I spent yesterday afternoon turning out the drawers of the secretary in the living room and removing lots of extraneous stuff - some of which belonged to my parents and to my grandparents who were the original owners of the secretary. There were piles of paper to recycle, old financial records to burn, and more pens and pencils than you would believe.
Virtue rewarded! Amidst all this clutter -- I found this little ledger which I picked up at an informal flea market in Marshall back in the Seventies. It's an account book for the years 1908 - 1910, kept by a student at some place he refers to as MC. Maybe nearby Mars Hill College -- but quite possibly some place nearer to Black Mtn. as he seems to visit there the most.
M.Jones kept very careful accounts -- of what he spent and what he earned. On one page he even categorizes his expenses as necessary or unnecessary.
He seems to have been working his way through college.On March 18, 1908, M. Jones spent 8 hours sodding the yard of a dorm -- for which he earned 80 cents. He continued working at this rate of pay, through out the month and into the next -- 2 hours here, three hours there, till he had earned $7.10.
He waited tables, swept floors, made ice cream, washed dishes, and 'cleaned up' -- all at 10 cents and hour.
Also noted as money-making activities are fireing (chopping wood? feeding a furnace?) gardening, cutting corn, and rolling a tennis court.
How did M. Jones spend his money? Here's a sampling: 1 car fare - 5 cents, 1 dinner - 25 cents, 1 box cagars (sic) - 5 cents, 4 bananas - 5 cents, 6 plugs tobacco, 50 cents, soda fountain - 50 cents, ticket to Black Mtn, - 10 cents, soda fountain - 25 cents, chewing gum - 2 cents.
But it wasn't all frivolity. There was the registration fee for a conference at a whopping $5 and another $5 for board at the conference. A trip to the dentist was $1 (and later 6 teeth filled for $5.) His dinners generally cost 10 or 15 cents. He bought 3 collars for 30 cents, a suit for $4.50, 2 shirts for $1, a pair of shoes for $2, 6 handkerchiefs for 50 cents and a trunk for $5.
Learning cost money -- 6 candles for 10 cents, 1 notebook -5 cents, a lamp for 60 cents, a pint of oil for the lamp - 3 cents, 3 books rented for 70 cents, 2 pencils - 5 cents, Caesar - 75 cents. 2 bottles ink - 15 cents, 6 pen points- 5 cents, pen stock - 10 cents.
Jones also kept track of his travels -- mostly by rail -- to Black Mountain, Asheville, Beaufort, Savannah, Cincinnati, New York City -- and then, rather surprisingly, to Panama -- Colon, Culebra, Corazal . . .
What in the world was M. Jones up to?