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Guide to the Martha Bradstreet Papers
1774-1868
  MS 72

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Corey Farbstein

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 13, 2020
Description is in English.

Container List

Series IV: Legal Documentation. Materials regarding lawsuits, 1774-1856, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series contains legals documents, divided into four subseries.

Subseries IV.A. Wills, 1774-1856

Scope and Contents note

Arranged chronologically. This series includes wills and legal copies illustrating the divisions of land and various bequeaths. It begins with General John Bradstreet's will dated 1774, and includes questions raised based on the will, the case and a subsequent opinion given by Charles F. Meager. The will of Agatha Evans dated 1794 proved and recorded 1795 includes additional copies subsequently dated 1827-1856. Agatha's daughter Frances, who was married to Edward Bainbridge, died in 1803 as noted by an attestation of Agatha's will dated 1827. Included in this attestation, we find that Frances' will requested the men appointed as executors of her will to dispose of her property in order to raise money for the education of her children. Although we do not have a copy of her actual will, this attestation includes the relevant information. In addition to these wills, there is an 1818 Canterbury Extract from the Registry regarding Martha Bradstreet's will (d. 1782). Finally, the will of Elizabeth Livius dated 1794 makes up the final part of this collection. This will provides that Mrs. Livius leave all of her property and estate to her [niece] Martha Bradstreet, but it is under the understanding that Martha must marry with the consent of Sir Charles Morgan, the executor of this will. We do know that although Martha did not initially have his consent, Mr. Morgan later approved of her marriage. There is related correspondence located in Series III between Henry Platel and Edward Bell.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 General John Bradstreet
1774-1805
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Elizabeth Livius
1794
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Martha Bradstreet (d. 1782) (Court Extraction from registry in Canterbury)
1818
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Agatha Evans (a copy of her 1794 will proved and recorded in 1795 with attestation; explanation of her daughter Frances' will)
1827-1856

Subseries IV.B. Deeds and leases, 1772-1794

Scope and Contents note

Arranged chronologically. These are deeds to the tracts of land pursued by Martha Bradstreet. The deeds and documentation here outline various borders, lots numbers, and involve leases illustrating the order of inhabitants. Highlights of this part of the collection include an exemplified copy of a deed dating back to 1772 of land issued by Henry Ten Eyck to General Philip Schuyler as well as a certified copy of a deed between Henry, Duke of Grafton (same as above) to Philip Schuyler in 1793. In 1794, land transferred from Elizabeth Livius (through Charles and subsequently Edward Gould) to Agatha Evans, Samuel Bradstreet and his children Martha and Samuel Bradstreet. There is also a "Certificate of Charges" in Philip Schuyler's grandfather's ledger dated 1844 (orig. ledger 1786-88) with respect to a map of the Cosby Manor lots.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Deeds to Philip Schuyler
1772-1793
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Attorneys for Agatha Evans Deeds to various parties
1794-1795
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Conveyance of Elizabeth Livius's share of lots to Attorney Edward Gould
1794
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Certificate of Charges in Philip Schuyler's Ledger of 1786 (Cert. Copy)
1844

Subseries IV.C. Court Documents, 1819-1835, undated

Scope and Contents note

Arranged chronologically. This subseries represents the actual legal documentation produced in the courts as direct results of the lawsuits Martha Bradstreet filed over the course of many years. There are various court documents including the names of many of the men whom Martha sued such as Alexander Johnson, John Stiles, Marcus Hitchcock, Malcolm McKenyon and finally Henry Huntington, the latter of which made it to the Supreme Court in 1831, as judged by Justice Johnson. In addition, there is an 1831 Albany District Court "statement of facts in relation to the dismissal of Mrs. Martha Bradstreet's Suits."

Martha tries to get Judge Conkling removed from the case, which we see in several Memorials dated 1824-1840. For more information on this particular aspect of Martha's court endeavors please see "The Memorial of Martha Bradstreet: Praying for the impeachment of Alfred Conkling, United States Judge of the Northern District of New-York." NY: 1829. (The New-York Historical Society, General Library Collection).

Interestingly, there is a Bill of Complaint that is not attributed to Martha, but a Sarah Mary Anne Bradstreet versus Philip Schuyler et al. It is not dated but clearly comes after Martha's time, mentioning the history of the family and Martha's attempts to reclaim the land. This Bradstreet appears to specifically concern herself with a tract of land, originally part of Lot 53, entitled, Waggoner's Patent. In addition to her quest for land, this Bill of Complaint mentions some earlier documentation, although missing from this collection, that pertain to Martha's divorce from Matthew Codd in 1816. In 1816 Martha issued her own Bill of Complaint to the High and Honourable Court of Chancery provides that her rights and property were to be restored. Secondly, in 1817 Matthew Codd had to turn over to Martha all deeds, patents, agreements, leases and counterparts of leases, papers and evidences of little which do or may related to Martha at the time of their marriage.

Worthy of note would be the fact that not only did Martha lose her various cases, she actually owed money on several occasions. This is evidenced by an 1825 indenture which states that Martha owed money to Josiah Meiss and to John S. Tillinghast. Later, in 1824 she owed money to Henry McKinstry, Additson Porter and Samuel L Penfield as described in the Bill of Complaint above. An undated document from the land office pertains to an offer to give Martha land if she drops suits for 1000 acres. This was unsigned and the wording appears to have been terminated before completion.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Circuit Court - MB and James Jackson vs. John Stiles and Malcom McKenyon (tenants)
1819-1824
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Assignment of Judgment between Josiah Meiss and John L. Tillinghast
1825
Box: 2 Folder : 11 MB's Memorials. Attempts to Remove Judge Conkling from Case
1825-1840
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Affidavit submitted by MB to have court records authenticated.
1830
Box: 2 Folder : 13 District Court's Dismissal of Suits
1831
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Supreme Court opinion of MB vs Henry Huntington
1831
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Bill of Exceptions. MB vs Alexander Johnson
1835
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Bill of Complaint: Sarah Mary Anne Bradstreet vs Philip Jeremiah Schuyler and others
Undated
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Land office offer to give MB land if she drops suits for 1000 acres
Undated

Subseries IV.D. Attorney POA, Bills, 1791-1856

Scope and Contents note

Arranged chronologically. This subseries includes a couple of grants of Power of Attorney in addition to billing statements for services rendered. The Granting of Power of Attorney from John Jackson and his wife to Edward Bradstreet is dated 1856, late in the collection. The earliest item in this subseries would be a Schedule B copy of the Power of Attorney granted by the Duke of Grafton to John Watts in 1791. In this subseries, one would also find legal court fees, most likely for the copies of wills Martha had made when she was over in London. Lastly, there is a bill for legal services E. G. Smith performed for Martha Codd.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Power of Attorney from Duke of Grafton to John Watts
1791
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Edward Bell's Bill re: E. G. Smith's account against Mrs. Codd
1815
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Court of Canterbury: Consulting and Legal Fees for Elizabeth Livius and Martha Bradstreet (d. 1782)
1818
Box: 2 Folder : 21 Power of Attorney from John Jackson to Edward Bradstreet
1853

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