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Attached to the back cover of the old book written by John Comins, Jr. is a page that appears to have been cut from another book or magazine.  It includes a table of interest at 7 per cent, a table for calculating expenses, some advice on growing rich and a recipe for yeast. Because the interest and expense charts were computed in guineas, pounds, shillings and pence rather than dollars and cents it would appear John glued this to the book soon after he started using it in 1778.  Whether he gave the recipe for yeast to his bride Elizabeth Whiten is a matter for speculation. 

At the top of the expense chart is the heading: Table of Expenses, &c.  Highly important to every individual and family; and so easy to be understood as to need no explaining.  This advice appears at the bottom of the chart: The way to grow rich, and to enjoy health and reputation – is to stick close to business, and not to let your expenses exceed your income.

Receipt for making Yeast
The useful article of yeast, of which there is frequently a scarcity in this country is thus prepared on the coast of Persia – Take a small teacup or wineglass full of split or broiled peas, pour on it a pint of boiling water, and set the whole in a vessel on the hearth all night, or any other warm place; the  water will have froth on its top the next morning, which will be good yeast. Mr. Eaton, when in Persia, had his Bread made with this Yeast, and in the English manner, of good Wheat flour.  In our cold climate, especially in a cold season, it should stand longer to ferment, perhaps four and twenty hours – –  Of all methods of making Yeast, hitherto known, this is by far the most simple and commodious.

For being 240 years old this page is quite clear and the perfect lesson for anyone who might like to tackle transcribing. 

My first attempt at the yeast recipe read like this: The ufeful article of Yeaft of which there is frequently a fearcity in this Country is thus prepared on the craft of Perfia. I hadn’t yet learned that if you see a letter that looks like an F it is probably an s.

Next I spent a long time studying the symbols for English currency shown on the charts.  Is that a g or a q before the pound symbol?  S makes sense for shillings but why would Pence be shortened to a D?  These questions had to be researched.  I think I got the answers right, but feel free to correct me if not.

£ is the symbol for Pound.  Derived from the Latin word Libra

s is the symbol for shillings.  Derived from the Latin word Solidus

d is the symbol for pence.  Derived from the Latin word Denarius

g or gn is the symbol for guinea.  Named for the Guinea Coast which was famed for its gold.  A Guinea was equal to 1 pound and 1 shilling and was made of gold.

I tried to find a Mr. Eaton who had lived on the Coast of Persia and possibly wrote magazine or newspaper articles, but was not successful.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lucille Gano Swank #

    I’ll be listening to you next week. I’m looking forward to it. I may have a similar background.


    November 15, 2019
    • I’m so excited to be there. Make sure I know who you are so we can talk. Which talk will be you be at?


      November 15, 2019
      • Lucille Gano Swank #

        I’ll be at the Keosauqua, Iowa Library on Tuesday.


        November 16, 2019
      • Hi Lucille. I’m sorry I couldn’t talk to you longer last night. I don’t remember if you said you live in Keosaquah or not but wondered if you have time for lunch or a break on Saturday. I will be free all day until about 5:00 so could meet you any time. Myrna


        November 21, 2019
      • Lucille Gano Swank #

        Myrna, I live in Keosauqua at 307 Van Buren St. It’s just up the road from the library, about 2 blocks. Why don’t you come by the house? Let me know what time you are coming. any time after 9:30 AM. Love to visit. Lucille I’m in the phone book.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2019

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