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Monday, November 09, 2009

Exploration of the Contents of Nutter's Prison Notebook

When first looking at the arithmetic book we started by searching for direct references to Jacob Nutter.  Here are clips from the scanned journal of what we found in no particular order:

You may click on the images to enlarge them.

The first clip is a reference to the death of Volentine (Valentine) Nutter in 1786; clearly a note made six years after Jacob returned home from France.  Valentine was one of Jacob's older siblings.  Other genealogical records confirm this as the date of Valentine's death.

The second clip appears to be in a child's hand and has the words Kittery and Berwick.  There are some other scribbles elsewhere in the book and some abc's perhaps indicating a child had been given the book to  practice their handwriting.

The third clip shows Jacob Nutter's name along with the well written "Kittery January 21st AD 1806.  It is not clear whether Jacob wrote this, or perhaps it was his son, Jacob Jr. who was born in 1776.

The fourth clip shows Jacob's notation about purchasing the book at Mill Prison the 24th day of August.  Prise one Shilling.  It is not clear which year he bought the book but based on my research I believe it was 1778.  There is another notation "Jacob Nutter his hand and his...:  Then, "Cear of the Shoresman Samuel Clarck for Curon of the Same"  Dated 1786.  I am not exactly sure what it means, but I believe that curon is an older english word related to the word currency, or something of equal value.  If anyone knows, I would like to understand more.

The fifth clip, in pencil says "Received of the Purser 2 Shirts 1 Pare of Shoos 1 frock 1 Pair of trowsers the 23 of June.  There is no year listed but the only June possible would have been June of 1780 while Alliance lay at L'Orient Harbor just before weighing anchor for America.

The sixth and last clip directly related to Nutter or his family is a clarification of the note above and clearly written after the fact.  It reads "Received of the Purser of the Continental Ship Alliance June the 23 1780 Two Shirts Wone Pare of Shoos Wone Frock Wone pare of trowsers  From which I Served the 30 of aprill 1779 Untill the year 1780 September 6".  Perhaps he made better note of government goods supplied upon his discharge on 6 September 1780.

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