Melancton B. Callaghan Daybook

1 volume
Call no.: MS 284
rotating decorative images from SCUA collections

Melancton B. Callaghan operated a general store in rural Charlton, New York, in the decades straddling the Civil War.

Callaghan's daybook includes lists of purchases (1844-1857), some arranged by wholesaler, and an inventory of goods on hand between 1859 and 1860.

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Background on Melancton B. Callaghan

A native of Charlton, N.Y., Melancton Waterman Bostwick Callaghan was born March 4, 1822, the third of seven children of John Callaghan and Elizabeth Maria (Bostwick). In the decades straddling the Civil War, he operated a general store in town. Married to Ruth Ann Crosby, Callaghan was father of four daughters: Mary, who taught school in the local Presbyterian Academy, Sarah (who married Rev. John Sauson), and Augusta and Anna, who helped operate the family store and apparently never married. A Democrat politically, Callaghan was appointed the town postmaster in 1886 and again in 1893. He died on Feb 4, 1897 and is buried in Sweetman Cemetery.

Scope of collection

This daybook chronicles Callaghan's purchases from various wholesale merchants in stocking his store, and documents the range of merchandise available in towns like Charlton.

The daybook is divided into several sections. The first fifty pages provide an itemized list of purchases between 1844 and 1846. The next ninety-two pages cover store purchases from 1846-1854; they list only the merchant and the dollar amount on one page followed by the notation paid or the arrangement for paying on the opposite page. On several pages, there are accumulations of notes due. The next twenty-five pages document purchases in 1854-1855, arranged by the wholesaler, rather than chronologically. Callaghan then returned to the chronological accounting of purchases for 1856-1857. Finally, the book concludes with two thirty-page inventories of the goods on hand on April 12, 1859 and April 14, 1860.

Among the wholesalers with whom Callaghan dealt were Van Heusen and Charles (Albany), Asher Cook, H.C. Foster, Craig and Co. (Schenectady), and the Schenectady & Mohawk Sheeting Co. Callaghan also dealt with various unnamed peddlers.

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.


Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Related Material

Additional account books for Callaghan can be located at the Saratoga County Historical Society (1964.028.0046 and 1967.079.0002).

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1989.




Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Melancton B. Callaghan Daybook (MS 284). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Callaghan, Melancton B.
  • Charlton (N.Y.)--Economic conditions--19th century--Sources
  • Cook, Asher
  • Craig & Co.
  • Foster, H. C.
  • General stores--New York--Charlton
  • General stores--New York--Charlton--Inventories
  • Inventories, Retail--New York (State)--New York
  • Purchasing--New York--Charlton
  • Schenectady & Mohawk Sheeting Co.
  • Van Heusen and Charles


  • Callaghan, Melancton B. [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Daybooks

Link to similar SCUA collections