Shop in York Town for Your Bandanoes, Ozenbrigs, and Bohea Tea
I am presently working with the issues of the Pennsylvania Gazette printed in York in 1777-1778. In 1934 Henry Young, who at the time was most of the staff of the Historical Society of York County, gathered photostatic copies of most of issues from libraries around the county. He even received a copy of one issue from the British Museum.
Click here for more information on the York-printed Pennsylvania Gazette.
The news printed in the papers is invaluable in putting the Revolutionary War into context, but the local ads give us a glimpse of life in York during the time Congress met here.
The first thing that came to mind after reading the ad for dry goods below was: “What are they talking about?” I’ve found some of the definitions, with the help of Google and Dictionary.com. I’ve added those annotations following the transcription of the ad. See if you can figure them out first.
“Just opened, and to be sold, wholesale and retail by JOHN LEVINS, at Mr. Henry Wolfe’s, in Market-Street, York-town, to following GOODS, viz.
BANDANOE handkerchiefs, dog-skin gloves, ozenbrigs, thread, some pieces of white linen, a quantity of nuns thread from No. 34 to 50, brown thread by the pound, thread and cotton hose, boys worsted ditto, twist, mohair and buttons of different colours, holland tape of different sizes, striped ditto, pocket handkerchiefs, flowered gauze, striped ditto, check, a few pieces of silk, some persian, a few reams of fine writing-paper, fifty thousand needles, scissars, watch-chains, cork-screws, sugar-tongs, brass thimbles, watch seals, ditto set in silver, watch keys, brass sleeve buttons, glass ditto, large and small lead pencils, some packets of English pins, a large quantity of fine rack and crooked horn combs, ivory ditto, and a great many other articles, too tedious to mention.
N.B. Bohea tea, by the barrel or smaller quantity.”
Bandanoe–Probably bandana. The name come from Hindu and refers to tie-dyeing the cloth.
Ozenbrigs–Osnaburg is a heavy course cotton in a plain weave.
Nun’s thread–A fine bleached linen thread, originally made by nuns in Europe.
Worsted–Firmly twisted yarn from combed wool or a smooth fabric made from the yarn.
Twist–Fabric in which yarn is twisted while being woven.
Mohair–Fabric made from yarn from the fleece of an Angora goat.
Holland tape–Narrow strips of woven cloth used for ties on clothing, binding seams, and tying things. Some may have originally come from Holland.
Gauze–A thin fabric that is often transparent.
Persian–A very light silk lining, usually printed with large flowers.
Rack comb–Rack combs were larger than pocket combs. I wonder if they were made from antlers (racks).
Bohea tea–This is a Chinese tea, named for the phonetic spelling for the area in which it was grown.
Many of the items above aren’t household words today, but the ad does show us the variety of goods available locally over 230 years ago.
Click here to read about a runaway York County servant in 1777.
Click here to read about a 1777 York County military deserter.