Guide to the Augustus S. Ensworth Ledger MS 23

Finding aid prepared by Sandra Kirkwood
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
February 1, 2012

Title: Augustus S. Ensworth Ledger
Identifier/Call Number: MS 23
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1860 September-1865 January
Abstract: The collection contains one bound ledger kept by Augustus Ensworth for Thomas Whaley’s merchandizing business activities in San Diego from September 1860 to January 1865.
creator: Ensworth, Augustus S.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Preferred Citation

Augustus S. Ensworth Ledger, MS 23, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Sandra Kirkwood on February 1, 2012.
Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Augustus S. Ensworth was born in Connecticut around 1810 and moved to San Diego as a teamster. He was elected as the Justice of Peace in 1856 and consequently began the study of law. In 1859, Judge Ensworth was elected as Assemblyman. In September 1860, Ensworth started handling Thomas Whaley’s business activities in San Diego, while Whaley was working as a Commissary Storekeeper for the U.S. Army under Captain M. D. L. Simpson. Ensworth lived in the Whaley House, recorded financial transactions, served as an accountant for taxes, and completed repairs on the building. In a letter to Thomas Whaley on February 21, 1865, A.S. Ensworth admitted having a broken leg. He was hospitalized at the Sisters of Charity Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. On September 13, 1865, Augustus S. Ensworth died from an infection. Judge Benjamin Hayes informed Thomas Whaley of Ensworth’s death.

Scope and Content

The collection is a ledger recording business financial activities from September 1860 and ends in January 1865. The entries in the first half of the book are “Cash Received” followed by “Cash Paid Out.” From left to right, the first column shows the month and day with the year indicated at the top of the page. Clarifying information is in the middle column followed by the dollar amount in the last column. A written note in the ledger states that certain pages were removed and mailed to Thomas Whaley from Ensworth. Ensworth made copies of the original entries in the ledger, indicated by a note and/or the word Copy at the top of the pages. Common commodities included: flour, sugar, candles, bread, canned goods, lard, and apples. Business transactions are listed with prominent San Diegans including C. J. Couts, Col. W. C. Ferrell, W. S. Morrow, E. W. Morse, and the Bandini family. Payments were made in cash, coin, greenbacks, and gold. Ships (e.g., Steamer Senator, Schooner Lewis Perry), Wells Fargo & Company (i.e., express service), and laborers were used to move merchandise and/or business correspondence.


Pages of bound ledger are arranged by type of financial transactions recorded, and chronologically within.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Bandini family
Couts, Cave Johnson, 1821-1874
Ensworth, Augustus S.
Ferrell, William C.
Lewis Perry (Schooner).
Morrow, William S.
Morse, Ephraim W.
Senator (Steamer).
Wells Fargo & Company.
Whaley, Thomas, 1823-1890
Commodity exchanges
Old Town (San Diego, Calif.)
San Diego (Calif.)

Box 1

"Book of Cash Received and Cash Paid Out on Merchandize Account," 1860 September–1865 January

Entries of interest:

Business with C. J. Couts on the sale of hides (Pages 21 and 22).
Refund issued to Mr. Valensuels: Sold him an arroba of sugar, which turned out to be Chinese mats instead (Page 114).
Business with Wells Fargo & Company (W. F. & Co.), Schooner Lewis Perry, and Steamer Senator (throughout "Cash Paid" and pages 114-119).
Payment of taxes (Pages 118 and 119).