MacKubbin General Store Ledger
By: Tyisse Baxter
The MacKubbin General Store was a family-run store in Upper Falls, a community in Baltimore County, Maryland. At one time, Upper Falls was named MacKubbinsville and later named Starrs Corner. While there is little information about Lloyd MacKubbin and his family, some facts are available. In censuses from the early to mid-1800s, his and his sons’ names appear under different spellings of the name MacKubbin. According to the census, they lived in the more rural parts if Maryland, indicating they may have been farmers.
The store itself may have been run out of Lloyd MacKubbin’s farm. It was located on the northwest corner of Franklinville Road and Bradshaw. It operated from at least the early 1800s; the ledger begins in 1809, with the earliest entries being account transfers from a previous ledger, and ends in 1820.
The script writing is clear and legible. The entries are frequent, detailed, and well organized from 1809 to 1813. From 1816 to 1820, however, the entries are sporadic and far less detailed. There are no entries for the years 1814 and 1815.
Lloyd MacKubbin meticulously kept records of debtors’ accounts. This particular ledger, in very good condition, spans the years from 1809 to 1820. Every new year recorded in the ledger begins with balances from the previous year, to which new purchases were added as the year continued. Many of the debtor’s names repeat, indicating it served a small area.
The entries, especially those recorded from 1809 to 1813, shed some light on the regular customers of MacKubbin’s General Store. Its customers, mostly men, come from a variety of professions: they were farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, attorneys, mill workers, and hatters. One man, named Isiah Roberts, was a constable; another, named Edward A. Howard, was a captain. For many customers, their professions were not recorded. Records also show that families as well as individuals maintained accounts at the store. Alongside the MacKubbin family, the Staniford family and the Gorsuch family are listed.
The ledger also demonstrates the wide variety of goods sold at MacKubbin’s General Store. As detailed in the ledger, the most frequently purchased items were varieties of alcohol, the most popular of which was peach brandy followed by brandy, rum, and whiskey. Other commonly purchased items were tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, and candles. Unique purchases were documented as well; for example, in 1812, Eliza Hughes purchased thread. Joshua Green acquired lodgings for a night in 1808.
The entries from 1816 to 1820 detail different kinds of purchases generally than in the previous years. They were all essential food items and tools. Most of the sales were shoes or shoe soles. In 1818, customer Benjamin Buck bought bacon, wool, and lamb. That same year, John Calhoon bought beef and a sharp share. Other purchases include oats, rye, and iron.
The ledger from MacKubbin’s General Store now housed at HSBC offers many intriguing glimpses of an early 1800s rural general store. It also leaves us with some unanswered questions. Why did alcohol drop off the list of frequently purchased goods? What happened with Lloyd MacKubbin and his family that resulted in two years missing in the ledger and then a change in record-keeping style in 1816? For now, we can only speculate and, as with so many historical artifacts like this ledger, hope that more related records will come to light so we can better understand Baltimore County’s past.