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Guide to the Gouverneur Morris, Jr. Papers
1835-1879 (bulk 1850-1860)
 MS 427

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 Maurita Baldock

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 01, 2011
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Gouverneur Morris, Jr.
Title: Gouverneur Morris, Jr. Papers
Dates: 1835-1879 (bulk 1850-1860)
Abstract: The collection contains documents related to the financing and building of several railroads and Gouverneur Morris, Jr.'s role as a railroad developer. The four box collection is organized by railroad.
Quantity: 1.75 Linear feet (4 Boxes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 427

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Biographical Note

1813 Gouverneur Morris, Jr. born to Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816), delegate from New York to Continental Congress, and Anne Cary Randolf in New York.
1816 Gouverneur Morris, Sr. dies. As the only son and heir to the family, Gouverneur Morris, Jr. inherits the large area in the Bronx known as Morrisania.
[1838-1845] Gouverneur Morris serves on the Board of Directors for the New York and Harlem Railroad.
[1842] Marries his cousin, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Cary, a niece of Thomas Jefferson. The marriage produces two sons and three daughters.
1843-1846 Gouverneur Morris becomes a millionaire when the family land in the Bronx increases in value.
[1850-1860] Serves as a developer and/or a significant stockholder in numerous railroads in New York such as the Eries and New York Central Railroad, the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, and continues his service in the New York and Harlem Railroad. He also establishes railroads in Illinois, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.
[1871-1880] President of the Vermont Valley Railroad.
1888 Dies at his residence at Bartow-on-the-Sound, New York.

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Scope and Content Note

The documents in this collection relate to Gouverneur Morris, Jr.'s role as a railroad developer. They include surveys, estimates, legal documents, correspondence, proposals, agreements, and numerous accounts, bills, and receipts. The four box collection is organized by railroad and a brief history of each is included in the series descriptions. Railroads that are represented by a few documents are together in one series. The documents pertain to him as an investor, and often a building contractor for numerous railroads. His development activities involved him with various companies including Morris, Miller, & Shuyler or Morris, Miller, Baker, and Co., etc.

The bulk of the collection relates to his role as a developer in the extension of the New York and Harlem Railroad to Albany, New York. The documents provide details on stocks, financing, contractors, materials, and the amount of work completed. The contracts and payroll records provide details on labor and wages. Information on property bought for the extension, including some of Morris's property in Morrisania, is also included. The quantity of records for the other railroads in the collection is much smaller and generally includes agreements, contracts, correspondence, and financial documents.

The collection supports research on railroad construction, particularly the New York and Harlem Railroad Albany extension. Most of the collection pertains to the building of railroads rather than their operation. Although the collection contains some information about Gouverneur Morris, Jr.'s property and stocks, there is no personal information about him or his better known father, Gouverneur Morris.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by railroad.

This collection is organized into ten series:

  1. Series I: New York & Harlem Railroad, 1836-1873, undated
  2. Series II: New York and Albany Railroad, 1838-1846
  3. Series III: Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, 1853-1861
  4. Series IV: Trevorton Railroads, 1852-1860, undated
  5. Series V: Flushing Railroad, 1853-1859
  6. Series VI: Vermont Valley Railroad, 1851-1873
  7. Series VII: Central Iowa Air Line, 1857-1860
  8. Series VIII: Illinois Central Railroad, 1851-1863
  9. Series IX: Other Railroads, 1846-1863
  10. Series X: Various Railroad Documents, 1835-1879, undated

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Miller, Sidney
  • Schuyler, George Lee, 1811-1890

Document Type

  • Accounts
  • Contracts
  • Correspondence
  • Estimates
  • Invoices
  • Legal documents
  • Payroll records
  • Receipts
  • Stock certificates

Subject Organizations

  • Albany and Susquehanna Railroad Company
  • Central Iowa Air Line and Railroad
  • Flushing Railroad
  • Illinois Central Railroad Company
  • Mahoney & Shamoken Railroad
  • Morris, Miller & Schuyler
  • New-York and Albany Rail Road Company
  • New-York and Harlem Rail Road Company
  • Vermont Valley Railroad Company

Subject Topics

  • Railroad companies--United States
  • Railroads--Design and construction
  • Railroads--Economics of construction
  • Railroads--Finance
  • Railroads--Illinois
  • Railroads--Iowa
  • Railroads--New York (State)
  • Railroads--Pennsylvania

Subject Places

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • New York (State)
  • Pennsylvania

Occupation(s)

  • Contractors
  • Financiers

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Purchase by New-York Historical Society, 2001.

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.) Researchers on site may print out unlimited copies from microfilm reader-printer machines at per-exposure rates. See guidelines in Reading Room for details.

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

Library Director
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Gouverneur Morris, Jr. Papers, the New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

The Society has some land and property documents of Governeur Morris, Jr. Many other collections include material related to Governeur Morris, Jr.'s father, Governeur Morris (1852-1816).

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Container List

Series I: New York & Harlem Railroad, 1836-1873, undated

Scope and Contents note

In 1831, the New York and Harlem Railroad received a charter from the State of New York to build tracks from the southern tip of Manhattan to Harlem. Because Harlem was quite rural at this time, the only existing travel means between Manhattan and Harlem were steamboats and stagecoaches. The New York & Harlem Railroad was built between 1837 and 1841 and extended from City Hall to the Harlem River, as in the original design. In 1840, the New York State legislature granted the New York and Harlem Railroad rights to build a bridge across the Harlem River and extend to the New York and Albany's Railroad Line. Gouverneur Morris, Jr, then on the Board of Directors of the railroad, was entrusted to purchase the land.

In 1846, the New York and Albany Company was sold and the New York and Harlem Railroad bought the rights to complete the line to Albany. By 1852, the New York and Harlem Railroad had been extended 131 miles to Chatham Four Corners, New York, where it connected to an existing railroad line that went to Albany. In 1864, Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired a majority of NY & HRR stock and by 1869 had consolidated the New York and Harlem Railroad with the New York and Hudson River Railroad to become the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad.

Most of the documents in this series relate to the Albany extension of the New York and Harlem Railroad, including the bridge built over the Harlem River. This series contains details on the progress of construction and includes estimates and plans as well as statements of work completed and payroll records. The documents illustrate to Gouverneur Morris's role in the railroad as a significant stockholder, a member of the Board of Directors, and a contractor with the company Morris, Miller, and Schuyler (Gouverneur Morris, George Schuyler and Sidney Miller) for building the railroad and its extension. Many of the property documents pertain to Gouverneur Morris since sections of the railroad were to be built through his property in Morrisiana. The large number of accounts, bills, and receipts in the series detail the materials, labor, and property needed to construct the railroad.

Sources:

Greene, Joseph Warren, Jr. New York City's First Railroad: The New York and Harlem (1832-1867). New York: s.n., 1926.

Hyatt, Elijah Clarence. The History of the New York & Harlem Railroad. Mount Kisco, New York: E. Clarence Hyatt, 1898.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1840-1873
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Proposals from Contractors
1850-1853
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Agreements with Contractors
1849-1854
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Estimates of Work Completed by Morris, Miller, and Schuyler
1850-1852
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Monthly Estimates of Work Completed by Other Contractors
1851-1852
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Original Estimate of Quantity of Materials Needed
1850
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Chart of Contractors and Work Completed
[1850]
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Payroll Records
1838-1852
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Force Account Statements (Statements of Work Completed)
1851
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Surveys and Lists of Landowners
1841-1863, undated
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Legal Documents re Property for Railroad
1836-1852
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Powers and Duties of Extension Committee of the Railroad
1845
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Legal Documents re Court Cases
1857-1860
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Stock Certificates
1851
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Statements of Tonnage Transported over the Morrisannia Branch Railroad to/from New York and Harlem Railroad Stations
1852-1853
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Labor
1846-Sept. 1851, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Labor
1851 Oct.-1851 Dec.
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Labor
1852-1853
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Property
1847-1857, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Purchase of Materials
1850-1870
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Stock and Bonds
1846-1854
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Transportation of Materials
1850-1853, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Various
1845-1851, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Various
1852-1870

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Series II: New York and Albany Railroad, 1838-1846

Scope and Contents note

The New York and Albany railroad received a charter in 1832 to build a line from Harlem to Albany. However, in 1840, after several years with little success, the rights to build a bridge over the Harlem River were sold to the New York and Harlem Railroad Company. Gouverneur Morris, Jr. was a significant stock holder in the railroad. When the New York and Albany Railroad was sold in 1846, New York and Harlem Railroad bought all the rights to complete the line to Albany.

This subseries contains stock and real estate agreements between Gouverneur Morris, Jr. and the railroad, letters written to Gouverneur Morris, Jr., and financial information in the form of accounts, bills, and receipts.

Sources:

Greene, Joseph Warren, Jr. New York City's First Railroad: The New York and Harlem (1832-1867). New York: s.n., 1926.

Hyatt, Elijah Clarence. The History of the New York & Harlem Railroad. Mount Kisco, New York: E. Clarence Hyatt, 1898.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Agreements
1838-1846
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Correspondence
1840
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1838-1841

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Series III: Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, 1853-1861

Scope and Contents note

The Albany and Susquehanna Railroad was chartered in 1851 to run the one hundred and forty-two miles between Binghamton, New York and Albany. It was completed at Binghamton in January of 1869. Morris, Miller, Baker, and Co. (Governeur Morris, Sidney Miller, Josiah Baker, James St. T. Stranaham, George L. Schuyler, and Charles G. Case) were contracted to build the railroad.

The contracts as well as the legal documents in this series are between Morris, Miller, Baker, and Co. and the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad. The small amount of correspondence in this series mostly relates to a legal suit against the railroad. The monthly estimates of the work completed include estimates by contractors Morris, Miller, Baker, and Co. and other subcontractors.

Source:

Hicks, Frederick C. High Finance in the Sixties: The Early History of the Erie Railway. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, Inc., 1966.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Contracts for Building the Railroad
1853
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Contracts for Graduations and Masonry
1853-1854
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Monthly Estimates of "Work Done and Certain Materials Delivered"
1853
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Monthly Estimates of "Work Done and Certain Materials Delivered"
1854-1855
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Correspondence
1853-1859
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Legal Documents re Morris, Miller, Baker, & Co. vs. Albany and Susquehanna Railroad
1858-1860
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1853-1861

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Series IV: Trevorton Railroads, 1852-1860, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series includes documentation on the railroad track in Northumberland County Pennsylvania that changed names and ownership several times. It was originally titled the Trevorton, Mahoney, & Susquehanna Railroad but reorganized with the Susquehanna and Union Bridge Company in 1854 to become the Trevorton and Susquehanna Railroad. In 1856, it consolidated with the Mahanoy and Shamokin Improvement Company and to become the Trevorton Coal & Railroad Company. It later became the Trevorton Coal Company Railroad in 1860 and the Zerbe Valley Railroad Company in 1867. It became part of the Mahoney & Shamoken Railroad in 1870 and merged with the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company in 1871. According to the contracts and agreements in the series, Gouverneur Morris Jr. was a stockholder in the railroad companies and was involved in the contruction of the railroad.

Source:

History of Northumberland Co., PA, Chapter 8. WebRoots.org Genealogy Foundation. 22 July 2002. http://www.webroots.org/library/usahist/honcpa07.html.

Subseries 1: Trevorton, Mahoney, & Susquehanna, 1852-1855, undated

Scope and Contents note

The railroad existed under the name Trevorton, Mahoney, & Susquehanna Railroad from approximately 1852 to 1854. The documents in this subseries relate to the finances and construction of the railroad, particularly the building of a bridge over the Susquehanna River.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Contracts and Agreements
1852-1853
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Estimates of Materials Needed
1852, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Correspondence
1852-1853
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Labor
1853
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- General
1853-1855
Subseries 2: Trevorton and Susquehanna, 1854-1856, undated

Scope and Contents note

The railroad was known under this name from approximately 1854 to1856. This subseries also contains documents regarding the construction of the railroad and the bridge over the Susquehanna River. The payroll records are tables that include the names of the workers, the number of hours worked, and the amount of pay received.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Contracts and Agreements
1854
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Payroll Records
1854-1855
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Correspondence
1855
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Stocks and Bonds
1854-1856, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Labor
1854-1855
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- General
1854-1856
Subseries 3: Trevorton Coal & Railroad, 1856-1860

Scope and Contents note

The railroad was known under this name from approximately 1856-1860. This subseries contains financial documents, including a financial plan for the railroad's reorganization.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Reorganization Plans
1859-1860
Box: 3 Folder : 17 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Stocks and Bonds
1856-1859

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Series V: Flushing Railroad, 1853-1859

Scope and Contents note

The Flushing Railroad was incorporated on February 24, 1852 and opened on June 28, 1854. It ran the twelve mile distance between Hunter's Point (Long Island City) and Flushing, Queens. Gouverneur Morris, Jr. and J.W. Allen were contractors, under the name Morris & Allen, for building sections of the railroad line. The Flushing Railroad faced competition when the Long Island Railroad built a branch from Jamaica to Hunter's Point. The Flushing Railroad was foreclosed on in 1859 and became known as the New York and Flushing Railroad.

The correspondence in this series includes specifications for the construction of passenger railroad cars and a dispute with the railroad over the financial obligations of Morris & Allen. The accounts, bills, and receipts pertain to Morris's stock in the company and often refer to the estimates of work completed in this series.

Source:

Andersen, Bob. The Flushing and New York and Flushing Rail Roads. Long Island Rail Road History Website (Unofficial). 22 July 2002.
http://www.lirrhistory.com/Flushing.html.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Correspondence
1853-1859
Box: 3 Folder : 19 Measurements of Railroad Tracks
1858
Box: 3 Folder : 20 Estimates of Work Completed
1853-1854
Box: 3 Folder : 21 Accounts, Bills, & Receipts
1853-1856

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Series VI: Vermont Valley Railroad, 1851-1873

Scope and Contents note

This series contains documents regarding the stock and reorganizations of the Vermont Valley Railroad Company. Gouverneur Morris, Jr. was president of the company from approximately 1871 to 1880. The letters in this series to Gouverneur Morris, Jr. discuss railroad bonds, issues of the stockholders, and a flood and the subsequent damage it caused. The stockholders' documents relate mostly to the 1871 reorganization of the railroad.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 22 Letters to Gouverneur Morris, Jr.
1855-1873
Box: 3 Folder : 23 Agenda and Resolutions from Stockholders' Meetings
1871-1873
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Forms regarding transfer of railroad stock and bonds
1851, 1865

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Series VII: Central Iowa Air Line, 1857-1860

Scope and Contents note

This series includes contractual and financial information regarding the building of the Central Iowa Air Line and Railroad. Gouverneur Morris, Jr. appears to be an investor in the railroad as well as a developer through Morris, Reed, Bishop & Company. Most of the series consists of contracts and agreements with Morris or Morris, Reed, Bishop & Company regarding the building of the railroad. The small amount of incoming and outgoing correspondence relates to stock of the railroad.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 25 Contracts and Agreements
1857-1858
Box: 3 Folder : 26 Correspondence
1857-1864
Box: 3 Folder : 27 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1857-1860

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Series VIII: Illinois Central Railroad, 1851-1863

Scope and Contents note

The Illinois Central Railroad was chartered in 1851 to span from Cairo, (at the southern tip of Illinois), to Galena (in northwestern Illinois) with a branch to Chicago. The Illinois Central Railroad was the first railroad company to receive a federal land grant. Despite the fact that the land was granted from the government in return for a percentage of the income of the railroad, the company still had trouble finding investors. It opened its first section to Chicago in 1852 and the line was finished in 1856. The account documents and correspondence in this subseries relate to Gouverneur Morris's stock holdings in the railroad. His involvement in the construction of the railroad is unclear.

Sources:

Corliss, Carlton J. Main Line of Mid-America: the Story of the Illinois Central. New York: Creative Age Press, 1950.

A Brief Historical Sketch of the Illinois Central Railroad. Illinois Central Historical Society. 22 July 2002. http://www.icrrhistorical.org/icrr.history.html.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 28 Correspondence
1851-1855
Box: 3 Folder : 29 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1852-1863

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Series IX: Other Railroads, 1846-1863

Scope and Contents note

This series pertains to the railroads which are represented in the collection by only a few documents.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 30 Potsdam and Watertown Railroad Company- Correspondence
1857-1863
Box: 3 Folder : 31 Albany Tunnel Company- Agreements and Correspondence
1852
Box: 3 Folder : 32 Sullivan Railroad Company- Charter and Reports
1846-1857
Box: 3 Folder : 33 Great Western Railroad Company- Correspondence and Stock Documents
1852-1862
Box: 3 Folder : 34 Cairo and Fulton Railroad Company- Correspondence
1856-1858
Box: 3 Folder : 35 Reading Railroad- Stock Documents
1854

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Series X: Various Railroad Documents, 1835-1879, undated

Scope and Contents note

This series contains documents which cannot be attributed to a specific railroad or which refer to more that one railroad. The series is organized by type of material.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 36 Correspondence
1835-1879
Box: 3 Folder : 37 "Synopsis of Project for an Elevated Railway"
1868 16 Nov.
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Stock Figures for Stock held by Morris, Miller, and Schuyler
1850-1853
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Agreements
1850-1872
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- Stocks and Bonds
1850-1857
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- General
1838-1853, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts- General
1854-1870

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