(1835-1851). Manuscript account book, kept by George Walker during his apprenticeship in the Hatter's trade in Pittsburgh, and later in Hookstown, and for his farm and apple orchard at Walker's Mills in Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Laid in are three ms. letters, and two short notes from family members and friends, discussing crops, family news, and work related topics. Plain brown cloth. 15cm. approx. 100 pages of ms. notes and accounts, including a list of some 20 apple varieties grown on his acreage. A few pages starting, ink notes legible, a scattering of pencil notes somewhat faded.
About half of the accounts relate to Walker's work as a hatter for various firms, from 1839-1844, first in Pittsburgh, and later in Hookstown. He mentions being paid by Wilkeson & McMaster, McCord & Ring, McClain & Wilson, and Magee & Noble, for his work doing sizing, napping nutria and muskrat, covering silk hats, as well as blocking, bleaching, washing, curling, shaving, finishing, etc. Wages for his work in 1839 for Wilkeson & McMaster are recorded: "27 Days Work at 9.00 per week," [etc.] He seems to have also been paid by the piece. One of the letters laid in, from his brother James Walker, of Finley Township in Allegheny County, dated July 1835, and addressed to George, c/o Wilkeson & McMaster, hatters, inquires: "how you get along and how you like your situation and occupation...." and reminds the young man [George was about 16 at the time] to be mindful that "your situation exposes you to many Snares and temptations but I trust you will endeavor to avoid them all and live near to god...." Once George relocated to Hookstown in 1842, it appears he was working for individual clients making hats.
By 1845, however, Walker has turned his attention to farming and the account book records transactions for wheat, oats, making rails, threshing, butchering, etc. He also devotes several pages to listing apple varieties (80 trees, and approx. 20 different types, including Rambo, Newtown Pippin, Summer Queen, Early Red Streak, etc.) and a few pages to peaches. Another of the letters laid in is from John W. Walker, writing from Beach Island Academy in South Carolina, where he is a teacher, in December 1848. John asks George if his cellar is piled high with apples: “with fruit of those young grafts of yours, you might send one round by telegraph, but I am afraid that if it came as slow as your letters, it would bud and blossom before it would get here…. Suppose the barn is built by this time, and the hay in it….” Another amusing letter from a friend in Bourbon Co., Kentucky, dated August 1848, discusses crops and his observations on the young ladies of his town. He also sends a poem he has composed, to Jane and Elizabeth Walker (presumably George's sisters). Item #62175
According to a brief biography of George Walker in Thomas Cushing's "Genealogical & Biographical History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania," [Genealogical Pub. Co.: 1889], George Walker, of Walker's Mills, farmer, was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in 1819. He went to Pittsburgh in 1836, and served an apprenticeship of four years at the hatter's trade, "which he never followed, however." He turned his attention to farming in 1842, and lived at Walker's Mills. He married Margaret Stephenson in 1852, and had six children.