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John McIntire farm ledger

Identifier: MSS 0096-Item 0016

Scope and Contents

This ledger was kept by John McIntire between 1809 and 1851 to record the accounts for his farm in New Castle County, Delaware, or Chester County, Pennsylvania.

The ledger consists of farmer John McIntire’s accounts with neighbors, family members, and business associates between 1809 and 1851. Several of the pages at the front of the volume have been torn out, leaving fragments with dates and partial accounts. McIntire utilized a double-entry system to keep accounts, recording debts and credits for a particular individual on facing pages. On one of the torn pages, McIntire noted that unknown individual accrued $11.00 in credit for making a coffin for his son Samuel in 1816. These accounts highlight the wide variety of goods McIntire exchanged with neighbors and business associates, including produce, livestock, apple whiskey, meat, and textiles. While some parties made payments to McIntire in cash, many accrued credit by working for him harvesting crops, dressing and hackling flax, spinning yarn and thread, and doing repairs. Others paid debts and earned credit by doing tailoring work or crafting farm equipment. Mary Steel earned credit by boarding McIntire’s daughter Eliza while Samuel Sharp, Jr., paid part of his debt to McIntire by training his son Allen in surveying. McIntire frequently noted that account holders were traveling to Wilmington, Delaware.

McIntire occasionally noted the race of his creditors and debtors, for instance, describing Richard Gibson as “a man of colour.” A man identified only as “Negroe Pink” received corn and a horse from McIntire in payment in exchange for his work planting and harvesting, spinning tow yarn, quarrying stone, and providing McIntire with a quart of French brandy.

McIntire kept formal accounts with several family members, including his sons Albert G. and James M. McIntire, who were described as acting “in Co.” in entries dating from 1829 to 1833. On the last page of the ledger, McIntire wrote “My son Andrew McIntire went to live with Doctor John Bay the 20th of March 1848. My son Albert G. McIntire moved from Delaware into Pennsylvania the 22nd of March 1848.” An inscription below this reads “John McIntire departed this life July 18th 1853.”

This volume is bound in brown leather over boards. There is a tooled border around the front and back covers and the initials “I.M.I.” are handwritten in black ink at the top of the front cover. There are five raised bands on the spine and a red paper label with the word “DAYBOOK” in gilt lettering. The volume contains 314 pages of laid paper with vertical columns for keeping accounts. The entries are handwritten in black ink. Many of the pages feature the watermark “J. WEBB” or the Britannia watermark.


  • Creation: 1809-1851


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical and Historical Note

The keeper of this account book was John McIntire, a farmer residing in New Castle, Delaware, and Chester County, Pennsylvania. McIntire was born in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, to Andrew McIntire and Jane (Braden) McIntire around 1765. He married a woman named Mary Allen, who died in 1821. The 1830 Federal Census gives McIntire’s residence as New Castle County, Delaware. However, in 1850, he was living in New Garden, Chester County, Pennsylvania with his sons Allen, Thomas, and Albert, and his daughter Eliza McIntire. John McIntire died in New Garden on July 18, 1853, and was buried at the White Clay Creek Church Cemetery in Newark, Delaware.

Many of the pages in this volume feature the watermark “J. WEBB” or the Britannia watermark. The “J. WEBB” watermark was used by Joseph Webb, who owned a paper mill in Kennett Township, Pennsylvania, from 1798 to 1821. It is likely that the paper in this volume was produced at this mill.

Bidwell, John. American Paper Mills, 1690-1832: A Directory of the Paper Trade with Notes on Products, Watermarks, Distribution Methods, and Manufacturing Techniques. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2013: p. 64.Pennsylvania, Deaths, 1852-1854 (accessed via on June 13, 2018) 1830 Federal Census (accessed via on June 13, 2018) 1850 Federal Census (accessed via on June 13, 2018) Chester County, Pennsylvania, Death Records, 1852-1855 (accessed on June 13, 2018) derived from the collection.


1 volume : 314 pages ; 31 cm


This ledger was kept by John McIntire between 1809 and 1851 to record the accounts for his farm in New Castle County, Delaware, or Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired, 1940

Related Materials

This item forms part of MSS 0096 Account Books and Ledgers collection.

Shelving Summary

Item 0016: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

Processing Information

Processed by Marrette Pearsall, October 2012. Further processing and encoding by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, June 2018.

Finding aid for John McIntire farm ledger
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2018 June 13
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA