Cook Almy Ledgers, 1795-1836
The Cook Almy Ledgers collection consists of three ledgers and a daybook kept by Cook Almy (1765-1861), a white farmer based in Puncatest Neck in Tiverton, Rhode Island, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Almy's homestead farm was situated on the traditional lands of the Wampanoag (Wôpanâak) people, and many of the customers and employees documented in the ledgers are Wampanoag and/or African American.
The ledger entries pertain to the employment of workers who were involved in the operation of a grist mill, masonry and stone sales, lumbering, and spinning and weaving, as well as to Almy's activities as a landlord, raising livestock for sustenance, and selling corn, barley, and other grains. They also record his barters and trades with local pottery makers, coopers, leatherworkers, trunk makers, weavers, and other craftspeople. The ledgers contain dozens of interleaved receipts, business letters, documents, and notes related to Almy's business endeavours in New Bedford (Massachusetts), Little Compton, Providence, and Newport. There are also some notes about family genealogy written in the front of the journals.
Surnames that appear frequently as customers or employees include Abraham, Almy, Barker, Brooks, Brown, Burden/Borden, Cook, Coombs, Cornell, Cory, Elisha, Fish, Lake, Lawton, Manchester, Prince, Seabury, Shaw, Slocum, Tripp, Wilcox, Whitridge, and Wood. During this time period, many African Americans and Wampanoag people intermarried, and a number of these surnames are associated with multiethnic Indigenous families in the region.
Some names appearing in the ledgers that match those listed in Tiverton census records as people of color include Huldah Almy (a long-term employee), Peter Barker, Benjamin Cook, and Abraham Cook. The name David Lake also appears numerous times and is likely the carpenter David Lake (1761-1850) who resided in Tiverton and worked for Paul Cuffe, an African American and Wampanoag merchant and shipbuilder.