A Guide to the Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Strickler Collection, 1816-1903

Collection Number SC 3025

Compiled by: Mindy Tanner, March 1991

Revised: Alicia Henneberry, September, 2013


Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Strickler Collection, 1816-1903

Collection No.: SC 3025

Creator: Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Strickler

Extent: 5½ Hollinger boxes, 1 Flat Box, 3 folders

Language: English

Abstract: This collection consists of daybooks and ledgers, photographs, notes, letters, and accounts related to the John Ziegler tannery, pottery businesses, and others. Some items are undated while most span the years of 1816-1903.

Administrative Information


Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk. (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Strickler Collection, 1816-1903, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Acquisition Information: This collection was donated to Carrier Library in 1990 by Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Strickler.


Bio/Historical Note:  John Zigler moved to Timberville, Rockingham County in 1814. In this year, he also opened a tannery, which was known as the largest and best in the Shenandoah Valley by the year of his death in 1856. Along with his tannery, he also started a pottery business in 1830, and later opened a hemp mill. John Zigler was also part of a project to build a free bridge across the river in 1833. He and his family were also affiliated with the Church of the Brethern (Dunkers).


Scope and Content: The Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Strickler Collection, 1816-1903, consists of 5 ½ Hollinger Boxes, one flat box, and three document folders. These contain 18 daybooks and ledgers from the John Ziegler tannery and other businesses. Daybooks record transactions chronologically; ledgers group transactions under individual account names. Ledgers and daybooks correspond for 1824 to 1855. Entries made throughout ledgers and daybooks refer to the purchasing of hides and bark. Entries relating to purchasing of hemp begin around 1826; entries mentioning pottery and a saw mill begin around 1830. Entries relating to the "sharping" of shovels and removing of shoes suggest the presence of a blacksmith. Many entries also suggest the presence of a shoemaker. The later years of the ledgers seem to document a change to a farm supply or general store. Many entries relate to dry goods or to agricultural products and methods such as hay and threshing. Of particular interest is the simultaneous use of both pounds and dollars until around 1845. Also, two types of entries can be found throughout the ledgers and daybooks relating to African-Americans. The name of a person is sometimes followed by "black" or "blackman;" or a name may be followed by "by his blackman" or "blackboy." Many inserts were found in apparently random order in the daybooks and ledgers. Some were merely scraps for calculating numbers, while others contained account information. Unless there was a connection between an insert and the pages where it was found, it was filed in a folder. There is also one undated photograph thought to be of the kiln. The collection is arranged in three series: Daybooks and Ledgers, Unbound Material, Oversize Material.

Series I, Daybooks and Ledgers, contains daybooks and ledgers numbered consecutively according to date. These daybooks include references to Henry Jordan as tanner, Andrew Coffman as potter, use of dollars and pounds, references to hauling hides from Winchester, reference to milling hemp, reference to death of John Zigler, Sr., and references to the pottery kiln, saw mill, and tons of hay.

Series II, Unbound Material, consists of accounts of the Zigler family, notes, memos, and a photograph.

Series III, Oversize Material, consists of daybooks 10, 12, and 15, ledgers, and accounts from Daniel Zigler.  This series contains references to buying calfskins in Baltimore.



This collection is arranged in three series:


  • Daybooks and Ledgers
  • Unbound Material
  • Oversize Material



Jonassen, Diane. German Influences on the Early Arts in the Shenandoah Valley. Harrisonburg: James Madison University, 1981

Miller, Gordon. Rockingham: An Annotated Bibliography of a Virginia County. Harrisonburg: Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society, 1989.

Wayland, John W. A History of Rockingham County. Dayton, Ruebush-Elkins, 1912.


Related material:

Mr. and Mrs. James Hoover Collection, 1770-1963. SC 2062

L. R. Milbourne Letters, 1886-1906. SC 2088




Box: Folder

Series I: Daybooks and Ledgers


      Daybook/Ledger 1: 1823-1825


      Daybook/Ledger 2: 1826-1829


      Daybook/Ledger 3: 1829-1831


      Daybook/Ledger 4: 1831-1834


      Daybook/Ledger 5: 1834-1838


      Daybook/Ledger 6: 1838-1841


      Daybook/Ledger 7: 1841-1844


      Daybook/Ledger 8: 1845-1847


      Daybook/Ledger 9: 1847-1852


      Daybook/Ledger 11:1816-1823


      Daybook/Ledger 13:1827-1834


      Daybook/Ledger 14:1832-1838


      Daybook/Ledger 16:1843-1850


      Daybook/Ledger 17:1851-1860


      Daybook/Ledger 18:1855-1903


Series II: Unbound Material


      Dated and undated accounts with Zigler  family




      Photograph of kiln


Series III: Oversize Material


      Daybook/Ledger 10: 1852-1856

Flat box 1:1

      Daybook/Ledger 12: 1822-1834

Flat box 1:2

      Daybook/Ledger 15: 1836-1842

Flat box 1:3

      1881-1890 accounts with Daniel Zigler

Flat box 1:4