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Guide to the Records of the American Iron Company
1744-1806 (bulk 1764-1806)
  MS 18

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 19, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: American Iron Company Records
Dates: 1744-1806 (bulk 1764-1806)
Abstract: The collection contains documents pertaining to the establishment and dissolution of American Iron Company in New York and New Jersey, including deeds for the purchase and sale of land, articles of agreement, bills from vendors, letters demanding payment of overdue accounts, paid checks, minutes of Trustees' meetings, and the company's ledger and checkbook.
Quantity: 2.0 Linear feet (4 boxes, 1 volume)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 18

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Historical Note

The American Iron Company, established in London in 1767, was the reorganization of an iron-manufacturing venture (1764-1767) whose original backers went bankrupt. The trustees for the new enterprise were originally Major General David Greeme; George Jackson, Deputy of Admiralty; Commodore Arthur Forrest; Richard Willis; and Richard Atkinson. Peter Hasenclever was named the agent for the Company and managed the Company's Ringwood (purchased by American Iron Company in 1764), Long Pond (founded by Hasenclever in 1766), and Charlotteburgh iron manufacturing companies in New Jersey and New York, in which he had interests. He served as agent from June to October, 1767. Financial problems related to the bankruptcy of his former partners Andrew Seton and Charles Crofts resulted in his return to London in 1768.

The Company's iron works were subsequently managed by Seton Humfray, Thomas Jordan, John Jacob Faesch (beginning in 1769), and Robert Erskine (d. 1780). The bankruptcy of Peter Hasenclever in 1769 weakened the Company because of his close financial relationship with it. Hasenclever's creditors therefore sought to put an attachment on the Company for their claims.

Hasenclever returned to Silesia (Germany) in 1773. The Revolution halted all legal action underway and from 1773 to 1788, the claims made against the Company were ignored. However, the iron works continued to supply material for the Revolutionary forces during this period. In 1788 Chief Justice Richard Morris of New York appointed three trustees for the Company: Peter Goelet, a New York merchant; Robert Morris, a New Jersey judge; and William Popham, a New York attorney. Their responsibility was to ensure that all of the Company's outstanding debts were settled, and in pursuance of this they conducted a sale of all Company lands in 1795. By 1806, all of the Company's accounts had been settled.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains predominantly copies of legal documents pertaining to the establishment and dissolution of American Iron Company in New York and New Jersey, including deeds for the purchase and sale of land, articles of agreement, bills from vendors, letters demanding payment of overdue accounts, paid checks, minutes of Trustees' meetings, and the company's ledger and checkbook. A bill dated 1744 possesses no apparent relation to the bulk of the records. A document of 1751 is relevant but is chronologically isolated from the bulk of the records (1764-1806).

The records richly illustrate standard legal processes in England and the Colonies immediately before and after the Revolution. Documents relevant to the land sale of 1795 also show surveying and business practices of post-Revolutionary New York. The collection's early documents (1767-1773) show some of the problems that arose due to the distance between the trustees in London and the iron works in New York and New Jersey. Documents in the later period (1788-1806), including checks and bills, create a portrait of a bankruptcy and liquidation of assets in this period.

Arrangement

The records are organized into four series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence 1764-1806, undated
  2. Series II. Legal documents, 1751, 1765-1806, undated
  3. Series III. Corporate documents, 1788-1800, undated
  4. Series IV. Financial documents, 1766-1802, 1806, undated

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Atkinson, Richard, --fl1770
  • Bond, Phineas
  • De Witt, Simeon, --1756-1834
  • Debrosses, Elias
  • DeLancey, John
  • Denise, Nicholas
  • Duryee, Abraham
  • Edwards, Edward
  • Erskine, Robert, --1735-1780
  • Forrest, Arthur
  • Goelet, Peter P.
  • Goelet, Peter
  • Greeme, David
  • Hamilton, Alexander, --1757-1804
  • Hardenbrook, John A.
  • Harison, Richard
  • Hasenclever, Peter, --1719-1793
  • Hoffman, Nicholas
  • Ingraham, Nicholas
  • Jackson, George
  • Judah, Benjamin
  • Judah, Samuel
  • Lydig, David
  • McKenney, John
  • Morris, Robert, --1745-1815
  • Petry, William
  • Popham, William
  • Ridland, John
  • Shay, Patrick
  • Stahl, Dietrich
  • Troup, Robert, --1757-1804
  • Vrooman, Lawrence
  • Willis, Richard
  • Wolff, John
  • Zabriskie, John

Document Type

  • Accounts
  • Bills (financial)
  • Checkbooks
  • Checks
  • Claims
  • Correspondence
  • Ledgers
  • Minutes
  • Powers of attorney
  • Receipts

Subject Organizations

  • Greg Cunningham & Company
  • Virginia Company of London

Subject Topics

  • Iron mines and mining -- New Jersey
  • Iron mines and mining -- New York (State)
  • Merchant companies -- New York (N.Y.)

Subject Places

  • Passaic County (N.J.)
  • Ringwood (N.J.)
  • Westchester County (N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Donation, 1991

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Manuscripts Curator
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as American Iron Company Records, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I. Correspondence 1764-1806, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1764-1776
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence
1784-1793
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence
1794
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence
1795
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence
1796-1798
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence
1799
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence
1800-1806, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence, Reade & Yates
1768
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence, Reade & Yates
1769
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Correspondence, Reade & Yates
1770
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Correspondence, Reade & Yates
1771
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Correspondence, Reade & Yates
1772-1773

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Series II. Legal documents, 1751, 1765-1806, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Legal documents
1751, 1765
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Legal documents
1766-1767
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Legal documents: articles of agreement
1767 May 11
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Legal documents
1769-1789
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Legal documents: deed to J.A. Hardenbrook
1788
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Legal documents
1790-1795
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Legal documents
1796-1806, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Legal documents: Claims and demands
1767-1769
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Legal documents: Claims and demands
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Legal documents: Land surveys
1769-1799
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Legal documents: Affidavits
1769-1798, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Legal documents: Rulings
1771-1799

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Series III: Corporate documents, 1788-1800, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Corporate documents: Rough minutes
1788-1794
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Corporate documents: Rough minutes
1795-1800, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Corporate documents: Memoranda
1786-1799, undated

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Series IV. Financial documents, 1766-1806, undated

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Financial documents: Accounts
1766-1769
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Financial documents: Accounts
1770-1778
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Financial documents: Accounts
1785-1794
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Financial documents: Accounts
1795-1806
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Financial documents: Ledger
1789-1794
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Financial documents: Waste[e] book
1789-1793
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Financial documents: Receipts
1776-1795
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Financial documents: Receipts
1796-1801
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Financial documents: Bills
1744-1789
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Financial documents: Bills
1794-1804
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Financial documents: Bills of exchange
1767-1769
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Financial documents: Checks
1775-1806
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Financial documents: Checkbook
1800-1806
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Financial documents: Calculations
Undated
Volume: 1 Reade & Yates's Accounts with the American Company of London
1769-1773

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