A colonial merchant's ledger
A page from an original business ledger kept by Yorktown merchant William Nelson indicates that Mrs. Jane Vobe, a tavern operator in Williamsburg, owes him thirteen pounds for Hyson tea purchased on June 10, 1767. (The "Dr" preceding Vobe’s name stands for debtor.) Among the varied types of merchandise sold by Nelson were "Sattin Shoes," fabric by the yard, hooks, large millstones, and "Stirrup Leathers." The Nelson family business lasted for three generations, and its clientele included a number of ship's captains, merchants, and prominent individuals such as William Byrd III and Richard Henry Lee.