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Turns of the Centuries Exhibit > Newcomers 1680-1720 > Working
This theme in other eras: 1680-1720 | 1780-1820 | 1880-1920
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Peter Mountague Debtr

Novembr 8

To 1 hors Jorney to Springfield

00

03

00

77

To Making a cloath coate

00

05

06

         
         
   

00

03

00

   

00

04

00

   

00

15

06


William Brooks is Debr

Sept 1688

To 10 pound & of beef att 2s 1/2d

00

02

02

Novembr

To 58 pound of beefe att []d pr lb

00

12

01

 

To 2 pound of flax

00

02

00

 

To 1 bush 1/w

00

03

00

16 3

Augst 3d 1694 Ebenezr Brooks allowed me

     

14 5

four shillings: on acct of a price of

00

19

03

1 10

Land I sould his fathr as on page 68:

00

04

00

   

01

03

03

Word in Season whey Lay Mewing
on my Bed Laid

Jonathan Franklin Dbtr

78

To Makeing a sute Linde : if he pay wheat

00

12

00


Simon Beaman is Debtr

May: 84

To plowing an acre of Land att derefild

 

in ye great meddow

 

To Breaking up an acre of Land in old fort

Barnaby Hinsdell Dr

May 1690

To 1 Acre plowing in old fort

00

05

00

 

To carting a lode of posts

00

02

06

June

To 1 Day Carting bushes

00

05

00

 

To a hour Jorney to Hartford

00

06

00

 

payd to Doctr Hastings for him

00

03

00

Jno Evans is Debtr

July: 1691

 

£

s

d

 

To 3 Cattle a day to Cart Hay

00

03

00

 

To Cutting out a Cote for himself

00

 

06

 

To Weighting 2 attachmts

00

01

00

July: 94

To weighting a load of lede

00

02

06

Decr 94

To a sled lode of wood

00

02

06

Janr

To stoding 2 Lode of wood

00

03

04

July 19

to a float load of wood

00

02

06

1695 18

To pounding 4 hogg

     
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.

Working : "To 1 day work at my house"

An acute labor shortage plagued the colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In Europe, a large and growing population kept wage rates low and land was at a costly premium. The fledgling economy of the colonies turned this old relationship on its head. Labor, not land, was expensive and in short supply.

Indentured servants, and later, slaves met the insatiable demand for labor in the Chesapeake region of Virginia and Maryland. New England settlers also used slave labor. The settlement patterns and economy of this northern region prevented slavery from solving the worker shortage there, however. New Englanders relied for the most part upon an intricate system of labor exchange to meet their pressing need for labor. Building homes and establishing farms required intensive and often backbreaking toil. To accomplish these tasks, people coexisted in an intricate web of interdependence, performing labor for neighbors who sold and exchanged their labor in return.

Joseph Barnard was among the earliest settlers of the newly established town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. This page from Barnard's account book records transactions with Barnabas Hinsdell, also of Deerfield. Most of the transactions involved work Hinsdell and Barnard performed for one another.

The surviving pages of Barnard's account book are a window onto a world of complex social and economic relationships. His accounts also reveal the ways in which he and others navigated a cash-poor economy. Very little actual currency ever changed hands; debts usually were paid in goods and services. At the same time, the monetary value Barnard assigned to each transaction reveals that these exchanges were more than simple bartering. Debtors risked arrest and even imprisonment if they could not or would not pay what they owed. Creditors routinely sued defaulting debtors. Written accounts like the ones that Barnard so carefully kept were admissible in a court of law to prove default.

 

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Account book of Joseph Barnard

author   Joseph Barnard (1641-1695)
date   Apr 30, 1690
location   Deerfield, Massachusetts
width   5.5"
height   14.25"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Personal Documents/Account book
accession #   #L00.083


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See Also...

"History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts"

Deerfield Town Meeting

"A Biographical Memoir of the Rev. John Williams"


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