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Guide to the Samuel Gilford Papers
1753-1951 (bulk 1753-1828)
  MS 249

New-York Historical Society
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New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Matthew Murphy

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

Biographical Note

Samuel Gilford was a sea captain and shipping merchant who lived and worked in New York City from the mid-eighteenth century to the early 19th century. Little is currently known about his birthplace or early life. Samuel Gilford married Penelope Codwise on December 13th, 1759, and together they had three known sons: Samuel Gilford Jr., Thomas B. Gilford, and Jacob T. Gilford. They also had a daughter named Mary, and it is possible that they also had other children. In 1773 Samuel Gilford bought the old house at 122 William Street, which was also known as the "Golden Hill Inn." He resided there until he was forced to leave New York because of the Revolution, and did not return to the house until 1783. After the Revolution, the Gilfords built another home next door, 124 William Street. Samuel Gilford lived at 122 William Street until his death in 1821. The Gilford family also owned at least two slaves in the 1760's, a woman named Cuba and a boy named Prince.

Samuel Gilford's shipping firm primarily did business in the United States, Great Britain, Jamaica, and the West Indies. Gilford shipped, purchased and sold all manner of goods, including sugar, rum, and other spirits. When he was old enough, Samuel Gilford Jr. joined his father in the business and they formed the firm Samuel Gilford and Son. Their offices were located at 61 Front Street.

Samuel Gilford Jr. eventually married Elizabeth Buchanan, daughter of merchant Thomas Buchanan. Thomas Buchanan ran a prominent firm from 1792 until 1809, when his son George Buchanan joined him to form the merchant firm Thomas Buchanan and Son. After Thomas Buchanan died, George ran the firm until 1824.