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Account book of Zebulon White & James Strathern
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Gold, silver, and other "hard" money was in short supply in the 1700s and early 1800s. This scarcity forced Americans to rely upon an elaborate system of debt and credit. Instead of purchasing or paying for goods in cash, people kept a running record of the people with whom they did business. Many people purchased blank ledger books to record these transactions. The entries they made in these "account books" helped people to keep track of what they purchased, how much money it cost and to whom it was due. The account book owner also recorded the goods and services their various trading partners owed to them. Keeping accurate accounts required legible penmanship, vigilance, and good math skills. Surviving account books provide valuable information about the economic activity of the person who owned it and the people with whom they traded. This page from Zebulon White's and James Strathern's account book details his account with James Winslow. Both White and Winslow were from Deerfield, Massachusetts. The men signed their names to signify their agreement when they settled the account in 1792.
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