Joshua A. Ellegood account book

Biographical and Historical Notes

Joshua Atkinson Ellegood was born on February 18, 1789, in Sussex County, Delaware, the son of Robert Ellegood and Mary B. Atkinson Ellegood. He married Ann Houston Griffith (1804-1885), whose family owned extensive property in Sussex County, sometime before 1828. Joshua A. Ellegood became a successful businessman and landowner, while maintaining a significant presence in public life. He served as a constable of Sussex County in the 1810s. In April 1824, Governor Samuel Paynter appointed him to the Board of Commissioners of the Land Office for Sussex County. Three years later, Governor Charles Polk named Ellegood a Justice of the Peace for Sussex County. This ledger consists primarily of his financial transactions while Justice of the Peace. Joshua A. Ellegood died on May 25, 1845. After his death, his wife Ann became administrator of his estate and likely recorded the credit payments made to his estate in this ledger.


Torbert-Ellegood collection finding aid, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library

War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 (accessed via on January 24, 2018)

United States Federal Census for 1840 (accessed via on January 24, 2018)

Information derived from the collection.

Scope and Contents

This ledger was kept by Joshua A. Ellegood, Justice of the Peace for Sussex County, Delaware, and members of the Ellegood family between 1816 and 1857. It consists primarily of financial transactions involving wills, warrants, judgments, and other legal matters.

Most of the transactions in this ledger relate to Ellegood's work as Justice of the Peace for Sussex County, Delaware. An alphabetical index of his debtors and creditors has been laid into the front of the volume. Ellegood employed a double-entry form of bookkeeping, listing each individual's debts on the left-hand page and their credit payments to him on the right-hand page. Although some of the debt and credit entries include the date of the transaction, it appears that Ellegood copied many entries from court dockets. For these transactions, Ellegood listed the corresponding court docket volume and page number. Ellegood charged individuals for a variety of legal services, including writing wills, drawing up agreements between parties, and transcribing judgments. He also occasionally sold goods, including timber for sailing vessels, bacon, and coffee. His debtors primarily paid him in cash and notes, but sometimes settled their accounts with goods and labor. There are several pieces of paper with addenda to accounts pinned to pages or laid in the volume.

Ellegood sometimes noted the race of his debtors and creditors. He also occasionally recorded why a debt had not been paid in full. Several accounts noted that the debtor was "dead & insolvent." Ellegood stated that Charles Degnen did not pay his debt for $0.58 "being run away."

At the end of the volume there are several accounts relating to the estate of Joshua A. Ellegood, with his wife, Ann H. Ellegood, acting as administrator. Ann Ellegood made payments on behalf of the estate from July 2, 1845, to February 17, 1857. Notes on the final pages of the volume record when various servants were bound to the family. The volume is bound in brown leather with a black stamped border around the edges of the covers. Faint writing on the front cover appears to read "Joshua A. Ellegood Day Book & Ledger." The volume contains 330 pages of wove paper with handwritten entries in black ink.