I finished processing the David Sands Brown and Company series and found it to be a good example of the entrepreneurial spirit associated with the economic development of the United States, especially if looked at from a micro-history-based point of view. After taking American History classes that only covered the major aspects and events of the United States past, looking at the papers in this part of the Chew collection gave me a new perspective on how just one individual took a neglected town and propelled it to progress through sheer will power and financial savvy.
Over the past few weeks, I have been working on the papers of the Brown and Johnson families that are included in the Chew Papers. Mary Johnson Brown Chew's family and ancestors owned large sections of what is now the First Ward of Philadelphia, Southwark, Passyunk, the Navy Yard, and Tinicum. David Sands Brown, among others, developed land along the Delaware River to accommodate his growing manufacturing businesses, which were headquartered in Gloucester City, New Jersey.
This is the third in a series of blog posts devoted to the conservation being performed on the documents, books and manuscript materials in the Chew Family Papers Collection. See the first post on enclosures, here, and the second on paper conservation, here.
The records pertaining to Whitehall, a plantation the Chews owned in Kent County, Delaware, have garnered significant attention because of the detailed records the Chew family kept about the operation of the farm and the treatment of the slaves who worked there. Though there are deeds indicating that Benjamin Chew took ownership over this property in the 1760s, the majority of records that document the plantation's operation date from the period of 1780-1803, when Benjamin Chew sold the property.
This is the second in a series of blog posts devoted to the conservation being performed on the documents, books and manuscript materials in the Chew Family Papers Collection. See the first post, on enclosures, here.
I began processing Mary Johnson Brown Chew's materials yesterday. As I was working on a rough sorting, I was leafing through the various journals and diaries that she kept. The first one I opened was begun on Christmas Eve 1886, when her husband Samuel seemed to be moving closer toward death.