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Guide to the Papers of the Delaplaine Family
1762-1966 (bulk 1762-1879)
  MS 161

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

© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jan Hilley with later assistance by Alison Barr. Online finding aid created by Erin Shaw.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 28, 2013
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

This collection reflects the life and times of a relatively large family living in the northeastern United States in the late eighteenth - early nineteenth centuries. Among its varied contents are two folders of correspondence (1797-1879). There are letters relating business activity, family news, health concerns and reports, religious messages and romantic feelings (Box 1, Folders 1 and 2). Prominent among the correspondents are Phila Delaplaine Reed and her son-in-law David Sage Williams. A group of letters between Charlotte ("Lottie") and Nathaniel ("Nat") reveal their somewhat clandestine relationship. In one letter "Cousin Elizabeth Briggs," who is in financial distress, writes to Phila Reed asking that she take over the care of her daughter, Mary. Most of the letters are easily legible although, in a few cases, the ink is very faded.

Materials dealing with estates and their disposition are found in Box 1 and Box 2. In the first of these, there are wills, notices, releases, assignments, agreements and court actions involving the estates of Samuel Delaplaine, Joshua Delaplaine, Phila Delaplaine, Elijah P. and Charlotte Delaplaine (siblings who died in the same year, intestate), Phila Delaplaine Reed, John Ferris Delaplaine, and Samuel B. Delaplaine. Box 2, Folder 5 contains items pertaining to Collin Reed. He made many wills and this collection contains five of them, as well as an inventory of his estate and a number of documents related to the distribution of his property. Box 1, Folders 9-10 and Box 2 contain information on the many estates of John Ferris Delaplaine.

There are also two folders of land and real estate transactions (Box 1, Folders 7 and 8). With only two exceptions, all properties mentioned are located in New York City. The exceptions are a 1794 document referring to land in Georgia and a deed, dated 1838, for property in Flushing, Queens County. These items include deeds, indentures, notes, leases, agreements, quit claims, a tenant's agreement and a title search.

Among the financial items in Box 3, Folders 3 and 4, are calculations, obligations, accounts, tax assessments and many receipts. There are a bound receipt book (1801-1823) and two booklets primarily used for receipts but which also contain brief genealogical notes. Two 1762 insurance policies (Box 3, Folder 10) cover shipments of goods from New York to Philadelphia. Both policies are in poor condition.

Box 4, Folder 1 contains two personal diaries, for the years 1844 and 1845, belonging to Phila Delaplaine. The entries deal with weather, family issues and the condition of her health. At page 9/16 of the 1845 diary is a valentine poem. Of interest is the supplemental material in the 1844 diary. Included at the beginning are such things as a list of sheriffs and clerks for the various counties; public notaries and commissioners of deeds in New York City; rates of postage; foreign consuls; banks and insurance companies in New York and Brooklyn; and a list of Sundays in the year 1843. In Box 4, Folder 4 are more than 50 recipes for dishes such as pickled walnuts, ground rice pudding, gingerbread, jumbles, syllabub and fried oysters. Most are contained in a booklet that also has other personal notes such as comments on sermons and charitable activities. One page contains Phila's thoughts on the death of her daughter Charlotte in 1834.

The collection contains poetry (12 items in Box 4, Folder 2) and religious papers such as hymns, religious cards, a booklet listing members of the Brick Presbyterian Church of New York (1833) and "The Prayer of an American Citizen " written by B. Delaplaine, Jr. in 1793 (Box 4, Folder 3) Many of the Delaplaines were Quakers although membership in other denominations, such as Presbyterian, is also seen in the collection.

Among the school papers in Box 4, Folder 5 are five compositions written by David Sage Williams while he was a student at Renssalear Oswego Academy.

Box 4, Folder 7 contains three health-related items - a remedy for cholera, another for dropsy, and a medical certificate stating that Samuel B. Delaplaine is unfit for military duty (1814).

Specifications for the construction of a residence for Phila Delaplaine at 136 Bowery in New York City are included in Box 4, Folder 8. They require that the house be very similar to that on the adjoining lot belonging to Collin Reed. Box 4, Folder 10 contains a list of book recommendations by Phila Amelia Delaplaine (1842) and an inventory of books in an unidentified library.

Phila Reed was for many years associated with the New York Asylum for Lying-in Women. References to meetings and prospective 'patients' are intermingled with the recipes in Box 4, Folder 9 and there are several items such as a meeting invitation and a patient recommendation in Box 4, Folder 6.

A significant amount of genealogical information is contained in this collection (Box 4, Folder 11), from births and deaths written on scraps of paper to a 42-page typescript containing transcribed documents and citations focused on the Delaplaines. There is an account of Thomas Pell, Sr., a Williams family genealogy going back to 1647 and a list of houses in New York owned by the Delaplaines and the Pells. Many of the scraps of paper are barely legible but other items are in good condition.


All materials are arranged chronologically or by type of material.