The Annotation — The Expense Account of Two 1830s Cattle Drovers

Yesterday’s transcription, The Expense Account of Two 1830s Cattle Drovers, offered a fascinating glimpse into the partnership between my great to the third grandfather, John P. Minor, and Lot Lantz.  As with my checkbook today, I reviewed the ledger’s figures with a scattered focus.  Does all of this accounting add up?  Meh!  Close enough!

The real family dirt was in the places named: Bull Town; William Brown’s farm in Preston County, Virginia; Caremont Tavern.  Where did these fellas travel?  How did they get the cattle from point A to point B?  Where was point A?

Both John P. Minor and Lot Lantz were residents of Greene County, in the far southwest corner of Pennsylvania; their names and place of residence appear in multiple federal censuses and several family papers housed in my Minor Satchel File.  Bull Town is in what is now known as Braxton County, West Virginia and Preston County is just to the north and east of Braxton County. What connected southwest Pennsylvania and mid-state (West) Virginia in 1832?

Rivers.

Mail routes.

Maps!

From the collection of David Rumsey Historical Maps

Every map I have located for the first half of the nineteenth century includes the southwest corner of Pennsylvania in the map of Virginia.  The water ways, rail roads and roads connected the western counties of Virginia to Pennsylvania forming strong economic and cultural ties for many decades.

The Monogehela River and its tributary, the Cheat River, may have been one means of traveling into Preston County.  Or perhaps Minor and Lantz drove cattle down the one horse sulkey road from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania to Morgantown, (West) Virginia to Kingswood, Preston County, (West) Virginia.

At Kingswood the two drovers could have traveled on the Three Fork Road, the day’s interstate highway.  That 2 horse stage coach road would take the men and their cattle through Bridgeport to Clarksburg, Harrison County, (West) Virginia. From that point smaller roads, just one horse sulkey wide, would connect the businessmen with markets in Bull Town.

Travel through the mountains of western Virginia must have been arduous.  I am still trying to wrap my brain around the concept of driving 22 head of cattle or 145 head of cattle along roads shared with mail coaches, farmers and peddlers.  Did they use dogs to help move their merchandise along? Where did they stop to water and feed their cattle?  How long was the average drive?

Cattle drovers were often men of substance in their communities, helping farmers move their animals to distant markets.  John P. Minor was just one of these businessmen, and I am grateful that his descendants have kept the details of his transactions.

Amanuensis Monday: The Expense Account of Two 1830′s Cattle Drovers

A hearty thank you to John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch, creator of Amanuensis Monday, for the gentle nudge to keep transcribing those family documents.

The yellowed paper was creased and worn, but the 179 year old ink was as black as the note I penned last week to my daughter.

20th of September 1832
 
John P Minor has Money on hand
of the 2nd drove————————————————————–$2118.50
 
out of this sum we owe to Bank
       now ———————————————————$800.00 
      To Wm Gray————————————————-$103.00
      To Coburn —————————————————$74.00 
      To Brown } Sandy Creek ——————————–$485.00
………………………………………………………………………..$1462.00  $1462.00
………………………………………………………………………………………..$656.00

Minor shoes and whip $243…
and a settlement with D South may change the
matter a little there items to  ?  hereafter.  
 
Lot Lantz (signature)
                                                                         
John P Minor (signature)
 
 
 
 
 A note in the margin was added on 21st September 1832 declaring the debts paid. 
The author turned the paper upside down to further document his accounting:
 
 
 
Sale of 145 hed (sic) cattle to Rogers
2nd drove 10th Sept 1832 for—————————$2125.00
3 sold on the road———————————————-45.00
1 ditto ————————————————————13.00
2 ditto sold that were left out of the first drove and 2 left again and drove which equals the 2 first————————————————21.00
—————————————————————–$2204.00
money counted $2118.50
had when started—20.00
———————$2138.60
 
money owe to bank————————————$800
To Brown————————————————–485
To Wm Gray———————————————-103
To Coburn————————————————-74
…………………………………………………………….$1462
 
 
 
 
The settling up of affairs was continued on the back of the document:
 
 
 
 
Preston County V_a  at Wm Browns
 
 
September 27th 1832
     This day the within amount has been examined and settled and the partner shift money on hands stands thus. John P. Minor pays Wm Gray $3 and has fifty three dollars and 43 1/2 cents Lot Lantz has five hundred dollars. 
 
Lot Lantz (signature)
John P Minor (signature)
 
15th of October 1832 at Cases tavern in the Evening out of the above $500 Lot Lantz has paid for cattle at and near Bull Town 22 head and expense in all ——$190.62 1/2
Paid bills up untill this evening including all expenc since at Bull Town and to Walter Lurees paid by L Lantz—————————————————-$19.06 1/4
$209.68 3/4  taken from the above $500———leaves…………….$209.68 3/4
Lot Lantz indebted———————————————————-290.31 3/4
at Caremont taven John P Minor put into the expence funds the above $53.43 3/4 and Lot Lantz has put in to the expence funds $40.31 1/4 cents which leaves Lantz indebted $250.00
and Minor is square on this paper 
 
Lot Lantz (signature)
John P Minor (signature)*
 
 
*The signature of John P Minor is consistent with the handwriting of the name within the document, leading this researcher to conclude that the author of The Expence Account of Two Cattle Drovers is none other than John P. Minor.