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Way We Were: More entries from blacksmith’s ledger

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Compiled by Janie Bowen
J.D. Milton ran a blacksmith shop in Avenstoke in the early 1900s.
After his wife died, he raised two boys and a girl.
One of his sons, Millard Milton, became the postmaster at Avenstoke. The train that traveled through would pick up the mailbag from a hook on a post near the tracks, just like you see in the old westerns.
J.D. Milton’s grandson and Millard’s son, Curtis Milton, was raised in Avenstoke. He brought in an old ledger a while back that came from his grandfather’s blacksmith shop.
The ledger contained his customers and their purchases from 1910 and 1913. There were many names of people in the community that Milton ran on account until they could pay him. Sometimes he would wait all year, until they sold their crops, before he would get paid for his work. Some would pay a little along, not just in money but also in other ways, such as work done for Milton, molasses, wood, strawberries or other things.
Orders would come from businesses in Louisville and surrounding areas for Milton’s handiwork.
Milton would make tobacco knives for about 25 cents each, new horseshoes for 20 cents and old horseshoes could be had for 10 cents each. Milton would also build horse-drawn slides for $7 in 1910 or so.
He sold Clarence Watts two lap rings and clevis for 25 cents in May of 1911. Later in June, he fixed up a drill for 50 cents.
Calvin Edington had two H-plows made by Milton in March of 1911 for $7.
Ernest Johnson had a wagon tongue and haunch fixed by Milton in December 1912. It cost $4.50.
Willie Franklin had a piece for a stove fixed in January 1912 for 15 cents. Milton also fixed some pitchforks for 10 cents.
Rebecca Ann Franklin had a shaft and iron brace done by Milton in April 1911 at a cost of 10 cents. In October she bought four new tires for $4 and he put in a buggy shaft for $1.
In May of 1911, Fount Thacker had a plow beam put in $1.25. In July he had a machine tongue repaired for 70 cents and two tires shrunk for $1. In October Milton made him a corn knife for a dime. In June 1912 he had a pair of slide soles made for $1.50. Milton gave him credit of $1.50 for working on the roof and $1 for working in the shop.
In October 1911, Milton made tobacco frames for 20 cents and a tobacco knife for 25 cents for Walter Maddox.
In May of 1911, Milton credited Measel Harvey $1.25 for a trip he made for Milton to Frankfort. A couple of months later Harvey hauled some sand and made three trips to Frankfort for Milton. Milton credited his account $4.50 for his work. He loaned Harvey 40 cents in July as well.
J.B. Wilson had a wagon brake fixed in September 1911 for 20 cents and a buckboard for $2 in November. In 1912, Milton made an ice hook for 15 cents.
Henry Johnson got 60 cents credit for molasses he gave Milton in Nov. 1911.
The blacksmith fixed a churn for J.M. Watts in October 1911 and in October 1911 he made a tobacco knife for 25 cents and a tobacco knife blade for 5 cents for Willie Peele. He also made two corn knives for 30 cents.
In January and February 1912, he gave Tom Pulliam $6 credit for two barrels of corn. He fixed a breast yoke iron for 15 cents and made a horse-drawn slide for $7.
Charley Wilson got a turtle hook fixed in August of 1911 for 10 cents. He gave Wilson credit of $1.50 for stacking wheat in July 1913 and 25 cents for thrashing some wheat.
J.C. Sutherland got a mowing machine fixed in June 1911 for $3.75. Ben Franklin got a sickle bar fixed for 25 cents.
Wesley Taylor paid 10 cents for wagon stirrups to be fixed in April 1912.
Van Davenport bought four fork handles for 80 cents in July 1912.
Measel Harvey got several credits of $1.25 for trips to Frankfort for Milton and a $2.25 credit for gathering corn for him.
He bought wagon tongue chains for 60 cents in March 1912, had a post digger sharpened in April for 10 cents. He bought a half rim and three spokes in August for $1.20.
J.M. Watts got 50 cents credit for strawberries he gave Milton.
A blacksmith was called a “jack-of-all-iron-trades,” because he not only shoed horses, but made many of the items people in the area used to do their work. The blacksmith worked long days hammering, or forging, red-hot iron into an assortment of tools essential to the early settlers, such as axes, hoes, scythes, and plows blades. He made much-needed common items for the home such as nails, hinges, latches, pots and gates. And he repaired everything made of iron. As you can tell by the entries in the ledger, and that wasn’t all of them, the blacksmith shop was a very important business in the community 100 years ago.
 

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