Abraham CLIMENHEGG (1800-1835): Chippewa General Store Ledger, 1835

1835_Chippawa_05Henrich Kleimenhagen had five children. His fourth child and third son, Abraham, was born 13 August 1800 at Bertie Township, Lincoln County, Ontario.[1] He was probably the namesake of Abraham Beam, a friend of his father’s, who had died the previous year. In March of 1825, Abraham (Climenhegg) inherited part of his father’s estate being Lot 13, Concession 9 in Bertie Township,[2] just east of his brother Martin Climenhaga’s farm. That same year he married Mary Ann Zimmerman, 22 November 1825, at Stamford Township.[3] The couple had four children, namely Nathaniel, Susannah, Abraham, and Mary before Abraham Sr. died 16 December 1835[4]. Because Abraham died so young we know very little about him.

Thanks to the Niagara branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society we now know a little more about this man. The OGS of Niagara has made available a ledger from a general store that did business in Chippewa, Ontario with records from 1815, 1835, and 1850. An account for Abraham is found in this ledger and lists items he purchased beginning in January of 1835 until his death. The items are transcribed below.

1835 Abraham Climenhaga Cr & Dr
  Province Currency    
Jany 5th To 2˶14˶ 8¼ & By 2˶17˶6   2˶17˶6 2 14
May 27 To Weight of his Butter Keg 14lb 7½   ˶ 8 9
  By cash in full   5˶11½      
  To 3¾ yards Bombazette 1/7   5 11¼
  “ a Ball Cotton thread    
July 1 “ ¼ lb Young Hyson Tea 51   1 3
  “ a Grass Scythe     5
13 “ ½ pound Indigo 7/6   3 9
  “ 1 Yard Brown Cotton      
17 “ a paper Pins       9
August 1 “ a hair Combe       5
  “ ½ Pound Young Hyson Tea 51   2 6
  “ ¾ Yard Apron Cloth (?) 1/3     11¼
  “ a Cotton Handkf     1 7
  “ ½ Pound Indigo 7/6   3 9
  By a Keg Butter Grass 83 lb   1 6
  Keg Weighs 14 lb        
  For Accnt 69 lb7¼ 2˶3˶1½ 16 7
  To Cash in Full 16/7        
1836 Widow Mary Climenhaga do   2˶3˶1½ 2 3

A number of items stand out in the list and may suggest that Abraham was a weaver. For example, Abraham purchased a number of yards of “bombazette,” which is a thin woollen type of cloth, plain or twilled, that came in various colours. [5] He also purchased another type of cloth, as well as balls of cotton thread. Accompanying these purchases were pins, believed to hold material in place, and indigo, a naturally occurring blue dye made from plants. I am not very familiar with weaving practices at the turn of the 19th century. Perhaps the amount of material purchased wasn’t sufficient for a weaving trade? More research is needed to answer this question.

Some simple household items are also found in the ledger such as a hair comb, and a handkerchief. Other items give us some insight into his family’s simple diet, such as butter and green tea. Young Hyson tea was grown in China and was considered a high quality green tea. It was apparently golden in color, and had a full-bodied, pungent taste.[6]

The purchase of a grass scythe suggests that he was able bodied at the time of purchase in July of 1835. Abraham’s final purchase was in August of that year. It is difficult to know if this was a typical slow down of work during the Fall season, or if it signified a growing illness, and perhaps an inability to work. Like his father, and his grandfather before, Abraham died a relatively young man. In December of 1835 he was buried near to his father in Winger cemetery (present Black Creek Pioneer cemetery). Although the “Climenhegg” spelling no longer survives, his many descendants endure to this day.

Footnotes    ((↵) returns to text)

  1. Denise d’Etremont & William Stevens. A genealogical reference for the monument inscription of Black Creek Pioneer Cemetery OGS #4622. Ontario Genealogical Society, 1989 [Calculated from grave marker: 35 y’s 4 mo 3d](↵)
  2. On 12 March 1825 (Reg 24 May 1825) Mar­tin Cli­men­hagen, Moses Cli­men­hagen, Henry Cli­men­hagen, Anna Sider wife of John Cider sons & daugh­ter of Henry Cli­men­hagen deceased sold to Abra­ham Cli­men­hagen 100 acres in Lot No 13 Con­ces­sion 9 from the Nia­gara River, Bertie Twp. for 5 shillings (A295 #6629).(↵)
  3. Ontario History (Vol. 5-8). Krause Reprint Co., 1904, p. 206.(↵)
  4. d’Etremont, A genealogical reference, 1989. (↵)
  5. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. C. & G. Merriam Co., 1913.(↵)
  6. Rosen, Diana. Teas of yore: Bohea, Hyson and Congou, nd.(↵)
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