Novr 20To an apron for a Chair & mending a Saddle1.10..0
1750Mr Robt Todd mercht
July 18To a Harness for a Shaft Chair£ 7..0..0
1753Mr Humphrey HillDr
Aprile 28To a pr of Harness wt 2 Saddles8..0..0
DrJno Blair Esqr
1753/4 Jany 5a harness & Saddle for a tumbler [cart]1..1..6
Mr. Jno Randolph
Novr 12To a pr of Pole End Harness6..0..0
Mr. Chas Carter son of Chas
May 16a pr of Postillion harness & Saddle & a pr of Pole End DO15..0..0
Mr. Thos AtchinsonDr
Novr 6To a Harness for a Single Horse5..0..0
Mr. Jno Tucker
1753 Aprile 7To a harness for an Itallian Chair5..0..0
1762Col: Byrd
Oct 12To Harness for 6 Coach Horses25..0..0
1762Col: Ben: Harrison
Sept 18To Harness for four Charriot Horses16..0..0

Craig also made and repaired all kinds of saddles and bridles, saddle cloths and pads, and did other saddle work. His long account of work done for Robert Hutchins, a tailor in Blandford, gives an idea of the nature of work carried on in the shop: 71

Mr. Robt HutchinsDr
1751Brought from Leger A f. 1163.14..0
June 21To 2 large buckles for ye Shaft of a Chair0..1..3
2 Cruppers0..4..6
a breaching & backhand & strapp0..7..6
A Cart Saddle & girth & Strapp0..7..6
a Brass Dee for a Chair Saddle0..0..7
a Chair Whip0..3..0
a Coupling Rein0..1..8
July 2To a Lash & Keeper0..1..0
To a Shaft for a Chair Whip & hand Rein for a Bridle0..2..3
15To Stuffing a Saddle0..1..3
19To a Chair & 2 Harness & Saddles & Braces a pr of flapps for a Saddle24.10..0
a thong & lash & mending apr of Baggs0..1.10 ½
another thong & keeper0..1..6
29To a new padd & 2 strapps0..4..6
Augt 18apr of Stirrup lea[the]rs0..2..0
Novr 19a Lash & eye0..1..0
26a mail pillion & strapp0..3..6
2 Snipebills & a pr of Mail strapps0..2..6
Stuffing & mending a Saddle0..2..0
Deccr 10a pr of Bootstrapps0..1..6
16mending a Stirrup lea[the]r0..0..4
23a Snaffle Bridle0..4..0
2 pr Shoes for self0.15..0
Cash pr for Cartege for you0..5..0
Feby 13a Brass Dee for harness & mending a Bridle0..1..7 ½
March 3a Curb for a Bridle0..1..0
a back band & 2 brass Dees & mending harness0..3..0
5a Lash0..0..7 ½
16a pr of Lea[the]r garters0..1..0
Aprila Lash & eye 1/ & stuffing & mending a Saddle0..2..6
May 154 girth strapps0..1..3
June 11a thorn & keeper & mending a Saddle0..3..0
July 3mending a Bridle & Portmanteau in many places0..2..3
Augt 5To a Saddle &c2..3..0
a fringed Housing 1..2..0
36..6..2 ½
Augt 5To over Charge of 3 yds Cloath 6/0.18..0
Sept 18a pr Stirrup Leathers0..2..0
a Strapp & mending a pillion a pr of Coat strapps & a lash & keeper0..2..9
Octr 3lengthening Reins & mending Harness0..3..6
Decr 15To Stuffing a Saddle0..1..3
Feby 6To a Side Saddle wth Cover & furn[iture] Studded6.10..0
a Portmanteau girth0..2..0
a Buckle & mending a Portmanteau0..1..3
April 25Stuffing a Saddle0..1..3
May 9Mending a pr of Baggs0..1..3
Augt 6a padd to a Saddle0..4..0
25a Curb & Stuffing a Saddle0..2..3
To Jno Donalson for Silk & altering a Coat you made0..3..0
45..0..2 ½
June 10To 4 tuffnails w[i]th Double plates & 1 pr Coat Strapps0..4..0
Augt 24To a pr of Leather baggs0.13..0
June 6To a Whip0..7..0
Augt 2To a lash to a Whip0..0..7 ½
Feby 27To a headstall 4/6 Bitt 3/6 Long Reins to a Chair Bridle 8/0.14..0

Craig's account books indicate that a separate book, which no longer exists, was kept for his tannery accounts. On May 20, 1758, Craig transferred balances from the "tanyard book" to his general ledger. The two existing books reveal the kind of leather Craig made and that he purchased raw hides and skins from local butchers. It also shows that he imported leather and purchased leather from other tanners in the colony. In at least one instance he 73 supplied a tanner with raw hides in return for tanned and curried hides. In 1756 and 1757 Craig purchased one hundred and fifty-six pounds of harness leather from Andrew Cox of Suffolk.31 Craig supplied leather to craftsmen, such as cabinetmakers, coachmakers, and shoemakers, all over the colony. For example, in 1761 he sold leather to a Williamsburg shoemaker:

1761Mr. Rolleson
Apr 20To a Calfskin0..7..6
June 1To ½ lb of Shoethread0..1..3
June 6To Spurr Lea[the]r0..1..0
Octr 12To a Calfskin---
John Wilson, a shoemaker of Norfolk, purchased leather from Craig on several occasions:
1761John Wilson
May 7To 33 Calf Skins11.17..9
To 2 English calfskins1.16..0
To 4 lb of Shoethread0.10..0
July 17To 12 Calf Skins4.17..6
Sept 24-25To 12 Calf Skins4.11..6

Craig sold Ralph Hankey an assortment of leather, including bassils, "Trotter's leather," Virginia leather, stirrup leather, bridle leather, skirt leather, calf skins, sheep skins, and a shammy skin. He supplied John Carom, a professor at the College of William and Mary with leather "for an air pump." In 1762, Craig sent a Mr. Terry in Amelia County "Leather for 15 Chair bottoms ." He also furnished 74 leather to William Houston, a saddler in Fredericksburg, Isaac Smith, a shoemaker in Charles City County; and a Nicholas Smith, shoemaker in Fredericksburg, as well as John Harwood, chairmaker in Warwick; Miles Taylor, saddler in Richmond, and Charles and Richard Taliaferro, chairmakers in Williamsburg.34

In 1760 Craig sold William Pearson, the tanner who rented a house from him adjoining the tannery, the land on which the tanyard was located, but reserved for himself, "the Tann Vatts and Vatts seated upon the said Premises together with the New and Old Bark Houses, Mill House and Fleshing House and all other Houses and Buildings now used in or hereafter to be used in the Business of Tanning and making Leather with a free & open Passage to and from the same."35 The deed indicates that Craig must have had some sort of agreement with Pearson concerning the tannery. Indeed, they may have been partners in the business. For example, Craig and Pearson sued John Dennis in 1763 for an account which appeared on Craig 's account book in 1761.36

Pearson later came into complete possession of the tanworks. The circumstances concerning the transfer to Pearson are unknown. There is no mention of the tanyard in Craig 's will dated December 1772 nor are there any tanner's 75 tools listed in the inventory of his estate 37 Pearson may have gained complete control of the tannery by 1767. In that year he purchased bark from Carter Burwell and also advertised that he would pay "great wages" for a good currier.38 During the early years of the Revolution he tanned hides for the state and furnished shoes and leather to the army.39

When Pearson died in 1777, his widow advertised the tanyard for rent:

To be let for a term of six years, on the 24th instant, the TAN WORKS in this City, late the property of Mr. William Pearson, deceased, with the Dwelling House and all convenient out houses both for a Family and the Business, and several Acres of Ground, under a good enclosure, also four Negro men Tanners and Curriers, two shoemakers, a Carpenter, and two Negro Women, one a good Cook, the other a Spinner. Any one whom it will suit to rent may enter on the Tanyard immediately. As there is a small number of Hides that I will dispose of, and as Possession cannot be given of the Negroes until the Business now in Hand is finished, they will be able, under a proper manager, to be assisting in their Work, on paying a Proportionate Part of the Expence.

It is earnestly requested of those indebted to the Estate to make immediate Payment and those to whom anything is due will please to bring in their Accounts, properly proved and shall be paid.40

The tannery was rented later that year by William Plume, a tanner and currier who had worked for James Parker, a partner in the tanworks in Norfolk.41 In May 1777 Plume 76 announced in the Virginia Gazette that he had taken over the tanyard near Williamsburg and that he paid the "highest price" for hides and skins. He claimed to be "well acquainted with the Business, and particularly the Currying Part, which is so necessary."42 In 1779 Plume was paid by the state of Virginia for 116 hides of sole, upper, and harness leather.43

In 1780 Plume advertised that he was in need of oak bark and would pay for it with cash or leather. He also advertised "a large quantity of tanned and curried leather of all sorts, among which is excellent boot legs, with best bend leather soles" for sale.44

After the Revolution, Plume filed a claim against the British government for supplies he furnished the British army during the war:

188 Sides of Harness Leather@ 21/197..8..0
12 Sides of Bridle Leather20/12..0..0
54 Calves Skins15/40..10..0
192 Pair of Boot Legs18/173..0..0
16 Sides Vamp Leather20/16..0..0
2 Sides Sole Leather21/ 2..2..0
26 Calves Skins16/20..16..0
£ 461..16..0
Plume's claim was disallowed.46

At the expiration of his lease on Pearson's tanyard, Plume returned to Norfolk.47 On March 1, 1783, Mathew Pearson 77 son of William, offered the "TAN-YARD, near this City" for sale and in May he advertised "FOR SALE THREE NEGRO MEN, one an exceeding good currier,… the other two have been used to attend in a tanyard; and work in a shoemaker's shop."48 However, Mathew had no buyers, for in 1797 the guardian of his orphans announced that the "TAN-YARD In Williamsburg," would be leased for the term of ten years.49 In 1824, Theodore Gatewood Pearson of Washington County, Virginia, sold the tanyard to Robert P. Waller of Williamsburg.50

Gabriel Maupin, a saddler and harness maker who probably learned the trade with Alexander Craig, established his business in Williamsburg by 1762. In that year he charged John Prentis with repairs to a harness.51 Maupin opened a tavern in 1767 but continued his saddle and harness shop.52 In 1771 he purchased the "House in the Market Square lately occupied by Thomas Craig… for the purpose of KEEPING TAVERN." He also moved his shop to this building "… where the SADDLERY and HARNESS MAKING Business will be carried on in all its Branches. Those who please to employ me may be assured of being furnished with neat and substantial Work, at short Notice, and on reasonable Terms "53 Maupin died about 1800.54

John Shephard, who also had worked with Craig, 78 entered business for himself by 1770 when he did harness work for Governor Botetourt.55 His first advertisement appeared in the Virginia Gazette in April 1775:

JOHN SHEPPARD, Coach, Chaise, and Harness Maker, from London, Informs the Public that he has now on Hand a neat Phaeton, double and single Riding Chairs, &c. which he will dispose of on reasonable Terms, for Cash, European or West India Goods. He returns his most grateful Thanks to all those who have hitherto favoured him with their Custom, and takes this Method to inform them, as well as the Public in general , that he is determined to spare neither Pains nor Expense in prosecuting the different Branches of his Business to the Satisfaction of all who please to employ him. He will repair Carriages as above mentioned , either in the Wheels, Bodies, or Carriages, and will attend to the greatest punctuality.56
Shephard either moved from Williamsburg or died before 1784.57

Williamsburg seems to have been well supplied with shoemakers during the eighteenth century. However, as the population increased the demand for shoemakers so increased that they evidently had more work than they could conveniently handle. Robert Gilbert, for example, advertised for journeymen shoemakers:

JOURNEYMEN SHOEMAKERS, Who are well acquainted with womens or mens wood healed work, will meet with good encouragement by applying to the subscriber in Williamsburg.
Robert Gilbert .58
John Sclater also offered "good encouragement" for "A Sober 79 Journeyman Shoemaker who understands Mens and Womens Work."59 George Wilson wanted two or three journeymen whom he offered to pay "3s 6d for plain shoes, 5s for stitched work, and 10s for boots." The year before he advertised for journeymen who "understand making BOOTS and Mens WOOD HEELS."60

The fact that the shoemakers were advertising for journeymen may indicate that they were too busy to train apprentices and few shoemakers' apprentices are mentioned in the Virginia Gazette and York County Court Records. Shoemakers found another source of labor among indentured servants. William Willcock and James Taylor, shoemakers, advertised jointly for two runaway indentured shoemakers.61 George Wells, who later owned a shoemaker's shop in Williamsburg, came to Virginia in 1738 as an indentured servant. He advertised lodgings for rent in 1751 and at his death in 1753 his estate included a well-equipped shoemakers shop.62

Most craftsmen, including shoemakers, had considerable difficulty in collecting their debts. For example, Thomas Skinner announced in 1768 that he would put all accounts not paid immediately into the hands of an attorney.63 Robert Gilbert's financial condition was so bad in 1773 that he was forced to discontinue his business:

I THINK it necessary to give this publick Notice , 80 to all Persons who are in Arrears to me, that if they do not, without fail, discharge their Accounts by the July Meeting of the Merchants, they will most assuredly be put into a Lawyer's Hands.

N.B. In the mean while, for the many Disappointments I have met with in Collecting my Debts, I am obliged to stop Trade, till I can receive the Money due me to carry it on.
Robert Gilbert.64

The exact locations of Williamsburg's shoemakers' shops are unknown. Henry Gill may have operated his shop on lot 49, but with this exception there are no other deeds which locate the sites of other shoemakers' shops in the city. Some shoemakers' advertisements give a general idea of the location of the shops. For example, George Wilson's shop was "next door to John Greenhaw's Store " —— but it is not known on which side. Thomas Skinner advertised his shop "at the back of the Raleigh Tavern," and Robert Gilbert's was "near the Capitol."65

Shoemakers' advertisements along with the few extant accounts give an idea of the work performed by these craftsmen. Charles Holdsworth presented an account to the estate of James Morris for work performed during two years:

The Estate of James MorrisDr 1712
Novr 25thTo 2 blind halters0..5..0
To paid John Davis0.10..0
To 1 pr woms. Shoes0..4..0
To 2 pair Child Shoes0..5..0
To paid his man Lewis 0..1..6
To 1 pr mens Shoes0..5..0
To 1 pair Do0..5..0
Aug 1713To 2 pair plane Shoes0..8..0
To 1 pair Child Shoes0..2..0
To 1 pair Spansells0..2..0
To paid Robt Crawley 150 lb Tobo at 10 p Cent0.15..0
Sept 14, 1714To a pair of boxes wt 18 lb at 6d p lb0..9..0
To 2 pair woms Shoes0..8..0
To a Chest0..6..0
In 1727 Richard Brand presented his account to Richard King, a Williamsburg carpenter:
Richard King Dr 1727
June ye 10 To 1 pr of shoes mending0..0..7 ½
July ye 15 To 1 pr of mens shoes0..8..0
Septber ye 8 To 1 pr of mens of shoes0..8..0
Decber ye 2 To 1 pr womens shoes0..4..6

Robert Gilbert advertised a wide variety of shoes available at his shop:

ROBERT GILBERT, BOOT and SHOEMAKER, &c. HEREBY acquaints the publick that he has opened shop near the Capitol in Williamsburg, where he intends carrying on his business in all its branches, viz. shoe or channel, calf or buckskin boots, jockey do. and spatterdashes, mens plain, stitched, spring, and wood-heeled, shoes and pumps, calf or dogskin; campaign, single, double or turned channels, slippers, blue or red turkey, cork soles, galloches, and clogs. As he imports the whole of his materials from Great Britain, where punctual payments are required, he proposes supplying Ladies and Gentlemen with any of the above articles on the most reasonable terms, for ready money. Those who please to favour him with their custom may depend on their work being speedily executed, in the genteelest and newest fashions, and in such a manner as he 82 hopes will merit a continuance of their favours.68
Thomas Skinner announced in 1768 that he had a "parcel of fine English calf, dog, morocco, and white calf skins, sole leather, and all sorts of materials for making boots, shoes, slippers, &c …." He intended to make them up "cheap for ready money."69 George Wilson solicited customers by importing leather:
JUST IMPORTED, by the Subscriber, a choice Cargo of best sorts of English LEATHER for all Manner of Mens Shoes and Pumps, and excellent LONDON DRAWLEGS for BOOTS, with which he will be glad to accommodate Gentlemen, He returns his most grateful Acknowledgments to those who formerly favoured him with their Custom, and hopes his past workmanship will merit a Renewal of it, and he will make it his constant Study to give Satisfaction to all who shall please to favour him with their Commands.
George Wilson, & Co.70
Wilson evidently kept a large supply of shoes on hand, for in 1774 his shop was robbed of nineteen or twenty pair of men 's shoes .71

Wilson, like other shoemakers, not only made shoes but also repaired them. In 1773 he charged Henry Moss for repairing shoes:

1773Mr. Henrey Moss to George Willson
Octr 3To futting pr Boots for Peter0.12..6
To Mending pr Shoes0..1..0


Other Leather Workers

Among the other craftsmen in Williamsburg who worked with leather were coachmakers, breeches makers, bookbinders, upholsterers, and glovers. William Keith, a tailor, hoped to increase his business by purchasing an indentured leather worker:

WILLIAM KEITH, of the City of Williamsburg, having lately purchas'd an ingenious Workman in Leather, does hereby give Notice to all Gentlemen, and others, That they may be supplied with Buck-skin Breeches, and Gloves, made after the neatest Fashion, and as Cheap as any where else.73
In addition to making leather breeches and gloves, Edward Morris dressed all kinds of leather:
EDWARD MORRIS, Breeches-Maker, and Glover, from London, Is set up in Business near the College in Williamsburg, where he makes and sells the best Buck Skin Breeches either of the common Tann'd Colour, or dy'd Black, or of Cloth Colours, after the English Manner: Also Buck Skin Gloves, high Tops. He also makes and sells Bever-Skin Breeches, which are very strong and servicable, fit for Servants or Slaves, and are very cheap. He also dresses Leather after the Philadelphia manner, not inferior to Oil'd Leather Dress, for Goodness, and Fineness, upon the Flesh or Grain. Likewise dresses all Sorts of Fur-Skins, for Muff, for Gentlemen or Ladies, or for Saddle-Housing. Also dresses Calf-Skins, Sheep-Skins, and White Leather, for the use of Sadlers, Shoemakers, and Others. Any Persons that have Occasion to make Use of him in any of the above Particulars, may depend on kind Usage, and at very reasonable Rates. 74

Alexander Craig sold leather to cabinetmakers, 84 coachmakers, and bookbinders. For example, Craig sold William Hunter "leather for Covering a very large book," and he also sold leather to Richard Taliaferro and John Harwood, chairmakers. Among the cabinetmakers to whom Craig supplied leather were Anthony Hay, James Spiers, and George Donald.75

^1 York County Deeds and Bonds No. 2, 1701-1713, 315.
^2 York County Deeds and Bond No. 3, 1713-1729, 298; York County Deeds, Orders and Wills No. 14, 1709-1716, 89.
^3 York County Deeds and Bonds No. 3, 1713-1729, 234-235.
^4 York County Orders and Wills No. 16, 1720-1729, 69-70.
^5 Ibid., 53.
^6 W. A. R. Goodwin, The Record of Bruton Parish Church (Richmond, 1941), 165.
^7 York County Deed Book 3, 1713-1729, 120-121.
^8 Deed: Trustees to Groome, 11 April 1713 (Original deed in Archives of Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.); Jones Family Papers (Library of Congress), item 24; York County Deeds & Bonds 3, 1713-1729, 204.
^9 Jones Family Papers, item 42.
^10 Ibid., item 755.
^11 Virginia Gazette, April 25, 1751.
^12 York County Wills and Inventories No. 20, 1745-1759, 401.
^13 Jones Family Papers, item 755.
^14 York County Wills & Inventories No. 20, 1745-1759, 113-114.
^15 York County Deed Book No. 5, 1741-1754, 278-280.
^16 Virginia Gazette, October 17, 1751.
^17 York County Deed Book 6, 1755-1763, 1-3.
^18 Alexander Craig Account Book, 1749-1757 (Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.).
^19 Ibid ., 1761-1763.
^20 York County Deed Book No. 5, 1741-1754, 471; No. 6, 1755-1763, 152-153.
^21Ibid., No. 6, 294-296.
^22 Craig to Theodorick Bland, June 5, 1758, Campbell Papers VI, 5 (Virginia Historical Society).
^23 York County Deed Book No. 6, 17 55-1763, 294-296.
^24 Alexander Craig Account Book , 1761-1763, passim.
^25 Craig Account Book, 1749-1756, 166; Account April 7, 1763, Craig Account Book, 1761-1763 [no pagination].
^26 Craig Account Book, 1749-1756,passim.
^27 Craig Account Book, 1761-1763, passim.
^28 Ibid., [no pagination].
^29 Craig Account Books, 1749-1756, 1761-1763, passim.
^30 Craig Account Book, 1749-1756, f. 69 .
^31 Ibid., 106. "Virginia Gleanings in England," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, XIX (1911), 282.
^32 Craig Account Book, 1761-1763, passim.
^33 Ibid.,
^34 Craig Account Books, 1749-1756, 1761-1763, passim.
^35 York County Deed Book No. 6, 1759-1763, 294-296. The earliest reference located to Pearson in Williamsburg appears in Craig's Bible under date of February 1760 when he was made godfather to Craig's daughter, Lucretia: which indicates that Craig and Pearson were friends before that date. "Bible Record of Alexander Craig of Williamsburg," 87 William and Mary Quarterly, 1st series, X (1901-1902), 124-125.
^36 Dennis Account, Nov. 25, 1761, Craig Account Book, 1761-1763; York County Judgments & Orders, 1763-1765, 280.
^37 York County Wills and Inventories No. 22, 1771-1783, 322-323, 330-333.
^38 Burwell Papers, Ledger 2, 1764-1776; 1779-1786, 40 (Virginia Historical Society). Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon) , May 7, 1767 . Pearson apparently owned another tannery on the south side of Francis Street in Williamsburg. However, it is not known when he established this enterprise nor how long it operated. York County Wills & Inventories No. 22, 1771-1783, 322-333; 498. James City County Land Taxes, Alterations, May 1786 to May 1787 (Virginia State Library) ; Legal Cases & Estate, James City County, Deed of Trust: Hubberd to Shelden & Maupin, 1842, Southall Papers (William and Mary Library) .
^39 H. W. Flounoy (ed.) Calendar of Virginia State Papers (Richmond, 1890), VIII, 144-145; H. R. McIlwaine (ed.) Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (Richmond, 1932), II, 409; Treasurers Office Receipt Book, Sept. 6, 1775 - April 30, 1776 (Virginia State Library).
^40 Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), March 7, 1777.
^41 Parker Family Papers, PA 16-13 (Liverpool Record Office).
^42 Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), May 9, 1777.
^43 State of Virginia in Account with William Plume, Brock Collection (Huntington Library).
^44 Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter [Nicholson]), February 12, 1780.
^45 PRO AO 13/8. folder 156, ff. 127-145.
^46 PRO AO 12/76, 121-126.
^47 Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (Richmond), Nov . 5, 1785; Minutes of the Common Council of the Borough 88 of Norfolk, 1736-1798, 91.
^48 Virginia Gazette, or American Advertiser (Richmond), March 1, 1783, May 10, 1783.
^49 Virginia Gazette, and General Advertiser (Richmond), October 18, 1797.
^50 York County Deed Book 9, 1820-1825, 438-439 .
^51 Craig Account Book, 1749-1756, 45; Webb-Prentis Papers , 17 57-1780 (University of Virginia ).
^52 Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), September 24, 1767.
^53 Ibid., September 26, 1771.
^54 Mary Stephenson, "Market Square Tavern House History," Ill . 5 (Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.) .
^55 Craig Account Book, 1761-1763; Robert Carter Account Book, 1771-1786 (Library of Congress).
^56 Virginia Gazette (Dixon [& Hunter]), April 22, 1775.
^57 Williamsburg City Personal Property Tax Lists , 1783-1784 (Virginia State Library).
^58Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), May 25, 1769.
^59 Ibid., April 18, 1774.
^60 Virginia Gazette (Rind), May 6, 1774; (Purdie and Dixon), September 9, 1773.
^61 Ibid., August 8, 1751.
^62 Indentures to Serve in America, Jan. 4, 1737/8, Corporation of London Record Office; Virginia Gazette, June 27, 1751; York County Wills and Inventories No. 20, 1745-1759, 321.
^63 Virginia Gazette, (Purdie and Dixon), July 28, 1768.
^64 Ibid., May 13, 1773.
^65 Ibid., September 9, 1773, August 18, 1774, June 30, 1768.
^66 Jones Family Papers, item 29 .
^67 Ibid., Item 302.
^68 Virginia Gazette (Purdie and Dixon), June 30, 1768.
^69 Ibid., July 28, 1768.
^70 Ibid., September 9, 1773.
^71 Ibid., March 17, 1774.
^72 Moss in account with Wilson, 1773, Webb-Prentis Papers .
^73 Virginia Gazette, June 17, 1737.
^74 Ibid., June 22, 1739.
^75 Craig Account Books, 1749-1756 , 1761-1763, passim.


This Indenture made this twenty first day of January in the year of our Lord God One thousand seven hundred and fifty four Between Young Morland of York County and Yorkhampton Parish of the one part and William Dunford of the Parish and County aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth that the said William Dunford doth by the Consent of his Mother Anne Dunford put and bind himself an Apprentice unto the said Young Morland until he shall come to the Age of twenty one Years to learn the Art Trade and Mystery of a Shoemaker and Tanner during all which time the said Apprentice shall well and truly serve his said Master in all lawful commands. He shall not waste his Masters Goods nor suffer it to be by others. He shall not Contract Matrimony or Play at Cards Dice or any other unlawful Gaming whatever but in all things behave himself as a faithful trusty Servant during the said term. And the said Young Morland doth oblige himself to do his utmost endeavour to learn his said Apprentice the Art and Trade above-mentioned likewise to find him good and wholesome Diet Cloaths Washing Lodging and all other things meet & convenient for an Apprentice during the said 91 time And further doth agree to give hi s said Apprentice at the expiration of the said Term or time a Compleat Sett of Shoemakers Tool s besides what the Law allows in such cases. In Confirmation whereof the Parties to these Presents have hereunto set their hands and Seals the day and date above written.

Young Morland (LS )
William Dunford (LS)

At a Court held for York County the 21st day of January 1754. This Indenture with the Approbation of the Court was acknowledged by the Parties thereto and Ordered to be recorded.

Thos Everard Cl: Curt:1



Williamsburg Leather Workers

The list below includes the known leather workers who engaged in business in Williamsburg during the eighteenth century. The dates following the men's names indicate the years the men are known to have worked in the city.

Allen, Thomas. Shoemaker (1710-1716). The first record of Thomas Allen is in 1710 when the death of his daughter was recorded in the Bruton Parish Register. In 1716 Allen purchased a lot in Williamsburg . No other information concerning Allen has been located.

Coulthard, John. Saddler (1734-1756). John Coulthard's name is first mentioned in Williamsburg in 1734 when he did saddlers' work for Thomas Jones. In 1751 he announced in the Virginia Gazette that he had moved his shop "from next Door to the Printing-Office to the back Street, next Door to the house of Mr. Walter King." Coulthard died in 1756.

Craig, Alexander. Saddler (1748-1776).Craig, who owned a saddle shop and tannery, is first mentioned in Williamsburg in 1748. His business was quite extensive. Craig made and sold shoes, saddles, harness and other leather goods; and he employed several journeymen leather workers. 93 Craig died in 1776 and left a large estate.

Gilbert, Robert. Shoemaker (1768-1783). Robert Gilbert announced in 1768 that he "opened Shop near the Capitol in Williamsburg" where he advertised leather and shoes for sale. Gilbert continued business in Williamsburg until 1783 when he moved to Richmond.

Gill, Henry. Tanner and Shoemaker (1707-1720). Henry Gill, tanner and shoemaker, arrived in Williamsburg from Charles City County in 1707. He established his shop on Duke of Gloucester Street where he soon opened an ordinary. Gill died in 1720.

Groome, Daniel. Tanner and Collar maker (1713-1719). Daniel Groome purchased a lot in Williamsburg in 1713. At that time he was described as being from James City County. By 1719 Groome had left Williamsburg and settled in Henrico County .

Hern, James. Harness maker (1762-1764). James Hern worked as a journeyman harness maker with Alexander Craig from 1762 to about 1764.

Maupin, Gabriel. Saddler and Harness maker (1752-c. 1800). Gabriel Maupin, son of Gabriel Maupin, was born in Williamsburg and probably learned his trade with Alexander Craig. He carried on the saddle and harness making business, 94 but was primarily a tavern keeper. He died about 1800.

Morris, Edward. Leather breeches maker and Glover (1739). Little is known of Edward Morris. He announced the opening of his business "near the College in Williamsburg" in June 1739. In his advertisement he stated he was from London. In addition to making breeches and gloves, he dressed leather "after the Philadelphia manner."

Pearson, William. Tanner (1760-1777). William Pearson appeared in Williamsburg in 1760. He worked with Alexander Craig and may have been in partnership with Craig. Pearson later became owner of Craig 's tannery in Williamsburg, and he operated it until his death in 1777 .

Plume, William. Tanner (1777-1783). William Plume came to Williamsburg from Norfolk in 1777 and leased Pearson's tannery. He operated the tanyard until 1783 when he returned to Norfolk.

Quirk, William. Leather dresser (1745). William Quirk was either an indentured servant or journeyman who worked with Robert Simpson, leather breeches maker of Williamsburg. In 1745 Simpson advertised that Quirk had "absconded from his Habitation" in Williamsburg .

Roberts, Edward. Saddler and Harness maker (1775-1777). Edward Roberts evidently established his business in 95 Williamsburg before 1775. In that year he advertised that he "continues to carry on the business of Saddling, Cap and Harness making, at the late Mr. Elkanah Deane's shop." He left Williamsburg in 1777 to settle in Maryland .

Rolleson, John. Shoemaker (1750-1784). Very little is known of John Rolleson. He is mentioned as being in Williamsburg in 1750, and he purchased leather from Alexander Craig during the 1760's. Rolleson's estate was settled in York County Court in 1784.

Sclater, John. Shoemaker (1774). John Sclater is mentioned as being of both Williamsburg and York County in 1774. In that year Matthew Evans was apprenticed to him, and Sclater offered "good Encouragement" for "a Sober Journeyman Shoemaker who understands Mens and Womens work ."

Shepherd, John. Harness maker (1761-1787) John Shepherd worked as a journeyman harnessmaker with Alexander Craig from 1761 to 1762. About 1772 he apparently established his own business and advertised himself as "Coach, Chaise, and Harness Maker from London." Shepherd died in Williamsburg sometime in 1787.

Sim, Nicholas. Tanner (1758). Nicholas Sim was a partner with Alexander Craig in a tannery in Williamsburg. When Craig bought out his partners in 1758, Sim left Williamsburg 96 to settle in Petersburg .

Simpson, Robert. Leather breeches maker (1745). Robert Simpson of Williamsburg advertised for a runaway indentured servant or journeyman in 1745.

Skinner, Thomas. Shoemaker (1754-1777). Thomas Skinner came to Williamsburg from Henrico County sometime before 1765. He engaged in the shoemaking business until 1777 when he dropped from sight.

Swain, James. Leather breeches maker (1763). Little is known of James Swain. He is mentioned in Alexander Craig's account book in 1763. In that year Swain made a shot bag for Craig. This may have been the same James Swain who is mentioned in Henrico County in 1777.

Taylor, James. Shoemaker (1742-1775). James Taylor is first mentioned in 1742. He may have been in business with William Wilcox, shoemaker. In 1751 Wilcox and Taylor advertised for two runaway indentured shoemakers. Taylor engaged in business in Williamsburg until 1775 when he dropped from sight.

Wells, George. Shoemaker (1738-1753). George Wells came to Virginia in 1738 at the age of 21, as an indentured servant. He was engaged to work for seven years. In 1751 he advertised lodgings for rent in Williamsburg where he 97 worked at the trade of a shoemaker. He died in 1753 and left a fairly large estate.

Wilcox, William. Shoemaker (1748-1757). William Wilcox is first mentioned in 1748. He may have been in business with James Taylor by 1751. Wilcox died in 1757 and left a large estate.

Wilson, George. Shoemaker (1773-1774). George Wilson was probably a brother of John Wilson, shoemaker of Norfolk. After John Wilson's death in 1771, George carried on his shoemaking business in Norfolk until 1773 when he moved to Williamsburg. George Wilson operated the shoemaking business on a large scale in Williamsburg until his death in 1774.



Harness Maker and Upholsterer

Samuel Bowler, Coach-Maker from London, is lately come to settle in Williamsburg, and undertakes to serve Gentlemen in Making and Repairing Coaches, Chariots, Shaises, and Chairs, and the Harness for them. He also performs all manner of Upholdsters Work; at reasonable Rates.

Virginia Gazette April 6, 1739


To be Sold, at Mr. Alex. Craig's, in Williamsburg, Best Sole and Neats Leather, wax'd Calve Skins and Hides, suitable for Coaches, Chaises, Couches, Portmantuas and Chair Bottoms, in any Quantity.
Likewise best Chocolate, and Window Glass. Virginia Gazette October 17, 1751
To be SOLD, An exceeding neat and strong HORSE CHAIR (to carry two People) on Steel Springs, with a Leather Head and Apron, lined with light coloured Cloth, and Curtains of the same, with Brass Caps to the Wheels, and Harness complete; made by Barnard, Coachmaker in London, only two Years ago, and very little the worse for Wear. Inquire of Mr. Craig, Saddler, in Williamsburg.Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) 20 October 1774
To be SOLD to the highest Bidders, on Wednesday the 6th of March, at the late House of ALEXANDER CRAIG, deceased, in Williamsburg,
ALL his Stock in Trade, consisting of Saddlery and Harness 99 Furniture, &c. also a Cart and Horses, several Cows, and some Household Furniture. Six Months Credit will be allowed for all sums above 5 £. Bond and approved Security will be required——All Persons indebted to the Deceased are requested to make immediate Payment; and those who have any Demands will make them known, to immediate Payment; and those who have any Demands will make them known to
Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter) March 2, 1776


ROBERT GILBERT, BOOT and SHOEMAKER, &C. HEREBY acquaints the publick that he has opened shop near the Capitol in Williamsburg where he intends carrying on his business in all its branches, viz. shoe or channel, calf or buckskin boots, jockey do. and spatterdashes, mens plain, stitched, spring, and wood-heeled, shoes and pumps, calf or dogskin; campaign, single, double, or turned channels, slippers, blue or red turkey, cork soles, galloches; womens leather, stuff, silk, and braided shoes and pumps, slippers, cork soles, galloches and clogs. As he imports the whole of his materials from Great Britain, where punctual payments are required, he proposes supplying Ladies and Gentlemen with any of the above articles on the most reasonable terms, for ready money. Those who please to favour him with their custom may depend on their work being speedily executed, in the genteelest and newest fashions, and in such a manner as he hopes will merit a continuance of their favours . Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) June 30, 1768
JOURNEYMEN SHOEMAKERS, Who are well acquainted with womens or mens wood healed work, will meet with good encouragement by applying to the subscriber in Williamsburg. Robert Gilbert
100 *** He has a large quantity of fine English CALF SKINS on hand, part of which he would dispose of, on very reasonable terms, for ready money. Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) May 25, 1769
Williamsburg, Dec. 6, 1770
I HAVE a parcel of CALF SKINS, and SOLE LEATHER, both back and crop, which I will sell, for ready money, on reasonable terms.
Robert Gilbert Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) December 13, 1770
Just IMPORTED from London, and to be SOLD by the Subscriber at his Shop in Williamsburg, cheap, for ready Money, A VARIETY of Williamson and Son's best SATIN SHOES and PUMPS; white, blue and black CALIMANCO SHOES and PUMPS; also CHILDRENS MOROCCO and CALFSKIN SHOES and PUMPS.
Robert Gilbert Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) May 28, 1772
Williamsburg, January 3, 1782
Best English made Shoes, To be Sold, by wholesale or retail, on reasonable terms, by
Robert Gilbert Virginia Gazette or Weekly Advertiser (Richmond) Jan. 5, 1782
ROBERT GILBERT Boot and Shoemaker, Begs leave to inform the public, that he has removed from Williamsburg, to this city, in order to carry on his business as usual. Those Gentlemen who please to favour him with their custom, may depend upon having their work executed as expeditiously and reasonable, as the times will admit of, for cash only, as it is by that 100a means alone which materials are procured.
N.B. He has on hand a few boxes of English made SHOES, which he would dispose of on very reasonable terms, for cash, tobacco, or good merchantable flour.
Richmond, February 7, 1782 [sic] Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (Richmond) February 15, 1783
A JOURNEYMAN SHOEMAKER, who is sober, and understands making of Boots, will meet with good Encouragement by applying to me, in Williamsburg.
Robert Gilbert Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) August 13, 1772
Williamsburg, May 13, 1773
I THINK it necessary to give this publick Notice, to all Persons who are in Arrears to me, that if they do not, without fail, discharge their Account by the July Meeting of the Merchants, they will most assuredly be put into a Lawyer's Hands.
N.B. In the mean While , from the many Disappointments I have met with in Collecting my Debts, I am obliged to stop Trade, till I can receive the Money due me to carry it on.
Robert Gilbert Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) May 13, 1773
Robert Gilbert SHOEMAKER Has opened Shop in the Back Street, at the Place where he formerly lived, opposite to Mr. Richard Charlton's, and intends carrying on his Business in all its Branches, having on Hand a very neat assortment of Leather proper Boots and Shoes. The many Disappointments he formerly met with obliges him for the future to sell entirely for Cash. He returns his sincere Thanks to those who were his former Customers, and shall endeavour to render Satisfaction to all those who may please to employ him.
Good Encouragement will be given to a journeyman who understands making of Boots. 101Virginia Gazette (Dixon [and Hunter]) January 7, 1775
To be seen at Mr. John Lockley's, next Door to Mr. Gilberts, Shoemaker, in Williamsburg, A CURIOUS PIECE OF WAXWORK, representing Venus relating to of Hippomines and Atalanta. Price ls. Virginia Gazette (Dixon [and Hunter]) November 4, 1775

Saddle and Harness Maker

I HEREBY acquaint those Gentlemen who used to frequent the house of Mrs. Mary Page, deceased, and all others who please to favour me with their company, that they may depend on the best accommodations, and other entertainment, from
Their humble servant,

N.B. I still carry on my business of Saddle and Harnessmaking, and shall be very much oblig'd to those who employ me. They may rely upon having their work done well, and expeditiously.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) September 24, 1767
Williamsburg, September 24, 1771
As I have purchased the House in the Market Square lately occupied by Mr. Thomas Craig, to which I am making considerable Additions and Improvements, for the Purpose of KEEPING TAVERN, this is to acquaint my Friends, and the Publick in general, that the House will be ready for their Reception by the beginning of the ensuing General Court, where they may depend upon meeting with the best Entertainment and Accommodations from
Their humble Servant,
GABRIEL MAUPIN. *** My Shop will likewise be moved to the above Place, where the SADDLERY and HARNESS MAKING Business will be carried on in all its Branches. Those who please to employ me may be assured of being furnished with neat and substantial Work, 102 at short Notice, and on reasonable Terms. Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) September 26, 1771

Leather Breeches Maker

EDWARD MORRIS, Breeches-Maker, and Glover, from London, Is set up in his Business near the College in Williamsburg, where he makes and sells the best Buck Skins Breeches either of the common Tann'd Colour, or dy'd Black, or of Cloth Colours, after the English Manner: Also Buck Skins Gloves, with high Tops. He also makes and sells Bever-Skin Breeches, which are very strong and servicable, fit for Servants or Slaves, and are very cheap. He also dresses Leather after the Philadelphia manner, not inferior to Oil'd Leather Dress, for Goodness, and Fineness, upon the Flesh or Grain. Likewise dresses all Sorts of Fur-Skins, for Muffs, for Gentlemen or Ladies, or for Saddle-Housings. Also dresses Calf-Skins , Sheep-Skins , and White Leather, fit for the use of Sadlers, Shoemakers, and Others. Any person that have Occasion to make Use of him in any of the above Particulars, may depend on kind Usage, and at very reasonable Rates. Virginia Gazette, June 22, 1739


Williamsburg, May 7, 1767
The Subscriber is in want of a Currier, and will give great wages for a good Workman.
William Pearson Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) May 7, 1767
To be SOLD, or RENTED, and entered upon immediately, a HOUSE on the road leading to the Capitol Landing, with all necessary outhouses, a good well in the yard, and a garden well 103 paled in. For terms apply to
William Pearson. Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) September 6, 1770
WANTED IMMEDIATELY, A CURRIER, who is a good workman. Such a one will have good encouragement, by the month, six months, or a whole year, from
William Pearson.Virginia Gazette (Purdie) September 29, 1775
Deaths: Mr. WILLIAM PERSON, of this city, tanner. He has left a sorrowful widow and children to lament the loss of a kind and tender husband, and most indulgent parent.Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) January 17, 1777

To be let for a term of six years, on the 24th instant, the TAN WORKS in this City, late the property of Mr. William Pearson, deceased, with the Dwelling House and all convenient outhouses both for a Family and the Business, and several Acres of Ground, under a good enclosure, also four negro men Tanners and Curriers, two shoemakers, a Carpenter, and two Negro Women, one a good Cook, the other a Spinner. Any one whom it will suit to rent may enter on the Tanyard immediately. As there is a small number of Hides that I will dispose of, and as Possession cannot be given of the negroes until the Business now in Hand is finished, they will be able, under a proper manager, to be assisting in their work, on paying a Proportionate Part of the Expence.

It is earnestly requested of those indebted to the Estate to make immediate payment and those to whom anything is due will please to bring in their Accounts, properly proved and they shall be paid.

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) March 7, 1777
Williamsburg, March 1, 1783.
FOR SALE, THE TAN-YARD near this City. On the lots, exclusive of the necessary houses for carrying on the business, there is an exceeding good dwelling-house, and convenient out-houses, in good order. There will also be sold, two or three NEGROES, that have been used to attend the yard. A speedy application is required, for unless sold in a month or two, the above will not be for sale after that period. I will also sell the HOUSE and LOTS in this city, late the property of, and advertised by Mr. William Pitt. The terms of either of the above places may be known by applying to the subscriber.
MATTHEW PEARSON . Virginia Gazette or American Advertiser (Richmond) March 1, 1783
FOR SALE , THREE NEGRO MEN, one an exceeding good currier,… the other two have been used to attend in a tanyard; and work in a shoemaker's shop. For terms apply to Mr. Pearson. Williamsburg, April 16, 1783. Virginia Gazette or American Advertiser (Richmond) May 10, 1783
TO be LEASED, For the Term of Ten Years -- TAN - YARD -- In Williamsburg, belonging to the estate of Matthew Pearson, Dec'd, with the LAND adjoining to it, and the necessaries belonging to the YARD ….
GUARDIAN To the Orphans.
October 2d. 1797. Virginia Gazette, And General Advertiser (Richmond) October 18, 1797

Tanner and Currier

Williamsburg, May 7, 1777
Whereas the Tanyard near this City, the Property of the late 105 Mr. William Pearson, deceased, is now occupied by the Subscriber and Company, and they intending to carry on that Business to the greatest Extent they possibly can, will give ready Money, and the highest Price, for Hides and Skins; and, as an Inducement to those that have either to dispose of, and should want Leather, they may depend on being first supplied with what they have Occasion for, as good, and on as reasonable Terms, as by any other Person in this State. And as this Business carried on here may be of great Service to this Neighbourhood, they hope to have the Preference of all Skins and Hides sold near this City. They flatter themselves they will be able to give general Satisfaction, the Subscriber being well acquainted with the Business, and particular the Currying part, which is so very necessary.
WILLIAM PLUME, & CO. Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) May 9, 1777
Williamsburg, March 13, 1778
The subscribers are in want of a quantity of OAK BARK, for which they will give forty shillings a cord if delivered at their tanyard in good order, or in proportion if delivered at any landing convenient to this city. Spanish and white oak bark will be preferred.
William Plume & Co. Virginia Gazette (Purdie) March 27, 1778
Williamsburg, September 10, 1779
The subscriber has for sale, a large quantity of tanned and curried LEATHER of all sorts, which he will sell for ready cash, or barter for corn or tobacco. Orders from the country shall be punctually complied with.
W. Plume. Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Nicolson ) September 11, 1779

Williamsburg, Feb. 10, 1780

The subscriber desirous of carrying on his business extensively, 106 would wish to agree with any person or persons on York or James Rivers, and not inconvenient to the Capitol or College Landings, for a quantity of oak bark, for which he will give cash, or leather at the old price. He has for sale a large quantity of tanned and curried leather of all sorts, among which is excellent boot legs, with best bend leather soles.
William Plume

*I would exchange a negro man, who is a good house servant and cook, and by profession a biscuit baker, for a house wench or likely boy.

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Nicolson) February 12, 1780
A CURRIER, That understands his BUSINESS, Will meet with extraordinary encouragement by applying to
William Plume.
Virginia Gazette or Weekly Advertiser (Richmond) February 2, 1782


Matthew Evans of York County, aged about 17, apprenticed to John Sclater, Shoemaker of York County, to learn his trade. Evans to serve 5 years . Recorded: 21 November 1774
York County Deed Book 8, 1769-1777, 447-449
Wanted Immediately, A SOBER JOURNEYMAN SHOEMAKER who understands Mens and Womens Work. Such a One will meet with good Encouragement by applying to me, in Williamsburg.
John Sclater.Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) April 28, 1774

Leather Breeches Maker

Williamsburg, June 20
Whereas one William Quirk, a Leather-Dresser by Trade, hath absconded his Habitation in this City, and hath feloniously carried away Deer-Skins, wearing Apparel, Wools and Utensils, to the Value of Twenty-four Pounds, or upwards, being the Property of the Subscriber, Leather Breeches Maker, of Williamsburg. Whoever will apprehend and secure the said William Quirk, so that He may be dealt with according to Law, shall be paid Two Pistols Reward, by
Robert Simpson Virginia Gazette June 20, 1745


This Indenture made this 29th day of September One Thousand seven hundred and Sixty five between Ann Skinner of Henrico County and my Two sons Thos Skinner of York County in Williamsburg and William Skinner of Henrico County an Apprentice for the Love and Affection I do bear unto my said sons Thos Skinner and William Skinner I do freely Give unto my sd son Thos Skinner six pewter plates of the smaller size and one Pewter bason of the smaller and one box Iron & Heaters & I do freely give unto my said son William Skinner my house and Lott in Richmond Town Number 71 the Purchase of Andrew Castle. In Hanover County one Cow and Calf & all other my household Furniture at my Death…. " Recorded: October 7, 17 65.
Henrico County
Deeds, Wills, &c . 1750-1764, 957 .

Williamsburg, July 27, 1768
The Subscriber begs the favour of those indebted to him to make immediate payment, otherwise he will under the necessity of putting such accounts as are not complied with into the hands of an attorney, which will be very disagreeable to 108 Their humble servant

N.B. I have by me a parcel of fine calf, dog, morocco, and white calf skins, sole leather and all sorts of materials for making boots, shoes, slippers, &c. which I intend to make up cheap for ready money, I have also several things in my branch of business to sell cheap for cash.
T. S.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) July 28, 1768
Williamsburg, January 17, 1771
Good Encouragement will be given to Journeymen SHOEMAKERS, who are acquainted with their Business by
Thomas Skinner Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) January 17, 1771
Williamsburg, August 18, 1774
The Subscriber having opened a Shop at the Back of the Raleigh Tavern, intends carrying on the SHOEMAKING Business in all its Branches, as he has got some good Hands and will do every Thing in his Power to serve Gentlemen and others, who may please to employ him upon the shortest Notice, and on reasonable Terms; but at the same Time, he intends to work no Kind of Leather, or any Thing else, but what is within the Limits of the Association, and he works for ready Money only.
Thomas Skinner Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) August 18, 1774

Williamsburg, October 19, 1774

RUN away from the Subscriber, last Monday, a Negro Woman named DOLLY, the Property of Colonel Philip Johnson, but has been hired by me, by the Trustees, for almost four years. I suspect she is harboured at one of Colonel Johnson's Quarters. I will give 10s. Reward to any Person who will deliver her to me, in Williamsburg, and I hereby forewarn all Persons 109 from harbouring her at their Peril.
Thomas Skinner

*** The Subscriber having just set up the SHOEMAKING Business in a House the Back of the Raleigh Tavern, and got a Quantity of fine Boot Legs, with a Number of English and Philadelphia Calf Skins, and good Workmen, should be glad to serve Gentlemen and others, on short Notice, for ready Money only. I shall be much obliged to those indebted to me to make Payment this Meeting, as I may be enabled to pay my Creditors; those who fail may expect that as soon as Law Takes Place I shall put such Accounts as are not paid into an Attorney's Hands, which will be very disagreeable to me .

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) October 20, 1774

WANTED IMMEDIATELY, TWO GOOD JOURNEY MEN SHOEMAKERS Who will meet with good Encouragement by applying to
Thomas Skinner

June 2, 1775

Virginia Gazette (Purdie) June 10, 1775
For Sale … at Petersburg … Furniture, Horses, Cows &c, belonging to the Estate of William Skinner, deceased ….
Elizabeth Skinner, Administratrix
All Persons indebted to the Subscriber are requested to discharge their respective Balances, to enable him to satisfy the Demands of his Creditors.
Thomas Skinner
Williamsburg, May 2, 1777 Virginia Gazette (Dixon [and Hunter]) May 2, 1777


Norfolk, July 9, 1767.
The LITTLE INDULGENCE SHOWN ME BY my creditors, oblige me to call in my outstanding debts, This is therefore to request all those that are indebted to me by bond, note of hand, or otherwise, to make immediate payment, otherwise I shall be constrained, however disagreeable, to commence suits immediately.
John Wilson.Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) July 9, 1767
I take this method to acquaint the Publick, and my Customers in particular, that Mess. James Campbell and Company have resigned the SHOE FACTORY in favour of me, by which means I carry on double the Trade I did formerly. Gentlemen who may please to favour me with their orders for Negro Shoes, or others, are desired to send them soon, that I may be capable of supplying them better than it was in my power last Fall, on Account of the Scarcity of leather. Ladies and Gentlemen may depend on being supplied with as neat shoes either Leather or Calimanco, as any from London: as I have on Hand London, Philadelphia, and New York Calf Skins, red, green, and blue Morocco Leather, Calimancoes of all Colours, and of the best Kinds. Those who choose to favour him with their Custom shall be served on reasonable Terms, by applying to him at the Sign of the Boot and Shoe in Norfolk.
JOHN WILSON Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) May 16, 1771
Deaths: Mr. John Wilson, Shoemaker, and Mr. James Esther, Blockmaker, both Tradesmen of Credit and Reputation in Norfolk, and whose Industry, Integrity, and whole Deportment, were truly exemplary. Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) October 17, 1771

On Thursday, the 14th of November, will be exposed to SALE, at publick Vendue, The Personal Estate of the Late Mr. JOHN WILSON, deceased, consisting of Household and Kitchen Furniture, a Quantity of Men and Womens Shoes made in the neatest manner, a large Assortment of Negro Shoes, some Leather, a Variety of new Lasts, and sundry other Shoemaker's Tools. All those who have any demands against the Estate are desired to make them known, and those who are indebted to make speedy payment, to Mr. Joseph Williamson, at the House of James Campbell and Company, with whom the Books are lodged and who is empowered to receive the same by
Archibald Campbell )
George Wilson , Junior ) Administrators

N.B. The Shoemaker's Business, in all its Branches, is carried on by George Wilson, Junior, and Company, who hope to give Satisfaction to those who please to favour them with their Custom.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) October 31, 1771
Norfolk, August 10, 1772
THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN GEORGE WILSON, Junior, and Mary Wilson, Widow of the deceased John Wilson, have been disolved the 3d of June last, the said Mary Wilson begs leave to inform the Publick that she still carries on the Shoemaking Business, in all its Branches, in Church Street, where the strictest Punctuality will be given to all orders from Ladies and Gentlemen who may be pleased to favour her with their Custom.
Mary Wilson Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) August 20, 1772

JUST IMPORTED, by the Subscriber, a choice Cargo of the best sorts of English LEATHER for all Manner of Mens Shoes and Pumps, and excellent LONDON DRAWLEGS for BOOTS, with which he will be glad to accommodate Gentlemen. He returns his most grateful Acknowledgments to those who formerly favoured him with their Custom, and hopes his past Workmanship will merit a Renewal of it, and he will make it his constant Study to give Satisfaction to all who shall please to favour 112 him with their Commands.
George Wilson, & Co .

N.B. Two or three JOURNEYMEN SHOEMAKERS, who understand making BOOTS and Mens WOOD HEELS, will meet with good encouragement by applying immediately to me, next Door to Mr. Greenhaw's Store in Williamsburg.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) September 9, 1773
IN the Night of the 15th of this Instant (March) was broke open, my Shop in Williamsburg and stolen therefrom nineteen or twenty Pair of MENS SHOES. Whoever will give me Intelligence, so that I may get them again, shall have a Reward of 40s.
George Wilson. Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) March 17, 1774
Williamsburg, May 26, 1774
The Subscriber has just received a Cargo of English Calf Skins, and light Drawlegs for the summer. Those Gentlemen who applied to him for boots, when it was out of his power to supply them, will now please to renew their orders, which shall be strictly complied with, at whatever distance they live. Two or three journeymen shoemakers will have a good set of summer work, by applying early, at the rate of 3s. 6d. for plain shoes, 5s for stitched work, and 10s. for boots.
George Wilson. Virginia Gazette (Rind) May 26, 1774
TO BE SOLD FOR ready money, on Saturday the 10th Instant (December) The Household Furniture, and Working Materials, of George Wilson, deceased. All persons indebted to the said Wilson are desired to make speedy Payment, and those that have any Claims to give them in before the Sale to
George Reid, Administrator. Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) December 1, 1774


Some Eighteenth-Century Leather Workers

  • 1.William Broadribb - Saddler
  • 2.Alexander Craig - Saddler
  • 3.Henry Gill - Tanner and Shoemaker
  • 4.William Pearson - Tanner and Shoemaker
  • 5.Thomas Thompson - Tanner
  • 6.George Wells - Shoemaker
  • 7.William Wilcox - Shoemaker
  • 8.John Wilson - Shoemaker


Inventory of the estate of William Broadribb
Recorded June 21, 1731
Appraised by Saml Cobbs, Joseph Davenport, Wil Prentis, Abraham Broadribb

18 pair of new Stirrup Irons @1 2d£ 0.18..0
2 womens do a parcel of Rings & Staples-12..2
17 doz large Girt Setts-.13..1
53 dozn small do1.10..[O]
1 m Clout nails & 4 m Card Tacks 3/2-.9.[10]
13 Saddle heads 8/8 three Cribs [? ] & Hooks 10d-.9..6
3 Water Chains 6d 6 Snaffle bitts 3/-.3..6
4 m Nails 6/ 43 Bolts 15d-.7..3
Parcel of brass Buckles 6/11 8 ½ yard broad Cloth £11..6.11
62 yards broad blue Lace1.16..2
29 narrow do-.8..5 ½
3 doz broad & 3 dozn narrow green Lace1.11.10
7 yards broad & 12 yards narw do-.7..7
11 ¾ broad red & 22 nar£ do-.15..2
35 Clo col. broad do 32 naro do1.10..0
26 yards blue Caddis-.2..2
1 p & remt Girth web 8 broad do -.7..0
4 double & 1 single Girths-.5..0
3 Pr red worsted Reins 1 Green do-.9..0
6 Sheep skins 7 Virginia Calf do bad 13 knots whip Cord-.16..0
1 Side & 3 ps Leather 1 pr Saddle Bags1..0..0
6 hunting Trees 3 trooping d£ heasted [?]2..4..6
14 Ells Hamells 7 oz Silk 21 hanks worsted1..5..6
1 oz & 4 pwt Silver breed 2 oz Silver Thread-.18.22
a Parcel of Sadlers Tools4..0..0
a Quiltin [---------] Calf Skin-.4..6
2 hunting Saddles1.15..0
3 old Chests a box and a Cask-.7..0
2 Tables one Desk & looking Glass 1 Press 6 old Leathr Chairs4.11.06
1 Wooden Chair Scales & Weights-.6..8
1 Hat & 2 Wiggs £1.10 a parcel of old Cloaths 15.2..5..0
1 Silver Watch £4 1 Gold Studs & 1 gold ring5.10..0
1 pr Silver Spurs 1/8 one Trussel1..4..6
54 necks & 5 turnovers 5 old handkerchiefs & 6 caps1..8..0
2 Pillow Cases 3 Towels 3/9 15 Shirts2.13..9
3 Wastcoats & 2 breeches 4 P£ Thread Stocks1.19..0
3 pr old Breeches 5 worsted stocks 1 buck skin1..0..0
2 ¼ oz old Silver-.12..4 ½
1 Bed, Bolster, Pillow 2 Blacks 1 rugg 9 old Sheets bedstead Cord & Hyde4..0..0
1 large square bottle & 1 gallon Stone do-.3..6
1 Stone Mugg 2 qt & 2 pt Bottles-.1..9
1 Skillet 1 Pail & 1 Broom 1 old great Coat-.15..0
6 old Books-.7..6
2 pr old Gloves 1/6 2 Brushes 1/6-.3..0
a small Pewter Bason-.1..6
Robert Lawson a Servant Man15..0..0
pr Bottles with some Snuff-1..6
£ 70.12..4 ¼
York County Orders, Wills, No. 17, 1729-1732, 189-190.


Inventory of the estate of Alexander Craig, taken March 2, 1776
1 sett of Chair Harness3.10..0
8 doz staples 0..4..0
5 pr H Hinges 0.15..0
4 Chair Bridles 1..0..0
1 Cart Breeching0..8..0
8 p bolts and Nutts 1..0..0
2 pr Shoes 0.15..0
2 pr Boots 1.10..0
1 Bridle and stirrup Leathers &c -.3..9
1 pr Rope Traces 0..8..0
43 lbs Rope 1.12..3
1 Shot bag 0..4..0
2 p money scales 0.12..6
1 pr steelyard 0.10..0
43 Saddle Trees 10.10..0
5 doz Tinn'd bridle bits 6..2..10
37 p Tined stirrups 6..1..0
108 p best poli shed stirrups 27..0..0
10 polished Curbs 0.10..0
34 polished bradoon bits 0.17..0
6 best polished Pelham bits1.16..0
10 Do 3..8..0
40 best polished bits 6..0..0
12 ps and 41 yards worsted Ferrit 2..2..4
4 pieces silk Ferrit 1..4..2
40 yd fringed lace 2.10..0
4 ps and 8 yds orrice 1..9..0
2 yds black silk velvet 3..0..0
6 ½ yds cotton Velvet 3..2..6
3 ½ yds saddle Cloth 0..8..9
5 chair saddle Cloths 0..6..3
3 p of skins 1.17..6
2 red sheep skins 0..4..0
1 ½ White do0..5..0
5 Brown sheep skins 0.12..6
1 p plated stirrups1..0..0
2 p polished Youths stirrups0..8..0
1 p plated spurrs 0.10..0
1 sett silver Tuft Nails 0.10..0
4 Cart saddle Trees 0..8..0
59 ¾ lbs skirt leather 5.19..6
3 pr skirts &c 0.15..0
2 ps Worsted Web 0.14..0
20 ½ yds Do 1..8..3
22 yards surcingle web 0.13..0
2 ps straining Web 1.12..6
34 yds diaper Web 0.13..0
20 Girths and surchingles 1.12..6
41 Collar Needles 0..3..5
20 postillion Thongs and Whip Cord 0..7..6
2 long Thongs 0..5..0
19 pr spurr Rowels 0..3..0
7 doz and 4 silk lashes 1..2..0
4 coach Pads 0.16..0
7 Housing pieces mounted 4..4..0
3 Brass Do 1.16..0
1 p sliders 0..5..0
2 p winkers mounted 0.10..0
20 Gro 4 ½ doz Tin'd buckles 8..1..1
4 Gro 6 doz and 9 brass inch buckles 6.15..0
20 doz ¾ inch do 2.10..6
22 doz Inch and ¼ Do 2.15..0
19 doz Brass Buckles sorted 4..9..0
1 full sett Coach Trace buckles 1..0..0
24 ½ sets Tuft Nails 2..4..9
17 Horse Whip Nails 0..1..6
8 p Bosses0..5..9
6 ¾ striped Girth Web0..3..9
6 winke pieces1..0..0
30 ½ doz starrs for winkers4..8..3
19 ½ doz brass Dees0.19..0
1 doz saddle Rolers1.10..0
12 sets Watering rings and Hoops2.14..0
11 Watering Hooks and plates0.16..6
3 plates and Hooks for Chair Saddles0..7..6
Brass mounting for 2 Bridles0..2..6
21 Doz Portmantua staples0.10..6
21 yds Portmantua Chain0..5..3
4 brass Hinges0..5..0
3 doz brass loops0..7..6
1 doz Hooks and Eyes0..6..0
21 brass Hooks0..1..6
14 pieces Coach Furniture0..7..0
A parcel of Saddlers Awls0..2..9
2 doz Housing pieces0..3..9
9 ½ doz Coach Nails0..9..6
2800 Brass Nails1..6..6
400 Tinn Tacks0..2..0
8 doz buckle Tongues0..4..0
10,400 Clout nails 40/ 15 doz screw knobs 36/2.16..0
1650 tacks 6/3 3 doz wood screws 2/0..8..3
1 box Copperas and Rosin0..1..6
11 Horse brushes0.11..0
3 ½ doz Trace Eyes1..1..0
3 doz and 9 tin'd Woodcock Eyes2..5..0
3 doz and 10 staples1..3..0
6 ½ doz Collar buckles0.19..6
5 doz bellyband buckles0.10..0
3 doz Common Black buckles0..7..0
3 doz tin'd Dees0..1..3
1 p breeching Chains0..1..3
3 doz and 9 Cartbits0.10..9
8 doz Curbs2.11..0
1 doz Ferrits0..3..0
4 doz Snipebills and rings0.12..0
3 doz Civets0..3..0
8 side pieces0..0..8
19 Crupper Loops0..9..6
1 doz Hollow punches0..6..0
1 doz Prickers0..6..0
1 p Compasses 1 p pinchers0..3..0
2 p Sliding Tongs 0..3..9
1 Pinkny 's brass wheel 0..7..6
1 Lot brass 4/ 1 do 8/ 0.12..0
1 Box Sadlers Tools 2..0..0
5 Padlocks 0..1..3
1 bundle best Russia bristles 0..3..0
1 Lot Stirrup Irons 0..6..0
Sand paper 0..2..6
1 Waggon Whip 0..1..3
1 p Saddlers Cards 0..2..6
3 p Clamps 0..7..6
1 Shagreen board 0..1..3
1 Womans Saddle and Mane Comb 2..0..7
1 postillion Whip 0..3..9
3 Velvet Caps 2.10..0
1 pr Straps0..2..6
1 Lot old Iron 1.10..0
1 Writing Desk and Frame 0.15..0
Shelves Counters and Glass Case 4..0..0
13 Prints 1..6..0
1 looking Glass 2.10..0
1 Easy Chair 3.10..0
1 smoaking Chair 1..0..0
6 black Walnut Chairs 3..0..0
1 Round Tea Table 0.12..6
1 Folding black Walnut Table 1..0..0
1 Beaufet 3.10..0
1 Lot China and Crockery 4.10..0
16 Glasses 0.10..0
1 Stand 5/ 1 Screen 5/ 0.10..0
1 Desk and Book Case 7.10..0
1 lb Powder and Powder Horn 0..7..6
Stackhouse History Bible dd2..0..0
Smollet's History England 2..0..0
Robertson' s History Scotland 1..0..0
Cato's Letters 0.10..0
Turkish Spy 0.12..0
American Gazzettes 0.10..0
Forbes's Works 0..6..0
1 Lot Books 1..5..0
1 p Dogs 0.10..0
3 Prints 0..1..6
Watch Stand 0..5..0
1 Tea Chest 0..2..6
1 Looking Glass 1..0..0
1 Round Mahogany Table1..5..0
1 Square Table0.12..6
12 Chairs1.15..0
1 Desk2..0..0
1 Pinchback Watch3.10..0
1 Siver Do4..0..0
3 Flax Wheels1.15..o
1 Cradle, Fender, and Poker0.12..6
6 Napkins 3/9 4 Pillowbiers 5/0..8..9
4 Course Towels 2/ 5 Table Cloths 40/2..2..0
1 Lot Crockery Ware1.10. 0
1 Beaufet1..5..0
1 Table 10/ 1 Waiter 1/30.11..3
4 Candle Sticks 7/6 1 Cruet Stand 0.11..6
4 Case Cos 4/ 1 old Carpet 12/60.16..6
1 Thread Winder0..1..3
14 Knives and Forks0.12..6
2 p Snuffers 1/3 1 Trunk 15/0.16..3
1 Childs Chair0..1..0
1 Close Stool Chair1..0..0
1 Warming pan0..5..0
2 black walnut Bedsteads3..0..0
1 set blue Worsted Curtains1.10..0
1 pine Chest of Drawers0.10..0
1 old Table0..3..9
2 Beds, 2 Bolsters and 4 pillows8..0..0
5 pr Sheets4..0..0
2 Counterpanes 30/ 2 Quilts 30/3..0..0
1 Cloaths Press2..0..0
2 dressing Glasses1.15..0
1 old Chest Drawers0..5..0
1 Easy Chair0..7..6
2 beds6.10..0
2 p Sheets1.10..0
4 Blankets 30/1.10..0
1 Counterpane 10/ 1 Quilt 10/1..0..0
1 old Table 1/3 1 p Dogs 2/60..3..9
19 blockheads0.19..0
4 Cutting Boards0..3..0
1 Straining board0..3..9
1 bucket block 1/ 1 Wooden Horse 1/0..2..0
3 Stools and 2 Chairs0..5..0
old Wool 1/3 Collar block 1/0..2..3
2 beds 40/ 1 Rug 3 blankets 20/3..0..0
2 p Course Sheets1..0..0
1 pine Table 1/3 1 Pewter Tureen 10/0.11..3
1 Lot Tin Ware 5/ 1 Lot Pewter 2 5/1.10..0
7 Candle Moulds0..3..6
1 small mortar0..3..9
1 Coffee pot 2/6 1 Skillet 4/0..6..6
Butter pots 5/ 1 Search 1/0..6..0
37 1/2 Ozs of old Si lver at 7/13..2..6
3 Cows7.10..0
1 Heifer1.10..0
1 p wheels5..0..0
1 Flax brake 1 Ripple0.15..0
Parcel empty barrels0.10..0
8 doz bottles 1..0..0
1 Copper Scuttle0..1..3
1 Copper Kettle3.10..0
4 Iron pots1..7..6
1 pr Kitchen dogs0..8..0
1 Frying pan0..3..9
1 meal sifter and Tray0..2..0
3 pails 1 Tub 1 Cooler0..5..0
1 spit 2/6 1 old Tea Kettle0..6..3
1 Copper Dutch Oven1..0..0
2 p Smoothing Irons0..7..6
1 Grid Iron0..2..6
1 Grate2..0..0
1 Spinning Wheel0..3..9
Old Will15..0..0
Old Judy15..0..0
5 Horses at £ 8 each40..0..0
cart and Harness11.. 0..0
20 pieces Coach Corner Furniture2..0..0
1 set Coach body Furniture1.10..0
680..8.10 ½
Appraisers:Blovet Pasteur
Wm Goodson
James Wood
York County Wills and Inventories, No. 22, 330-333. Recorded: 15 April 1776


Inventory of the estate of Henry Gill
1 ½ dozn pewter dishes1 Iron frying pan
5 pewter porengers7 Iron Sekures and a Iron Ring
3 pewter salts1 Iron Ladle
4 pewter qt pots4 pair Iron pot Rakes
1 pewter pt pot1 Spit
1 half pt ditto1 pair large end Irons
2 pewter Chamber pots2 pair Tongs
8 pewter Tankerts1 Box Iron and Heaters
1 Doz. pewter spoons1 Hatters Iron
4 pewter bason s1 large Iron pestle
1 large pewter Candlestick3 Joynted Stools
4 Do z. pewter plates1 Buffet Stool
3 bedsteads with Curtains and valens1 Close Stool
1 pre ss bedstead2 Looking Gl asses
1 Ditto given to my son when of age1 Leather Couch
6 bedsteads3 Forms
--------- bedstead3 Pictures
----------- beds2 Cases of knives and forks 6 in each
12 Feather Pillows3 Earthern Gugs
9 Feather Bolsters7 Butter pots
6 Rugs5 Small Punch Bowls
2 Carpets2 large Ditto
5 pair of Blankets1 Small Oil Jar
2 Quilts3 larger ditto one of them being full of train oil
6 Flock
4 Flock Pillows1 Packing [?] Bottle
4 Course Rugs1 Scrutore given to my son when of age
4 Course Blankets5 Small Chests
1 Cotton Carpet6 Large Do
21 Old ChairsA Sm[all] parce[l] of hair for Plaisterers Use
1 Large oval table------- 1 Smaller Do
1 Old Ditto -------------Cannisters
1 Small oval table------------
3 square tables1 Brass Sconce
3 smaller Do1 tin ditto
1 Broken Iron pot1 tin dish cover
2 Large Iron pots1 Culinder
4 Small ditto1 ½ dozn poti jeans
6 pair of pot hooks2 Large Cloaths baskets
1 Iron dripping pan3 Old Indian baskets
1 Gridiron5 Meal Sifters
2 tin sause pans2 House brushes
2 large Kettles1 Brush for Cloaths
1 Smaller Do1 Trumbrel Cart
1 Old Brass Skillet3 old harness for 3 hor ses
1 Old warming pan3 Horses
1 Small Bell Mettle mortar1 Mare
1 Do Broken1 Cow
2 Small pestels3 Large Silver Spoons
1 Brass frying pan 7 Small Silver tea Spoons
1 C-----[p]otl Silver Drahm Cup
3 -------2 Lignavitae peper boxes
2 Water pails1 pair of bellows
4 old washing tubs1 Gunn
1 Large Beer Cask3 Iron Candlesticks
1 Runlet3 Pair Iron Snuffers
1 Powdering tub1 old Case knives and 6 forks
1 Chest of drawers2 earthen Chamber pots
2 nest of drawers4 Brass beer Cocks
2 large Boxes2 Spinning wheels
1 Salt Box1 Chafing dish
4 Doz of diaper and damask napkins
15 pair Sheetsa Negro Man named Will about thirty years old
7 pair of Crukes [?] ditto
6 Huckaback table clothsDaniel a white Servt 3 years to serve at the time of my husbands death
1 doz hand towels
1 ½ doz pillow cases
a Set of tanners toolsMorgan Conner 5 months
300 hides and skins Just put into the Second Liqr of Bark when my husband dyedMargaret Crony a year and a half
1 Mill to grind bark with the furniture thereto belongingWm Sherman a Boy Six years and a half----
1 Child-bed basket

This is the whole amount of the es[state of Henry Gill] deed my late husband that hath as yet come to my hands this 18 day of august 1721
Margaret W Gill her mark

York County Wills and Orders No. 16, pt. 1, 68-70. Recorded: 18 September 1721.


Inventory of the estate of William Pearson taken 13 March 1777.
1 book Case £5 1 Corner Cupboard £4.10..019.10..0
1 Clock £15 1 dozen Chairs £12 1 Tea table 26/.) 1 looking Glass 50/)30.16..0
12 large Pictures £7.. 10 12 small Do 10/ 1 Candle Stand 15/8.15..0
1 pr hand-irons fender tongs 55/. 1 Carpet 40/. 1 Beaufet £59.15..0
1 Corner Table 25/. 1 dressing Drawers £3 .. 10/. 11 Chairs £711.15..0
1 small pair hand-irons Tongs Shovel and Poker 10/.) 1 easie Chair 60/.)3.10..0
1 Gun £4 1 Bedstead Bed 1 pr Blankets 1 pr Sheets 1 Counterpane Bolster 2 Pillows and Curtains £1620..0..0
1 small bed and bedstead 60/. 2 small Pictures 15/3.15..0
2 large Picture s 10/. 6 Windsor Chairs 72/4..2..0
1 Couch 30/. 1 small corner Cupboard 10/. 1 Table 25/3..5..0
2 small looking Glasses 60/. 2 Childrens Chairs 2/63..2..6
12 Silver table Spoons £12. 1 Soup Do 70/. 1 silver Cream bucket & ladle 70/19..0..0
1 pr Silver sugar Tongs 25/. 10 Silver tea Spoons & 1 Childs Do 65/.4.10..0
4 Queens China Salt Cellars and 4 butter boats-.5..0
7 Tart moulds and 3 Pickle leaves-.4..0
1 large China bowl and 2 small Do1..0..0
13 China Plates 1 Stone fruit Do 30/. 12 Wine Glasses and 2 Tumblers 15/2..5..0
11 Cups and Saucers 15/. 5 Coffee Cups and 6 Saucers 10/1..5..0
4 Tea Pots 5/. 3 Coffee Pots 6/. 1 Silver Ladle 15/.1..6..0
2 Japaned Waiters 7/6 1 Stand and Crewitts 7/6-.15..0
12 Knives & forks 60/. 2 bread baskets 2/63..2..6
1 pr Glass Salt Cellars 1/3. 1 Tureen and Dish 7/6-.8..9
12 Soup Plates 10/. 15 Shallow Do 10/. 5 Breakfast Plates 2/6 . 6 Dishes 15/.1.17..6
1 Candle box 2/. 1 Sugar Dish 1/. 1 small Mug 1/.-.4..0
5 Knives and forks 7/6 . 1 Case and Bottles 40/2..7..6
1 small fender and trivet 10/. 1 pr Tongs and Poker 2/6-.12..6
3 pr Sheets £4.5 Counterpanes £5. 8 table Cloths £4. 6 Napkins £316..0..0
7 Diaper Towels 10/. 3 blankets £4. 3 window Curtains 10/5..0..0
6 pillow Cases 1 Bolster 25/. 1 warming Pan & Lanthorn 15/.2..0..0
3 Beds bedsteads & furniture £30. 2 Tables 17/6. 2 Chests 15/. 2 Trunks 40/33.12..6
1 Close stool Chair 40/. 3 Chairs 25/. sundry Books £5 8..5..0
2 Mattresses £6. 2 Venitian blinds 40/. 1 Water Jug 2/68..2..6
1 Passage Cloth 20/. 1 Copper Kettle 90/. 2 Washing Tubs 3/5.13..0
1 Wooden Pestle and morter 2/6. 1 small tray & bowl 1/3 8 butter Potts 25/1..8..9
6 small butter Pots 6/. 2 Tea Kettles 7/6 1 Chafing dish and trivet 2/6-.16..0
7 Pewter Plates & 4 dishes 12/. 1 tin Dutch Oven & Cheese toaster 1/3-.13..3
14 Pattypans and 1 Cullender 7/6. 2 Coffeepots 7/6-.15..0
1 Bell metal Skillet 20/. 6 Milk Pans 6/. 1 Grid-iron flesh fork and Spitt 12/61.18..6
1 pan Scales and Weights 15/. 1 Meal Binn 7/61..2..6
1 Pewter Soup Spoon 1/3. 1 Iron Stand & 2 Candle Moulds 1/3-.2..6
1 Metal Pestle and Morter 12/6. 1 Soap Jar 10/1..2..6
1 flour Machine 60/. 1 water Pail 2/. 3 washing Tubs 2/3..4..0
1 large Tray 1/3. 2 large Iron Pots & 1 small Do 20/1..1..3
2 Dutch Ovens 10/. 2 frying Pans 10/. 2 Pot-racks & 3 Pot hooks 20/2..0..0
2 pr flat Irons 20/. 2 Ironing Tables 5/.1..5..0
1 Coffee Mill & 2 Scrubing Brushes 10/. 2 pr Candlesticks 25/.1.15..0
1 pr Snuffers 2/6. 3 Clothes baskets 3/. 1 Noggin 1/. l Desk 20/1..6..6
4 Chairs 5/. 1 Cradle 7/6. 2 pr Cotton and 1 pr wool Cards 20/.1.12..6
1 Spining Wheel 10/. 1 Table 5/. 7 Jugs 29/.2..4..0
1 Jar 10/. 1 pr Kitchen Hand-irons 20/. 32 lb brown Sugar 40/3.10..0
7 lb Coffee 14/. 20 lb Cotton 55/. 2 Riddels 6/. 1 funnel 1/.3.16..0
1 twist Rope 2/6 75 Gallons train Oyl £37 .10/37.12..6
1 Plate warmer 7/6 . 54 pr Shoes £20 .. 5/ 25 lb feathers £3..2..623..7..6
25 lb Wool £3..2..6 1 pr Steelyards 10/ 1 Footman 2/6 1 butter pot 5/4..0..0
Bottles, Boxes and Barrels 20/ Hops & 2 Tubs 10/1.10..0
1 Cart &c £1 2. 10/ 4 Horses £90102..10..0
1 Riding Chair & Harness £25. 1 Plow & 2 Harrow Hoes 40/27..0..0
3 Axes 2 Hoes & 2 Spades 30/ Carpenters tools & bark Chissels 10/2..0..0
Shoemakers tools and Lasts 20/ 5 Curry Knives & 1 fleshing Do 30/2.10..0
6 Cows & 3 Calves £21. sundry Currying Instruments 2/621..2..6
1 Oyl Cloth 20/ 2 Decanters 1 Tea Board 10/ 1 pr old cartwheels 50/4..0..0
1 Pepper Box 1 Bread and nutmeg Grater-.1..3
264 lb Bacon £8..5/ 75 lb Beef 31/39.16..3
1 Tea Chest and Canister 10/ 4 bottles of Tea 30/2..0..0
1 Hearth broom 2/6. 8 Shoe knives 5/ 1 Currying & 1 fleshing knife 25/.1.12..6
65 lb Copperas 97/6 81 lb lampblack 7/6 p lb8..1..3
5 bushels Salt 75/ 9 Gallons Rum 112/69..7..6
1 Gallon linseed Oyl 10/ 1 large Rope 12/41..2..4
8 barrels of Corn £7..8/. 24 bushels Oats £310..8..0
Old Iron 20/ 5 Jars 50/3.10..0
224 Hides in the Tan Yard at 23/257.12..0
223 Do in the Lime at 16/8185.16..8
36 Do in the Yard at 28/451..0..0
220 Calf Skins at 10/6115.10..0
105 Do at 4/21..0..0
120 bushels of Hair £6 115 lb Tallow £5. 15/11..5..0
2 Wheel barrows 30/. 2 Ladles 9/ Spouts 8/.2..7..0
109 Sheep Skins 13 6/ 3)
9 Dogs Skins 11/3 )7.17..6
2 Horse Do 10/ )
Old Sarah-.5..0

Entire estate valued at £ 2115.16..9

Appraised byBen. Powell
James Taylor
John Furgusson

Recorded June 15, 1778

York County Wills and Inventories No. 22, 1771-1778, 387-388.


Appraisment of the estate of Thomas Thompson deed Norfolk, Jany 7, 1772.
Will £ 70, Jack £ 75, Pomp £ 75, Dianah £ 15, Pegg £ 15£ 250..0..0
1 Clock £ 8, one Desk & Book Case £ 6, two Large Lookg glasses £ 721..0..0
1 Chimney Do 50/ 1 Square Walnutt Table 4 foot 20/3.10..0
1 Sqr Corner Do 15/ 1 small round Table 5/ 1 Stand 2/61..2..6
8 Walnut Chairs 45/ 1 Sword 30/ 1 pr Pistoles 30/5..5..0
1 Lott Books 25/ 1 Old Carpett 5/ 1 Walnut Table 15/2..5..0
1 Portmanueaue Trunk 20/ 2 Juggs 2 Case Bottles & 2 virt pott s 10/1.10..0
3 Flag' d Chairs 3/9 1 Large Lanthorn 15/ 10 Large Pictures 80/4.18..9
8 Sea Peices 60/ 12 Duble Gilt Picktures 60/6..0..0
2 Small Picktures Oval 5/ 5 odd Do 10/0.15..0
1 pr Baggs & horse Whipp & Pistol 15/0.15..0
1 Old Lanthorn & Iron Plate 5/ 1 Bed Cord 5/0.10..0
1 Sack bottom stool 1/ 1 Coffee Mill & 2 Scrubing brushes 5/0..6..0
1 Case & 12 bottles 12/6 2 4 foot Mahongany Tables 100/5.12..0
1 Blue & White Table Cover 15/ 1 Red blk & blue Do 10/1..5..0
1 green Do 2/ 1 Walnutt Corner Table 20/1..2..0
1 dozn Mahogany Chairs8..0..0
2 Corner Chairs & 1 Close Stool Chair & Pan3..0..0
1 Brass Mounted Grate 35/ 1 pr Doggs 5/2..0..0
½ dozn Table silver spoons ½ doz Tea Ditto 4 Silver Saults & punch Ladle 10 ozs 2 drs @ 5/4.15..9
1 Silver plated Tankard 5/ 4 Crackd & Broke China Bowls 10/0.15..0
1 Dozn Queen China plates 5/ 1 Dish 6 plates & 1 fruit Dish 7/60.12..6
1 Pickel Stand 2/ 1 Doz Aggett plates & Dishes 10/0.12..0
1 Tureen & Dish 10/ 2 fruit stands & 2 Dishes 7/60.17..6
a parcel of Odd Stone Ware 6/ 3 Flower potts 2/0..8..0
1 Lott Glass Ware 7/6 2 Waiters 2/60.10..0
a parcell of Odd Cups & Saucers & Tea pott0..7..6
22 plates & 2 Dishes Pewter1.15..0
½ dozn Knives & forks & Knife Box 5/, 7 Winsor Chairs 35/2..0..0
1 Couch 50/ 1 Passage Cloth 10/ 1 Mahogany Desk 35/4.15..0
1 Spy Glass 6/ 2 Bed Carpetts 2/6, 9 Mahoganey Chairs 70/3.18..6
2 Smoakg Chairs & 1 Armd flagged do1.10..0
1 Looking Glass 30/ 11 Seasons 27/62.17..6
½ dozn Small Old fashioned Picktures 6/ 7 Scripture pieces 50/2.16..0
2 Gilt Picktures 12/6 Geo & Charlotte 2/60.15..0
1 Small Square Table 1/ 1 Mahogany bedstead) Bed & furniture £12.10)12.11..0
1 Painted Bedstead Bed and furniture8..0..0
1 Bed 2 Sheets a pair Blanketts and Quilt & Pillow5..0..0
1 field bedstead Bed Curtains &c7.10..0
3 Cotton Counterpins 45/ 1 Bed Quilt & 2 Sheets 20/3..5..0
1 Rugg 10/ 1 Old Table 1/ 1 Tea Kettle 7/60.18..6
1 Coffee Pott 4/, 1 Skillet 7/60.11..6
1 Spice Morter & Pestle 2/ 2 Dishes 7/60..9..6
2 Tin Dish Covers 2 Candle Sticks 2 pr Snuffers0..5..0
4 Iron Potts & Duch Oven 30/ 2 Pott Racks & 2 pr pott Hooks 15/2..5..0
1 Grid Iron and Scurer & 3 Flatt Irons0..4..0
1 pr Doggs 7/6. 1 Spitt 2/6 Trivett Tongs & Shovel 2/60.12..6
1 Brass Kettle 10/ 1 Tubb 2 Pails Water Cann & Frying pann 50.15..0
1 Frying pann Wash bason Stone plate & Cullender 0..2..6
1 Chair & Harness £6 one old Chaire Harne ss 10/ 6.10..0
1 Flag'd Chair 1/6 1 Cott 15/ 1 Lott Coals 20/ 4 old Casks 7/6 2..4..0
1 pr Scales 11..56 & small Weights8..0..0
1 pr Small Brass Scales 7/6. 1 Coile Staroud Houser £ 66..7..6
11 Stone Juggs 12/6 35 pr Cards 12/6 62 Gals Rum @ 3/ £9-6 10.11..0
a parcel Earthen Ware 25/ 1 Gallon & ½ Gallon 15/ 2..0..0
209 yards Oznabrigs @ 7 ½d 6.10..9 ½
1 peace White Linnen 25 yards @1/6 1.17..6
1 Remnant White Linnen 15 yards @ 1/20.17..6
1 Do Ditto 6 ½2 yards @ 2/ 0.13..0
1 Ream Wrighting Paper 10/ 4 yards Cheack Linnen @ 1/ 4/ 0.14..0
a parcel Prints 2/6 20 yards Light Drabb Cloth @ 2/3 45/ 2..7..6
17 ½ yards Ditto @ 1/6 26/3 8 ½ yards Black Cloth @ 8/ 68/ 4.14..3
3 ½ yards Buckram 2/6 82 lbs Spikes @ 6d 41/ about 2000 8d Nails @ 6/6 13/ 2.16..6
about 400 6d Do @ 4/6 18/ 128 lbs Shott @ 4d 42/8 3..0..8
1 Brass Mounted Grate 50/ 217 lbs Large Spikes @ 5d £4.10..5 7..0..5
36 lb Powder £ 1/ 36/ 1 Wrightin Desk Stand &Ca 7/6 2..3..6
1 pr Money Scales 3/9 4 Books & 2 letter Cases 7/6 0.11..3
1 Large Chest (at the Yard) 0.10..0
1 Gun 25/ 1 Ditto 10/ 3 oil Jarrs 30/ 20 Galls Oyl @ 3/ 60/ 6..5..0
1 Barrell of Beef 35/ 1 Old Bedstead 2/6 12 yds Stampt Paper @ 4d 4/2..1..6
7 Wax Kipps @ 5/6 38/6 4 Black grained Ditto @ 7/ 28/ 3..6..6
1 B: Wax Hide 16/ 9 Curring Knives 12/6 1..8..6
1 Currg Beam Steel graining Board &Ca 0..5..0
1 Hand Mill 7/6 1 pr Stealyards 7/6 3 Curring Tables 20/ 1.15..0
1 Cart & gear 60/ 6 Spouts 5 Leather Hooks 1 Nett & hand Pump 27/64..7..6
2 Beams and 1 Iron bound Buckett 0..6..6
2 Spades 1 Bark fork & Wheel Barrow & Mill Hack0.10..0
5 Beam Knives 6/ 1 Wheel Barrow & grind stone 5/0.11..0
35 Cord Bark @ 16/ £ 28 1 Small square Walnut Table 1/328..1..3
1 Horse £ 5 3 Picktures 1/3 1 old Bead 15/ 1 Pott & Hooks 7/66..3..9
1 Pott Rack 7/6 77 Hides 1 Shot @ 12/6 £48..2..648.10..0
295 Hides in the 2 Shot @ 15/221..5..o
290 Hides in the 3 Shot @ 17/6253..7..6
157 Hides n the 4 & 5 Shot @ 20/157..0..0
1 Saddle 25/ 15 Bushells Hair 7/61.12..6

Appraisers: Edward Park, John Silden, George Kelly

Recorded: May Court 1772

Norfolk County Appraisments No. 1, 1755-1783, ff. 139-141.


An Inventory of the Estate of George Wells decd.

Above Stairs
1 Feather Bed & Bolster 1 Rug 1 Blanket Bedstead Cord & Hide at £ 3..0..0
1 Feather Bed Bolster & Pillow 1 Rug 1 Blanket Bedstead & Cord 3..0..0
1 Pair of and Irons 5/. 1 Round basket 1/7 ½ 0..6..7 ½
2 Rugs 1 old Blanket Oznabg Bed & Bolster & Bedstead 2..0..0
1 Bed with red Rug old Blanket & Bedstead 2..0..0
1 large red Painted Chest 0.10..0
Below Stairs in the left hand Room
1 Eight day Clock 7..0..0
1 Feather Bed, 1 Bolster 2 Pillows 1 Quilt, 2 Blankets Yellow Curtains & Rods Bedstead Cord & Hide 6..0..0
6 Leather Chairs 24/. 1 Arm'd Leather Chair 6/1.10..0
6 high back Wooden bottom Chairs 3/9. 2 Rush bottom Do 1/10 ½0..5..7 ½
1 Couch 5/. 1 Desk 50/. 1 Cake Bees Wax 1/.2.17..0
1 Guaging Rod 4/. 5 Razors 2 Straps & 1 Hone 3/.0..7..0
4 Cribag Boards 2/6. Some Powder & horn & Shot 5/.0..7..6
1 Silver Watch 8.12..0
6 Silver Table Spoons, 1 Milk Pot 1 Punch Ladle 9 Tea Spoons 2 Strainer & 2 Tongs at 6/ p oz. A parcel of old Buckles & Buttons at 5/ p oz 8.11..9
1 old Silver Watch (belonging to Dickinson) 4..0..0
A Parcel of Pictures & Prints 20/. 1 large Looking Glass £ 3 4..0..0
2 Small Looking Glasses 1/3 1 small round Table 2/6 0..3..9
1 Large Oval Cedar Table 15/. 1 Oak Oval Do 15/.1.10..0
1 Chest of Drawers 30/. 1 Small Table & Toilet 10/2..0..0
12 China Plates 1 China Dish & Earthen Dish1.10..0
1 Tea Chest and 2 old Backgammon Tables0.10..0
1 Pair Dogs with Brass heads 15/. 1 Cotton Counterpane 26/ 2..1..0
1 Striped & Chex'd Counterpan 5/. 1 white holland Sheet 5/ 0.10..0
3 Diaper Napkins & 2 Pillow Cases 6/. 2 pr Coarse Sheets 32/ 1.18..0
1 Butchers Steel 5/. 1 Gun 5/. 2 pr old Sheets 7/6 0.17..6
The second Left hand Room
1 Rushia Drab Bed Bedstead Bolster Rug & Blanket 3..0..0
1 Chest 10/ 1 pair Saddle Bags Boots & Spurrs 10/ 1..0..0
1 Mans Saddle 15/ 2 Horse Collars & 1 Cart Saddle 10. 1..5..0
1 old Safe 3/ 1 New Safe 15/ 0.18..0
In the Right Hand Room
a Parcel of Pictures 10/ a Corner Cupboard 10/ 1..0..0
2 China Bowls 6 China Cups and Saucers and a Parcel of Glass ware 1.10..0
A Table with old Knives and forks 2 pr Scales 1 Pair Wool Cards 3 half Pint Mugs, 1 Lamp 1 Tea Pot, pepper Box Mustard Pot and a Clothiers Brush 0.15..0
2 Pair Stilyards, 1 Candle Box & a pr Sad Irons0.15..0
1 Bell Metal Pot, 1 Iron Pot 1 pair Tongs 2 pr Pothooks 1 Grid Iron, 2 old Iron Candlesticks and a Hominy Pestle0..8..0
1 pr Iron Dogs 8/. 2 Shoemakers Benches & Tools 20/1..8..0
a Parcel of Trumpery in a Closet 12/6 3 Wiggs 10/1..2..6
1 Cutlass & 1 Dagger 7/6. 1 pr Pistols 12/ 1 Mans Hatt 12/61.12..0
1 Cloth Coat Lined with blue 30/. 3 pair Breeches 20/2.10..0
1 White Duffil Coat 15/ 1 blue Coat & Silk Waistcoat & Breeches 40/2.15..0
1 Grey Coat & Scarlet Waistcoat & fustain Breeches1.10..0
1 Black Waistcoat Strip'd Banyan & flanil Waistcoat1..0..0
a Chest 6/. a Case with 3 Bottles 2/6 1 Table 3/.0..1..6
In the Shop
6 Sides Soal Leather 35/. 9 Calf Skins 45/ 6 pr Negro Shoes 15/4.15..0
2 pair Pumps 1 pr Shoes 1 pair Slippers, 2 pr Childrens Shoes0.18..0
110 Lasts 15/ 3 Cheeses 18/. 9 li Soap 4/61.17..6
2 pair Shoe & 1 pr Boot Stretchers 3/. 3 Casks 2/6 1 Stewpan 4/0..9..6
1 Saw 1 Ax 1 Hammer 3 files & Sundrys0..2..6
1 Shoemakers window l/3d 1 Table 2/60..3..9
In the Cellar
1 Groce Bottles 26/ 1 Cask Cyder 10/ A parcel of Empty Casks 8/2..4..0
1 Jarr of Soap 1 Cask of Do1..6..0
In the Meal House
1 Cask Flour No 23 qty 214 lu Nett at 14/1.10..0
1 Table 5/. 1 Tray & Tin Sheets with Gingerbread Prints 7/0.12..0
A Naple Biscuit Pan &c0..7..0
40 Bushels of Wheat at 4/8..0..0
8 Barrels & 1 Bushel of Corn @ 8/3..5..7
1 Scarce & 1 Tray 4/. 1 Quilting frame 3/0..7..0
1 Spinning Wheel & Riddle 6 1 Steel Coffee Mill 2/60..8..6
1 old Saddle &c0..4..0
In the Garden and Yard
1 Horse called Sorrel 1 Do called Prince6..0..0
4 Benches & 1 Wheel Barrow0.15..0
In the Smoke House
2 Hoes 2 Spades & 1 Pewter Bason 7/6 1 Cow 30/1.17..6
In the Kitchen
8 Pails 8/. 1 Cullender Tin Coffee Pot Tin Kettle 1 Iron Ladle 1 Frying Pan 1 Tea Kettle 8/0.16..0
1 Warping Pan 5/ 18 Pewter Plates & 10 Dishes 40/2..5..0
1 Pewter Soap Kettle 5/. 1 Pewter Tankard 1 Butter dish 1 Porringer 2/60..7..6
Pewter Measures 6/. 1 brass Mortar & Pestle 5 Candle sticks 1 Stand 8/60.14..6
2 Copper Chocolate Pots 1 Coffee pot 10 1 Driping Pan 5 Spoons 1/0.11..0
3 Iron Pots 1 Iron Skillet 32/ 1 Brass Kettle 1 Skillet 15/2..7..0
1 Iron Toaster 1 Flesh fork 1 Chafeing Dish 2 pr Pot hooks & Grid Iron0..6..0
1 Box Iron & Heaters 1 Spit 1 Salt Box Pot Racks0..6..3
4 Calf Skins and two Baggs0..6..3
8 Gold Rings3.18.11
Benjamin Grant a Servant Man10..0..0
Betty Willey a Servant Woman2.10..0
1 Cart and Wheels1..0..0

Appraisers: Peter Scott, John Greenhow, John Page.

Recorded: 20 May 1754

York County Wills, Inventories No. 20, 1745-1759, 321-323.


Inventory of the estate of William Wilcox.
A Feather Bed a Bolster 2 Pillows Curtains for a Field Bed a Green Rug 2 Blankets a Hide & Bedstead & Rope£ 5..0..0
A Feather Bed a Bolster a Bedstead Rope Hide & Quilt1.10..0
41 Sides Sole Leather & some Pieces making about 42 Sides in all10.10..0
6 Calf Skins 18/. 8 Sides Upper Leather 24/2..2..0
14 pair Soles & several in Soles and a good parcel of Scraps of Leather & 2 White Sheep Skins1..1..3
1 pr Dogs Shovel & Tongs a pair of Bellows & Candlestick and a parcel of other Lumber in an old Trunk0..6..3
2 Saddles 2 Bridles & Cirsingle1..0..0
3 Chairs Rush Bottom0..3..9
26 Lasts 1 pr Shoe Stretchers 3 pr Boot Stretchers1..1..6
All his Tools & 3 Benches1..0..0
2 pair new Boots 20 11 pr Mens Womens & Childs Shoes 30/.2.10..0
2 Axes 2/. A pair Boot Legs 2/. A Saveall 5/.0..9..0
A Parcel of Dryed Beef and Bacon0..5..0
A Pine Table a large tray a tin Can 4 Plates a Bowl 4 Spoons a Butter Pott 10/. a Small Table 1/.0.10..0
An old Chest a Tea Kettle a Grid Iron Frying Pan a Sauce pan a Trivet Potrack some Crackle ware0.10..6
7 Sheets & 2 Towells 40/. 5 pr Stockens 1/32..1..3
1 Chex Shirt 2 white Do 2 Cravats 2 white Waistcoats 2 Remnants of Chex0.15..0
1 Cross cut saw0.10..0
2 pair Breeches 3 Waistcoats 1 Great Coat 2 Close body Coats & 1 new Do & a Trunk8..0..0
2 Hats & 1 Wigg 1..5..0

Appraisers : Peter Scott, Alexr Craig, Samuel Galt, John Greenhow.

Recorded: 18 July 1757.

York County Wills, Inventories No. 20, 1745-1759, 440.


Inventory of the estate of John Wilson of Norfolk Borough deceased.
304 pair Negroe Shoes @5/ £76..0..0
50 pair Mens Ditto @ 9/22.10..0
51 pair ditto common @ 6/15..8..0
74 pair Childrens Shoes @ 3/11..2..0
8 pair Womens Leather-.40..0
7 pair ditto Callimanco 6/.2..2..0
5 pr Childrens Morocco 3/9-.18..9
1 pr Womens Silk 10/
2 pr Men Bla Cloth 6/-.12..0
6 pr Do Boots 20/6..0..0
105 New Lasts 9/3.18..9
130 Old ditto 31.12..6
26 pr Coarse Upper Leathers 151.12..8
16 pr Calf ditto 181..6..8
24 pr Childrens ditto 90.18..0
10 plain English grain Calfskins4.10..0
5 Black Wax ditto 10/62.12..6
3 ditto Virginia Do 7/61..2..6
6 ditto grain New York 8/2..8..0
11 ditto ditto Dogskins 3/1.15..0
3 pair Boot Legs 8/1..4..0
1 pr indifferent Do 3/0..3..0
3 White skins 4/6
a parcel remt ditto 12/
a parcel ditto 6/
2 ½ hides Blk Grain Leather 2/10..5 ¼
5 ½ sides Do2.10..0
12 old hides ditto13.16..0
7 sides Back ditto7..0..0
a parcel remts sole ditto2..0..0
5 doz Ruffers 3/-.15..0
6 ½ doz Heels 18d-.9..9
2 pair Boot Trees 7/615..0
41 gallons Rum 3/6..3..0
1 doz Milk pans 3/
a parcel of Empty Casks 10/
1 Keg Spanish brown 12/
3 lb Colloured thread 2/6
a parcel of tippits 5/
a parcel of binding 10/
3 red Morocco Skins 76/-.22..6
3 doz Blacking Balls 9/-.27..0
a parcel of old Buttons 15/
10 pair Boot Straps 18d-.15..0
1 pair White shoes 7/6
remts of Callimancoes and Buckrams1.15..0
Blacking Ball & white wax 6/
4 Gross Tax [Tacks] 18d-.6..0
a parcell of Aulls 6/
9 Horse Girths 9d-.6..9
1 Turine 3/9
1 Doz Dishes £ 1
3 doz Queens China plates 4/-.12..0
1 doz & 10 Stone ditto 6/
½ dozen Queen Chinae Mugs 3/
a parcel stone Cups & 2 Bottles 5/
1 old whip saw 9/
3 pr shoes streachers 6/
1 Mahogany Desk 3..2..0
2 pair scales and weights £ 3
1 pr Steelyards 7/6
1 Glass Case £ 2..5..0
2 Glass Doors 17/
2 Venetian Window Blinds 25/
3 Jugs & 1 old Case 5/
old saw & old Back Sword 1/3
1 Eight day Clock @ 10
1 Walnut Bearfett [buffet] £ 3
1 doz China plates 15/
2 China Bowls £ 1
1 Walnut frame Looking Glass @ £ 4
1 Gilt Do £ 4
18 pictures £ 2
1 Mohogany Table £ 2..5..0
1 Ditto Walnut 1..2..6
1 Mohogany Desk £ 4 1 Tea Table £ 1 9 Chairs
1 Hhd Sugar Indifferent 800 lb 35/ £ 14
9 Walnut Chairs £ 3 1 small Table and Stand 12/
1 oval Looking Glass 15/ Bed and Furniturem £ 3
1 Doz old pictures 3/ 1 Iron Gridle 30/
4 pair Womens Cloggs 12/
a parcel old Broken furniture £ 1 Do pewter 15/
1 Copper Sauce pan Knives & forks 5/
1 pair Dogs 3 pots & 1 Dutch Oven 30/ 4 Wash Tubs 5/
17 Shoe Makers Seats 15d 21/3
1 old Saddle & Bridle £ 1
a Couch frame a floor Cloth & a parcel broken Chairs 30/
2 Rasps & a sise stick 2/6
4 Hogs a field Corn 1 Table & 4 Chairs 16/
1 Ax 1 Hoe a spade & a Rake 6/3
a Gun 25/
Cloe a Negro Wench £ 60 Nanie a Girl £ 45
Phillis a Girl £25

Appraisers: John Brow, Edwd Park, Wm Stevenson

Recorded: Jan. 1786.

York County Wills, Inventories No. 20, 1745-1759, 440.


Directions for and Currying

Soak your Hides in running water for two or three days, then take them up and flesh them with an old drawing-knife, and break them well upon a leg with a four square stick. This done, put them into weak lime-water, about half a peck to a hide; take them up every night, hang them on a pole over the vat, and put them down again in the morning three or four days successively. You must now add as much more lime, and manage the hides as before. Stir the vat up every morning, and put those hides that were uppermost one day at the bottom the next. Three weeks will suffice for the first preparation, if the weather be warm. In frosty weather you need not touch your hides for many days; and indeed, your sole leather would be better if it were kept in lime all the winter, now and then refreshing the vat with a little lime, as the rains weaken it. At the end of three weeks, or as soon as they are sufficiently raised, you must hair your hides on the leg with the four square stick; flesh them over again with the drawing-knife, and wash the lime well out. During this operation they must be kept from the 138 sun. When you have thoroughly cleansed them from lime & flesh, put them into weak ouse*, stir them well for an hour, then take them out and lay them in water for a night, after which return them into the ouse, where they may lie eight days; which expired, they must be put into the tan-vat, and covered with beaten oak bark one after the other; take care they do not touch one another; the grain side must be laid uppermost except the top skin; then pour on water sufficient to cover them. Let them lie thus three weekes, then take them up, save the ouse, and lay them away in the second bark#, reversing the hides, and laying those that were at bottom in first bark at top now; pour the ouse you reserved over them, and make up the dificiency with cold water, or better with ouse made for the purpose Remember to supply the vat with ouse, or water, when the bark appears dry on the top.


Then your leather is taken up, you must wash off the bark well from what you design for sole, and hang it in 139 an airy place till dry, when it is fit for use. The common proportion is Six sides of Sole to four of upper leather. What is reserved for the latter must go through the following process: Every side must be well washed till perfectly cleansed of the bark, as much of the remaining flesh as possible taken off with the currying-knife, and well beaten on the pins till it is half dry; wet again, and beaten till half dry, stretched on a table, and rubbed with pumice, or other rough stone, until the flesh side is as smooth as you would have it. This done, it is singed with straw, to prepare it to receive the tallow*, which is applied boiling hot to the side you intend to black, singed a second time, laid four hours in a vessel of fresh water, beaten again, and stretched on a table to receive its first black, made of nut galls** and nails boiled in sour beer; rubbed with a stone, and rolled from corner to corner to break the grain. When near dry, give it a second black, made of nut galls, copperas, and gum arabic***, boiled in sour beer. This is applied cold, as in the first instance, and well rubbed in with a large cork rubber; it is now folded from corner to corner to finish the grain and render it pliant: You must work till dry, then polish it over with an old worsted stocking, and it is finished.


NB. If your hides are fresh, you need only wash off the blood before you flesh them.

The Virginia Almanack for the Year 1777 Williamsburg: Dixon and Hunter.


Virginia Tanneries in 1810

The following list, taken from A Statement of the Arts and Manufactures of the United States of America for the 1810 (Philadelphia, 1814) , shows the number of tanneries in each county, the number of hides tanned, and the number of shoes manufactured in Virginia for the year 1810.

CountyTanneriesHides TannedPairs of Shoes
Botetourt195,930 5,575
Charles City1,000
Elizabeth City
Isle of Wight1,700
James City799032,807
King and Queen3,395
King William
King George1100500
New Kent1,180
Prince Edward
Princess Anne4,100
Prince William57,5001,400
Prince George340
Richmond City332,50012,808
Norfolk City215,00010,380



* Indicates that copies of the manuscripts are on microfilm in the Research Department of Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.

  • Allason, William. Papers . Virginia State Library.
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  • *Carter, Robert. Account Book, 1771-1786. Library of Congress.
  • *Craig, Alexander. Account Books, 1749-1756; 1761-1763. Colonial Williamsburg, Inc.
  • *Egerton MSS. British Museum.
  • *Indentures to Serve in America. Corporation of London Record Office.
  • *Jerdone Paper s. College of William and Mary Library .
  • *Jones Family Papers, 1649-1889. Library of Congress.
  • *King's 206. British Museum.
  • *Massie, William. Account Book, 1747-1748. Virginia Historical Society .
  • *Misc. Letters and Documents. Public Record Office.
  • *Parker Family Papers. Liverpool Record Office.
  • *Rawlinson MSS. Bodleian Library.
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  • *Virginia. James City County Land Taxes. Virginia State Library .
  • Virginia. King George County Court Records. Virginia State Library.
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  • Virginia. Norfolk City Court Records. Virginia State Library .
  • Virginia. Norfolk County Court Records. Virginia State Library.
  • Virginia. Princess Anne County Court Records. Virginia State Library.
  • *Virginia. Surry County Court Records. Virginia State Library.
  • Virginia. Treasurers Office Receipt Book, Sept. 6, 1775-April 30, 1776. Virginia State Library.
  • Virginia. Westmoreland County Court Records. Virginia State Library.
  • *Virginia. Williamsburg City Personal Property Tax Lists. Virginia State Library.
  • *Virginia. York County Court Records. Virginia State Library.
  • *Webb-Prentis Papers. University of Virginia.


  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Parks), 1736-1750.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Hunter), 1751-1761.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Royle), 1761-1765.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Purdie), 1765-1766, 1775-1779.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Purdie and Dixon), 1766-1775.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Rind), 1766-1774.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Dixon and Hunter), 1775-1778.
  • Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg (Dixon and Nicolson), 1779-1780.
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^1 York County Deeds No. 5, 1741-1754, 577-578.
^* Ouse (or owse) properly signifies oak bark beaten or ground, but here, and after, means an infusion of prepared bark in water.
^# Should any side appear spotted, give that more bark than the rest.
^* Train oil may be used instead of tallow, but the former gives a disagreeable smell to the leather.
^** oak bark will supply the place of nut galls.
^*** cherry-tree gum has proved a good succedaneum for gum-arabic.
^1 Wesley N. Laing, Cattle in Early Virginia (Unpubl. Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1952), 250-251.