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Guide to the
Hendricks Family Papers, 1713-1976
(bulk 1755-1959)
 MS 295

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Meaghan Dwyer, 2000; EAD finding aid prepared by Celia Hartmann, 2010; revisions and additions by Joseph Ditta, June-July 2017 and January 2020.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 29, 2020
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Historical Note

Chronology of the Hendricks Family Copper Business
1755 Uriah Hendricks arrives in New York City from London to start a mercantile trade in dry goods. The business soon expands to include metals and other materials for the carrying trade with the West Indies and the shipping trade with England.
1792 His 20-year old son, Harmon, completes his apprenticeship and begins working alongside Uriah.
1798 November Uriah Hendricks dies at 61 of yellow fever. Harmon takes over his father's business interests, discontinuing the West Indian trade to focus exclusively on the carrying trade with England and inland trade, particular in copper and other metals.
1803-1814 Because it is harder to obtain English copper during the Napoleonic Wars due to embargoes, duties, and travelling difficulties, the demand from American shipbuilders and craftsmen, prospering during the war, increases. Harmon becomes more interested in the manufacture of American copper, especially with the outbreak of the War of 1812. Works with Paul Revere, Robert Fulton, and other American merchants and manufacturers to find solutions for the shortage and produce quality copper.
1814 May Harmon buys the Soho Copper Works in Belleville, NJ, and invites his brother-in-law and former apprentice and agent, Solomon I. Isaacs to oversee mill operations as his partner. Renamed the Solomon I. Isaacs and Soho Copper Company, the mill begins operation in October.
1815-1824 Harmon recommences trade with England after the war. Soho mill becomes involved primarily in supplying the booming maritime industry, particularly steamboats, engineering companies, merchant vessels, and the Navy - as well as providing for the general consumer. Mill undergoes continuous improvements and expansion, bringing prosperity and employment to Belleville.
1826 Hendricks homestead (summer residence) built near Soho mill.
1827 Harmon's sons Uriah and Henry become full partners and mill name is shortened to Soho Copper Company.
1830 April Partnership among Harmon, his sons, and Isaacs is dissolved. Isaacs establishes new business as copper broker, Harmon retires, and Uriah, Henry, and another son Washington form new partnership: Hendricks & Brothers, with Uriah as senior partner. The reorganized firm finds new success in supplying the growing railroad industry, and adds mining, banking, and brokerage to their business interests.
1838 April Harmon Hendricks dies age 67.
1841 March Washington dies; brother Montague becomes partner.
1861 Spring Henry dies age 47; Uriah's son Joshua becomes partner. Hendricks & Brothers shortens its name to Hendricks Brothers. Wartime demands for copper keep business booming. Brother Edmund joins firm, becoming partner in January 1866.
1869 March Uriah Hendricks dies age 67; Montague retires from firm; Joshua becomes senior partner. Joshua's brothers Edmund and Harmon Washington become his partners and brother Francis joins firm, dissolving a partnership with Thomas Jefferson Tobias in Charleston.
1874 Soho mill renamed Belleville Copper Rolling Mills. Fire destroys much of the mill's machinery, structure, and many records. A new mill built within 8 weeks.
1882 Lull in copper manufacture and trade is relieved with Edison's invention of the lightbulb. Use of copper as a conductive metal provides a new market for Hendricks Brothers.
1884 Montague Hendricks, last member of the original firm of Hendricks & Brothers, dies.
1892 Joshua Hendricks dies; Edmund becomes senior partner. Brothers joined by nephews Edgar, Clifford, and Henry Harmon.
1895 Edgar Hendricks dies age 38. Clifford dies a few years later at 39.
1904 Henry Harmon Hendricks dies age 44.
1905 Edmund Hendricks dies age 45.
1912 Francis Hendricks dies. The remaining partner, Harmon W., retains sole control over the firm's interests. None of the bachelor's many nephews wish to join the family company.
1924 July Harmon W. transfers ownership of the Hendricks homestead at Belleville to the Park Commission of Essex County.
1928 March Harmon W. Hendricks dies age 82.
1938 December Instead of admitting outsiders to its leadership, the Belleville Copper Rolling Mills finally closes after 10 years of gradually reducing its operations.