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Thomas Jefferson Ross Business Ledger

Identifier: M300

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a ledger documenting transactions of the Thomas Jefferson Ross general mercantile business in Silver Creek, Mississippi, between 1856 and 1879. In very poor condition, the ledger is 7 1/2" by 12 1/2" and is approximately 146 pages in length. Entries in the ledger are all handwritten -- some in ink, but most in pencil. The back cover of the ledger is missing and the binding on the rest of the book is extremely loose. The pages are brittle and discolored, making some entries difficult to read, and several pages are torn.

The ledger contains records of various transactions between Ross and the patrons of his business, for example, the buying and selling of produce, materials, and foodstuffs; the payment of loans; the establishment of customer accounts; and contract agreements for the buying and selling of livestock. Arranged chronologically by year, the ledger is unique in that the earliest entries are found at the back of the book and the more recent dates appear at the front, in effect, making the entries run back-to-front.

Entries in the ledger are listed by the name of the customer. Each individual is listed separately, along with the date of each transaction. For some patrons, the entry lists transactions for an entire year, while other entries contain only one or two dates. Listed with the customers' names are items purchased, the price per unit, and the total price, along with any credit due or payments made. Several entries show orders for future delivery, including destination and expected time of arrival.

The ledger is of note to anyone interested in the history of small businesses in Mississippi during the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. The book contains a wealth of information concerning products and provisions available; materials most often bought and sold; foodstuffs most commonly consumed; and prices of everyday commodities.


  • Creation: 1855-1878


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Jefferson Ross was born in Mississippi on May 28, 1822, the youngest son of John P. and Frances (Frankey?) Ross. A native of Georgia, John P. Ross (b. ca. 1787) arrived in Mississippi in 1813 and settled in the Silver Creek area of Old Lawrence County (now Jefferson Davis County). By 1825 John P. and Frances had six children -- Simeon M., Delana, Elizabeth, Milly, Thomas Jefferson, and Mahala. As a farmer in 1818, John P. owned 350 acres of land. By the time of his death in 1832, the Ross family owned 640 acres.

Thomas Jefferson Ross married Martha Ann Hargrove on March 16, 1844. Together, they lived in the Silver Creek area, and reared a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters. Records indicate that their firstborn son, John W. Ross, died in childhood in September 1850. Little information is available concerning the business interests of the Ross family, although records indicate that between 1856 and 1879 Ross operated a general store in the Silver Creek area. The store sold everything from basic household goods to hardware materials, and from cotton to livestock. In addition, Ross operated the family farm. Interestingly, Ross is said to have been a medical practitioner, despite having no formal medical training.

Martha Hargrove Ross died in 1886, and in the following year, Thomas Jefferson Ross married his second wife, Mrs. Nancy A. Shows Traylor. The Shows family originated from South Carolina, although Nancy was born in Mississippi on June 22, 1851. Between 1888 and 1893 Thomas Jefferson and Nancy had three children, two sons and one daughter -- James O., Lewis, and Susie. Records indicate that another daughter died in childhood.

Thomas Jefferson Ross died on December 20, 1913, and his youngest son, Lewis, assumed responsibility for running the family business. Nancy Ross remained in Silver Creek until her death on December 17, 1924. Mr. and Mrs. Ross are both interred in the Thomas Jefferson Ross family cemetery, located in present-day Jefferson Davis County.


1 Item

Language of Materials



Business records of a mercantile business in south central Mississippi.


Donated by Mrs. Elson Ray Ross of Silver Creek, Mississippi, on July 21, 1995.

Thomas Jefferson Ross Business Ledger
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001