By: Xenia E. Cord
Based on an unpublished, handwritten account book maintained by William McCormick from 1751 through 1782, this research reconstructs the life of a Virginian in southwestern Pennsylvania who prospered by cooperative commerce. Trained as a weaver of linen goods, McCormick practiced this craft when necessary, also establishing himself as a frontiersman, ranger, and teamster hauling commodities between Winchester, Virginia, and Fort Pitt. He was responsible for considerable textile production during the Revolution, when provisioning volunteer militia was the responsibility of the community. Bartering yardages for commodities and cooperative labor was an integral part of the sustenance of any frontier community. The medium of exchange was the value each participant placed on his own labor and skills, and the acceptance of that value by others. The manuscript contains many names of those with whom McCormick did business, requiring extensive search in colonial census materials to determine the locations, relationships, and nature of these associations.