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Title [Account and docket books] [manuscript]: Jackson County, Mich., 1835-1862
Author Cross, James (b.1795)
Document Type Financial Record
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Four account and docket books kept by James Cross between 1835 and 1862. The account book for 1835-1837, entitled "James Cross’ day book no. 1," records his daily business transactions as general storekeeper in Pulaski, Jackson County, Michigan, and provides an accurate picture of items needed by pioneers in the Michigan Territory (which in 1834 included Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and most of the Dakotas). Cross sells items such rutabaga and onion seed, matches, 100 pounds of iron, gun powder, thread, calico, Irish linen, muslin, buttons, lace, spectacles, suspenders, tobacco, butter, coffee, tallow and candle wick, camphor, bed cord, boots, vinegar, and whiskey. Following the entry for Oct. 31, 1836, Cross notes that he and his wife, Mary Wilbur Cross, decided to separate "on account of incompatibility of disposition"; the separation was mutually agreeable, and their property was equally divided. Also of interest is a handwritten glossary of Indian words and their English equivalents. The second book--1835-1841--also records the names of Cross’ customers, dates of sales, itemized lists of goods and services purchased, along with notes on how and when the accounts were settled. Cross documents the amounts he earned from the Township of Pulaski for inspecting schools and assessing teachers in Spring Arbour, Jackson, and Concord, preparing school reports and delivering them to Jackson, making out tax assessment rolls and election notices, and tallying election returns. As overseer of the poor, Cross is paid by the township to visit the needy, and supervise sale of contracts for provision of their board. As justice of the peace, Cross keeps a record of the cases he hears, including names of parties, dates, nature of complaints, and disposition of cases; in the margins he tabulates the fees he collects for performing legal services, such as hearing cases, serving summonses, writing deeds, and performing marriages. Notebook for 1841-1852 contains similar records, as well as the accounts Cross keeps for newspaper subscriptions. He lists subscribers to some thirty newspapers--including the Cincinnati columbian; Morning star (Dover, N.H.); Monthly literary miscellany (Detroit, Wis.); Detroit free press; New York evangelist; Primitive expounder (Lansing, Mich.); Michigan farmer; Arthur’s home gazette (Philadelphia, Pa.); Ladies repository (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Youth’s cabinet (New York, N.Y.), to name but a few--along with the pay schedule for each newspaper, subscription date, amount due yearly, and status of customer’s account. Cross’ duties as justice of the peace seem to have ended with the notebook for July 1, 1853 and Feb. 3, 1862, because there are no records of his docket, except for a deed and insurance contract briefly described on the front endpaper. He continues to operate his store, and keep accounts of store charges. He also serves as postmaster and banker to his customers.
Names Cross, Mary Wilbur
Places Pulaski, Spring Arbour, Jackson, Concord, Jackson County, Michigan, United States
Keywords account, money, financial transactions, commerce, business, goods, expenses, pinoeer, supplies, marriage, family life, property, translation, language, school, education, politics, law, court, deed, tax, newspaper
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters; Trade and Indian Economies
Culture Area Northeast
Additional Information Cross was a school teacher in Salisbury (N.Y.), peddler, and after 1835, teacher in Concord, Michigan. Also general storekeeper, justice of the peace, and "overseer of the poor" between 1835 and 1862.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT folio Case MS 5344, and VAULT oversize Ayer MS 3240
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue