VII. Drink and Food.
If Head wanted some refreshment, he could have availed himself of one of the "2 drinking glases," that he had also bought from Griscom, or the "6 stone mugs" he later purchased from Andrew Duche [Duché].222
Head must also have made good use of his tankard, as pewterer Simon Edgell charged for mending it.223
Pouring his drinks from larger containers was also no problem. On 9/8/26, William Wallas [Wallace?] was credited £0-12-0, "By a parsel of Botels."224 The bottles could be refilled from the "Galons" or "Barels" or "points" of drink Head regularly received from several accounts. "Strong Bere," at £0-9-0 a half barrel, "midel Bere," at £0-3-0 for 10 gallons, and, on one occasion, "Ale," at £0-9-0 a barrel, were from tavern-keeper George Emblen [Emlen]. "Sider," cost about £0-12-0 a barrel, and came from Harns [Haines?] Lucin, Thomas Clark, Thomas Redman and David George. "Rumb," at about £0-3-10 a gallon, came from many sources, perhaps because it was a staple import from Philadelphia's Caribbean trade. Head seems to have had no great interest in wine, which he got only in the smallest quantities. One problem with wine may have been spoilage. Head got only a half gallon of wine from Philip Johns, at £0-3-0; and a pint from Henry Bates, at £0-1-0. After Johns's death, his widow advertised for let his "House...near the Swede's Church at Wicaco;...the House being very well accustomed as a Tavern and much resorted to by Gentlemen, on Account of the Billiard Table, being scituate near the River side, and just a pleasant Walk from Philadelphia." Tea appears not to be popular in the Head household. Throughout his entire account book there is only one listing, "To a 1/4 pound of Tee," which he sold to Thomas Redman, at £0-3-0.225 No spirits appear apart from rum. In 1721, a meeting had been convened in Philadelphia to encourage the brewing of beer as a substitute for spirits.226
Head also had drinks elsewhere. The charge from Bates was "By a pint of wine at his house at Brester." Also, Head credited £0-9-6 to Robert Toms, "To Cash and drink Rec:d att Sundre Times."227 Toms owned a tavern, "the Ship in Plumb-Street below the Draw-bridge." Perhaps, Head's "drink Rec:d att Sundre Times" was taken at "the Ship," where Toms had a "Likely Servant Girl" present.228
Head also sold some of the drink. Particularly informative are the 1/3/27 entries in the account of Thomas George to "one pound of Candle and one pint of rumbe," "halfe a Barel of beer," "1/2 a Galon of rumbe," "one pound of shugar," and "his Cofin," which was to "The Widdow." It is unclear whether George's death was being fêted by the drink or was the consequence of it.229
A variety of food stuffs was bought by Head. Given the often large quantities, it is probable that he was acquiring it not just for himself and his household, but for resale and export. Thus Thomas Hill was credited £8-19-4 [2/18/23, 2/19/23] for a total of 538 pounds of "Baken."230 Even a growing family as large as Head's could not have been expected to consume that much. Kalm noted: "Philadelphia reaps the greatest profits from its trade to the West Indies. For thither the inhabitants ship almost every day a quantity of flour, butter, flesh and other victuals; timber, plank and the like. In return they receive either sugar, molasses, rum, indigo, mahogany, and other goods, or ready money."231
Fig. 11: High Street Market, Philadelphia
Oil on canvas, attrib. to John A. Woodside, Sr.
Courtesy Independence National Historical Park
Much of the food that Head obtained appears to have come from those operating at the nearby Market, by the Court House, on Market [sometimes High] Street. Wednesday and Sunday were market days and attracted country folk to bring in their victuals and seasonal produce. In summer, the market was open every day. Market hours ran from four or five to nine in the morning, undoubtedly to quickly sell goods before they spoiled.232
The vitality of Philadelphia's High Street Market was captured in an early 19th century painting attributed to Woodside [fig. 11].233
The "paper & Alspis [pepper & allspice]," Head bought from Joshua Johnson, at £0-1-4, is not to be confused with Head's "quire of paper" from Francis Knowles at the same price. They are another reminder of the always treacherous terrain of Head's spelling. Other seasonings and flavorings included more "alspis" from Griscom, "nutmags" from Johnson and Joseph Prichard, "snake root" from Daniel Hillman, "Senninent [cinnamon]" from Mary Davis, "musterd seed" from Joseph Zane, "6 Galons of Chary Juce [cherry juice]" from Cattren Colins [Catherine Collins?], and "Solt" from Barnibas Talbot. When in use at table, the salt could be transferred to the "Salt Siler" from Simon Edgell.234
Peter Kalm, a contemporary Swedish visitor, had observed that "THE inhabitants make plenty of cheese. They are reckoned not so good as English cheese: however, some take them to be full as good when old; and so they seemed to me."235 Head must have agreed, as he bought plenty of "Ches," and other dairy products such as milk and "Buter." Only on one occasion did Head return for credit "a Bad Ches."236
Kalm found that "[e]very countryman, even a common peasant, has commonly an orchard near his house, in which all sorts of fruit, such as peaches, apples, pears, cherries and others, are in plenty." Great quantities of fruit and sweet meats were eaten. Kalm was also fascinated by the variety of local berries.237 Head bought "Aples," but he seemed more inclined to "Cheres," "Strarbares," and "ukelbares." Brandy was made from unripe apples, but there is no record of Head's apples being used for such purpose. Other uses for apples were cider, pies, and tarts.238
Frequent purchases by Head were grains such as "Rye," rice, "ots [oats], "Wate [wheat]," and corn, including "Ingen Corn." Indian corn and rye were grown by Pennsylvania farmers as cattle feed, and supplemented their principal crop, wheat.239 Also bought were "Bran," flour, including "Rie [rye] flower," and "Male [meal]," including "Ingen male." Again, because of the large quantities Head often got, he may have been involved in Philadelphia's large export trade in these products. Philadelphia flour was exported as part of a triangular trade which developed with the Caribbean islands and England at the end of the 17th century. That trade continued to prosper for several decades, as a consequence of "the willingness of West Indies producers to pay high prices for imported foodstuffs, which in turn was the direct result of the willingness of Europeans to pay high prices for sugar."240
Vegetables included "Turnips," "Inyons [onions]," "pase [peas]," and "kidney Banes [beans]." Meat, often in substantial amounts, was also bought, as follows: "Beef," "vale [veal]," "Hart [deer]," and "Pork," including "Baken," "Gamon," "Lien of muten [loin of mutton]," and "ages [haggis]." Other items bought were "noodels," "vinigar," and, in particularly large quantities, "Lases [molasses]." The molasses was among those goods frequently sold by Head.241
All of the foregoing references to food are extremely detailed as to prices paid and quantities purchased. They also help identify the types of containers in which they were sometimes delivered.242
Head's entries as to food also provide varied information as to the diet of colonial Philadelphians. Despite all of the sugar and molasses bought, Head's family may not have had a such a sweet tooth for other things at the market. Only one pound of "Chalklet" was recorded as bought and, of that, half was sold. "Buter & scuches," however, were bought but never shown as sold.243 Whether the Heads ate the chocolate and butterscotch as a candy, used it in baking, or drank it hot, is open to conjecture.