American social history has many faces, and this in its frame of reference is a not unimportant one. For the old country story was the focus of much of the economic, political, commercial, and human activity over a hundred years and more of our history. The storekeeper, at the end of the War of Independence, faced disaster until the country's currency was stabilized. Barter was the rule and not the exception- and continued to reflect the pattern of progress, as commodities changed hands. The rise of the merchant class had its beginnings here, and the young trader had need for a wide range of abilities and aptitudes and interests. The peddlers, whether pack peddlers, or operating from canal boats, carts or flatboats, were integral to the processes of trade, and the folklore of the early peddlers marked the progress to becoming storekeepers. Here is the story, in vivid picturesque terms, of a phase of America that has gone.