@ 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Giles Family Papers
1750-1851
 MS 248

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


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Susan E. Burke

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 25, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: The Giles Family Papers
Dates: 1750-1851
Abstract: The Giles Family Papers consists primarily of papers belonging to Aquila and Elizabeth Shipton Giles, their descendants, and their extended family, including correspondence, love letters between Aquila Giles and Elizabeth Shipton Giles, accounts, leases, surveys, commissions, bills, receipts, and notes. The majority of the correspondence covers the courtship of Aquila Giles and Elizabeth Shipton Giles during the American Revolution, but the collection also includes papers pertaining to Aquila Giles's military service and the business transactions of William Axtell, John Murray, and William Ogden, all of whom were related to the Giles family.
Quantity: 0.4 Linear feet (1 box)
Location note: Manuscript Cage
Call Phrase: MS 248

Return to Top »


Biographical Note

Aquila Giles was born in Maryland in 1758 to Jacob and Joanna Paca Giles. His grandfather was the Maryland governor, William Paca. During the American Revolution he joined the Continental Army, eventually rising to the rank of Major under General Arthur St. Clair. He was taken prisoner and paroled in New York City, where he met and married Elizabeth Shipton in October of 1780. At the time of their meeting, Elizabeth was living at the home of her uncle, William Axtell, a Loyalist. The couple settled in Maryland and had 10 children, 8 of whom survived infancy.

In the early 1800s, Aquila Giles became involved in a legal dispute over land with the U.S. Government, which lasted for several years. Subsequent financial difficulties forced Elizabeth to return to England in 1812, with her youngest son, George Washington Giles. Aquila eventually won his lawsuit and was employed as a U.S. Army store keeper in 1817. Elizabeth Shipton and Aquila Giles both died in 1822.

George Washington Giles became a lawyer and married Elizabeth Ogden, the daughter of William Ogden and Susan Murray Ogden. John and Hannah Murray were Elizabeth Ogden Giles's uncle and aunt.

Return to Top »


Scope and Content Note

The Giles Family Papers consists primarily of correspondence between Aquila Giles and Elizabeth Shipton Giles during their courtship. Although these letters were written during the American Revolution, they are notable for the fact that they make virtually no mention of current events, but focus almost entirely on the couple's relationship and their feelings for one another. The collection also contains the business transactions and correspondence of their sons, Henry and George Washington Giles, William Axtell (Elizabeth Shipton Giles's uncle), and several relatives of Elizabeth Ogden Giles (wife of George Washington Giles), William Ogden and John Murray.

Also included in the collection are letters detailing Henry Giles's suspension from West Point, the Ordnance Papers of Aquila Giles, correspondence between Elizabeth Shipton Giles and Lords Clarendon and Cathcart upon her return to England in 1812, and a receipt for the purchase of a male slave by a William Smithe in 1783.

Arrangement

The Giles Family papers are organized in the following five series:

  1. Series 1: Correspondence, 1779-1851
  2. Series 2: Accounts, Bills, and Receipts, 1763-1821
  3. Series 3: Legal Documents, 1750-1841
  4. Series 4: Ordnance Papers of Aquila Giles, 1818-1822
  5. Series 5: Personal Documents, 1795-1816

Return to Top »


Access Points

Subject Names

  • Axtell, William, --ca. 1720-1795
  • Cathcart, William Schaw, Earl, 1755-1843.
  • Clarendon, John Charles Villiers, Earl of, 1757-1822.
  • Giles, Aquila, 1758-1822.
  • Giles, Elizabeth Shipton, 1758-1822.
  • Giles, Henry, --b. 1795
  • John Murray & Sons
  • Murray, John, --1737-1808
  • Ogden, William
  • Scott, Juliana
  • White, Matthew

Document Type

  • Bonds (legal records)
  • Commissions
  • Correspondence
  • Deeds
  • Invoices
  • Love Letters
  • Receipts

Subject Topics

  • American loyalists -- New York (State) --New York.
  • Courtship.
  • Military supplies -- New York (State)
  • New York (N.Y.) -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs -- 18th century.
  • Ordnance.
  • United States Military Academy.
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
  • United States.--Army--Ordnance and ordnance stores
  • Young Women -- Social life and customs -- 18th century.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)

Return to Top »


Administrative Information

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 the Giles Family Papers, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Additional material related to the Giles Family:

The John Murray Papers

The Schenk Family Papers

The Matthias B. Tallmadge Papers

Return to Top »


Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1779-1851

Scope and Contents note

This series primarily includes correspondence between Elizabeth Shipton Giles and Aquila Giles, the majority of which was written during their courtship. There are also letters from Lords Clarendon and Cathcart to Elizabeth Shipton Giles, letters from Matthew White to Elizabeth Shipton Giles, letters from Juliana Scott to Aquila Giles, and letters to Henry Giles concerning his suspension from West Point.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence sent to Aquila Giles by Elizabeth Shipton Giles
1780
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence sent to Aquila Giles by Elizabeth Shipton Giles
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence sent to Aquila Giles by Sally Broome with a postscript by Elizabeth Shipton Giles
1779
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence sent to Aquila Giles by Juliana Scott
1800-1801
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence sent to Aquila Giles by Cordelia Giles
1813
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Assorted correspondence sent to Aquila Giles
1784-1821
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Assorted correspondence sent to Aquila Giles
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Correspondence sent by Aquila Giles to Henry Giles
1818
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles by Aquila Giles
1780-1784
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles by Aquila Giles
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles by Edmund Digby
1809-1812
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles by Lord Cathcart
1812
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles by Lord Clarendon
1812-1813
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles by Matthew White
1813
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Assorted correspondence sent to Elizabeth Shipton Giles
1780-1813
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Assorted correspondence sent to Henry Giles
1815-1822
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Assorted correspondence sent to Henry Giles
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Assorted correspondence sent to George Washington Giles
1819-1837
Box: 1 Folder : 19 Assorted correspondence sent to George Washington Giles
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 20 Assorted correspondence sent to William Ogden
1799-1823
Box: 1 Folder : 21 Assorted correspondence sent by William Ogden
1802-1825
Box: 1 Folder : 22 Assorted correspondence sent to John Murray
1811-1831
Box: 1 Folder : 23 Unsigned Note
1789
Box: 1 Folder : 24 Invitations sent to Aquila Giles
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 25 Invitation sent to Curtis Giles
1851
Box: 1 Folder : 26 Envelopes
Undated

Return to Top »


Series 2: Accounts, Bills, and Receipts, 1763-1821

Scope and Contents note

Series 2 consists of accounts, bills, and receipts pertaining to various transactions and payments made by and to Aquila Giles, William Ogden, William Axtell, and Elizabeth Shipton Giles. Most notably, the series contains a receipt from June 27, 1783 relating to the sale of a slave to a William Smithe of Cumberland Forge.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 27 Receipt pertaining to William Axtell
1763
Box: 1 Folder : 28 Accounts, bills, and receipts pertaining to Aquila Giles
1786-1821
Box: 1 Folder : 29 Accounts, bills, and receipts pertaining to William Ogden
1798-1819
Box: 1 Folder : 30 Receipts pertaining to Elizabeth Shipton Giles
1812-1815
Box: 1 Folder : 31 Assorted accounts, bills, and receipts
1783-1819

Return to Top »


Series 3: Legal Documents, 1750-1841

Scope and Contents note

Series 3 consists primarily of documents pertaining to the business and land dealing of Aquila Giles, William Axtell, the Ogden family, and the Murray family. This includes an indenture made between Aquila Giles and his son, William Axtell Giles in 1810 and also documents witnessed by Aquila Giles in his capacity as a lawyer. This series also contains a survey of land on the Susquehana River owned by Aquila Giles, pension information pertaining to Aquila Giles, a document asserting the legitimacy of the marriage between Aquila Giles and Elizabeth Shipton Giles, and George Washington Giles's certificate of admittance by the Bar of New York.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 32 Legal documents pertaining to William Axtell
1763-1787
Box: 1 Folder : 33 Legal documents pertaining to Aquila Giles
1795-1817
Box: 1 Folder : 34 Legal documents pertaining to George Washington Giles
1838
Box: 1 Folder : 35 Legal document pertaining to Elizabeth Ogden Giles
1841
Box: 1 Folder : 36 Legal documents pertaining to the Ogden family
1763-1815
Box: 1 Folder : 37 Legal documents pertaining to John and Hannah Murray
1808-1822
Box: 1 Folder : 38 Assorted mortgages, leases, and other legal documents
1750-1825
Box: 1 Folder : 39 Survey of land belonging to Aquila Giles
1787
Box: 1 Folder : 40 List of papers belonging to the estate of Jacob Giles
1817
Box: 1 Folder : 41 Pension information pertaining to Aquila Giles
1818
Box: 1 Folder : 42 George Washington Giles's admittance to the Bar of New York
1824
Box: 1 Folder : 43 Proof of marriage between Aquila Giles and Elizabeth Shipton Giles
Undated

Return to Top »


Series 4: Ordnance Papers of Aquila Giles, 1818-1822

Scope and Contents note

Series 4 consists of the Ordnance Papers of Aquila Giles, created when he was a U.S. Army shopkeeper. They contain detailed accounts of various goods and supplies that were sold, returned, or delivered.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 44 Ordnance Papers of Aquila Giles
1818-1822
Box: 1 Folder : 45 Ordnance Papers of Aquila Giles
Undated

Return to Top »


Series 5: Personal Documents, 1795-1816

Scope and Contents note

Series 5 consists of various personal documents relevant to the Giles family, including the military commissions of Aquila Giles, passports belonging to William Axtell Giles and George Washington Giles, poetry (the majority of which was written by Aquila Giles for Elizabeth Shipton Giles), and an undated image of Aquila Giles.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 46 Commissions of Aquila Giles
1795-1800
Box: 1 Folder : 47 Passports of William Axtell Giles and George Washington Giles
1800-1816
Box: 1 Folder : 48 Poetry
Undated
Box: 1 Folder : 49 Image of Aquila Giles
Undated

Return to Top »


Return to Top »