Joseph Babb & the case of the Rented Carpet (1878)

The circumstances that lead Joseph Babb to rent carpet(s) is unclear. I’ve never heard of someone renting carpet, but the Bay State Carpet Company clearly had! In 1878 they had Joseph Babb sign a promissory note for the astounding sum of $3. In today’s money it amounts to about $90.

It is easy to see that they wanted a 7% interest rate which I should think is abnormal for this timeframe. It almost seems predatory given the timeframe. I’ve also never heard of a predatory carpet lender, but it could happen.

If you are like me, you must be thinking, why would anyone rent an area rug? For $90 USD you would only be able to get a very minor rug indeed. It hardly seems worth a lay-away program.

Regardless, it is what it is. He did it and this is the receipt!

This receipt comes to us from a current eBay auction. Fortunately, they put a full-sized image on the post, so there was no need for me to purchase it. Instead, I just saved an electronic copy. So, if Joseph is part of your ancestry, you should follow the link above to purchase it directly.

There really isn’t much to tell in this story, other than the fact that Joseph had received an inheritance of $50 three years before. Also, in the 1870 US Census he estimated his personal estate at $3,000 USD.

So, renting carpet wasn’t something he couldn’t pay for. He just chose not to pay for it up front.

Joseph Babb’s lineage is: Joseph, Eben Parsons, Joseph, Joseph, Joshua, Joshua, Philip, Phillip Babb (1) of the Isles of Shoals

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