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John Richardson receipt book and bankbook

Identifier: MSS 0096-Item 0023

Scope and Contents

These two volumes are the receipt book and bankbook of John Richardson of New Castle County, Delaware, kept between 1788 and 1801.

Richardson’s receipt book (Volume I) records his payments for various goods and services between May 30, 1788, and May 12, 1800. Richardson made several large payments to his sisters on behalf of their father’s estate and paid the county, road, and poor taxes on behalf of his mother’s estate following her death in 1793. In addition to the payment of taxes, the receipt book records payments for digging a necessary, putting up a fence, schooling Samuel Jefferis, and for the purchase of a large quantity of building materials. Richardson paid wages to several individuals, including Rebecca Williams. He later paid for Williams’ board and nursing “in her last illness” and paid for her coffin on behalf of her estate. While most people signed their name in the book, some made their mark. Individuals who transacted with Richardson include Joseph Shipley, John Hendrickson, Edward Robinson, Joseph Meredith, and Zachariah Garner.

Volume II contains Richardson’s transactions with the Bank of Delaware between March 5, 1796, and May 25, 1801. This small double-entry account book shows that Richardson was receiving dividends from several investments and writing checks to various individuals, including Joseph Tatnall and Henry Latimer.

Volume I is bound with marbled paper covers and contains 21 leaves of unlined laid paper with handwritten notations in black ink. A handwritten inscription in black ink on the inside of the front cover reads “Ex Libris—Johannis Richardson Receipt Book 1788.” Some of the leaves feature the watermark “TMW” or a dove with a branch. Volume II has a blue paper wrapper and contains 8 leaves of laid paper with vertical lines. There are handwritten notations in black ink on four of the leaves.


  • Creation: 1788 May 30-1801 May 25


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 Note

These account books were probably kept by John Richardson of New Castle County, Delaware. Richardson was born on October 31, 1753, to Robert Richardson and Sarah Shipley Richardson, members of the Quaker Meeting in Wilmington, Delaware. John Richardson’s father died in 1761 and his mother died in 1793, and it appears that he was the administrator for both their estates. His receipt book (Volume I) records payments to his sisters, Ann and Mary, out of their father’s estate. Richardson may have resided in Stanton, Delaware. An article in the Mirror of the Times and General Advertiser noted that Richardson died on his farm near Wilmington on November 23, 1800, and was buried at the Friends Meeting House Burial Ground. This suggests that the last few entries in his bankbook (Volume II), dated to 1801, were made by another party.

The leaves in Richardson’s receipt book feature the watermarks “TMW” and a dove with a branch. This paper was probably produced at Ivy Mills, located on the west branch of Chester Creek about twenty miles southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The mill was built by Thomas Wilcox in 1729 and was operated by his son Mark by or before 1767. Mark Wilcox introduced the “TMW” watermark in the final years of his father’s life and continued to use it after his death in 1779. Other identified documents with the dove watermark were produced around 1778 or 1779.

U.S. Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 (accessed via on June 22, 2018) “Death Notice.” Mirror of the Times and General Advertiser (Wilmington, DE), November 29, 1800. 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. Information derived from the collection.


2 volume


These two volumes are the receipt book and bankbook of John Richardson of New Castle County, Delaware, kept between 1788 and 1801.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired, 1955

Related Materials in this Repository

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

Shelving Summary

Item 0023: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

Processing Information

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

Finding aid for John Richardson receipt book and bankbook
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2018 June 22
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