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Guide to the Watts-Jones Family Papers
1800-1905 (Bulk 1806-1850)
  MS 681

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Maurita Baldock

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 09, 2014
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Watts-Jones Family Papers
Dates: 1800-1905 (bulk 1806-1850)
Abstract: The collection contains correspondence, legal papers, financial documents, and printed material from the Watts and Floyd-Jones families. The material documents the family lives and business matters of Charles Watts Sr., Charles Watts, Jr., Henry Floyd-Jones, and Sarah Floyd-Jones.
Quantity: 1.1 Linear feet (3 boxes)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 681

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Historical Note

Charles Watts, Sr. (17??-1811) was a cabinet-maker and merchant of Charleston, South Carolina. He married Catherine Beard and had two children, Charles Watts, Jr. and Helen Watts (1792-1872). Charles Watts, Jr. began work as a merchant for J & L Gladstones Merchants (Liverpool) but later became an attorney. Around 1818, he started a business with Moses Isaacs to run a boat propelled by horses on the Hudson River from Christopher Street to Weehawken, NJ. By 1820, the business had failed, and he continued to practice law.

In 1816, Helen Watts married Henry Floyd-Jones (1792-1862), a merchant with the company Jones and Bailey and a Major General of the Queens County Militia, 1st Division Infantry of the New York State Militia. Henry Floyd-Jones was also a member of the New York Assembly from 1829-1830 and a member of the State Senate from 1836-1840. Helen Watts and Henry Floyd-Jones had seven children: Charles (1817-?), Sarah (1818-1900), Henry (1820-1849), Edward (1823-1902), DeLancey (1826-?), Helen Watts, (1827-1855), and Josephine Katherine (1832-1905).

Sources:

Smith, Harry J. Jr. The Romance of the Hoboken Ferry. New York: Prentice Hall, 1931.

Floyd-Jones, Thomas. Thomas Jones: Fort Neck, Queens County, Long Island, 1695 and His Descendants the Floyd-Jones Family, With Connections from the Year 1066. New York, 1906.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, legal papers, financial documents, family histories, and printed material from the Watts and Floyd-Jones families. Although some family matters are discussed, the material mainly documents the business matters of Charles Watts Sr., Charles Watts, Jr., and Henry Floyd-Jones. There are some personal letters to Charles Watts, Jr. and Sarah Floyd-Jones as well as legal documents regarding the estate of Charles Watts, Sr.

Some of the correspondence, legal material, and financial documents relate to Charles Watts Jr.'s efforts to run a ferry on the Hudson propelled by horses. Letters dated 1820 from Henry Floyd-Jones to Charles Watts, Jr. urge him to get out of the business and imply that he was in financial trouble. A 1811 letter describes a hurricane and tornado in Charleston and a 1822 letter to Henry Floyd-Jones describes a yellow fever outbreak in New York. One letter to Charles Watts, Sr. dated January 1807 remarks on appropriate punishments for men guilty of sodomy.

Arrangement

The Watts-Jones Family Papers have been divided into the following series:

  1. Series I: Watts Family Papers, 1800-1831
  2. Series II: Floyd-Jones Family Papers, 1816-1904
  3. Series III: Non-Family Members, 1807-1905
  4. Series IV: Printed Material, 1861-1876

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Bailey, James S.
  • Campbell, Alexander
  • Fisk, Moses, 1759-1843
  • Floyd-Jones, Helen Watts
  • Floyd-Jones, Henry
  • Floyd-Jones, Sarah
  • Watts, Charles, d. ca. 1811
  • Watts, Charles, Jr.

Document Type

  • Accounts
  • Correspondence
  • Ephemera

Subject Organizations

  • Jones and Bailey
  • New York (State). Militia

Subject Topics

  • Ferries--New York (State)
  • Hurricanes--South Carolina--Charleston
  • Steam-engines--Drawings
  • Woodworking machinery--Drawings
  • Yellow fever--South Carolina--Charleston--1822

Subject Places

  • Charleston (S.C.)--Commerce
  • Liverpool (England)--Commerce
  • New York (N.Y.)--Commerce

Family Name(s)

  • Floyd-Jones family
  • Watts family

Occupation(s)

  • Cabinetmakers
  • Lawyers
  • Merchants

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Purchase June, 1944.

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.)

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 Watts-Jones Family Papers, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

A letterbook of Charles Watts, Jr. can be found under BV Watts, Charles. Other material relating to the Floyd-Jones family can be located in the Floyd-Jones Family Papers.

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Container List

Series I: Watts Family Papers, 1800-1831

Scope and Contents note

This series contains the papers relating to the personal and business affairs of the members of the Watts family. Most of the series consists of documents relating to Charles Watts, Jr. and Charles Watts, Sr., although some correspondence from Helen Watts is included. It is not always clear which Charles Watts is represented.

Subseries I: Correspondence, 1806-1831

Scope and Contents note

The letters are arranged chronologically and consist of incoming correspondence to Charles Watts, Sr. and Charles Watts, Jr. There are a few letters from Helen Watts to her father, Charles Watts, Sr. The letters reflect the business and personal affairs of both men. The correspondence details Charles Watt Sr.'s businesses in Charleston, New York, and Liverpool and Charles Watts Jr.'s time as a merchant and an attorney. The financial troubles of Charles Watts, Jr are well documented. Letters dating from 1820 from Henry Floyd-Jones discourage Charles Watts, Jr. from remaining in the business of running the horse ferry to New Jersey. One letter to Charles Watts dated January 27, 1807 contains remarks on appropriate punishments for men guilty of sodomy.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Watts Family Correspondence
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Watts Family Correspondence
1806-1809
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Watts Family Correspondence
1810
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Watts Family Correspondence
1811
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Watts Family Correspondence
1812
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Watts Family Correspondence
1813-1815
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Watts Family Correspondence
1816-1819
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Watts Family Correspondence
1820
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Watts Family Correspondence
1831
Subseries II: Legal Documents, 1803-1820

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains legal papers of the Watts family including deeds, indentures, estate papers, and the will of Charles Watts, Sr. It includes documentation of a lawsuit against Charles Watts, Jr. for a physical assault. The subseries also consists of legal papers regarding the running of the horse ferry to New Jersey and documents from cases with Charles Watts, Jr. serving as an attorney.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Family Legal Documents
1803-1820
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Will of Charles Watts, Sr.
1803
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Legal Papers re Estate of Charles Watts, Sr.
1811-1816
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Legal Papers re Hudson River Ferry
1814-1819
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Legal Papers with Charles Watts, Jr. Acting as Attorney
1813-1819
Subseries III: Financial Documents, 1800-1820

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains accounts, bills, and receipts from both personal and business expenses.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1800-1805
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1806-1810
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1811-1815
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1816-1820
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Financial Papers re Hudson River Ferry
1819-1820
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Finacial Papers re Estate of Charles Watts, Sr.
1811-1816
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Financial Documents re Family Property
1807-1814
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Prices Current
1809-1811
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Helen Watts- House Expenses
1808-1811

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Series II: Floyd-Jones Family Papers, 1816-1904

Scope and Contents note

Most of the material in this series relates to the business dealings of Henry Floyd-Jones. Other family members represented in the series include Sarah, Edward, and Marie Floyd-Jones.

Subseries I: Correspondence, 1818-1904

Scope and Contents note

The majority of the correspondence is letters to Henry Floyd-Jones regarding militia matters and the business of Jones and Bailey. An August 1822 letter to him mentions a yellow fever outbreak in New York City. Frequent correspondents with Henry Floyd-Jones include Thomas Delancey and Henry Nicole. The few letters to Sarah Floyd-Jones, daughter of Henry Floyd-Jones and Helen Watts, relate to family matters such as the deaths of relatives.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence
1818-1831
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence
1833-1846
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence (Sarah Floyd-Jones)
1847-1855
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence
1868-1869
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence
1876-1901
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Floyd-Jones Family Correspondence, Letters of Introduction for Edward Floyd-Jones
1904
Subseries II: Legal Documents, 1817-1841

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains family deeds and titles as well as the papers and certificates related to the Queens County Militia.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Floyd-Jones Family Legal Documents
1817-1841
Box: 2 Folder : 21 Legal Papers re Henry F. Jones's position as Major General of Queens County Militia
1826-1841
Subseries III: Financial Documents, 1816-1846

Scope and Contents note

The financial subseries includes the accounts, bills, and receipts of Henry Floyd-Jones.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1816-1846
Subseries IV: Family Histories, undated

Scope and Contents note

This subseries consists of family genealogies and the history of a family candle.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 23 Family Histories
undated

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Series III: Non-Family Members, 1807-1905

Scope and Contents note

This series contains documents in which a person is either unidentified or the person's relationship to the Watts or Floyd-Jones families is unclear. Individuals include Alexander Campbell, George W. Scudder, and George Wilkes.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Correspondence
1807-1905
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Accounts, Bills, and Receipts
1809-1837
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Legal Papers
1813-1863
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Real Estate Papers
1842, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Notes and Writings
undated

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Series IV: Printed Material, 1861-1876

Scope and Contents note

This series contains printed items such as drawings, lists, an award, and a theater bill. None of the items include the names of Watts or Floyd-Jones family members.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Drawings of a Steam Engine and a Wood Splitting Machine
[1871]
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Theater Bill
1861
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Award from Philadelphia Internation Exhibition
1876
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Printed Lists
undated

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