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White and Doharty account book


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

This account book was created by the firm of Alexander White and Edward Doharty of Sussex County, Delaware. It is likely that White and Doharty was a law firm practicing in Sussex County. A loose receipt in this volume indicates that a member of the Ellegood family (probably Joshua Atkinson Ellegood) was appointed administrator of Alexander White's estate following his death. An entry by John Doharty dated May 23, 1834, transferred the power to collect debts on behalf of the Doharty family to Joshua A. Ellegood. It is unclear what relationship Ellegood had to the firm of White and Doharty, but he was listed as a constable in several of the legal cases recorded in this account book.

Joshua Atkinson Ellegood was born on February 18, 1789, in Sussex County, Delaware, the son of Robert Ellegood and Mary B. Ellegood. He married Ann Houston Griffith (1804-1885), whose family owned extensive property in Sussex County, sometime before 1828. Joshua A. Ellegood became a successful businessman and landowner, while maintaining a significant presence in public life. He served as a constable of Sussex County in the 1810s. In April 1824, Governor Samuel Paynter appointed him to the Board of Commissioners of the Land Office for Sussex County. Three years later, Governor Charles Polk named Ellegood a Justice of the Peace for Sussex County. Joshua A. Ellegood died on May 25, 1845.

Torbert-Ellegood collection finding aid, Special Collections, University of Delaware LibraryInformation derived from the collection.

This account book records financial judgments awarded to the firm of White and Doharty of Sussex County, Delaware, dating between 1810 and 1822. It also contains information related to the administration of Alexander White's estate and the collection of debts on behalf of the Doharty family by Joshua A. Ellegood, dated 1822 to 1834.

Most of the entries in this account book relate to financial judgments awarded to the firm of White and Doharty from 1810 to 1822. Many entries consist of a brief note on the judgment, including the amount awarded to the firm and the cost of legal proceedings. Some of the entries include notations regarding the payment of these judgments, which often happened months or years later. While some litigants chose to pay White and Doharty in cash or notes on other individuals, others paid in livestock, foodstuffs, cords of wood, textiles, or even labor. It appears that some individuals' belongings were seized and sold to cover their debts. The bookkeeper often included the sundry costs associated with recovering the debt, including payments to constables, witnesses, and collectors. White and Doharty sought judgments against a large number of local residents, including women and African Americans. African American litigants' names were followed by the word "Negro" in these entries. An alphabetical index of the debtors pursued by White and Doharty was laid into the front of this volume.

Following these judgments in this volume, there are accounts regarding the "Estate of White & Doharty dec'd," presumably recorded following Alexander White's death around 1822. These accounts were settled by John Doharty, who later in the volume recorded a statement transferring the power to collect debts on behalf of the Doharty family to Joshua A. Ellegood on May 23, 1834. Entries following this statement indicate that Ellegood settled many of the Doharty family's debts in 1834.

The back of the volume contains the accounts of the Estate of Alexander White, dated October 21, 1822, to March 6, 1827. An alphabetical list of debtors to White's estate has been laid into the front of the volume.

Near the back of the volume, there is a list of plants and herbs thought to treat various physical ailments, including sumac bark, ginger root, and red raspberry leaves. Two recipes are noted as coming "from a news paper."

The volume is bound with paper over boards and has a brown leather spine. The paper on the front and back cover is printed with stylized blue eyes. The volume contains 164 pages of wove paper with vertical lines forming columns. 56 of these pages contain handwritten notations in black ink. The alphabetical index laid into the front of the volume is enclosed in a paper wrapper decorated with blue and yellow vertical stripes.

Item 0009: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

Purchase, 1956.

Processed by Marrette Pearsall, October 2012. Further processing and encoding by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, June 2018.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2018 June 4
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

White and Doharty account book, 1810 August 3-1834 October 1.
Item 0009

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