Local business records can be very useful for historical and genealogical research. Such Prince William records exist back to the colonial period.
Dumfries was the center of Prince William commercial activity beginning in the 1750s. The records of several early stores have survived which tell of their customers and their purchases.
DUMFRIES STORES LEDGERS INDEX, 1758-1776: John Glassford and Company… Daniel Payne. This index covers all credit accounts for these two Dumfries merchants. The Glassford papers are at the Library of Congress. RELIC has microfilm of all the records of this company’s stores in Virginia, in addition to Dumfries. The Daniel Payne ledger A (1758-1764) is at the Maryland Historical Society; a full transcript of its contents has been published by Charles and Virginia Hamrick (book in RELIC’s collection).
During the Revolutionary War, many local merchants who were Loyalists or who lived in Britain, cut their ties with the Colonies. Alexander Henderson, who was an agent for Glassford, assumed ownership of several of Glassford’s stores. We do not have his business records. His house in Dumfries (ca. 1787) still stands.
SMITH, HUIE AND ALEXANDER COMPANY, DUMFRIES DAYBOOK 1791 – 1794 on microfilm (RELIC 975.52731 Smi). Original held by Kenmore Association, Fredericksburg, Va. Microfilm available for loan from the Library of Virginia (reel 91). This has not been transcribed or indexed.
The Manassas Museum has a daybook on display from an unidentified Dumfries merchant from about the year 1796. It has not been filmed, scanned or indexed.
Ron Turner has published on his website, pwcvirginia.com, several volumes of information about Prince William and Manassas businesses of the 19th and 20th centuries.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY BUSINESSES, 1805-1955.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY BUSINESS LICENSES, 1806-1899.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY BUSINESS LICENSES, 1900-1970.
MANASSAS BUSINESSES, 1870-1970.
He also has scanned dozens of receipts and statements from old Prince William businesses, so you can see the printed headings the companies used.
(To be continued.)