Tag: Ledger

  1. Country store ledgers provide an intimate look at lives from the past

    Deborah McGee Ledger

    Long before the rise and decline of Piggly Wiggly and the A&P, before electronic cash registers and barcode scanners, and before the cash and carry business model, the country store was where people in Southern Appalachia bought their dry goods and sundries. Customers brought in their “greenbacks” (if they had them) and traded with the proprietor for needed items.

    If they didn’t have ready cash, they were often given credit and allowed to take what they needed. At some date in the future, the customer would pay off the debt with currency or goods the proprietor could sell to other customers: eggs, butter, bacon, mutton, firewood or whiskey. These transactions were usually recorded in the store keeper’s ledger book. Sometimes arranged by name, the entries recorded the date of the transaction, items purchased and their cost, and whether the payment was received in cash, credit or kind. Not only did the store ledger serve as the store keeper’s accounting system, but surviving volumes also provide a fascinating glimpse into the everyday lives of ordinary people.

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