7:49 PM


    
I recall when Greg Hawley was writing the draft for Treasures in a Cornfield how he juggled family, work and writing. I too had all those things too. Flo's diary gave Greg such a wonderful structure to his book and now I wish I had kept my own journal! Then you'd see I wasn't a rocket scientist and there was a real learning curve, just like I am sure I'll have doing this blog.

My  curiosity started after looking at a case of brogans [shoes] and I read the name on the side and wondered, "who made these shoes, who wholesaler and who was waiting for them". The abbreviation on the crate translated to “California waterproof pegged boots.” Gold was discovered in California in 1848 and many still had gold fever in 1856. Wooden pegs would swell to make the shoe water resistant. 
As seen by this card, this manufacturer from a New Hampshire manufacturer wooden pegs were sold in bulk for various sizes to the shoe/boot manufacturer. The census among my historian friends is the “Scotch Tape” holding the pegs to the card stock is animal intestines making this a very fragile piece.
The 1850s was a new age of mass production and the beginning of standard sizes. Customers could still find a cobbler to make a template (out on paper) of their foot for shoes or boots, but this was not the norm. Shoemakers were still needed in towns to repair shoes but a majority were purchased in bulk and packed just like the crates found on the Arabia. 
The two stores stenciled on boxes of boot/Shoes were the St. Louis wholesaler's North & Scott and Jas Watson. New England was a large producer of boots and North & Scott bought their supply from Massachusetts and James Watson's clerk Mr. Wheatly was minding the store when the crate for the consignee Impey & co. was sent to the Steamboat Arabia.
This ambrotype, from my collection, shows a bootmaker at the factory seating on his bench holding a boot sole. Behind him shows finish boots and in his bench’s tray, his tools.