Christopher Mason letter book  1780-1783, 1794-1795
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This ledger, kept by John L. Tillinghast between November 11, 1786, and June 11, 1789, contains 110 pages of financial records related to his New York distillery. Each entry documents transactions with a particular individual or company, with facing pages providing debits and credits. Tillinghast primarily sold rum, wine, and shrub, with rum usually priced by the barrel. His accounts also document payments for sugar, fruit juices, labor, and molasses. Though all of the accounts were written in New York, Tillinghast recorded dealings from business trips to Alexandria, Virginia (p. 2); Charleston, South Carolina (p. 4); Yorktown, Virginia (p. 20); and Providence, Rhode Island (p. 41). He also sent goods for "speculation," including a consignment of pimentos to Amsterdam (p. 46).

His accounts occasionally contain additional information, such as the names of consignment agents and ships' masters, the different prices of wine in New York and Charleston (p. 4), and transactions with a notary public in Yorktown (p. 20). Other accounts reflect the purchase of salt, cherry rum, and cordial (p. 17). Though he most frequently received payments in cash, he accepted sugar as exchange from Isaac Roosevelt (p. 9), allowed Henry Ort to pay for his liquor by working in the distillery (pp. 14 and 48), and accepted waived rent as payment from Henry Rutgers (p. 19).

Tillinghast did business with notable individuals, including:

  • Marinus Willett (p. 3)
  • Isaac Roosevelt (p. 9)
  • Doctor Malachi Treat (p. 10)
  • Henry Rutgers (p. 19)
  • George Clinton, Esquire (p. 37)

The account book also holds "stock accounts" on pages 1, 11, 25, 35, 40, and 47, as well as "commission accounts" on pages 6, 34, and 49.

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