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Determining the Facts

Reading 3: Waterford's Mill Ledger

Nathan Walker purchased the Waterford mill in 1848 from Thomas Phillips. He continued to record his accounts in Phillips's mill ledger. A Quaker, he did not believe in honoring Roman gods through the common names of the months, so he referred to the months by numbers. For example, "1st month" meant January and "6th month" meant June.

Of special interest is the variety of products produced by the mill. The plaster mentioned is ground limestone, which was spread on fields to improve the soil. A "cord" is a unit of measurement of firewood: 4' x 4' x 8' or 128 cubic feet.

1849 Nathan Walker
1 Mo 1st to hauling two hundred and seventy two barrels of flour to the river at different times at twenty cents a barrel
to hauling three tons of plaster
$54.00


3.00

1 Mo 12th to four Cords and 3/4 of Wood 14.50
1 Mo 20th to one Cord of Wood 3.00
1 Mo 25th to one Cord of Wood for the poor 3.00
2 Mo 17th to 3/4 [Cord] of hickory 2.61 1/2
2 Mo 27th to 21 hundred and 66 pounds of hay 10.83
2 Mo 27th to one load of Wood for J. Moore 3.00
2 Mo 27th to one Cord of Wood for the poor 3.00
4 Mo 26th to Hauling forty-nine barrels of flour
to the big spring
9.80
4 Mo 26th to hauling three tons of plaster from
the big spring
3.00
6 Mo 20th to hauling a load of planks from the river 4.00
7 Mo 1st to hauling twenty Barrels of flour to the
Point of Rocks
4.00
7 Mo 10th to hauling twenty Barrels of flour to the
Point of Rocks
4.00
8 Mo 20th to hauling twenty Barrels of flour to the
Point of Rocks
4.00

Questions for Reading 3

1. The wheat that was planted, mowed, and threshed in Reading 2 has been ground into its finished product, flour, in this reading. Why is this flour being shipped out of Waterford?

2. How many barrels of flour were hauled to Point of Rocks from the 1st of January to the 20th of August, 1849?

3. Point of Rocks was a town not much larger than Waterford. Why did the people of Waterford haul flour 10 miles and ferry it across the Potomac River to Point of Rocks? (If needed, refer to Map 1.)

4. If three tons of plaster costs $3 to haul, and a "load of planks" costs $4 to haul, calculate the probable weight of a "load of planks."

5. If the hauling rate was $1 per ton, and it costs $4 to haul 20 barrels of flour, calculate the weight of a barrel of flour.

Reading 3 was compiled from the mill ledger of Thomas Phillips, courtesy of descendant Anne Stabler Parsons. Copies are available at Waterford Foundation Archives and Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, Virginia.

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