An 1806 Promise to Pay in Whiskey: Part I

On 24 November 1806, James Tinsley and another man signed a note that they promised to pay on the “first day of March next” to Oba and Henry Timberlake eight pounds, three shillings, and three pence. The payment was to be in “good and merchantable” whiskey in good tight barrels. Tinsley and his associate were to include those good tight barrels as their payment.

The man who signed along with Tinsley has a name that is difficult to read on the original promise to pay. Had Tinsley and his associate paid the debt, this document would likely have ended tucked away in Timberlake’s papers and eventually been lost or destroyed in the intervening centuries. But that’s not what happened. That’s was not the only thing that did not happen. The Timberlakes did not get their whiskey in March of 1807.

The reverse of the promise to pay indicated that the Timberlakes were paid on 3 July 1807 in Paris, Kentucky, six pounds and fifteen shillings. The acknowledgement was signed by “O. & H. Timberlake.”

It was the failure to pay in March of 1807 that brought the Timberlakes to the Bourbon County Court in the spring of 1807. It would bring Tinsley and his associate to court as well, but not of their own volition.

Stay tuned…


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