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Guide to the Ebenezer Stevens Papers
1739-1822
 MS 592

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Cassandra Brewer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 05, 2019
Finding Aid is written in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Ebenezer Stevens Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1739-1822
Abstract: Ebenezer Stevens (1751-1823) served as a soldier and officer in the Continental Army and the New York State Artillery Corps during the Revolutionary War. Post-war, Stevens was an agent for the United States War Department as well as a successful merchant in New York City. This collection documents his activities as a merchant both indepentently and for the militia. Additionally, it documents Stevens' role as a commanding officer, specifically during the fortification of New York City in the early 1800s.

The Ebenezer Stevens papers are digitized and available in the  Shelby White and Leon Levy Digital Library.
Quantity: 1 Linear feet (3 boxes)
Language: The Ebenezer Stevens Papers are primarily in English but contains several documents in French and Spanish.
Mixed Materials [Box]: 3
Mixed Materials [Box]: 1
Mixed Materials [Box]: 2
Call Phrase: MS 592

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Biographical/Historical Note

Ebenezer Stevens was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 22, 1757 to Ebenezer Stevens and Elizabeth Weld Stevens. At the age of seventeen, Stevens joined a local artillery company, beginning his long military career. With this company, Stevens participated in the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Stevens left the artillery for steady employment and found work as a carpenter in Providence, Rhode Island where he married his first wife Rebecca Hodgdon in 1774. Stevens and Hodgdon had three children; Horatio Gates (named after the military hero and personal friend of Stevens), Rebecca Hodgdon and George Alexander.

After the outbreak of the Revolutionary War Stevens returned to the militia to fight in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Shortly after the formation of the Continental Army, Stevens was commissioned as Lieutenant in Henry Knox's artillery regiment. Under the leadership of Knox, Stevens recruited and commanded various artillery companies and worked alongside major military leaders such as Horatio Gates, Philip Schuyler and John Lamb.

In 1776, Stevens was promoted to Captain. His involvement in pivotal campaigns in Quebec, Ticonderoga, Saratoga and Stillwater led to a promotion to Major in 1777. Stevens was again promoted one year later, in 1778, to Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Artillery Regiment. In this new position, Stevens was sent to Virginia in 1778 to serve under Lafayette, where his company was present at the Siege of Yorktown.

Stevens permanently settled in New York City upon reassignment to Colonel Lamb's regiment in 1783. During the post-war years, Stevens worked with the New York State Artillery Corps on the fortification and defense of the New York harbor. In 1784, Stevens married his second wife, Lucretia Ledyard, with whom he had seven children; Samuel, William, Alexander, Byam Kerby, John Austin, Henry and Mary Lucretia.

While still involved with the New York State Artillery Corps Stevens became involved with overseas trading and established himself as a successful merchant and trader. As Stevens built a reputation for himself as an independent merchant, he also acted as an agent for the United States War Department. For the War Department, Stevens conducted business related to the purchasing and sending and receiving of goods and material for new fortification structures. In 1805, Stevens received his final promotion to Major General of Artillery in New York.

In addition to his position with the New York State Artillery Corps, Stevens was elected to a one year position in the New York State Assembly in 1799. He was also an early member of the Tammany Society as well as the New York Society of Cincinnati, where he held a vice-presidency in 1804. Additionally, he was a founding member of the New England Society in New York City, where he held the presidency from 1817 until his death in 1823.

In 1815, Stevens formally resigned from his position as Major General in the New York State Artillery Corps. He died in 1823 in Rockaway, New York.

Sources:

Derby, George and James T. White. "Ebenezer Stevens." National Cyclopedia of American Biography. J.T. White, 1906.

Stevens, Eugene. Erasmus Stevens and his decendants. New York: Tobias Wright, c. 1905.

Stevens, John Austin. Biographical Sketch of Ebenezer Stevens.

Ebenezer Stevens was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 22, 1757 to Ebenezer Stevens and Elizabeth Weld Stevens. In 1768, at the age of seventeen, Stevens joined a local artillery company and remained with them through their participation in the Boston Tea Party.

Leaving the artillery for steady employment, Stevens found work building houses in Providence, Rhode Island where he married his first wife Rebecca Hodgdon in 1774. Stevens and Hodgdon had three children; Horatio Gates, Rebecca Hodgdon and George Alexander.

After the battles of Lexington and Concord and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Stevens returned to the militia, participating in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Shortly after the formation of the Continental Army, Stevens was commissioned as Lieutenant in Henry Knox's artillery regiment. Under the leadership of Knox, Stevens recruited and commanded various artillery companies and worked alongside major military leaders such as Horatio Gates and John Lamb.

In 1776, Stevens was promoted to Captain. Stevens involvement in pivotal campaigns in Quebec, Ticonderoga and Saratoga led to his promotion to Major in 1777. Stevens was again promoted on year later, in 1778, to Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Artillery Regiment. In 1781, Stevens served under Layfayette in Virginia where his companies participation in the

until being reassinged to Colonel Lamb's regiment in New York City in 1783. In the post-war years, Stevens worked with the New York State Artillery Corps on the fortification and defense of the New York Harbor.

In 1784, Stevens married his second wife, Lucretia Ledyard, with whom he had seven children; Samuel, William, Alexander, Byam Kerby, John Austin, Henry and Mary Lucretia. While still involved with the New York State Militia, Stevens became involved with overseas trading and established himself as a sucessful merchant and trader. As Stevens was building a reputation for himself as an independent merchant, he was also employed as an agent of the United States War Department. For the War Department, Stevens conducted business related to the purchasing, sending and recieving of goods for soliders in the milita as well as material for new forification structures.

In addition to holding a position in the New York State Artillery Corps and his trading pursuits, Stevens was elected to a one year position in the New York State Assembly in 1799. He was also an early member of the Tammany Society as well as the New York Society of Cincinnati, where he held a vice-presidency in 1804. Additionaly, he was a founding member of the New England Society in New York City, where he held the presidency from 1817 until his death in 1823.

In 1815, Stevens formally resigned from his position as Major General in the New York State Artillery Corps. He died in 1823 in Rockaway, New York.

Sources:

Derby, George and James T. White. "Ebenezer Stevens." National Cyclopedia of American Biography. J.T. White, 1906.

Stevens, John Austin. Biographical Sketch of Ebenezer Stevens.

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Scope and Content Note

The Ebenezer Stevens Papers consist of the correspondence, military and financial records of Ebenezer Stevens. The collection mainly documents Stevens' tenure as a soldier and officer in the New York State Militia, focusing particularly on daily functions and the fortification of New York Harbor in the years 1802-1814. The papers do not contain much information about Stevens' Revolutionary War efforts, aside from two military orders. Additionally, the papers document Stevens' work as a merchant, both independently and as an agent for the US War Department.

The collection also contains military orders and reports, inventories, bills of lading, accounts and several legal documents. Some notable correspondents include Horatio Gates, John Lamb, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and Philip Schuyler.

Arrangement Note

The Ebenezer Stevens Papers are arranged chronologically within each series.

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence
  2. Series II: New York State Artillery Corps Papers
  3. Series III: Financial Documents
  4. Series IV: Legal Documents
  5. Series V: Revolutionary War Documents
  6. Series VI: Writings and Certificates

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Hancock, John
  • Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804
  • Jay, John, 1745-1829
  • Gates, Horatio
  • Stevens , G. A. (George Alexander)
  • Stevens, Horatio G
  • Stevens, Byam K
  • Hodgdon, Samuel
  • Lamb, John
  • Hodgdon, Alexander
  • Hodge, Andrew
  • Schuyler, Philip John
  • Liston, Robert, Sir
  • Pintard, John

Document Type

  • Accounts
  • Correspondence.
  • Bills of lading
  • Receipts
  • Returns (military reports).

Subject Organizations

  • New York (State) Militia

Subject Topics

  • Seizure of vessels and cargoes
  • New York (State). Militia. Regiment of Artillery of the City & County of New-York
  • United States. Continental Army. New York Artillery Regiment, 2nd
  • Coast Defenses -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Fortification -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Shipping -- United States
  • Yellow Fever -- Pennslyvania -- Philadelphia.

Subject Places

  • Europe -- Description and travel.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Commerce
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Commerce -- West Indies

Family Name(s)

  • Leyard family
  • Stevens family

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

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: Manuscript Curator, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as the Ebenezer Stevens Papers, MS 592, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials at the New-York Historical Society

Three additional bound volumes of Stevens' correspondence can be found under BV Stevens, E.

This additional material is dated 1775-1848 and largely concerns Stevens' military career. Volume three focuses on Stevens' Revolutionary War efforts.

Stevens' letterbook, consisting of transcribed and draft or copy correspondence can also be found under BV Stevens, E.

Additional correspondence of Stevens' can be found in the Horatio Gates Papers, under BV Gates.

Material relating to Stevens' son and grandson, John Austin Stevens, Sr. and John Austin Stevens, Jr. can be found in theJohn Austin Steven Papers, 1811-1885.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies are available in the Shelby White and Leon Levy Digital Library.

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Container List

Series I: Correspondence , 1777-1819

Arrangement Note

Series I is arranged in three subseries:

Subseries A: Correspondence to and from Ebenezer Stevens Subseries B: Family Correspondence Subseries C: Other Correspondence

Each subseries is arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Series I consists of personal and business correspondence with the majority of material relating to business matters. The correspondence includes information regarding family members, accounts with Stevens, records of payment, reports on ships and cargo belonging to Stevens, cargo insurance, business partnerships, and general business conditions in New York, Boston and France.

Subseries A: Correspondence to and from Ebenezer Stevens, 1777-1807

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1777-1796
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Correspondence
1797
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence
1798
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence
1799-1801
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence
1802
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Correspondence
1803-1807
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Correspondence
1808-1819, undated

Subseries B: Family Correspondence , 1739,1804-1822

Scope and Contents Note

Subseries B contains the correspondence of members of Stevens' family including his sons Horatio Gates Stevens, George Alexander Stevens, Byram Kerby Stevens and his daughter Mary Stevens. It also contains two letters from members of the Ledyard family.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Family Correspondence
1739,1804-1822

Subseries C: Correspondence - Other Persons, 1789-1817

Scope and Contents Note

Subseries C consists of correspondence not written or received by Stevens. The majority of letters concern accounts and business dealings related to Stevens' merchant activities.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Correspondence - Other Persons
1789-1817

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Series II: New York State Artillery Corps Papers, 1802-1815 1814

Scope and Content Note

Series II consists of military records relating to Stevens' tenure as a Major-General of the New York State Artillery Corps. The papers include returns, correspondence and regimental orders. Military returns include inventory information regarding both the men and goods of specific military companies. The majority of the records are departmental or regimental orders and correspondence between officers. There is a significant gap in the material for the years 1808-1814, when Stevens was active as commander of the Artillery in the defense of New York City during the War of 1812.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Artillery Corps Papers
1802-1806
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Artillery Corps Papers
1807
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Artillery Corps Papers
1808-1813
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Artillery Corps Papers
1814 June - September
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Artillery Corps Papers
1814 September
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Artillery Corps Papers
1814 October
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Artillery Corps Papers
1814 November - 1815 February

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Series III: Financial Documents, 1769, 1785-1806

Scope and Content Note

Series III consists of various financial documents regarding Stevens' business as well as personal matters. The documents regarding shipping are largely bills of lading, which document the sending or receiving of shipped goods. Bills of lading include the date sent or received; name of shipper and reciever; destination and origin as well as price of goods. Also included in the shipping documents are several records of accounts.

The documents regarding General Schuyler are also of a business nature and contain information regarding accounts between Stevens and Schuyler.

The school bills contain documents regarding the payment for education of Stevens' children. It consists of several bills for education and supplies.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Shipping
1769, 1785-1793
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Financial Documents regarding General Philip Schuyler
1786-1787
Box: 3 Folder : 3 School Bills
1789-1806
Box: Oversize Folder : Small Commission [Y-Stevens, Ebenezer]
1798

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Series IV: Legal Documents , 1783, 1793

Scope and Content Note

Series IV consists of three contracts; two regarding shipping business and one regarding land exchange between family members.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Legal Documents
1783, 1793

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Series V: Revolutionary War Documents, 1777

Scope and Content Note

Series V consists of two documents, both Regimental Orders from 1777.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Revolutionary War Documents
1777

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Series VI: Writings and Certificates, 1791, 1795

Scope and Content Note

Series VI consists of two documents. The first document is a poem commemorating the death of Mrs. Mary Hodgdon, a relative of Stevens. The second document is a certificate issed by a hospital in New York City honoring Stevens.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Writings and Certificates
1791, 1795

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