Ohio History Journal

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The procedure of apprenticeship in the crafts as a method

of preparing for a vocation is of ancient origin. It was firmly

established in Europe when the American Colonies were settled

and was prevalent in these colonies and in the United States

until well into the nineteenth century.

Although the method is familiar to all that are acquainted

with the history of the crafts, comparatively few publications of

texts of indentures are available. Therefore this one is offered as

an example to show the obligations of both master and appren-

tice in such a relation.

The document was written on both sides of a single sheet by

Mr. Brown, one of the parties to the indenture. The only para-

graphing is where the sheet was turned. The manuscript is devoid

of punctuation but I have inserted this to make it readable. No

change has been made in spelling or capitalization, however. The

text is as follows:

This indenture made on the fith day of Nov. 1831 witnesseth that

Nelson, son of Benjamin Wait, aged eleven years, by and with the consent

of the said Benjamin, Father, Hath, of his own free and voluntary will,

placed and bound himself apprentice to Oliver 0. Brown, Tanner, To learn

the art, trade, mistery, or ocupation of Tanner which he the said Oliver 0.

now useth and with him as apprentice To dwell, continue, and serve from

the day of the date unto the full end and term or age of twenty one years

from thence ensuing and fully to be completed and ended. During which

term years the said apprentice his master will and faithfully shall serve, His

secrets keep, His lawful commands do and obey. hirt to his master he shall

not do nor willfully sufer it to be done by others but of the same To the

utmost of his power shall forthwith give notice to. his master. the goods of

his master he shall not embezle nor waste. At cards, dice, or any unlawful

game he shall not play. taverns or ale houses he shall not frequent. Fornica-

tion he shall not commit. Matrimony he shall not contract. from the service

of his master he shall not at any time absent himself without his master's

leave but in all things as a good and faithful apprentice shall and will

demean himself towards his master and all his during said term.

And the said master, in consideration of the above, shall instruct his

said apprentice in said trade, mistery, or ocupation whiche he useth with

all things apertaining thereto, shall and will instruct or cause to be well