EDITORIAL - Prices in 1786
Published June 17, 1897, in The Observer, Fayetteville, NC
E. J. Hale Editor and Proprietor - E. J. Hale, Jr., Business Manager

Mr. Deming Writes of the Past

Shared by Christine Meinert Spencer    Posted September 12, 2008 by Myrtle Bridges

Our friend Mr. Gurdon S. Deming* sends us a stray leaf from an old journal of 1786, in which the 
accounts are kept in pounds, shillings and pence. Mr. Deming calls our attention to the penmanship, 
which, though done with a quill pen-that was before the invention of steel or gold pens-is singularly 
beautiful. There appears upon it the names of Donald Morrison, J. Bogle, J. Cameron, Colin McClennan, 
Estate of Robert Bogle, Kenith Murchison, Lewis Bowal, Mrs. Boyd, John McGrigor, Boat Carolina, Alex. 
Murchison, Robert Mitchell, and John Hay (from whom Hay Street gets its name, and who was the father-
in-law of William Gaston.     Editor, Hale

Mr. Deming writes: "I have reduced some of the articles priced, to "Federal Money," which you may 
see in pencil in margin, needles and pins 50c. per paper, rum 75c per quart, wine $1.25 per bottle, 
molasses per gallon $1.25, salt per bushel $1.75, sugar 45c per pound, flour $14 per barrel, etc. 
etc. "It appears that rum, brandy and wine were about as cheap as they are now."

"Please note the penmanship. No steel or gold pens in those days."

1786 was the year in which the various suggestions of a change in the old Articles of Confederation 
between the States came to a head in the invitation of the Virginia Legislature to all the States to 
send commissioners to take that subject under consideration. There was at that time, no "Federal money," 
as the Federal government had not been formed, and the authority to coin money contained in the Articles 
of Confederation had been used-at least not to the extent of creating a coinage distinctively American.

* September 29, 1846 Issue Fayetteville Observer: Married at Springfield, Mass., on the 16th instant, Mr. Gurdon S. Deming, of this
town, to Miss Harriet Munn, of Springfield. (November 29, 2009 - Bridges)
The 1870 Census of Cumberland, Cross Creek shows Gurdon S. Deming 47, farm dealer, b. NC; Harriet J. 41, b. NY;
Alice Jane 22, b. Mass.; Mary H. 14, b. NC; Julia B. 9, b. NC; Frederick 7, b. NC.
The 1900 Census of Cumberland shows 'Grit' S. Deming b. Sep 1822, 77, wid. alone.
"G.S. Deming or Gordon Deming was a regular contributor on a wide variety of things--political, small
historical notes on such things as his remembering Wm. Henry Harrison, etc. I believe he had a brother named
Frank who appears to have moved to Wilmington, Delaware but came back often to visit."     Source: Christine Meinert Spencer of Chicago, IL

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