Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods. Hawley Family Archive.
Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods.
Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods.
Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods.
Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods.

Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods.

Chester County, Pennsylvania: 1788-1859. Item #755

Two volumes. Folio.  330 x 210 mm., [13 x 8 inches].  438 pp. Account written in ink in very legible hand.  Leather backed marbled paper boards, leather tips; spines and edges a bit worn, paper stock with some discoloration and minor spotting; Joseph Hawley’s name and dates written on the endpapers numerous times in both volumes.  With faults very good copies.

I:  Account books recording the business activity of what appears to be a very successful and profitable shoe maker and leather good manufacture.  Extremely well organized, indexed, and legible, these accounts are arranged by date and customer name and offer an insight into the leather needs of customers over a given year.  For instance Moses Jefferies had eleven transactions in the year 1793 for new shoes, mended shoes, and new soles for himself, his wife and children.  Under the account for William Hawley, a relative not doubt, twenty-six transactions are recorded.  Opposite each page listing a customer account is a “Contra” page which lists cash received and expenditures for materials.

The first volume begins in 1793 and ends in 1796.  The second volume begins in 1799 and continues through 1805.  Many of the transactions include the names of family members who the shoes are for and provides a genealogical record of many families in the Chester County area.  For a transaction for Samuel Lightfoot in 1801 the entry reads, “To make a pair of shoes for Black Isaac, cost 0/5/0.


II:  Joel Hawley (1804-1883).  Manuscript Account Books of a Quaker Shoemaker and Manufacturer of Leather Goods for Horses and Arithmetic Work Book.  Chester County (Pennsylvania), 1829-1846.

Folio.  320 x 200 mm., [12 ½ x 7 ¾ inches].  125 pp.  Accounts written in ink in legible hand.  Original marbled paper wrappers; showing wear at spine and edges, paper stock brown in places;  with faults a very good copy.

Joel Hawley was the oldest son of Joseph, who continued in the shoe manufacture business but as the ledger shows, expanded into saddle making and the production of bridles, straps, harnesses, halters, and leather collars for horses.  Organized in a similar way to his father’s account book, Joel’s contains less information  and lists only the customer name, a few words of description and the price.  He also records his expenses for coffee, candles, spices, sugar, butter, etc.   It is interesting to compare prices from the first years of Joseph Hawley’s business with prices thirty years later as recorded in Joel Hawley’s account book.

The second half the ledger, about 20 pages is arithmetic workbook which focuses on simple principles of geometry, multiplication, calculating compound interest, figuring discounts, and annuities.  It also contains some doddles, scribbles, the names of his brothers, Simon and Benjamin and samples of calligraphic script.

Hawley Family Archive.  Chester County, Pennsylvania.  1788 -1859.

III.   Benjamin and Simon Hawley.  Union Society for the Detection of Horse Thieves.  Constitution and Minute Book.  1817-1859.

Unpublished folio manuscript.  330 x 210 mm., [13 x 8 inches].  175 pp.  Written in a variety of hands in ink, very legible.  Bound in leather backed marble paper boards; paper and spine a bit rubbed but sound and attractive; first two leaves are sprung from sewing, some inserted notes laid in;  some light foxing, otherwise very good.

Manuscript constitution and minute book of the Union Society for the Detection of Horse Thieves and Other Stolen Property which spanned 42 years.  The Union Society, like scores of other similar groups in the Northeast, created a service for the protection and recovery of private property stolen from farms and warehouses.  It was organized by the leading horse traders and merchants of various counties in the greater Philadelphia/Wilmington area, and its constitution and by-laws outlined its goals and the responsibility of its membership.  Members of the Union Society were from Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Peach Bottom, Elkton, Wilmington and New Castle and it covered all the major travel routes in these areas.

Benjamin Hawley, a founder of the society, and his brother Simon, both owners of horse-trading company, were instrumental in the establishment and management of the Society.  Simon was recording secretary for many years and it is the reason that the journal of the Society was part of the Hawley Family Archive.

Some of the articles of the constitution included the responsibilities of membership, the payment of dues, mandatory attendance at meeting or the levy of a fine, what do to if a member witnesses or is informed of a theft of a horse or property over the value of $ 30.00 and a list of rewards for the finding stolen property and the levy of 6 percent of the value of returned property from the owner.  All members needed to brand their horses with the letter “U” on the neck of the animal to help in its identification if stolen.

The minute book records the details of each meeting, which mostly deal with attendance, list of absent members, fines for absenteeism, appeals, new members, treasure reports and the election of officers.   One of the more interesting narratives that is contained in the minutes of annual meetings was the discussion of the various routes that were to be covered if an alert made from one of its members about a stolen horse or property.  The Union Society established 11 routes from Philadelphia and surrounding counties and to Wilmington local members were assigned to cover the route if a theft was discovered.  For instance in West Chester Joseph Gordon was responsible for routes in and out of the town.  In Wilmington Jonathan P. Evans was the route rider and in New Castle it was Daniel Davis.  If a member were to cover a route looking for property and he was to be paid $ 1.00 a day for his time, reimbursed for expenses, and entitled for a reward.

The minutes record the theft of a horse in August of 1835 from Ezekiel Evans of Lancaster, one of the founding members of the Society.  It was determined that the thief took the southern route out of Lancaster and 15 members were notified and took to road to Baltimore.  A reward was posted for $ 50.00 by the Society and $ 25.00 by Evans.  John Collins of Columbia traced the thief to a hotel in Meadstowne where he found the horse and secured capture of the thief.  He was identified as John Gallagher, “a notorious felon and horse thief.”

On September 5th, 1859, the minutes record a motion to dissolve the Society.  It was seconded and passed by a vote of 23 to 11.  The assets of the Union Society were distributed, and each member received $ 1.45.

 A small collection of papers from Hawley family are in the Chester County Historical Society.  They pertain mostly to Joel Hawley, who in addition to running his mercantile business in Lionville, Uwchlan Township, was elected Associate Judge of the Chester County Courts and was Director of the Bank of Chester County.  His sons Joseph Williamson Hawley and Samuel Hawley were both fought in the Civil War and the archive at the Historical Society focuses mostly on the years 1861-1864.


Price: $3,000.00

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