Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: 1832-1873. 1/2 leather. This half-leather account book with wall-paper covered boards measures 8” x 13”. It is almost entirely filled and contains approximately 185 pages of indexed entries as twenty laid-in receipts, bills, notes, etc. The account book and its pages are generally in nice shape; there are some dampstains toward the rear of the book (the last dozen leaves are the worst), but there does not appear to be any active mildew. Some of the laid-in items show wear.
James' father, William Brison (Bryson) Sr., immigrated to the United States in 1783 and established a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which online genealogical records suggest the men ran together.
A note, that may have come from an earlier account book, is loosely affixed the first page; it reads: “William Bryson’s Book A Native of Ireland Arrived in the United States of America November 7th in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven hundred and Eighty Three”
A book plate inside the front cover reads, “The Property of James Brison”.
There are several entries in the book that reference William Brison and his wife, Marthe (Martha) Brison, and there are several entries that recorded loans to and payments by several family members.
One laid-in item is a tax notice from the Lancaster County’s Dunmore Township.
Ledger entries reference payments for planting corn, hauling, and spreading stones for “rode” work, mowing, cradling oats, binding, thrashing, hauling grain and dung, plowing, harvesting, husking corn, haymaking, carpentry, carding, purchasing livestock, etc.
They also record the selling of farm goods like wheat, potatoes, butter, cords of wood, corn, apples, cider, apple butter, hides, vinegar, brooms, as well as other items like panteloons, fur hats, tobacco, mackerel, candles, thimbles, and umbrellas.
Finally, there are two pages of recipes including “To kill Rats or Crows”, “Remedy for Ringworm”, “Cure for film in the eye of a horse or ox”, “Turkey red or scarlet” dye, “Lamp Wicks”, “Blood Stoping”, “Cure for Collick”, “Egg Cakes”, “Cup Cakes”, and “Ginger Cookies”.. Very good. Item #009785
There are entries at Find-A-Grave for William (1751-1846) and Martha (1766–1839) Brison, noting they were buried at the county’s Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in New Holland. J.H Beer’s Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has an entry for one of the Brison family descendants that briefly mentions William. Very little other information about William or James is readily available, however it appears that their farm was a busy and prosperous place that required hired hands and may also have served as a general store.
A fine record of a prosperous 19th-century Pennsylvania farm started by an Irish immigrant in 1793.