William Drescher ledger

Collection 3999

(0.2 Linear feet ; 1 box)

Summary Information

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Drescher, William.
William Drescher ledger
Date [inclusive]
0.2 Linear feet ; 1 box
Finding aid prepared by Weckea D. Lilly.
Mixed materials [Box]
This ledger was kept by William H. Drescher of Butler, Pennsylvania, a wheelwright and carriage maker. Drescher seems to have started by repairing and making farm equipment such as cradles, reapers, rakes, and harrows. He started then making horse wagons, sleds, single and double tress for plows, spring wagons, buck boards, and then quite a few shallops, probably for use on the nearby Allegheny River. It was evidently a cash business with little or no barter recorded. Each customer is listed with the service rendered and price with check marks indicating cach payment. Some early entries are in German.

Preferred citation

[Indicate cited item or series here], William Drescher ledger (Collection 3999), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and content note

William H. Drescher, born in 1838 to Andrew and Fredericka Drescher, studied carpentry under his father's tutelage in Saxonburg, Butler County, Pennsylvania, before taking an apprenticeship with a wagonmaker. His shop there in Saxonburg would become the only one in the township. He married a Dora Bohn (born 1842), a German native, in 1862. They had six children: Ella, Edmund, Lydia, Charles, Wanda, and Emma. The family’s life in Saxonburg is relatively unknown; however, perhaps owing to the lack of competition, Drescher’s brief biography was included in the Brown’s (1895) History of Butler County, Pennsylvania.

This ledger of Drescher's shows that his many services included making, repairing, and selling wagons. The types of wagons included buck wagon, corn wagon, horse wagon, and spring wagon. Drescher also sold buggies, which were differentiated from wagons in their structure and use. With regard to the wagons, he also sold parts including planks, shafts, spokes, and wheels. The volume departs from being a conventional ledger in that, in parts, it is simply no more than a list of customers/patrons and the amounts paid. The service provided or the item purchased is not noted in those portions.

It appears that Drescher accepted only cash payments. Completed orders were either designated as “settlelet in full” or “pait” (misspellings of "settled" and "paid"). Some entries have were struck through, and it is not clear if these orders were cancelled or had been resolved with payment, as "pait" has been inscribed next to many of them.

There are indications in the volume that Drescher may have sold sundry items, as well, with listings that include “beaf,” buckwheat flour, lumber, coal, knives, potatoes, and sleds. As well, there were a few references to charges for sewing, and one specifically noted “Mary Drescher sewing.” There was also one unusual item sold,oted as “horse power for machine” with a $4.50 charge.

In addition to his running business in Saxonburg, Drescher also served during the American Civil War in Company E, 78th Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was also a Democratic member of the councils for the Borough of Saxonburg, a member of the Knights of Pythias, and a congregant in Saxonburg's German Lutheran church..

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Historical Society of Pennsylvania , July 2016.

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107


The collection is available for research.

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings


  • Business records.


  • Business transactions--Pennsylvania--19th century.
  • Business--History--Pennsylvania--19th century.
  • Carriage and wagon making--19th century.

Return to Table of Contents »


Brown, Robert C.. History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. Chicago: R. C. Brown, 1895.

Geibel, Diana Marie Voltz. From the Archives of Butler County, Pennsylvania. Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1997.

Purviance, John N. History of Butler County. Butler, Pa, 1876.

Return to Table of Contents »

Collection Inventory

Box Volume

Ledger 1869-1900 

1 1

Return to Table of Contents »

Box Folder

Items removed from William Drescher ledger. 1868-1881 

1 1

Return to Table of Contents »