In the early years of Erie County government, the county kept records of the proceedings between debtors and their creditors. The record book shown below was given to the Sandusky Library from the estate of Rush R. Sloane, former Mayor of Sandusky. In 1841, John Sloane, Rush’s father, was the Commissioner of Insolvents for Erie County; he also served as the Mayor of Sandusky from 1840 through 1843.
The ledger book was purchased from D. Campbell & Sons in Sandusky, Ohio who were the publishers of the local newspaper of that time, the Sandusky Clarion (now the Register).
Pictured below is a portion of the liabilities of Jonathan Mordock. He appeared before Commissioner Sloane, regarding debts that dated back to March 12, 1831.
Following the itemized list of debts is a transcript of questions and answers between Sloane and Mordock. Evidently Mr. Mordock gave Asahel Fox some horses, a wagon, and a harness. Mr. Sloane was trying to determine whether the items that Mordock gave to Fox covered his indebtedness. It turns out that Ashael Fox was the son-in-law of Mr. Mordock, and Mr. Sloane determined that Jonathan Mordock was destitute, and qualified for the provisions of the March 1831 “Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors.”
Some of the phrases that appear in the affidavit are very familiar, such as “not to my recollection,” and “not that I know of.” While much of the Record Book of the Commissioner of Insolvents may not be very interesting to read, one can get a sense of which businesses were doing well in the 1830s and 1840s, by noting the names of the creditors. Some of the businesses to whom debtors owed money during this time included: lawyers Parish and Sadler, real estate agent John Beatty, grocers Johnson and Simpson, and the stone mason Ogden Mallory.
The Record Book of the Commissioner of Insolvents, Erie County is a two volume set that is housed in the “Sandusky and Erie County History” collections at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.