This fragile, coverless school workbook (object ID 2008.12.6) came to light as we were cataloging farm ledgers from Flintstone, MD donated by the Robinette family. The book belonged to Jonathan Arnold, son of Archibald Arnold, and writings within date from 1787 to 1799. From the text and from some online genealogy research, we’ve been able to find that he was born around 1775 in Frederick and became an apprenticed tailor there in 1790. He had two siblings connected to Allegany County — a sister born in Cumberland in 1778 and a brother who died in the County in 1830.
The book is full of handwritten mathematics lessons in Geometry, Reductions, and Multiplication. There are also many places where Jonathan took to writing sentences in repetition, as one may have done for punishment. Some of these inscriptions go, “Delay in Punishment is no Priviledge to Pardon,” and “Gentility without Ability is like a Pudding without Fat.” In many places, he practices his quill work and doodles little eagles next to his Long Division.
A few pieces of his later, more formal writing were also found inside. A Last Will & Testament for a Mr. Michael Cunningham dated 1788 was hand-copied by Jonathan in 1790 because he seems to be connected to one of Mr. Cunningham’s debtors. Also, two contracts were found that indenture Jonathan as an apprentice to Mr. Solomon Crissman to become a tailor, and to Mr. Mich Kelly as a scholar. Both were dated January, 1790.
The oldest known ancestor of Jonathan Arnold in Maryland is his great-grandfather Anthony Arnold, Sr., who died in 1688 in Anne Arundel County. On one page of the book, next to a place where Jonathan had written his name and the date 1788, his grandson Thomas J. Arnold signed the book and dated it 1888.