Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 598, Jesse Knowles (fl. 1805-1825) and John F. Knowles (fl. 1830-1873), Merchants (Warren County, NJ)
Account books, 1805-1873 (Bulk dates: 1806-1818 and 1840-1843), 0.2 linear feet / 2 volumes
Call Number: MG 598
Two account books used by the merchants Jesse Knowles and John F. Knowles, both of Knowlton Township, Warren County, New Jersey.
Gift of Pennsylvania State University, Ogantz Campus, 1964.
The Knowles family resided in Knowlton Township, Warren County, New Jersey. The relation between Jesse and John F. Knowles is unclear, though Jesse was probably from an older generation and therefore was possibly Johns father or uncle. Both men seem to have been merchants.
This collection was the gift of Pennsylvania State University, Ogantz Campus in 1964. The title of the collection was changed from Knowles Family to Jesse and John F. Knowles at the time of processing.
This collection consists of two account books, the first used by Jesse Knowles from 1805-1825 and the second by John F. Knowles from 1830-1873.
The inscription on the inside page of the first volume reads, "Ledger 3, 1805 Jesse Knowles Account book," and seems to have been one of many that tracked Knowles sales. The bulk dates for this volume are 1806-1818 and its entries are divided into accounts which record date, item purchased, and price paid. Typical goods purchased include whiskey, coffee, sugar, butter, candles, rum, and turnips. The account book has debit and credit pages, an index in the front, and a few torn or missing pages.
John F. Knowles account book is less comprehensive and seems to have been used by a number of different people. Though the volume runs from 1830-1873, its bulk dates are 1840-1843. The book is inscribed on the inside with "John F. Knowles, his Account Book, book Bought of Blair & Adams centerville, December 28 1833, price 87 1/2 cts., Double Entry, Knowlton Township Warren County, New Jersey." The front and back inside covers also contain the doodled names of Benjamin and Robert Smith. It is unclear what the relationship between the Knowles and Smith families was except that Robert and Benjamin Smith were also from Warren County.
Entries in this volume are divided into accounts and through both debit and credit sides, track date, purchase/payment, and price. Typical items purchased include thread, shot, oil, and coffee. The volume is indexed and contains a large account in the name of Jesse Knowles.
The rest of the writing in the volume seems to be the work of Benjamin and Robert Smith. Their writing starts around the page labeled 29 and is mostly made up of doodles dating from the 1860s. Their names are written over and over along with such sentences as "O Lord forgive a sinful child whose heart " At the end of these pages are some harvesting account records of Robert Smith from 1873. These entries track such jobs as ploughing, carpentering, and harvesting. There are only three pages of harvesting accounts, leaving the second half of the volume empty.
Processed by Kim Charlton, December 1999 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society