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Sloan-Osborne Ciphering Book


Adlai Osborne (1744-1814), lawyer and political and educational leader, was born in either New Jersey or Delaware, son of Alexander and Agnes McWhorter Osborne. At the age of five he was brought by his parents to what is now southeastern Iredell County. Henry Sloan (1769-1783), was the son of John and Agnes Sloan of Rowan (subsequently Davidson) County.The volume contains the arithmetic exercises of both Adlai and Henry. Through circumstances explained further in the Collection Overview, it is thought both boys' entries were completed around the age of 9 or 10.

Title

Sloan-Osborne Ciphering Book

Collection Number

PC.1955

Date(s)

c. 1753; 1778-1779; 1782

Language

English

Physical Description
Volume
1
made up of post-folio size paper manufactured at two different papermills
Abstract

Adlai Osborne (1744-1814), lawyer and political and educational leader, was born in either New Jersey or Delaware, son of Alexander and Agnes McWhorter Osborne. At the age of five he was brought by his parents to what is now southeastern Iredell County. Henry Sloan (1769-1783), was the son of John and Agnes Sloan of Rowan (subsequently Davidson) County.

The volume contains the arithmetic exercises of both Adlai and Henry. Through circumstances explained further in the Collection Overview, it is thought both boys' entries were completed around the age of 9 or 10.

Physical Location

For current information on the location ofthese materials, please consult the Public Services Branch, State Archives of North Carolina.

Creator

Sloan, Henry and Osborne, Adlai

Repository

State Archives of North Carolina


Available for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.


Processed by George Stevenson, September, 2006

Encoded by Lee Todd, March, 2008


Adlai Osborne (1744-1814), lawyer and political and educational leader, was born in either New Jersey or Delaware, son of Alexander and Agnes McWhorter Osborne. At the age of five he was brought by his parents to what is now southeastern Iredell County. His father's home, Belmont, became the educational center for the developing community there. Osborne was educated at home, prepared for college at nearby Crowfield Academy, then sent for his higher education to Nassau Hall in New Jersey (Princeton University) where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in 1768.

Henry Sloan (1769-1783), was the son of John and Agnes Sloan of Rowan (subsequently Davidson) County. It appears that Henry Sloan used the ciphering book while a pupil at Liberty Hall Academy in Charlotte, N.C., during 1778 and 1779. An earlier school, Queen's College, had been incorporated in Charlotte by an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina in 1771, but the act of incorporation was disallowed by the crown so that the college came to an end on the eve of the American Revolution. One of the earliest acts passed by the General Assembly after North Carolina declared its independence from Great Britain was the incorporation of Liberty Hall Academy at Charlotte in the spring of 1777. Adlai Osborne was one of the trustees of the new school. Late in 1778 the trustees persuaded Osborne's uncle, Alexander McWhorter (Princeton, 1757; Yale, Hon. D.D., 1776), to become president of Liberty Hall Academy. Classes appear to have been held from the close of 1778 until 1780 when the entry of the British army into Charlotte forced the closing of the academy.

The dates shown for young Sloan's arithmetical exercises coincide with the opening session of Liberty Hall Academy. The assumption is that Osborne, as one of the trustees, did what he could to find paper, then a very scarce article, for use in the academy. It appears that Osborne refurbished his old ciphering book by stitching in enough blank sheets to satisfy the needs of one of his uncle's pupils.


Adlai Osborne (1744-1814), lawyer and political and educational leader, was born in either New Jersey or Delaware, son of Alexander and Agnes McWhorter Osborne. At the age of five he was brought by his parents to what is now southeastern Iredell County. His father's home, Belmont, became the educational center for the developing community there. Osborne was educated at home, prepared for college at nearby Crowfield Academy, then sent for his higher education to Nassau Hall in New Jersey (Princeton University) where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in 1768.

Henry Sloan (1769-1783), was the son of John and Agnes Sloan of Rowan (subsequently Davidson) County. It appears that Henry Sloan used the ciphering book while a pupil at Liberty Hall Academy in Charlotte, N.C., during 1778 and 1779. An earlier school, Queen's College, had been incorporated in Charlotte by an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina in 1771, but the act of incorporation was disallowed by the crown so that the college came to an end on the eve of the American Revolution. One of the earliest acts passed by the General Assembly after North Carolina declared its independence from Great Britain was the incorporation of Liberty Hall Academy at Charlotte in the spring of 1777. Adlai Osborne was one of the trustees of the new school. Late in 1778 the trustees persuaded Osborne's uncle, Alexander McWhorter (Princeton, 1757; Yale, Hon. D.D., 1776), to become president of Liberty Hall Academy. Classes appear to have been held from the close of 1778 until 1780 when the entry of the British army into Charlotte forced the closing of the academy.

The dates shown for young Sloan's arithmetical exercises coincide with the opening session of Liberty Hall Academy. The assumption is that Osborne, as one of the trustees, did what he could to find paper, then a very scarce article, for use in the academy. It appears that Osborne refurbished his old ciphering book by stitching in enough blank sheets to satisfy the needs of one of his uncle's pupils.


[Identification of item], PC.1955, Sloan-Osborne Ciphering Book, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.


Gift, Prof. Tom Trice, San Luis Obispo, CA 2004.


Additional information on topics found in this collection may be found in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS)  http://www.ncarchives.dcr.state.nc.us.


The 16 pages of the ciphering book relating to the arithmetical education of Osborne comprise pages 21 through 32. (Of these pages, page 28 is blank and the upper halves of pages 21-22, 25-26, and 31-32 have been cut or torn away.) These pages are on good quality paper made by Thomas and Mark Willcox at their Ivy Mills in Pennsylvania (now Delaware). The watermarks in this paper are the initials  "TMW" and the figure of a dove holding a leafless olive branch. They contain problems concerning the reductions to farthings and pence of several kinds of money including pounds, pistoles, guineas, moidores, crowns, johannes, doubloons, dollars, crusadoes, and reales. They contain, too, problems in troy weight and avoirdupois weight. None of Osborne's exercises are dated. At the same time, they are the sorts of arithmetical problems thought fit to be set for a boy of 9 or 10 years of age. It is presumed that the exercises were set for young Osborne while he was being educated at home-probably about 1753.

Sloan's exercises are found on 26 pages of the ciphering book. Some exercises are dated in November 1778, and January and February 1779. All of them involve various units of measure: troy weight, apothecaries' weight; avoirdupois weight, liquid measure, dry measure, long measure, time, and money. The first three pages are devoted to addition; pages 4-5 to subtraction; pages 7-10 to multiplication; and pages 11-15 to division. On pages 33-42 are set problems for the student concerning the division of sums of money among differing numbers of men, reduction of different monies to farthings and pence, and tare and tret. Young Sloan died at the age of 14, and his ciphering book passed into the possession of his sister Jane (Mrs. Jacob Fisher of Salisbury, N.C.). As succeeding generations of Mrs. Fisher's descendants moved from state to state (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.), the manuscript traveled with them, coming to rest, finally, with the present donor in California. At some point in its migration, the manuscript was used by a rattlesnake as an aid in shedding its skin. When the snake wriggled between the pages of the booklet, it shed the skin over its rattles between pages 16 and 17.

The blank sheets added by Osborne c. 1778 are of an inferior quality and are marked with the standard English symbols used by papermakers at the time: one side having the figure of Britannia seated in a fenced ground holding in her hand a liberty pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap, and a lion rampant with the motto  "Pro Patria" above the image, and the other side having the royal cypher in an heraldic garter.


The 16 pages of the ciphering book relating to the arithmetical education of Osborne comprise pages 21 through 32. (Of these pages, page 28 is blank and the upper halves of pages 21-22, 25-26, and 31-32 have been cut or torn away.) These pages are on good quality paper made by Thomas and Mark Willcox at their Ivy Mills in Pennsylvania (now Delaware). The watermarks in this paper are the initials  "TMW" and the figure of a dove holding a leafless olive branch. They contain problems concerning the reductions to farthings and pence of several kinds of money including pounds, pistoles, guineas, moidores, crowns, johannes, doubloons, dollars, crusadoes, and reales. They contain, too, problems in troy weight and avoirdupois weight. None of Osborne's exercises are dated. At the same time, they are the sorts of arithmetical problems thought fit to be set for a boy of 9 or 10 years of age. It is presumed that the exercises were set for young Osborne while he was being educated at home-probably about 1753.

Sloan's exercises are found on 26 pages of the ciphering book. Some exercises are dated in November 1778, and January and February 1779. All of them involve various units of measure: troy weight, apothecaries' weight; avoirdupois weight, liquid measure, dry measure, long measure, time, and money. The first three pages are devoted to addition; pages 4-5 to subtraction; pages 7-10 to multiplication; and pages 11-15 to division. On pages 33-42 are set problems for the student concerning the division of sums of money among differing numbers of men, reduction of different monies to farthings and pence, and tare and tret. Young Sloan died at the age of 14, and his ciphering book passed into the possession of his sister Jane (Mrs. Jacob Fisher of Salisbury, N.C.). As succeeding generations of Mrs. Fisher's descendants moved from state to state (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.), the manuscript traveled with them, coming to rest, finally, with the present donor in California. At some point in its migration, the manuscript was used by a rattlesnake as an aid in shedding its skin. When the snake wriggled between the pages of the booklet, it shed the skin over its rattles between pages 16 and 17.

The blank sheets added by Osborne c. 1778 are of an inferior quality and are marked with the standard English symbols used by papermakers at the time: one side having the figure of Britannia seated in a fenced ground holding in her hand a liberty pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap, and a lion rampant with the motto  "Pro Patria" above the image, and the other side having the royal cypher in an heraldic garter.


  • Osborne, Adlai
  • Sloan, Henry
  • Liberty Hall Academy (Mecklenburg County, N.C.)
  • Arithmetic--Problems, exercises, etc.
  • Students--North Carolina
  • Charlotte (N.C.)