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E T was a cordwainer

E T was a cordwainer

There it was on the list of abbreviations in the book. “Cordr” meant “cordwainer.” It was an occupation of some sort, but what exactly? I thought that maybe it could be broken down by the syllables and take the sense of the root words.  The “cord” part seemed obvious, but what was a “wainer”? Perhaps it was an occupation connected with the place he enlisted from – Salem, a seaport. Sailors were from seaports, and sailors worked with ropes and cordage. Maybe a cordwainer made ropes?

According to the dictionary, a cordwainer was a worker in leather, in particular, the types of leather made in Cordoba Spain.  In short, a shoemaker (or bootmaker).
(Just as a sidebar, along the way I learned another important distinction. A cobbler was not a shoemaker, but rather one who repaired shoes.  The cordwainer made the brand new ones.)
Knowing he was a shoemaker was helpful in identifying him in the 1860 census. I found him in Danvers, a town that is just over from Salem, (in fact it used to be called Salem Village).  He was a young man of 20, and living with Lewis Cann, a shoemaker and his family. So he may have been serving an apprenticeship to him.
Next – I will look into the other clue, the company into which he enlisted earlier in 1861.

About rwoz2

Poet, historian, writer for stage and screen. Responder to Jesus (Romans 5:8)

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