Saturday, April 12, 2014

Around the Web: Trader's Notebook of George Rapalji of the Natchez District

George Rapalji was a prosperous trader and landowner in the Natchez District at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He kept a notebook of accounts, miscellaneous notes, and Choctaw vocabulary words for the period April 9, 1788, through April 1, 1797. The notebook records customer names (some Choctaw) and a list of items purchased or traded (including thread, knives, gunpowder, salt, sugar, coffee, tobacco, animal skins, and livestock) as well as amounts owed and paid (in dollars, pesos, and pounds). Rapalji recorded memoranda of events, recipes, home remedies, and geographic notes regarding the Mobile and Tombigbee Rivers. Of particular interest are a list of inhabitants on the Big Black River with the years they settled in the area and the Choctaw vocabulary.

Of note is the list of inhabitants on the Big Black River, which includes the years they settled in the area (pages 19-23). Of particular interest are the pages containing Choctaw words and phrases with their English equivalents (pages 10, 43-76).

Item: 1
Pair Point Edwards. Jany. 20, 1791. Samuel Simpson. Hogs: 48 large + 45 pigs = 93. Penry and Campbell went the 16th of March at 12 Drs. pr. Month to Walnut Hills--Septr. 1st G. R. and T. R. went to Baton Rouge—7 Buls., 3 pecks. Yalubby has cap.

Item: 7
Novr. 14 1789 Isaac Kelsey Dr.: To 2 yds. strouds [at] 7 Dollrs.—14 Dollrs.; To 6 yds. Osnabr. [at] 4 Dollrs.—4 Dollrs.; To 2 Skains thread "—4 Dollrs.; To one Knife—removed to day Book—1 Dollr.; To 1 Ax—6 Dollrs.; To 1 Blanket—8 Dollrs. Mrs. Harmon Dr.: To 2 Skains thread—0.2. Lent Stowers 1 Black Sack of salt Paid #

Item: 10
Hosha—the Sun; Oxsela—Sleep; Onche—Strouds; Suckbow—Blankets; Tuschoma—Paint. Captn. Burnet Dr.: pd. To 1 Box salve 1 Dollr., Jany. 1st. William Harkins Dr.: pd. To 1 Emetic—1 Dollr.; To Quick Silver—1 Dollr.

Item: 19
Inhabitants on Big black: 1788 John Stowers Settled No. 5. Famy. 1789 Jaques Rapalje do. No. 5. do. 1789 Tobius Brashers do. No. 19. do. 1791 Isaac Rapalje do. No. 1. do.

Item: 51
Sonaje—Indian; Setaw—Pumkins; Pulafa—P; Oasee—Ct.; Otuashaw—F; Lawbee—You Lie; Subanechi—a Bell; Shaswa—Sinew of Deer; Onshaw—is it here; Hocksee—drunk

MDAH staff numbered the notebook pages front to back (1-84, including several loose pages beginning with page 79) and then back to front (1v-67v), prior to typing a transcript circa 1937. This was the order followed when the notebook was scanned in 2013. Blank pages not listed in the transcript were not scanned. Descriptions that accompany the page scans were generated by comparing images of the pages with the transcript.

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