[1755 Carlisle, Cumberland County Printed and Manuscript Bond between James McCord and James McCall and High Sheriff John Potter].

Curiously printed, 18th-century partly-printed bond issued by High Sheriff John Potter of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. John Potter became the first sheriff of Cumberland County in 1750. Signatories James McCord and James McCall here bind themselves, in the large sum of 40 pounds, to appear at the county’s Court of Common Pleas to be held at the county seat of Carlisle in October 1755 to answer a writ of trespass on the case made by one William Sawyer.

Where was this colonial form printed? Decorative type used to print some of the English-language legal form appear to be from fonts used for German-language printing. Here, these fraktur or blackletter typefaces are reminiscent—perhaps intentionally so—of “Old English” letterforms traditionally used in legal documents.

Before 1755, the only places in Pennsylvania printing in German were in Philadelphia, Germantown, Ephrata and Lancaster. Due to the changing nature of legal forms, it would seem more likely the printing was done closer to Carlisle, either in Ephrata or in Lancaster. The mostly religious press at Ephrata did print at least one indenture blank form c.1765. The better candidate may be Lancaster.

A bi-lingual newspaper, Die Lancastersche Zeitung, was published in Lancaster by H. Müller and S. Holland for about 18 months in 1752 and 1753. The bi-lingual form could have been printed then by them and continued in use in 1755.

Interestingly, the bond was “Sealed and Delivered” and signed by High Sheriff John Potter’s son, James Potter (1729–1789). Later a Revolutionary War brigadier general of Pennsylvania militia and vice-president of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council, James Potter was in 1755 a lieutenant in the border militia of Pennsylvania’s then-frontier.

“In 1756 [James Potter] participated in the [French and Indian War] Kitttanning campaign under Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong. ... During 1763–1764 he was major and lieutenant-colonel respectively against the French and Indians on the northern frontier and when not engaged with the militia devoted his time to farming. The provincial government appointed him one of the commissioners to induce settlers in western Pennsylvania to withdraw from Indian lands in accordance with the treaty of 1768. One of the first settlers to penetrate the beautiful Penn’s Valley in central Pennsylvania, he took up a large tract of land and established his home there about 1774.” (DAB)

Description: [1755 Carlisle, Cumberland County Printed and Manuscript Bond between James McCord and James McCall and High Sheriff John Potter].

[Ephrata? or Lancaster?, Pennsylvania. 175__]. [1]p. Partly-Printed Form, completed in manuscript in 1755. 8¼ x 6½ inches. Laid paper; contemporary docketing on verso; red wax seal. Toning; folds, one fold line slightly weakened and with minor losses; remnants of old paper mounts on verso; very good.


Price: $450.00