Blacksmith Apprentice Contract, 1836

Blacksmith Apprentice Contract, 1836

The factories and production of the Market Revolution eroded the wealth and power of skilled small business owners called artisans. This indenture contract illustrated the former way of doing things, where a young person would agree to serve for a number of years as an apprentice to a skilled artisan before venturing out on his own.



Indenture of an Apprentice

This Indenture witnesseth, that James Long, of the township of Lower Makesfield, in the county of Bucks, son of Francis Long, by and with the consent of his father, as testified by his signing as a witness herento, hath put himself, and by these presents doth voluntarily, and of his own free will and accord, put himself apprentice to Samuel Downs, of the same place, Blacksmith, to learn his art, trade and mystery, and after the manner of an apprentice to serve him from the day of the date hereof, for and during the full end and term of four years and two months, next ensuing. During all which term the apprentice his said master faithfully shall serve, his secrets keep, his lawful commands every where gladly obey. He shall do no damage to his said master, nor see it done by others, without letting or giving notice thereof to his said master. He shall not waste his said master’s goods, nor lend them unlawfully to any. With his own goods, nor the goods of others, without license from his said master, he shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not absent himself day nor night from his said master’s service without his leave; nor haunt ale-houses, taverns or play-houses; but in all things behave himself as a faithful apprentice ought to do, during the said term. And the said master shall use the utmost of his endeavors to teach our cause to be taught or instructed the said apprentice, in the trade or mystery of a Blacksmith; and procure for him sufficient meat, drink, apparel, lodging and washing fitting for an apprentice, during the said term of four years and two months, and give him within the said term six months’ schooling, one-half thereof is to be in the last year of the said term; and when he is free, to give him two suits of clothing, one whereof is to be entirely new. And for the performance of all and singular the covenants and agreements aforesaid, the said parties bind themselves unto the other, firmly, by these presents. In witness hereof, the said parties have set their hands and seals hereunto—Dates the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty six.

James Long.

Sealed and delivered in the presence of Francis Long.


Jason M. Mahan, The Private Instructor, or Mathematics Simplified, comprising everything necessary in arithmetic, bookkeeping, conveyancing, mesuration, and gauging, to form and complete the man of business (Harrisburg: 1835), 231-232.

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