What in the world is a “Clivish?”

I posted the Inventory of the Estate of George Myrise previously. Going through the transcription, there is a lot to be learned about George from what he left behind. Going line by line, we can “see” that the appraisal started in the house with the household goods and then moved to including various tools and farm implements, likely found in a barn or similar structure. In his will, George refers to his home place as a plantation, so it is reasonable to assume that his land was farmed, and could possibly have had one or more structures on the land for various purposes.

The household goods of George Myrise included the chest he mentioned in his will (that apparently housed his money, according to the will), a large iron kettle,  a pot, an old frying pan, a large straw barrel and a half bushel (containers for storage, possibly?).

We then move to the tools and such. “Sundrys of old iron” is, I believe, a collection of bits and pieces of the metal. Two augers, a chisel, a pair of “nipers” (tong-like tool?),  a “syth hammer” (I know what a sythe is, but a syth hammer?), and one gimblet (gimlet, an auger-like tool). George owned two horse chains, a log chain, and a cow chain. The next few items I am unsure of; one large “clivish,” a pair of small stilliards (possibly a small scale?), and a “Grubing hoe (Exclusive of its being laid),” what does that mean? A couple of dung forks and a dung hook. Two old muskets. Next we have some weaving tools: a heckle (a comb like device used to straighten fibers like flax, often used in weaving), a loom and tackling. Also listed are an old table and a grind stone. A “cuting box, without a knife” might be an object like this, used to cut wheat.

Back to the house we may have gone, where an old wall stove, about 5 lbs of old feathers (at the current rate of 1 shilling 10.5 pence per pound), and 9 shillings worth of “wearing apparrel.” I find it intriguing that almost everything is categorized as “old.” What was considered “old” in 1799? 

We find granddaughter Elizabeth Sponseller, now Elizabeth Krise, and the cow she was willed, it being worth £3 15 shillings. The three sheep willed to George, Lovis and Rachel Sponsaller are also listed, at £1 2 shillings 6 pence, though it is unclear (to me) if that is the worth of the combined three sheep or separate. Notably missing is Catherine Sponsaller, who was also owed a cow according to George’s will. Where did the cow go? No other livestock are listed, so had Catherine already obtained her inheritance prior to the estate inventory? There are of course other possibilities… did she pass before her grandfather’s inventory? Wouldn’t there still be a cow though? Unless, of course, the cow no longer lived…

Next is a section on Bonds and Notes still due to George at the time of his death. He was owed money by several individuals (both in the will and in the estate inventory), which possibly shows us George’s character as a kind neighbor, or a penchant for being a Lender. His Bond with Jacob Long, in which George was owed £15 every April 15th for the years 1800-1805 (I don’t know if this is a “normal” Bond schedule, but the fact that it’s due every April 15th made me think of the IRS of today), seemed to be a long-standing agreement, and is detailed out in his will as to to whom that money goes to (John and Adam receiving the money on alternate years until their inheritance sums, £50 and £60 respectively, be paid). Others owing money to George as of November 1799 included: John Weikert, Adam Winterode Esq, Jacob Winterode, Jacob Little, Frederick Little & Joseph Stealy, and Abraham Kuntz. In total, with listed interest, equalled out to just over £230, which sure sounds like a lot of money to me! An estimate from the National Archives puts it over £7,400 (from 1800 money to 2005 money). George also had £15 in his possession at the time of his death, half of the willed sum intended for his granddaughter Christina Gray, the remainder due to her as bonds and notes were collected.

The Inventory provides us with quite a bit of insight into George’s life. While he had few personal items, we can tell that he may have been a weaver by trade, and that he farmed, as most people in that day and location likely did. It also suggests that he was relatively prosperous, and came to the aid of many in his community with bonds and notes. I am eager to someday research the court records of his area to see if George was mentioned within them.

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