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Guide to the G.M. & A.W. Speir Records on the Estate of William Payne
1842-1888 (bulk 1873-1888)
 MS 3057

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Ariana Heinsdorf

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 13, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: G.M. & A.W. Speir, Counsellors at Law
Title: G.M. & A.W. Speir records on the estate of William Payne
Dates [inclusive]: 1842-1888 (bulk 1873-1888)
Abstract: G.M. & A.W. Speir, Counsellors at Law in New York City represented Jemima Payne, widow and executrix of William Payne, as her probate attorneys. This collection documents the 12-year process of closing William Payne's estate along with other juridicial proceedings that unfolded along the way. It contains a variety of legal documents related to the estate and some records created by William Payne during his lifetime.
Quantity: 1.46 Linear Feet in 4 document boxes
Call Phrase: MS 3057

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Biographical / Historical

William Payne (1811-1873), was born in Aylsham England and moved to New York where he was a successful merchant tailor. He and his wife, Jemima Payne, resided at No. 324 West 18th Street, Manhattan, New York. William Payne died on 31 July 1873 designating Jemima Payne as executrix. William Payne had a previous marriage to Sarah Payne who died in 1860. William, Jemima, and Sarah Payne are all buried at the same plot in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

In addition to the properties in New York City he also owned a farm in Monmouth County, New Jersey and land parcels in New York State and Michigan. Payne's will designated specific sums for several relatives, some of whom resided in England. The sales and auctions of his assets, along with the procedures to disperse the proper amounts to relatives domestically and abroad, added to the complexity of settling the estate. The estate was settled in 1885, 12 years after William Payne's death.

Gilbert M. and Archibald W. Speir were New York based lawyers and had a law firm that was once located at 49 William Street and later moved to 42 Wall Street. They represented Jemima Payne as her probate attorneys and in court cases related to the estate settlement. One well-documented case was against James Sutherland, who had familial ties with the Paynes, regarding an ownership dispute of a 29th Street rental property. William Payne and James Sutherland were co-owners of the building at one point, but there are papers showing Payne later bought Sutherland's portion from him.

William Payne's relatives in England included a brother James Payne, whom predeceased him. At the time of William's death, he was the designated executor to James's estate, which had not yet been finalized. Although James Payne resided and died in England, Gilbert M. Speir took over as administrator of his estate after William Payne's death.

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Scope and Contents

The records in this collection were kept by G.M. & A.W. Speir, Counsellors at Law. The majority of the documents were created after William Payne's death in 1873 and used to settle his estate, while some were created during his lifetime. These include two accounting and stock ledgers kept personally by William Payne during the course of his business from 1847-1873. There are substantial records collected and presented for Jemima Payne's court case against James Sutherland and documents Speir used to finalize James Payne's estate. The collection includes deeds, wills, correspondence, inventories, contracts, financial receipts, power of attorney documents, mortgage agreements, hand-drawn property maps, schedules, account records, legal filings, and case documents. The geographical locations covered in these documents include New York City, Mt. Vernon, NY, Berrien County, Michigan, and Shrewsbury, New Jersey.


The collection is arranged by subject matter, retaining the original connections among documents as formed by the firm of G.M & A.W. Speir.

The documents were received by N-YHS in their original condition, tri-folded into several bundles tied together with ribbon. Each bundle held documents related to a particular aspect of the Payne case. Most of these bundles held only one or a few individual documents. Seven bundles were more extensive, comprised of one or more "sub-bundles" each holding documents on some aspect of a particular bundle's overall subject matter. The processing archivist opened all of these bundles, flattening the tri-folded documents. In order to retain the original connections among documents, the archivist did the following, as reflected in the container list below:

The content of each bundle was placed in its own folder; all folders include documents from one and only one bundle. For example, the folder designated in the container list as Box 1, Folder 1 includes all the documents from one particular bundle; Box 1, Folder 2 includes the documents from another bundle; and so on.

For "sub-bundles" that comprised an overall bundle, a consistent root folder number is used to link them, followed by a decimal number indicating each individual sub-bundle and its relation to the whole. For example, in Box 1, Folders 3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4 hold the loose documents and four bundles that were found tied together; Folder 3.3.1 holds the content of the sub-bundle found within the bundle designated as folder 3.3 in Box 1. There are seven such multi-level bundles in the collection.

The folder labels/titles were transcribed from G.M. & A.W. Speir's original labels on the bundles. In instances where the bundles were not labeled, the processing archivist created titles that are designated by text within [brackets].

The date ranges shown for each folder are based on the dated material they contain. Many of these folders also hold undated material, which is not specifically indicated. Undated material may fall outside of the indicated date range. "Undated" is only used for a folder's date range when there is no dated material within it. There was no overall original order to the various bundles. The processing archivist sequenced them in rough chronological order and by related subject matter.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Payne, William, 1811-1873
  • Payne, Jemima

Document Type

  • Estate inventories.

Subject Organizations

  • New Jersey. Orphans' Court (Monmouth County)
  • New York (State). Surrogate's Court (New York County)

Subject Topics

  • Decedents' estates -- New York (State)
  • Executors and administrators -- New York (State)
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Probate law and practice -- New York (State)
  • Widow's allowance

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Use Restrictions

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder. Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day.

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: G.M. & A.W. Speir records on the estate of William Payne, MS 3057, The New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift from Arthur Stowe, 2018

Processing Information

Processed by archival intern Ariana Heinsdorf in June 2018.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Volume : 1 Copartnership Accounts - F. Derby & Co. - William Payne

Scope and Contents

Ledger of stocks, bad debts, sales accounts, and other financial transactions.

Box: 1 Volume : 2 [Accounting Ledger for James Sutherland]

Scope and Contents

Record of accounting between James Sutherland and William Payne. Only the first few pages have writing, the rest of the book is blank.

circa 1868-1872
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Articles of Agreement Between Freeman Derby, George Barlow and William Payne, December 31, 1861
1858, 1861
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Marclay Papers

Scope and Contents

Relates to a mortgage on property in Plainfield, Union County, New Jersey.

Box: 1 Folder : 3 New Jersey Orphans Court County of Monmouth - Estate of William Payne - New Jersey Accounting

Scope and Contents

Contains a copy of William Payne's last will and testament. This document names his wife, Jemima Payne, executrix of his estate. It also lists the amounts Payne chose to designate to each person in his will. Familial relationships are described in the will, which gives context to many of the names seen elsewhere in the collection.

Scope and Contents

Contains an inventory of furniture and belongings in each room of Payne's Monmouth County main house along with the barn yard, boat house, and out buildings.

Box: 1 Folder : 3.1 In Re: Payne - Vouchers on New Jersey Account
Box: 1 Folder : 3.2 Payne Contract to Sell Shrewsbury Property

Scope and Contents

Contract between Jemima Payne and Hyacinthe Joseph LaMarch for the sale of William Payne's farm located in Middleton, Monmouth County, New Jersey (also referred to as the Shrewsbury property). The contract describes 36 acres near Browis Dock on North Shrewsbury River including all the buildings, furniture, farming utensils, boats, horse, cow, and personal property on the premises for the sum of 500 dollars.

Box: 1 Folder : 3.3 Consents as to Dower
Box: 1 Folder : 3.3.1 Payne Dower
Box: 1 Folder : 3.4 Payne New Jersey Legacy Receipts
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Payne Powers of Attorney

Scope and Contents

Includes Power of Attorney documents for multiple parties.

Box: 2 Folder : 1.1 [Power of Attorney Documents]

Scope and Contents

Includes Power of Attorney documents for James Payne and Amos Todd in the matter of the estate of William Payne.

Box: 2 Folder : 2 Probatory Will in Michigan
1842, 1864-1880
Box: 2 Folder : 2.1 Rec'd Sept 16th '80
Box: 2 Folder : 2.2 Rec'd Sept 17th '80
Box: 2 Folder : 2.3 Rec'd Oct 2nd '80
Box: 2 Folder : 2.4 Letter from R. M. Goodwin to G. M. Speir
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Payne - Property in Michigan

Scope and Contents

Letters of interest about the property for sale and a drawn map of the property.

Box: 2 Folder : 4 Will and Extract of Francis Bringlor deceased [Michigan documents]
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Mount Vernon Property

Scope and Contents

Contract for sale of property from Jemima Payne to Henry Rudolph in 1884 for 1,530 dollars. The property was known as lot number 657 located at the southwest corner of First Street and Seventh Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY.

Box: 2 Folder : 6 Surrogates Court County of New York - Estate of James Payne - Final Accounting
Box: 2 Folder : 6.1 Estate of James Payne - Letters Testamentary

Scope and Contents

Document appointing Gilbert M. Speir as the Administrator of James Payne's estate

Box: 2 Folder : 6.2 James Payne
Box: 2 Folder : 6.3 Estate of James Payne deceased

Scope and Contents

Notes by G.M. Speir about probating foreign wills

Box: 2 Folder : 6.4 James Payne deceased England
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Payne Memorandum as to Amos Todd
Box: 2 Folder : 7.1 Payne - Amos Todd
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Amos Todd
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Payne Bunn Letters
1876, 1878
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Payne Re: Part Payments on Account of Residuary Shares
Box: 3 Folder : 1 [James Sutherland and William Payne Agreements, Accounting Records]
Box: 3 Folder : 1.1 James Sutherland and J. Payne - Agreement
Box: 3 Folder : 2 [James Sutherland Case Documents, Schedules]
Box: 3 Folder : 3.1 William Payne Estate - James Sutherland + Mark Goodwine Lease and Assignment
Box: 3 Folder : 3.2 Mrs. Emma Barry
Box: 3 Folder : 3.3 Jemima Payne executrix etc. against Frank Lyons Sr. - Deeds, Exhibits
Box: 3 Folder : 3.4 Re: William Payne - J. Paymas executrix to Frank Lyons Sr - Lease
Box: 3 Folder : 3.5 Estate of Elanor Welch
Box: 3 Folder : 3.6 Mrs. Louisa Dahl
Box: 3 Folder : 3.7 John Payne as Administrator etc. of Alice Payne deceased - Receipts of Estate of Alice Payne deceased
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Alice Payne deceased - Appointment of Guardian Gertrude Welsh
1875, 1877
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Catherine M. Brown - Greene Ave Loan
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Mortgage for $5000 - Jemima Payne to Catherine M. Brown - Andrew Moll
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Catherine M. Brown - Greene Ave, Tompkins Ave
1882, 1885
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Greenwood Cemetery Papers
Box: 3 Folder : 9 John le Burne to Jemima Payne - $12500 - First Ave.
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Map of 29th + East River
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Payne Executrix of Lyons, Smith etc.
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Jane Heaver
1882, 1885
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Surrogates Court County of New York - Estate of William Payne - First Accounting
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Surrogates Court County of New York - Estate of William Payne - Final Accounting
Box: 4 Folder : 1 N.Y. Surrogate's Court - In the Matter of the Final Judicial Settlement of the Accounts of Jemima Payne, Executrix of the Will of William Payne, Deceased
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Surrogate's Court , County of New York - Final Judicial Accounting of Jemima Payne, Executrix &c. of William Payne, Deceased.
Box: 4 Folder : 3 [Loose Papers]

Scope and Contents

Includes legacy receipt record, calculations of interest due legatees represented by the Coudert Brothers firm, list of legatees and heirs, inventory of furniture at No. 324 West 18th street, and papers related to the james Sutherland matter.


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