Thomas Partridge Store | Gilliams of Virginia

Accounts from the Store of Thomas Partridge & Co. Hanover Co., Virginia, 1734-1756
Transcribed by
Richard Slatten and James Bagby
Updated January 3, 2021

The general store, which survived as an institution into the early years of this century has long associations with the American frontier. We can now scarcely imagine the full extent of its importance, for aside from the civil administration and the Church. These commercial operations were among the few civilizing influences in the lives of early colonial pioneers. Certainly the chief function of these stores was to act as a supplier of goods, of which they offered a wide selection. In fact, they apparently carried in stock most or the items necessary for housekeeping and farming during the period in which they were in operation and, for those able to afford them, a small selection of luxury goods as well.

Besides acting as a retail outlet, however, these stores also provided some of the services of present-day banks. By offering goods on credit, they acted as lending institutions. They also advanced their customers cash, paid their taxes, property rents, and legal fees, and on occasion even their gambling debts. In addition, they acted as a third party providing the means whereby services could be exchanged for goods between two contracting individuals. For instance, if Jones carted tobacco for Smith, the value of the labor was converted to purchasing power at the store by posting a credit to Jones' account and a comparable debit 10 Smith's. In other cases, written orders for cash were honored at the store, much as current checks are by banks. A surviving order to Mr. Partridge will serve to illustrate the principle.
Jam. 6th 1736/7 Mr. Patirig

Sir. Please to pay unto, the bearer one pound 8 shillings and charge it to my account.
John Blalock

The: debtor satisfied such obligations to the store usually with part of his tobacco crop. Sometimes; as the records indicate, this was part of the current crop, but just as often the store will be found accepting notes issued by local tobacco warehouses representing tobacco which the debtor had deposited there. On occasion, other goods were used to reduce the debt against an account, among them such diverse commodities as lumber, butter, cider, grains, and beef. In a few instances, customers reduced the balance of their account with cash.

Little appears to be known about the: store operated by Thomas Partridge and scarcely more about the man himself. In view of the many migrations from Surry Co. to the New Kent/Hanover area near the end of the 17th century, the possibility exists that Partridge took part in this move.

Mr. Charles GILLIAM.
Jan. 1, 5, 6 (Wrappers 2/6);
Sep. 16.
Credits: Sep. 14 (1 Hhd. tobo. at Merr.)

Mr. William GILLIAM
Jan 1,
Mar 17
Apr 5, 13,
Jun 12, 16, 23, 28
Jul 5
Nov 22, 23
Dec 16
Credits: June 12 (by 1 Hhd Tobo.)

Jan 1,
May 10
Jun 5,
Jul 17
Nov 22

Jan 1
Feb 17
May 11
Nov 22

  • Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002. Original data: The Virginia Genealogical Society. Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly and Magazine of Virginia Genealogy.
  • Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, Accounts from the Store of Thomas Partridge & Co., Hanover Co., Volume 23, No. 2, 1985, and Volume 24, Number 4, Nov 1986.