JS’s Store Daybook A, , Hancock Co., Il., 12 Jan.–13 July 1842; handwriting of , , , , JS, and unidentified scribes; 314 pages, CHL.
In 1841, JS hired to construct a two-story brick building on Water Street in , Illinois. By the time a floor plan for the building was made, JS had decided to run a mercantile store on the first floor of the building. Construction had started by fall 1841, the building was completed by late December 1841, and the store opened for business on 5 January 1842. There are few extant records for the store. Aside from some loose accounts and other miscellaneous financial documents, the main surviving records are two large daybooks: Daybook A (January to July 1842) and Daybook B (June 1842 to July 1844). Notations in Daybook B indicate that store clerks kept a ledger, compiling the purchases listed in the daybooks under individuals’ names, but no ledger has been located for JS’s store in Nauvoo.
Daybook A, featured here, contains 315 pages of chronological entries for transactions at the store from 12 January to 13 July 1842. During this period, clerks and kept most of the store records, while younger clerks and occasionally wrote entries in the daybook as well. The clerks often used abbreviations, many of which were commonplace in the nineteenth century, such as placing a forward slash or line through the abbreviation for pounds (lb) or using the symbol @ to specify the cost of an individual item, for example “10 lbs of sugar @ 12 cents.” Other less common abbreviations also appear in this record. Clerks wrote “V.O.” to stand for “verbal order,” or a verbal promise to repay a debt, and they recorded the receipt of a written promise for repayment, or pay order, simply as “order.” Both kinds of orders were recognized as a form of payment in the daybooks. In a community like , with little currency, these verbal or written promises for repayment helped fill the ciruclation void.
Daybook A was used in the store until July 1842. After JS’s death it appears to have been in the possession of JS’s immediate family, and at some point, it was given to JS’s adopted daughter, . After she died, the Moffitt family, who were caring for Middleton at the end of her life, retained it. Ida E. Moffitt sent the daybook to Julia’s niece Julia P. Murdock Farnsworth in November 1926. Julia Farnsworth donated it to the Historian’s Office in February 1927.