New Jersey Family, Possibly Quakers, Writes of Faith, Work, and Current Events in 24 Lengthy Letters, 1833-1855

New Jersey Family, Possibly Quakers, Writes of Faith, Work, and Current Events in 24 Lengthy Letters, 1833-1855


This collection of letters among and to three generations of the Boulton family illustrate the concerns of everyday life for a large family of farmers, merchants, and artisans of either Quaker or Methodist faith. Ex-Charles I. Forbes.


[BOULTON FAMILY], Archive of 24 Handwritten Documents, 1833-1855, from the Boulton family, many addressed to or sent by William Boulton.  34 pp., 8" x 3.75" to 9.5" x 16". Expected folds; some tears on folds and holes with loss of small amounts of text.  


William Boulton (1773-c. 1850s) was born in New Jersey and married Mary Gilbert, with whom he had four children. He later married Mary Dobbins (1777-1851), with whom he had eleven children.



Zebedee D. Boulton to William and Mary Boulton, January 28, 1834:

“Respected Parents I am well and I hope that you are still in the same happy state now. With respect to our business first I have Saw William about selling out and he has concluded not to sell.... I have taken a shop The lower part of Williams front shop.”


Rachel Ann Boulton to William and Mary Boulton, September 27, 1834, Philadelphia:

“I take this Opertunity to inform you that We are Well at present except Hariet.... We arrived Safe Last fryday I have got plenty of Work and I think that I Can do very Well.”


Benjamin F. Boulton and Hope Ann Moyer to William and Mary Boulton, August 15, 1836:

“iwish that when father comes don he would bring my hat box and lock box  ihope that father will not sell his calf…for I think that he can get mor for it hear.”

“I wood like to see you for the time seams very long to me since our dear sister has left us  it seams as if it could not be posabel that she his ded  it appears as if she wood be down hear i dremp of cein her com but o how I was disoponted when i found it was a dream but i still desier to be resind to the will of the lord.”


Mary Boulton to [Rachel Ann Boulton, September 24, 1835, Northampton:

“the boys are all Down with the Meesels  joshua has been verry bad but is on the mend Samuel came home with the meesels day before yeasterday John had them first and give it to them all Samuel was at home about 2 weaks ago and ketched them of john.... Mary Taylor informs thee is Agoing to Larn Brush Making and We Dont think well of it for we think thee had Better Give more mony and more Time to Larn thee Milener Trade for that Will Be A Profit to thee in Any Station of Life Married or Single.... Tell thy Sisters they must Come Soon for we have Been Looking for them All Summer.”


Benjamin F. Boulton to William and Mary Boulton, July 25, 1837:

“about camp it is not Wourth wile to make atent for ous there is nobody acoming oup but Samuel.... we can dough well enough if you have a wagon on the ground igis [I guess that I shall stay with yo a little wile after camp....”


J. D. Boulton to William and Mary Boulton, March 28, 1842:

“It will be out of my power to get Mary’s tables done by next saturday but they can have them on tuesday. I was thinking you must get a horse and wagon of unkle S Dobbins and come down by the way of Burlington and bring the balance of our things and take the tables up with you and I will pay the expence and if you cannot please let them know that I will send them up in the 2 Oclock Boat on Tuesday.”

J. D. Boulton to William Boulton, March 17, 1844, Philadelphia:

“I have rented the front parte of the house to Benjamin F. Boulton and I am going to Board with them and I am going to furnish my one Rume and I am going to pay them teen Cts per meal and he is going to move on the firste of April”


Thomas and Elizabeth Hurst to Samuel D. Boulton, December 15, 1844, Philadelphia:

“We are glad to find that you are bound for Liverpool during your voyage to the Old Country I can assure you Sir it is a Cheerfull thought to us, when we think that we can send a letter to our dear Brothers personally by the hand of a Friend.”


William and Mary Boulton to Isaac Mayer, July 21, 1847:

“Joshua has not sold your Hors yet but he has Tried his Best.... if you are A Coming Before Corresponding you and hope you had Better Come Soon and then you Can See to Seling your hors your Self and you may Send your Children.”


Zebedee D. Boulton to William and Mary Boulton, December 30, 1837, Damascus, Ohio:

“we have got a daughter nearely 3 months old and call her Mary  Franklin is verry smart and talks verry Plain.... I am carrying on my business here  this is altogether a Quaker settlement the most so that ever I knowd.”


Zebedee D. Boulton to William and Mary Boulton, December 26, 1838, Columbus, Ohio:

“I think it would not be amiss to say Something abought our friends that was Baptised last sabbath  I am very glad to see the reffermation thathas took Place in them  they seeme like New creatures indeed and I hope That it may continue till the day That we all may be brought to the Injoyment of the rest of the people Of god.”


George Haywood, Subpoena, to Samuel D. Boulton, April 6, 1840:

“you are personally to be and appear before George Haywood one of the Judges of the court of Common Pleas of the county of Burlington at the House of Peter C. Stryker...then and there to testify the truth according to your knowledge in the matter of the contested election from the State of New Jersey now pending before the House of Representatives of the United States.”

At the Congressional elections in October 1838, before the state was organized into Congressional districts, all six U.S. Representatives were elected at large. Whig Governor William Pennington and his Privy Council had the obligation of totaling the votes, and they declared that the six Whig candidates had been elected by narrow margins. Two Whig county clerks had invalidated the returns from two districts, but if they had been counted, five of the six Whig candidates would have been defeated. On December 2, 1839, when the House of Representatives convened to organize, the clerk called only one name from New Jersey, and a two-week debate followed. Without the five New Jersey Whigs, Democrats held a 119-118 edge in the House of Representatives. They referred the matter to the House Committee on Elections, which had a 5-4 Democratic majority, and the committee began working on the case in January 1840. Meanwhile, the New Jersey legislature passed resolutions and perhaps conducted their own investigations that led to this subpoena. On July 8, 1840, the U.S. House resolved to seat the five Democratic candidates instead of the Whigs.


Benjamin C. Gibbs to William Boulton, November 28, 1843, Pemberton:

“I thought I could be at Budd Town sabeth evening two weeks. I am engaged on that day. I have to attend at Frago to regulate some matters respecting their class. if you thing well you may give out an appointment for me on Thursday evening the 7th of December, please publish it on sabbath next after noon & night.”


William and Mary Boulton to Samuel D. Boulton, May 26, 1844:

“Please to Write and Let us know how you are All A coming on and how thee Irisha are All Coming on that was Taken in thee Riot and if thee Citty is a Pisible for we want to hear from you All  We wish you All to keep out of Riots and not Be Brought in Any Scrapes  we heard that thee Was at Burning of St augustin Church Dear Sun keep out of All Scrapes and Still to thee Temperance Cause  Dont make Ship Rack of faith and of A good Concience But keep an Eye to thee Glory of God and he will Bless and Preserve thee.”

In May and again in July 1844, Philadelphia witnessed some of the bloodiest nativist riots in the nation. On May 6, 1844, a fight in Kensington, a northeast suburb, left three nativists and a bystander dead. On May 8, mobs attacked several homes and a Catholic seminary and destroyed two of the city’s Catholic churches, St. Michael’s and St. Augustine’s. A combination of city police, militia companies from other cities, U.S. army and navy troops, and citizen posses ended the violence by May 10. Riots erupted again in early July in Southwark, a southern district, and a pitched battle on July 7 left four militiamen and a dozen rioters dead and scores wounded.


John Moyer to his grandparents, William and Mary Boulton, March 5, 1848, Philadelphia:

“I go to school yet and am improving  i am in the first class second division and belong to the cadets of Temperance and am in an office in the society  i do not smoke nor chew tobacco as i used to when we were up in the county....”


William E. Boulton to his father, William Boulton, April 30, 1848, Columbus, [New Jersey?:

“I was in Burlington yesterday and found Aunt Sarah Burgess verry low so much so that I should not be surprised to hear of her Death at any time indeed here end is looked for daily  I saw her Doctor  he says she may live a week and she may not live 1 day  Aunt Mary desired me to get information to the of her ilness and to request the to come down if the conveniently can  they sent uncle Benj Boulton word and desired him to come and she his sister before she leaves this world but poor Man he was not in a situation to see any Body much less a dying sister  he had a fit the day before.”


William Boulton to Samuel D. Boulton, September 18, 1849, Columbus, New Jersey:

“I am at Columbus at thy Brother William’s and he wants thee to Come and Work for him if thee is not other Wise ingaged and he will Pay thee thee Cash for work and if thee Cannont Come he wants thee to Let him know as Soon as Possible.. .. William Wants thee Badly for he has yet A great Deal of Work ingaged and he Cannot get it Done Without help.”

William E. Boulton was a cabinetmaker in Columbus, New Jersey.



William E. Boulton (1797-1865) was born in New Jersey. He served as a justice of the peace in Burlington County, New Jersey from at least 1838 to 1864.

Hope Ann Boulton Moyer (1806-1882) was born in New Jersey and married Isaac Moyer (1810-1891). They lived in Philadelphia from the 1830s to their deaths.


Zebedee D. Boulton (1813-c. 1890s) was born in New Jersey and went to Philadelphia at age fifteen to serve an apprenticeship with a boot and shoe manufacturer there. He married Rebecca A. Bryant (d. 1857). In 1836, he moved to Ohio, where he lived until 1849, when he settled in Indiana. In 1857, he married Margaret Ellen Disher Stallard and moved to Bourbon, Indiana, in 1857 and worked as a merchant. He gained admission to the Indiana bar and practiced there until 1881, when he moved to north-central Iowa.



Item: 64406

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