Explanatory notes for the inventories of the estates of Thomas2 Terrill and wife Mary:
I’ve oriented these notes to those people who might not know what a “churn” is, hoping to enable everyone to understand these inventories, as best I can. Some items are simply spelled incorrectly (from our perspective—from their perspective they were spelled “purfickly fyne”). Some require further explanation (visit the links).
anker: a small keg (usually of 10 gallon capacity), for liquor, or sometimes wine.
bay horse: a horse with reddish-brown body and black mane, tail and points.
bear (pillow bear): pillow case (a container which bears the pillow (feather) within).
beattle: beetle—a heavy wooden mallet used to drive wedges (used mostly, perhaps, in splitting firewood?). A metal beetle ring surrounded each face of the mallet head, to keep the wood from splintering.
bedsteed, bedstoed: bedstead, the framework of a bed.
bells: could instead be bills (i.e., billhooks).
bolt: probably a fine sieve for sifting flour or meal.
bolster: a long pillow extending the full width of a bed.
box smoothing iron: a hollow smoothing iron, filled with hot coals, or anything hot.
card: a metal comb or wire brush, used to disentangle the fibers of wool, cotton, flax, etc.
chamber pot: a portable container kept in a bedroom and used as a toilet.
“chese fats”: Cheese vats (“vat” was often spelled “fat” in colonial times), vats or tubs in which the curd is formed and cut or broken, in cheese-making.
churn: a vessel used to make butter from milk or cream.
clavis: clevis, a U-shaped metal shackle with the ends drilled to receive a pin, used to attach chains to parts.
coller irons: collar irons, put on draft animals to pull loads.
cover-lid: coverlet, a quilt or bedspread.
cover-lid chaine: ?, perhaps ornamental fringe-work for a coverlet.
debts hopefull and desperate: debts hopeful (AKA “debts sperate”) were collectable; debts desperate were uncollectable.
dutch wheale: dutch spinning wheel, used to spin flax.
earthenware: ware made of slightly porous opaque clay fired at low heat.
equal moiety: equal half.
firniture: furniture, the necessary equipment belonging to a larger item.
flax brake: flax break—a wooden contraption to “break” retted (soaked for a week) flax straw, to free the flax fiber.
fulling mill: where cloth was cleaned of oils, dirt and other impurities, and made thicker.
geeres: gear—that which was required to harness an animal to a cart, for instance.
great spinning wheel: used to spin wool. One hand was used to spin the drive wheel.
grid iron: a platform of iron bars with short feet and a long handle, for cooking meat over a fire.
hetchel: a comb or brush (a small bed of nails, basically) bolted to a work surface, and used to comb bundles of fiber.
hogshed: hogshead—a large cask or barrel (especially, of 63 to140 gallon capacity).
linnin: linen—yarn, thread or cloth made of flax.
looing glass: looking glass—a mirror.
moel(?) badgs: ?—badgs = badges? meal bags, possibly, which show up in other inventories (e.g., 1793 Essex County NJ inventory).
scails, pair of: scales—a balance consisting of two scales (pans), on one of which you’d place what was to be weighed, and on the other, weights, enough to balance the two sides.
seive: sieve. (I’m not sure I read this item correctly.)
shars: shears, large scissors.
sider mill: cider mill—used to “scrat” (ground down) apples into “pomace” (pulp), driven by hand, water-mill or horse-power. The juice was then squeezed out of the pomace in the cider press, and fermented to produce cider.
side-sadle: a lady’s saddle, for riding with both legs on one side of the horse.
skimer: skimmer, a perforated spoon.
“smith tools”: all of Thomas Terrill’s old blacksmith tools are lumped into this one category!
steer: young ox, probably.
stilyards, pair of: steelyard—a scale consisting of a metal bar, suspended off-center, with a weight which can be moved along the longer side to balance an object hung from the shorter side. Commonly called a “pair of Stilyards” even though no pair of anything was involved.
stubing hoe: stubbing hoe—probably a stub-hoe, a strong rough adze for cutting up roots of bushes (picture).
swefeltree: Swiveltree, AKA swingletree, whiffletree and whippletree—a crossbar, pivoted at the middle, to which the traces of an animal harness are fastened for pulling a cart, carriage, plow, etc.
sythe tackle: scythe tackle—probably a snath (the wooden handle), a grass blade, perhaps a bush blade, and sharpening tools. The “tackle” would not have been animal tackle—this was a century before the animal-drawn mechanical reaper came on the scene.
tankard: a one-handled drinking mug with a lid.
ticken, tickon: probably “ticking” (colloquial), a mattress case, but actually meaning a mattress.
tooe cloth: tow cloth—tow is the coarse and broken part of flax or hemp, separated from the finer part by the hetchel. So this was a coarse cloth.
tongus: tongs, used to put wood on the fire, or in the stove.
trammels, tramils: most likely, adjustable pothooks, for a fireplace crane.
trundle bedsteed: a low bedstead, which could be slid under a higher bedstead, for storage. The cord within it was a zigzag of cordage used to suspend a mattress.
“two knot dishe”: ?—the term “knot dish” comes up in many colonial inventories. I’ve read that it was a dish to hold fancy ribbons (“knots”), but I’m not sure this is right. Matthew Patten of bedford, N.H. wrote in his diary, in 1769, “I turned a knot dish that holds about 2 quarts ...” What a “two knot dish” might have been is a mystery.
wevers lumb: weaver’s loom, a large contraption for weaving thread or yarn into cloth, possibly assembled and used in wintertime, and dismantled in spring. The “wevers warping bars : boxes : & spools” were probably part of this device. The “boxes” were probably shuttle boxes (more info, and drawings).
winter corn: planted in the fall and harvested in the spring.
yard: a piece of cloth of area one square yard, probably.
yearlin: yearling, an animal one year old, and not yet two.
yoake: yoke. And “one yoake of oxen” was two oxen.