Thursday, November 5, 2015

Peddler's License

It your ancestor was a merchant in early Kentucky, he  may have begun his career as a peddler. To be a peddler, you had to have a license. The record generated by the peddler's license can be helpful in your research.

This is what the law said:
 Any person wishing to peddle goods, wares or merchandise within the boundaries of the Commonwealth of Kentucky was required to obtain a license from the county clerk. Before the license was granted, the peddler had to prove by two credible witnesses that he had been a bona fide resident of the county for at least two years and was of good moral character. In addition, a description of the applicant was given and all were entered in a court record. [1]

This is an example of the court record:
"On motion of Mangold Lowensteen and it appearing to the Court upon evidence of two credible witnesses that he has for at least two years past been a bona fide resident citizen of this county and a man of good moral character and being of the following description Viz about 5 feet 5 inches high  fair complexion  one upper front tooth out and nearly bald headed and 26 years of age. Ordered that the clerk of this court issue a license authorizing and permitting said Lowensteen to peddle three months ..."[2]

Any record naming a person in a particular place and at a particular time is a good record and if it gives a physical description of the person it is a wonderful record.

[1] Sec. I. "Revenue and Taxation," in The Revised Statutes of Kentucky (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1860), 283-284; digital images, Google Books ( accessed 26 Oct 2015).
[2] Livingston County, Kentucky  Court Order Book L:525, 1 October 1859.

Published 5 November 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy.

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