General Store and Shoe Ledger. Ledger. Nathan Comstock??
General Store and Shoe Ledger.
Founding Families of Ridgefield Connecticut

General Store and Shoe Ledger.

Ridgefield, CT. 1829-1831. Item #858

Small folio.   310 x 200 mm.  12 ½ x 8 inches]. 348 pp.  Manuscript on lined paper.  Full reverse calf.  Some cover wear, and a few signatures loose.

Fine ledger of a general store in the Fairfield County, Connecticut, area near the towns of Ridgefield and Wilton. The ledger was one of a series, so the store must have been large and of long standing. Selling lottery tickets, foodstuffs, whiskey and rum, tea and coffee, spices, seal and muskrat skins, nails, wrapping paper, and so on, it is thought that the ledger belonged to Nathan Comstock (1763-1849) whose family ran a general store in Wilton beginning in 1800.  Nathan married Rachel Keller, one of the most prominent families in Ridgefield, who died in 1847.

As one might expect from a town with over 40 shoe manufacturers and a booming leather trade, the ledger notes many pairs of shoes sold. For example: "March 6, 1830: Belden Scot, 1 pair shoes 1.50". According to the Ridgefield Historical Society, the area was "a humming cottage industry hot-bed during the first half of the nineteenth century, Ridgefield was highly regarded for its carriage, candlestick, hat and shoe production. Facilitated by David Valden's huge one-hundred-vat leather tannery, shoemaking became a local specialty. As early as 1800 Reverend Samuel Goodrich noted two Ridgefield shoe factories, forty local shoemakers were listed in the 1820 census, and historian Silvio Bedini observed that twenty shoemakers alone worked out of their West lane homes prior to the civil war. Huge military demands, however, gave birth to large urban shoe factories which overwhelmed local cottage industries with economies of scale."

One of the earliest entrepreneurs in the Ridgefield area was Timothy Keeler, who had converted his home, now the Keeler Tavern Museum, into a tavern in 1772. Many persons with the Keeler name are represented in the pages of this ledger; including Gregory, Stephen, Isaiah, Rebecca, Benjamin, Daniel, Thaddeus, George, Chancey, Abigail, Lawrence, and Matthew Keeler. Other family names include St. John, Seymour, Rusco, Mead, Morgan and others. Many women were customers.

In addition to viewing the Ridgefield Historical Society site, see “A Brief History of Ridgefield” on the town’s webpage.



Price: $300.00

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