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Berwick Register

October 28, 1914
Transcribed by Phil Vogler

A Hundred Years Ago.

(We believe that the Charles Dodge in the story below was the Charles Dodge, b. 18 Sept 1773 and married to Mehitable Gates. If so, then he has the following ancestry: Stephen Dodge/Blanche Shadwin; Tristram Dodge/Sarah Hawxhurst; Jeremiah Dodge/unknown; William Dodge/Sarah George; Tristram, Dodge/Anne Mansfield - The article states that Charles Dodge was the great grandfather of the Ambrose Dodge in this article. We have an Ambrose Dodge as the son of Charles, but we have no information on any other Ambrose Dodges in this line.)

As everybody is now talking of the cost of living, our townsman, Ambrose Dodge, has been looking up some interesting figures in an old book in his possession. This book is nearly 120 years old and was the day book of the late Charles Dodge, great-grandfather of its present owner. The earliest entry is dated 1795 and the items cover a period of 25 years.

A barrel of flour sold to Timothy Parker in 1810 is charged at _3 10s. which we understand would be equal to $14 as money was then exchanged. Other entries for flour were at a somewhat lower figure.

Wheat was sold at 10s. or $2.00 per bushel in 1802 and for 9s or $1.80 in 1806. In 1812 peas went to 10s. Corn in 1806 brought 8s 6d or nearly $1.70. In 1811 oats retailed at 4 shillings or 80 cents per bushel. Potatoes in 1803 were charged 2 shillings or 40 cents a bushel and at the same time butter at 2 shilling or 40 cents per pound. But in 1823 butter sold at 10 pence or 16 to 17 cents a pound. In the last named years the price of veal was 3 pence or about 5c per pound. In 1803 pork sold for 6d. about 9 cents, and a goose for 3s or 60 cents.

A barrel of herring is charged _1 10s or $6.00 in 1807. In 1803 Bohea tea cost 4s 6d or nearly 90 cents and in 1809 Susong tea 4s per pound. A pair of boots was charged _1 3s 4d or about $4.66 in 1806 and in 1811 a coffin is booked at _1. In 1806 and 1807 bricks are charged at $6.00 a thousand.

In 1806 Col. Samuel Bayard is charged $1.10 for a gallon of molasses, but he is credited with $1.20 a day as ship carpenter. Other workmen get $1.00 for mowing and about 66 cents for digging potatoes.

Another interesting entry is for 12s 2d or about $6.43 one year's schooling for one scholar to John Harris who is said to have taught from 1816 to 1820. But Mr. Harris is obliged to pay 60 cents a pound for his tobacco.

It is remarkable that 100 years should show so little change in the prices of articles of household use. Yet with oats at 80 cents a bushel, tea at 90 cents a pound, molasses at $1.10 a gallon and flour at $14.00 a barrel our great grandfathers got a hint of the high prices which were coming a century later. [Middleton Outlook]


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