Elihu Allen's Day Book 1837
As both a Historian and a Blacksmith it is rewarding to find ways to better understand the daily life of people in our past. Most historical information is general and third person news like history books or second person accounts in Newspapers. That makes it even more rewarding to find sources like Elihu Allen’s Day Book.
This is the account book of the work done in his Blacksmith Shop in the hamlet of Ellisburg, NY between 1836 and 1845. Ellisburg was and is a little crossroads town in a farming region. Geographically it is located on the Great Lakes Plain on fertile farmland between the Tug Hill Plateau and Lake Ontario. The town was settled around 1800 and some of its founders were still alive at the time Elihu Allen was working. Many of the farms were now in their second or possibly third generation.
The work in a Blacksmith shop often reflects the time of the year. Here we see the work being done in early April by Blacksmith Allen.
April 3rd, 1837
Erastus Potter Dr || |
Oren Earl Dr || |
Joseph Allen jr. Dr || |
Chancey Predway Cr || |
James Hughs Dr || |
Hiram Talor Dr || |
Cornelius M Tabor Dr || |
Elisha Smith Dr || |
To 2 bolts || | 25
Orvel Brown Dr || |
We see the shoeing of horses, the making of a woodworking chisel, making nuts and bolts to mend something, and the hardening of an axe. Why does an axe need hardening? Because you have used it so much you have worn away all of the hardened steel!
Another interesting sale was almost 50 pounds of nail making iron to Mr. Predway. Farmers sometimes bought nail iron to make their own nails! Fifty pounds of nail rod will make thousands of nails! These projects show the farmers and townspeople repairing tools, mending what was worn or broken, and preparing for new construction.
I plan to share more interesting excerpts from Elihu Allen’s Day Book.