Finding Aid: McKenzie, Tyson and Company Account Book, 1812-1827, PC.AB.120


Finding Aid: McKenzie, Tyson and Company Account Book, 1812-1827, PC.AB.120


The McKenzie, Tyson and Company general store was located near the junction of Moore, Lee, and Chatham counties in North Carolina from approximately 1798 until 1823. Aaron Tyson, Murdoch McKenzie, and Archibald McBryde were the original partners in the business.
This collection contains one day book. Recorded merchandise includes food staples, cookware, clothing, sewing essentials, grooming items, books, stationery, postage, and hardware. Attached to this finding aid is a partial index of customers' names found in the day book. Particular care has been given to list female customers, since women were not enumerated by name in the 1810 or 1820 United States Censuses.

A sampling of customers' names can be viewed by consulting the finding aid in the State Archives Search Room.

General merchandise, post office, accounts of Euphronian Academy. Daybook and memorandums

Descriptive Summary

McKenzie, Tyson and Company Account Book, 1812-1827
Call Number
McKenzie family
1812 - 1827
1.00 volumes
State Archives of North Carolina

Series Quick Links

  1. Collection Contents

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research

Use Restrictions

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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Private Collections: Account Books, PC.AB.120, McKenzie, Tyson and Company Account Book, 1812-1827, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Collection Overview

This account book logs transactions of a store located near the junction of the Moore, Chatham, and Lee county lines. The business, known as McKenzie, Tyson and Company, was active from approximately 1798 to 1823. All debits and credits were recorded in pounds, shillings, and pence, even though dollars were in common use during this period. Both cash and barter systems were utilized by the store.
Food staples included pork, bacon, oats, coffee, sugar, and salt. Whiskey, brandy, and cider were the popular spirits. Other items for sale included tobacco, cloth, cookware, hardware, books, and stationery.
The store served as a post office branch in Moore County. Murdoch McKenzie was appointed postmaster in 1807. In 1811, William Tyson assumed that office. One customer of note was Governor Benjamin Williams (1751-1814), who had retired to his nearby plantation. The day book reveals that he sent fourteen letters during the last few months of his life. His widow posted letters there after his death.
The account book includes a few transactions relating to the Euphronian Academy, a school in Moore County which was established by the General Assembly of North Carolina in 1811. Sums of money from Thomas Tyson (died 6 October 1813), Murdoch McKenzie, William Tyson, and Aaron Tyson's estate were pledged for the construction of the school building. Approximately twenty-five store customers provided tuitions for scholars. Murdoch McMillan (active 1810-1840), who served as the school's first superintendent, purchased Latin books and other supplies at the store.

Arrangement Note

The day book is arranged chronologically by date, then name, in the order in which transactions occurred.

Biographical/Historical Note

On 29 May 1799, three businessmen set down on paper the terms of an existing verbal agreement. The three partners were Aaron Tyson, Sr. (1760-1805), Murdoch McKenzie (died 1823), and Archibald McBryde (approximately 1766-1837). Their general store, located at Tyson's dwelling, was known as Aaron Tyson and Company. Presumably, this was the extant Aaron Tyson, Sr. House in Carbonton, North Carolina or its predecessor on Tyson lands nearby.
The agreement ensured that Tyson would keep half of the profits from the business and that McKenzie and McBryde would split the remaining half. Both Tyson and McKenzie were to be paid a salary of £75 annually for attending the store. In addition, Tyson was guaranteed annual sums of £12 in store house rent, £18 to board McKenzie, and £18 to board himself.
Aaron Tyson was the son of Cornelius Tyson, Sr. (died 1795) of Cumberland County, North Carolina. This branch of the Tyson family were Quakers who attended Cane Creek Monthly Meeting in Alamance County, N.C. Aaron married Lydia Beals (died 1812) on 2 November 1786 at Center Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, N.C. They had seven sons and four daughters.
With his older brother Benjamin Tyson (born 1751), Aaron co-owned a gristmill, a saw mill, and a ferry on the Deep River. The 1798 Strother map shows a Tyson mill located on the river, close to Tyson's Creek. By the end of his life, Aaron Tyson was a wealthy man with land on both sides of the Deep River. As an early proponent of inland navigation, he owned stock in the Cape Fear and Deep River and Haw River Navigation business(es) [later Cape Fear and Deep River Navigation Company], which he left to several sons.
After Aaron's death, the general store became known as Murdoch McKenzie and Company. On 24 May 1805, Aaron's widow signed a document with his two surviving business partners. This agreement allowed Aaron's three eldest sons to purchase up to £50 each of stock in the business and to draw some profits, in proportion to the number of shares owned by each. This agreement also enabled Aaron's widow to receive a portion of the profits to provide for herself and her younger children. Furthermore, the partnership agreed to pay Lydia annual sums of £25 in store house rent and £25 for McKenzie's boarding fee. Lydia's son, John Tyson (died 1827), was promised a salary of £50 a year for working in the business. The partners agreed to pay Lydia an additional £25 for John to board at home and £25 each for any other boarders. It is unclear how long John remained employed in the business.
McKenzie and McBryde were both prominent men in North Carolina. McKenzie represented Moore County in 1802 as a senator in the state legislature. McBryde was a lawyer who served two terms as a United States representative (1809-1813) and one term as a North Carolina legislator (1813-1814).
McKenzie's will named his wife, Rebecca, as one of his executors. Some secondary sources suggest that this was Rebecca Tyson, daughter of Benjamin. However, this has not been verified in primary sources. McKenzie's will also name two sons and two daughters who had lived past infancy.
McBryde married Lydia Ramsey (died approximately 1861) of Chatham County, N.C. They had eleven children who lived beyond infancy. After McBryde's death, Lydia and other family members moved to Madison County, Tennessee.
Approximately 1811, William Tyson (died 1823) joined the firm and the store changed its name once again to McKenzie, Tyson and Company. William's will provided for the maintenance of his wife, Sarah A. Tyson (approximately 1790-1860?). In addition, the will provided for the "liberal education" of two sons and "a good female education" for one daughter. After William Tyson's death, Sarah married widower and Guilford County merchant, Kollock Abraham Geren (approximately 1781-1859). In the 1830s, the couple moved to Carroll County, Mississippi with many members of their extended family joining them there.
After the deaths of both Murdoch McKenzie and William Tyson in 1823, the business partnership became entangled in estate and legal matters. In 1825, many of Aaron Tyson's heirs sued John Tyson in a case that made its way to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Newspaper reports indicate that litigation continued for more than twenty years. Eventually, the McBryde family and the McKenzie family were named as co-defendants to John Tyson. By the 1840s, a total of thirty plaintiffs and thirty defendants were listed in the suit.
Newspaper advertisements from the 1840s introduced two new names to this story. Nevin McLeran (approximately 1795-1852) of Watson's Bridge (Moore County) was married to Rebecca Tyson (approximately 1801-1855), Aaron Tyson's daughter. Archibald A. T. Smith (active 1840s) of Fayetteville (Cumberland County) was the son of Jane Tyson Smith and the grandson of Aaron Tyson. In 1847, McLeran and Smith were directed by the North Carolina Supreme Court to sell lands totaling 3,915 acres. This evidence suggests that the court ruled in favor of the defendants: John Tyson's heirs, the McBryde family, and the McKenzie family.

Contents of the Collection

Collection Contents
Day Book, 1812-1827

This volume is a day book labelled "2" with leather binding. An alphabetical index of customer names can be found at the back of the book. The earliest date entered is 22 December 1812 and the latest date is 1 November 1827. There are 270 pages, less pages overwritten and cut. The pages are hand numbered at the top of each verso (LH) and recto (RH). Measurement of volume in inches is: 6 1/2 x 15 1/4 x 1

Subject Headings

  • McKenzie, _____
  • Tyson, _____
  • McKenzie, Tyson, and Co.
  • Euphronian Academy
  • Account books
  • General stores--North Carolina--Chatham County
  • General stores--North Carolina--Moore County
  • General stores--North Carolina--Lee County
  • Grocery trade--North Carolina--Carbonton
  • Retail trade--North Carolina--Carbonton
  • Post office stations and branches--North Carolina--History
  • Merchants
  • Business
  • Nonpublic Schools
  • Post offices
  • Consumer Goods
  • Stores, Mercantile
  • Chatham County (N.C.)
  • Moore County (N.C.)
  • Lee County (N.C.)
  • Deep River (N.C.: River)
  • Moore County (N.C.)
  • Grocers--North Carolina--Carbonton
  • Acquisitions Information


    Processing Information

  • Finding aid prepared by Lea Walker, May 2015