Friday, January 19, 2018

SHOES! January 19, 1768 at the Colden Store, Coldengham, New York

Tuesday January 19, 1768
Coldengham, New York
Store of Cadwallader Colden, Jr.

James Cammel, Shoemaker

250 years ago today thirteen different people made purchases at the Colden store on fifteen accounts. How is this so? Johannes Youngblood made purchases for himself and for his father, Han. Robert Gillespie made purchases for himself and for his cousin, John.

This article is one in a series of a daily accountings of Colden Store transactions. Be sure you read the first installment for more of an introduction to the store. You should also read this article which appeared in the Journal of the Orange County Historical Society.

Of special interest to me are the "Campbells" who appear on this page.  "Joel Campble" is my 5th GGF and Jonathan is my 6th Great Uncle. Joel was just three days short of his 33rd birthday.

"Jeames Cammel, Shuemaker" is more of a mystery. He is not a brother of Joel or Jonathan. They did have an uncle named James, but there is no evidence that he moved with them from New Jersey to this part of New York. If they are related it seems strange that the clerk would spell his name differently than that of Jonathan, just one entry below on the same page in the DayBook!  On the other hand, Joel, Jonathan, and James all appear several times in the Daybook with "Cammel", "Campble", "Cambel", and "Camble" used interchangeably.

Below are the items puchased by James:

James purchased fabric and the ubiquitous rum, tea, and sugar. The knives and handsaw that he purchased were perhaps used in his trade. His entry ends with two sales to the store...3 pairs of shoes and a fox skin.

My guess is that the shoes were for Colden's personal use.  No other sale of shoe or boot is recorded in the store up to this date. It appears the shoemaker made shoes only to custom order.

The store did sell other items to construct shoes. It bought and sold "sole leather" and "upper leather." It sold "Everlasting" which was a woolen jean used for the tops of boots. It sold pairs of heels, including one pair described as "wood." Alder was the wood of choice. Cork was also a heel material. The store sold shoe laces, shoe buckles, shoe knives and hammers.


The wealthiest person on this page is Peter DuBois. He was represented by "his Miller." More on him later, but if you can't wait you can read this article I wrote about DuBois in the Journal of the Orange County Historical Society.


Search the DayBook

Thursday, January 18, 2018

RUM! January 18, 1768 at the Colden Store, Coldengham, New York

Monday January 18, 1768
Coldengham, New York
Store of Cadwallader Colden, Jr.


250 years ago today, 15 separate persons shopped at the Colden store and bought 53 items. See below.

Two of those persons were women and one of them, Mrs. Daniel McMullen, purchased the largest number of items of anyone on that day.See the first 13 of her 15 items below.

One of her purchases was rum. That was not a unique purchase at the store. On that day 6 of the 15 persons included rum in their purchases. Between August 1767 and January 18, 1768 (about 5 months) about 540 gallon of rums were sold by the store.

There were two grades of rum sold at the store: Y Rum and W Rum. The Y Rum was priced between 3/4 and 3/9 and the more expensive W Rum between 5/ and 5/6. [I use the same shorthand used in the DayBook. '5/6' means 5 Shillings and 6 Pence.]

Occasionally the 'Y' and 'W' are followed by superscripts which are difficult to decipher.  In the case of 'W' the superscript appears to be 't' or even 'st.' It could stand for 'West Indies Rum' which was imported in great quantity into the colonies. It would also explain the higher price.

My guess at the meaning of the 'Y' is that it stood for 'York' Rum. New York City was referred to as York City or just 'York' in those times. But the rum could have been from other sources. It is estimated that at the time of the Revolution there were over 150 distilleries in New England.

The customers must have brought their own containers because there are a few entries where the customer purchased both a container and the rum.

Rum is made from sugar cane products, usually molasses. Molasses was also a common purchase at the store. Between August 1767 and January 18, 1768 (about 5 months) about 125 gallon of molasses were sold by the store. I think it is unlikely that the purchasers had distilling equipment for rum manufacture. It is more likely that the molasses was used for making home brewed beers. [See colonial recipe for Molasses Beer in Kimberly Walters' Book of Cookery]

You can read more about rum consumption in the colonies here:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

CLOSED! January 17, 1768 at the Colden Store, Coldengham, New York

Sunday January 17, 1768
Coldengham, New York
Store of Cadwallader Colden, Jr.

250 years ago today... the store was closed (as usual) on Sunday!

250 years ago today was a Sunday. Colden's store was not open on Sundays. The DayBook covers a period of 450 days from August 1767 until November 1768. Eliminating Sundays leaves 386 possible days for transactions. The DayBook had entries on 380 of those 386 indicating that there were few occasions of "vacation" or "disaster" during this period.

On Sundays, Colden worshiped with the Episcopals. It would be another two years before the structure known as St. Andrews Epicopal Church would be completed. The community had a large Dutch population who worshipped in the Dutch Reformed church. Members who lived on the east side of the Wallkill River would also need to wait two years for their own church house referred to as the Dutch Reformed Church at New Hurley. The Protestant majority largely worshiped at the Goodwill meetinghouse. The German community also had their own congregation. The importance of religious worship on Sunday appears to have been the reason for the store's Sunday closures.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ALMANAC! January 16, 1768 at the Colden Store, Coldengham, New York

Saturday January 16, 1768
Coldengham, New York
Store of Cadwallader Colden, Jr.

Ruben Weed buys a 1768 Almanack

250 years ago today only two persons visited the Colden Store. Maybe this was one of those blizzardy January days where it was better to stay at home. On average January 18th is the coldest day of the year in this area of New York. 1768 was a cold winter in America according to diaries of the time, but short and with less than normal snowfall.

This article is the second installment of a daily accounting of Colden Store transactions. Be sure you read the first installment for more of an introduction to the store. You should also read this article which appeared in the Journal of the Orange County Historical Society.

Adam Vispart (166-03) and Ruben Weed (166-04) purchased a few common items 250 years ago today: Linen, Cotton, Rum, and Pins. However, a couple of Weed's purchases are a bit more mysterious.

Weed purchased 3 pairs of heels. What these actually are and what they were used for will be in a future blog (if I figure it out.)

He also purchased an Almanack. There had only been about six purchases of Almanacks in the prior months by other patrons, so it appears to be somewhat of a luxury item. The literacy rate in this area is unknown, but  it contained many well-educated citizens and a Boys Academy (founded by Colden). Store items which indicate some literacy include the sale of Bibles and about 30 quires of paper (24 sheets in a quire) in the prior four months. On the other hand, despite the word "Almanack" printed in large letters on the item in question, the clerks consistently failed to spell it correctly. Or perhaps they were just following their habit of dropping vowels if they appeared late in a word...."Almanck."

At this date there were several Almanacks available in New York. These annual publications had been popularized by Benjamin Franklin who published his first "Poor Richard's" in 1732. New York City published at least four Almanacks targeted at New Yorkers: Poor Roger's (Roger More), Poor Thomas improved (Thomas More), New-York Pocket Almanack (Richard Moore), and Freeman's New-York Almanack (Frank Freeman).

It is likely that Ruben Weed purchased one of the four mentioned above. Copies of these appear to exist, but I could not find any on-line. The 1767 version of Roger's can be viewed on-line here:  It gives an idea of what Weed may have been reading by candle light 250 year ago tonight.

"Kind Reader....When I published my last year's Almanack the most gloomy prospect appeared, that ever threatened our American lands. --Slavery and impending ruin shook their baleful rods; the Stamp-Act..."

Monday, January 15, 2018

INTRO! January 15, 1768 at the Colden Store, Coldengham, New York

Friday January 15, 1768
Coldengham, New York
Store of Cadwallader Colden, Jr.

For the next few weeks I will be writing a daily blog on "what happened 250 years ago on this date at the Colden Store." The store was in what is today the Town of Montgomery, New York. The exact location of the store is not known, but it is believed to have been on the Colden Estate as the records of the store have page headings of "Coldengham." Colden had just built a new home at about this date. The ruins of this home are visible at 17K and Stone Castle Road.  Perhaps the store was close to that structure? (also see

A DayBook of the Store has been preserved in the New-York Historical Society. Volunteers have started to transcribe the DayBook. All of the names in the book have been transcribed and can be searched at  The transcription of the items purchased is still a work in progress. Those items give us a glimpse into the lives of the people who lived in this area before the War for Independence.

The store was not some small enterprise operated as a hobby. Monthly transactions included hundreds of gallons of rum and molasses, yards of fabric, pounds of lead/shot/gun powder, along with luxury items of handkerchiefs, bonnets, snuff/pipes, and even lottery tickets (no joke). On the other side of the ledger the store bought wheat, flaxseed, honey, walnuts, hogs, skins, hats, and leather from the locals. Colden must have maintained almost a daily cartage from his store to the docks at Newburgh/New Windsor to maintain this trade.

On Friday, January 15, 1768, 250 years ago today, the store had nine customers. In at least two cases, the customer was represented by his son, and in another two cases by a neighbor. (See below.  You can do the search yourself here.)

If you know the 18th century history of this area of New York, you many recognize a few of the names. McClaughrey was a colonel during the war and married into the Clinton family. Gallatian was an influential farmer whose 1798 map of the area hangs in the Montgomery Town Center. The Graham family was also influential, many of whom were officers in the militia. A few sided with the British in the war to come.

The image above is a transcription of the purchases of Josiah Talket (Talcott) (ID=165-02). Benjamin Wood was the person in the store on his behalf. Both items, silk thread and Buckram fabric, were likely used to make clothes for his family.  I have found no instances of clothes (other than hats) being sold back to the store. If you are not familiar with some of the names of items sold at the store, I maintain a dictionary here.

John McClaughrey (165-03) was a carpenter, so his purchase of brads and nails (see above) is not surprising. Rum was one of the most common purchases at the Colden Store. In the prior four months, Colden had sold over 400 gallons of rum.  There were two types:  Y Rum and W Rum, the second being more expensive, but consumed in almost equal quantity. More on rums in a future blog.

The image below show purchases of Carskadan, Henyon, and Gallatian.

Gun powder, lead, and shot were common items purchased at the store. This ammunition was undoubted used in militia drills as well as for hunting. A few deer skins were sold to the store.

Robert Graham (166-02) wins the prize for most items purchased...10. (See below) His selection includes many of the favorites that were bought again and again at the store.

Although rum was a popular item, the community spent much more on sewing goods such as the fabrics, buttons, and mohair purchased by Graham. Tea was more expensive and yet much more popular than coffee. A pound of tea was 7 shillings, more than the price of a days labor. Sugar and molasses were also common items. Domestic rum or beer manufacture is a likely use.

If you are still puzzled by Shalloon and Buckram you can go to DayBook Dictionary or wait until a future blog.

On a personal note, my 5th great grandfather lived in this area and shopped at this store. On this date he was about 33 years old. He probably never imagined on this date that he would live another 60 years. According to family tradition (in otherwords this is probably not true ;-)) he died 190 years ago today, January 15, 1828.

Monday, November 13, 2017

DNA of Jemima Campbell Tice (daughter of Joel Campbell, 1735-1828) - A match in North Carolina

As many of you are aware, I have been on the search for the real identity of the mother of Joel’s children. See my earlier post.  One route that has intrigued me is the use of mtDNA. You should read the prior articles for the details, but the gist is this:

Pieces of mtDNA are passed on from mother to daughter virtually unchanged for several generations.  Therefore any maternal descendants of Joel’s wife will carry the same mtDNA signature as she did.  In fact, so would any maternal descendants of Joel’s wife’s sisters or of her mother’s sisters. If a descendant of one of Joel’s wife’s sisters or maternal aunts could be found, that would lead to more info about the mother of Joel’s children.

The first challenge to this route is finding a maternal descendant who would willing submit for mtDNA testing and share the results. That descendant has been found and I will call her Cousin C.  You can read about Cousin C here.

The second challenge is to find an mtDNA match.  FamilyTreeDNA provides this service. Because the testing is relatively new, not many people have been tested. So far only one person has been an exact match to Cousin C. A second person is a match with a genetic distance of 1.  Eight more are matches with a genetic distance of  2. Because we are looking for a recent common ancestor, a very close genetic distance is desired.

The third challenge is getting the maternal genealogy of the match. Unfortunately the exact match (0 genetic distance) provided no genealogy for the maternal line. That is pretty common. People tend to research their surnames so the trees tend to be lop-sided towards the paternal lines. Maiden names fade into history.

Recently, I became impatient for the ideal match: one that had close genetic distance and a well-researched maternal line.  So...I decided to do someone else’s maternal genealogy. I was surprised that it was relatively easy. I did rely on the genealogy of others, but every link in the relationship is supported by at least one primary source.

The FamilyTreeDNA person who is an exact match is presumably still alive, so I will not list the name given on FamilyTreeDNA. I will refer to that person as Cousin M.  Cousin M’s mother and her maternal ancestors are given below:

Cousin M is the daughter of...
Ida Mae Smethers 1922-2005 daughter of...
Emma A. Hill 1897-1931  daughter of...
Sarah Ida Holcombe 1877-1953  daughter of...
Martha Ann Britt 1846-1924  daughter of...
Dicey Ann Turnage 1815-1866  daughter of...
Sarah Ann Wade 1785-1849  daughter of...

The good news about Cousin M’s maternal line is that it remains in the U.S. That gives me some confidence that no mistake has been made in the genealogy of Cousin C. If the maternal line of Cousin M had immigrated to the US after 1750, it is likely that I had somehow erred in determining the genealogy of Cousin C (ie that she is not really a maternal descendant of a woman who lived in NJ in the 1750s).

The bad news is that Cousin M’s maternal line leads to North Carolina.  I was hoping I could trace the line to New Jersey where Joel’s wife had lived...and maybe that will still happen.

In conclusion, the easy genealogy work is done.  Now I need to dig deep into the Wades of North Carolina and how they got there. I am encouraged because....

1) It appears Sarah Ann Wade’s father is Obediah Wade (mother yet unknown). Sarah Ann was supposedly born in Duplin, NC in 1785 and Obediah was living there as early as 1800.

2) Wade was a common name in Newark where Joel and his wife lived....IN FACT on the 1764 Ball map that shows Joel’s home near what is now Livingston, NJ and was then known locally as Canoe Brook, shows two Wade homes, Samuel and Nathaniel.

1764 Ball Map showing Joel's home and homes of the Wade family. Dark lines are the branches of the Canoe Brook after which the area got its name.

3) A 1790 militia formed in Canoe Brook, NJ contained a Lt. Obediah Wade. Clearly this could not be the same Obediah who was in North Carolina at the time? Or could it be the birthplace of Sarah Ann is incorrect with the move from NJ to NC occurring circa 1795?

All of this is speculation at this point, but I am optimistic that this route will turn up some clues to the identity of Joel’s wife. The ideal find would be to identify Sarah Ann Wade’s maternal grandmother as a “Leonard.” That would give additional credence to the traditional identity of the mother of Joel’s children being Nancy Leonard.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Are Campbells "Immigrants?"

"We're all immigrants," declared former President Obama during a townhall in Florida in 2015. That phrase, or some variant on it, has been spoken for centuries for a variety of purposes

Barque at the Port of Leith, Scotland where Robert Campbell embarked for the British colony of New Jersey.

First let me say that this is obviously a phrase whose recent purposes are political. The phrase plucks at the emotional truth that we all have roots elsewhere if we go back far enough in time. Only a fool would be tempted to try to respond to it rationally. I am that fool.

The Oxford dictionary defines an immigrant as "a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country."

I am fairly sure that I have never lived permanently in a foreign country, so I am not an immigrant. Therefore the above statement ("We're all immigrants") is not factually accurate (as most political slogans).

A common variant is "We are all descendants of immigrants." I like to look at this phrase in a statistical fashion. Consider how many ancestors you have from twenty generations ago (17th g-grandparents). If you do the math, each one of us has over one million 17th great-grandparents. If a "generation" is about 30 years, they lived in the 14th century. There is a good chance one or more of those million, migrated from one "location" to another. Statistically, the response to "We are all descendants of immigrants" should be "duh" or "so what."

There is one caveat to the above. "Country" is a fairly recent concept in the millions of years of human existence. A country is usually defined as a geographical area with common government. If the definition is expanded to include "kingdom" or "tribe," the concept is a bit older. Still, it is likely that early ancestors migrated as families or tribal units to "non-countries" and would have considered themselves "settlers," not "immigrants."

In British colonial America, did inhabitants consider themselves in a "foreign country?" People of British origin, who made up 90% of the population, did not! They were not immigrants, they were settlers.

Our Robert Campbell (grandfather of Joel) came to colonial America in 1685, not to a foreign country, but to a colony of the kingdom he was a subject of. Therefore, he did not come as an immigrant.

When the "country" of the United States was formed, Robert was long dead.  His grandson, Joel, was living in what would shortly be the State of New York (vs. Province of New York). He probably did not care if he was called a "Settler" or an "Immigrant" or a "Yorker" or a "Rebel," but as a third generation American, this land was his home. Interestingly, he continued to move from place to place with his extended family, mimicking the tribal migrations of centuries past.

Yes, I am a fool, but not foolish enough to try to answer the title question: "Are Campbells Immigrants." We are not a homogenous group, each of us descending from a different set of one million 17th great-grandparents. Each of us has a unique answer.