Gilbert Purdy, Sr. (d.1777) of Newburgh, Ulster County, New York, joined a Loyalist corps, the Guides and Pioneers, in 1777, but died on his way to Philadelphia. He left a wife, Mary (nee Dorland, 1734-1813) and eight children. Several of the children moved to Upper Canada after the American Revolution, including the eldest son, David, who had served with the Guides and Pioneers. David was one of the first settlers of Ernestowm. He was granted Lot 42, married Abigail Ostrum, and they had nine children who were as follows: Gilbert, Ruliph, Elizabeth, Samuel, Micajah, Mary, John, Jacob, and Joseph. The eldest child, Gilbert, married Aspineth Goldsmith of Hallowell (Picton), but the marriage did not last. Gilbert Purdy, Jr. conducted a cartage business for Kingston merchants and by 1810 had established a store which sold potash, farm produce, drygoods, tea, tobacco, and occasionally liquor. Later, he stocked articles of clothing, household utensils, tools, drugs and ointments. After 1817, shoemaking and carpentry seem to have occupied much of his time. He bought and sold hides and lumber, and worked as a blacksmith.
The Account Book was kept, intermittently, from 1808 to 1837. Entries were made at the beginning or at the end of the book from 1808 to 1829, thereafter, the back pages were not used. There are no business entries for 1812-1816, 1825, 1828-1833, or 1835-1836. The accounts are interspersed with occasional memoranda and religious verse. Several items follow the Account Book and they include: a testimonial from citizens of Ernestown concerning Gilbert Purdy's character; a nominal index to the preceding Account Book; the article, Gilbert Purdy - Pioneer Jack-of-all-Trades, written by H. Pearson Gundy and published in, Ontario History, Vol.49, 1957; and extra leaves with miscellaneous accounts, memoranda and religious verse. A number of the individuals with whom Gilbert Purdy had business dealings were: Samuel Purdy, James Powley, Peter McDonal, Samuel Lockwood, John Grass, Aaron Brewer, Daniel McCarty, John Bechum, James Simpson, John Mosely, James Coulter, Joseph Forsyth, and Thomas Moffett.