Stephen’s Miscellaneous Expenses in 1869

A person's miscellaneous expenses tell us much about their life. It's a digital archeological journey for me. Certainly, some from Stephen's 1869 list are a mystery, however, the following items are interestingly useful for the time.

While the purchase of a door key is straightforward, why would he need a jug for tomatoes? Did he keep those in his room? Did the young man who grew up on a farm have a garden plot or friends in town that supplied him with the fruit? Certainly, those are vone of his favorite foods since he purchases a container to hold them.

Electricity was not common place until 1925. Thomas Edison made the electric light available in 1882 so, in 1869, Stephen's lamp fixtures parts are needed to keep his personal kerosene lamp or the house installed gas lighting in working condition. 

Stephen travels a fair amount for a young man of little means and he buys a trunk and satchel. The satchel can double as a book bag.

His purchase of a subscription to the newspaper allows him to stay up to date on local, national and world happenings. The Brockport Republic includes his name in several articles including Civil War, choral, and fraternal societies. 

Finally, Stephen's pocket watch is kept in good repair. A watch is critical for keeping track of his busy schedule of classes, meetings and appointments. The American Watch Company and The National Watch company were the two manufacturers of watches in the United States. It is most likely he had one of those and less likely a more expensive European or handcrafted watch. 

One of his brothers did become a jeweler, at an unknown date, and this could be the reason a farmer was able to secure one. More detail is needed to verify information on his brother.

 

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