A Page From Mr. Oleson’s, I mean Mr. McDermott’s, Ledger

On August 27, 1883 William Duggan of Tara sold 13 dozen eggs to Mr. McDermott for $1.62.  That seems like a lot of eggs.

I know I shouldn’t rely on a TV series from the 1970s as my frame of reference, but on Little House on the Prairie, Caroline Ingalls would walk into town with a basket of eggs over her arm to sell to Mrs. Oleson at the mercantile.  If 13 dozen eggs only fetched $1.62 in 1883, then Ma’s measly dozen or so (whatever her little basket held) would have hardly put a dent in the Ingalls’ tab at Oleson’s Mercantile.  LHOTP took place ten years earlier than the McDermott ledger, so Caroline probably would have made about a dime.

It will be difficult, but I need to  refrain from making comparisons to LHOTP every time I look at the McDermott Store ledger.  Not all of my historical context comes from TV programs.

Back to McDermott’s.  Pork was a popular item at the store this day.  I had not noticed it in the ledger before, but Frank Casey picked up 16-1/2 pounds of pork, M. Chennery bought 24-1/2 pounds, 18-1/2 pounds for Michael O’Neil, and 22 pounds for Thomas O’Brien.

Of course there were also the usual purchases of assorted dry goods, tobacco, and lamp oil.  Something a little different – Stephan Owens of Tara (later of Clontarf) purchased 50-cents worth of black berries.

A note to Keith: an entry in the ledger reads, John Casey (Marysland).  I think this confirms what you thought about a previous John Casey entry.

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2 Comments

Filed under McDermott's General Store

2 responses to “A Page From Mr. Oleson’s, I mean Mr. McDermott’s, Ledger

  1. Regan

    How much was the pork? I was just wondering how many dozens of eggs you would have to sell to buy a pound of pork?

    • The pork was only 10-cents per pound. I am sure Mr. McDermott sold the eggs for more than he paid for them and he paid 12-1/2 cents per dozen. Do you remember how Ma would bring her eggs in the little basket and Harriet Oleson would quibble over the quality and how much she would give her?

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