17 September 2012

Paying Rufus for a Horse in 1816

A Rufus D. Stephens was paid $90 for a horse in 1817. One might almost wonder why anyone cares, but establishing identity is important and any reference to a person in this time period is one worth checking into.  Is this Rufus D. the same Rufus D. for whom I am looking? "My" Rufus is apparently in New York State, Canada, Michigan, and possibly Illinois. 

The 1817 reference.

This payment reference comes from an accounting of United States "Receipts and Expenditures" for the year 1817 with a title page as referenced below: 
Pages 99 and 100 (shown below) indicate the heading under which the payment to Rufus D. Stephens appears. One has to always avoid the temptation to simply copy the page with  name on it and nothing else. Everything must be taken into context. 

 Page 137 (shown below) contains the actual reference to Rufus D. Stephens who was paid in June of 1817 a total of $80 for a horse.

The problem is that this reference contains no additional information on Rufus--where he lived, where he filed the claim, etc. This book was obtained in digital format on Google Books and can be referenced here.

Going Forward

While the name of Rufus D. Stephens is not all that common, there could easily have been more than one person with that combination of first and last names. At this point, I'm trying to determine if this Rufus is the same one who was referenced in an earlier blog post. I'm also glad his name is not John Smith. We're working on a brief blog post about our methodology on trying to determine if these men are one and the same (and on establishing their connection to the actual person of interest).

There may be more information on this claim than appears here--maybe. On our short list of things to do is determining if there is additional documentation for Rufus' $80 claim.

Stay tuned.
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