The ledgers of Nathaniel and Sanborn Batchelder

Miniature image of Nathaniel Batchelder's ledger
The earliest page of the ledger
of Nathaniel Batchelder.
(Click for a full-sized image.)

Available in the Manuscripts and Archives section of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware are two old ledgers from Hampton. The first belonged to Nathaniel Batchelder (1731-1806), son of Samuel Batchelder and Elizabeth Davis, grandson of Nathaniel Batchelder and Mary Carter, and great great grandson of the Rev. Stephen Bachiler, founder of Hampton. Nathaniel lived out Exeter Road west of where Timber Swamp Road intersects. The Batrchelder/Bachilder Genealogy compiled by Charles E. Batchelder (p.33) says he was knows as "Tailor Nat" and was identified in deeds and in his will as a tailor. The ledger, which dates from 1767 to at least 1802, is chronologically disorganized, and very difficult to read. Many of the entries refer to pieces of clothing, and others refer to farming products so it's likely he farmed as well as tailored. Nathaniel was born March 2, 1731 in that part of Hampton that was set off as North Hampton in 1742. He married Ruth Sanborn, daughter of Jeremiah and Lydia (Dearborn) Sanborn on December 14, 1758 and probably moved to Hampton about that time. Nathaniel and Ruth had 13 children born and baptized in Hampton. Nathaniel died January 29, 1806 aged 75, and his widow died May 6, 1816.

Miniature image of Sanborn Batchelder's ledger
The earliest page of
the ledger of Sanborn
Batchelder. (Click for
a full-sized image.)

Their sixth child, Sanborn Batchelder, was born February 25, 1771. He moved to Orange, Vermont about 1798 and remained there until about 1801 when he returned to Hampton and took up residence in a home near his father and mother on Exeter Road. Judging by the contents of his ledger, which date from 1801 to 1834, Sanborn was a shoemaker and a farmer like his grandfather Samuel. Most of the entires have to do with farming, however, and the shoe business seems to be more of a sideline. Sanborn married Mary Elkins of Haverhill, N.H. on March 27, 1798 at Haverhill. She was the daughter of Moses and Dorothy (Moulton) Elkins of Hampton. Sanborn died July 21, 1850 aged 79 and his widow died October 21, 1857. They had seven children, most born in Hampton but the first one or two in Vermont. Their eldest chid Mary married Tristram Shaw of Hampton and Exeter who was a member of the U.S. Congress between 1839 and 1843.

Also included with the two ledgers was a torn letter (reproduced below) to Sanborn dated February 13, 1826 from a brother of his. The brother isn't named, but through process of elimination we can assume it is Jeremiah. Sanborn had five brothers, three of whom died in the same year: Nathaniel died in 1802, Levi in 1823, Edmund in 1802 and Joseph in 1802. Only the youngest brother Jeremiah was still alive in 1826 to write this letter. In the letter he mentions "poor Abbagail", who is likely their sister Abigail (1787-1861), who is referred to as "non compos" in the Batchelder genealogy by Charles Batchelder. "Non compos" is short for the legal Latin term "non compos mentis", meaning not of sound mind and hence not legally responsible.

Jeremiah (1787-1847) was a carpenter and travelling singing master. He moved from Hampton to Newburyport, Mass. where he can be found on the tax rolls from 1808 to 1816, but not after that time. He probably moved to Salem, Mass., where he can be found in 1821. He lived there a number of years, but appears in the Charlestown, Mass. city directories of 1838 and 1840, which is where he died. Given these facts (which come from p.114 of the Batchelder/Bachilder Genealogy by Charles E. Batchelder) we cannot say with any certainty where he lived when he wrote the letter below.

The start of the letter reads as follows:
"Febuary 13 1826
Dear Brother through the goodness sparing mercy of God i am indulged with another opportunity to write i do not know that it gives you that pleasure to recieve a letter from me as it does me to recieve one from you or anny of my friends at Hampton let it be as it will friendship is dear and near to me that place where i have spent the most of my days is dear and near to me and you and your famaly have a strong tie in my affections and poor Abbagail twins at times around my heart twas you my Brother and i that had the care of our indulgent Parents in their last declining years and we have seen them [gasp?] and die thier gon but where are we here we are fast posting after them. O how fast we do grow old and how many of our Dear fellow mortals are going of the stage whilst you and i are spared is it nor a loud call to you and i to be also ready..."
At this point the letter goes on to a third page that is torn in half down the middle. Individual words are decipherable but it's impossible to understand their meaning, as you can see below. Written in the margin is this note: "read this letter and give it to Abbagail tel her it is hers."