University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Albertson Family Papers

1774 - 1880
(bulk dates 1800 - 1862)

Manuscript Collection Number: 255
Accessioned: Gift of Anna D. Moyerman, 1972.
Extent: 1.2 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, prommissory notes, reciepts, account books, ledgers, checks,
composition books, reports, contracts, and notes.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 1992 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

The Albertson Family Papers portray the personal and business affairs of Jacob Albertson, his sons, Josiah and Benjamin, and other members of their family. Jacob Albertson, 1755-1833, was originally from Cheltenham township in Pennsylvania but later settled in Plymouth Meeting. He and his wife, Mary, had six children. His land was mined for iron ore.

The majority of the correspondence and documents in this collection concerns Jacob Albertson's two sons, Josiah and Benjamin. In the 1830s and 1840s, Josiah and Benjamin were involved in the lime business, mining their land as was common in the Plymouth Meeting area of Pennsylvania.

The Albertson family participated in building the Plymouth Railroad which was organized in 1836 to deliver lime. Josiah, who signed documents with the title "engineer," became manager of the railroad in 1839. The trains, carrying both freight and passengers, were pulled by horses. At the Conshohocken terminus a basin was dug, and train cars carrying lime traveled over the basin to dump their loads into waiting canal boats. However this process did not prove profitable and resulted in sheriff sales, litigation, and a removal of the tracks in the 1860s.

Josiah Albertson was married to Alice Maulsby, daughter of Samuel Maulsby, who was a farmer and lime burner. Alice was involved in the butter business. This collection contains portions of her ledger for this enterprise. Josiah, in addition to his work with the lime business and Plymouth Railroad, also was a teacher in the "old meeting-house school."

The Albertsons were Quakers and were prominent members of the Friends Meeting House in Plymouth. The collection contains a number of items related to financial affairs and business of the group.

Listed below are names of family members mentioned in this collection. Where information is known, birth dates, death dates, and family relationship are stated.

                     Jacob and Mary Albertson
Jacob Albertson       b. 03/11/1755        father 
                      d. 10/10/1833

Mary Albertson        b. 05/12/1753        mother
                      d. 11/29/1825

Josiah Albertson      b. 07/11/1788        son of Jacob and Mary                  
                      d. 12/28/1846

Alice  Albertson      b. 1803              wife of Josiah and                   
                      d. 1876              daughter of Samuel

Benjamin Albertson    b. 12/07/1790        twin brother of Jacob,
                      d. 10/18/1856        son of Jacob and Mary

Jacob Albertson       b. 12/07/1790        twin brother of 
                      d. 01/05/1859        Benjamin, son of Jacob
                                           and Mary

Martha Albertson      b. 1797              wife of Jacob and
                                           daughter of Samuel

Hannah Albertson      b. 09/14/1784        daughter of Jacob      
                      d. 05/12/1848        and Mary

Rebecca Albertson     b. 01/10/1787        daughter of Jacob      
                      d. 02/01/1791        and Mary

Rebecca Albertson     b. 02/25/1793        daughter of Jacob and
                      d. 01/17/1818        Mary

                    Josiah and Alice Albertson

Hannah Albertson      b. 11/12/1829        daughter of Josiah
                      d. 03/30/1862        and Alice

Samuel Albertson      b. 04/30/1831        son of Josiah and
                      d. 04/01/1874        Alice

William Albertson     b. 07/01/1833        son of Josiah and

Joseph Albertson      b. 01/11/1835        son of Josiah and
                      d. 01/01/1887        Alice

Abigail W. Albertson  b. 09/02/1841        daughter of Josiah
                      d. 03/12/1881        and Alice

Rachel Albertson      ?                    ?

Charles Albertson     ?                    ?

Susan Albertson       ?                    ?


Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Norristown, Pennsylvania: Published by the Society. No. 12 (Fall 1959-Spring 1961). pp. 84-86.

Roberts, Ellwood. Plymouth Meeting; its establishment and the settlement of the township. Norristown, Pennsylvania: Roberts Publishing Co., 1900. pp. 20-21, 71-74, 89-90, 112, 114, 125-126, and 179.

Scope and Content Note

The Albertson Family Papers consist of 1.2 linear feet of material related to this Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania family. The collection spans the dates 1774-1889, and the bulk of the material dates between 1800-1862. The collection includes a variety of correspondence, promissory notes, receipts, account books, ledgers, checks, composition books, reports, contracts, and notes.

The collection provides a detailed description of the lives of the Albertson family, especially emphasizing the family's finances. It also provides valuable historical information on the Friends Meeting House at Plymouth, local economy and businesses, and the Plymouth Railroad.

Material pertaining to Jacob Albertson consists of autograph documents detailing his financial affairs. Included are numerous bonds to a variety of individuals, receipts of payments, a document of purchase for land from Joseph Potts, a settlement of the Susan Albertson estate, an inventory of Jacob Albertson's goods, a tax notice, and a declaration of the dissolution of Albertson's partnership with his son, Josiah.

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and documents pertaining to Josiah Albertson, Jacob's son. Personal letters are primarily from family members, including his mother Mary, his sister Hannah, and his brothers Jacob and Benjamin. Business correspondence (concerning the limestone business and the Plymouth Railroad) is to and from a variety of individuals in the Plymouth Meeting area. Also included in the Josiah Albertson series are numerous financial documents such as receipts, bills of sale, militia fines, bonds, promissory notes, lists of accounts, checks, accounts and legal documents concerning the Plymouth Railroad, articles of agreement, subpoenas, tax notices, and contracts. The Josiah Albertson material also includes several account and receipt books, as well as a composition book for 1801-1802.

Material related to Alice Albertson consists of personal correspondence from friends and family, her butter account books for 1831 and 1839, and numerous bills and receipts related to her butter business.

The collection also includes correspondence and documents related to Josiah's brothers, Benjamin and Jacob; his children, Samuel, Hannah, William, and Joseph; as well as Rachel and Charles Albertson. A composition book dated 1805 and belonging to Jacob Albertson is included in this material.

A variety of documents related to the Friends Meeting House in Plymouth are also found in this collection. The items include an account book, a treasurer's report, notes on the 1782 annual meeting, a report of the Committee on the Subject of Spirituous Liquors, and a letter of complaint against Samuel Maulsby.

Finally, the collection contains a number of receipts, bills, documents, poems, and trigonometry problems related to unidentified persons. Other miscellaneous items include the account book of farmer Hugh L. Tyler and two items of particular interest. "The Testimony of the Death of Hannah Hill" (1774) is a record of the last illness and death of a young woman as witnessed by her friends and relations. An undated and incomplete morality play includes a fascinating dialogue between a blind man and Death.

Related collections:

Josiah Albertson family papers, 1805-1855 (.5 linear ft.)
Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

Arrangement Note

The Albertson Family Papers are arranged in eight series, five of which are devoted to individual family members. The remaining three series are for miscellaneous family members, the Plymouth Friends meeting house, and miscellaneous documents not identified as related to any of the Albertson family members.

Individuals of the first five series are Jacob Albertson (father of Josiah), Josiah Albertson, Alice Albertson, Benjamin Albertson, Jacob Albertson (brother of Josiah). Within each series the material is arranged basically by type (correspondence and documents) in chronological order. Exceptions to the chronological order are the composition books, ledgers, and account books which span a number of years and appear at the ends of the series.

Contents of the collection are housed in one record center carton, with one ledger removed to a separate manuscript box.

Series Outline


I.     Jacob Albertson, 1781-1819
       1.  Documents, 1781-1819

II.    Josiah Albertson, 1800-1849
       1.  1800-1819
       2.  1820-1829
       3.  1830-1839
       4.  1840-1849

III.   Alice Albertson, 1828-1862

IV.    Benjamin Albertson, 1825-1839

V.     Jacob Albertson, 1839-1847

VI.    Miscellaneous Albertson Material, 1811-1880

VII.   Plymouth Meeting (Friends) Material, 1782-1838

VIII.  Miscellaneous Material, 1774-1867
       1.  Documents, Receipts, Bills, Accounts, 1805-1853
       2.  Testimony of the Death of Hannah Hill, Jr., 1774
       3.  Account/Receipt Book, 1811-1812
       4.  Account Book of Hugh L. Tyler, 1846-1847
       5.  Untitled Morality Play, n.d.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1             Series I.  Jacob Albertson, 1781-1819
               This series consists of documents which detail
               some of the financial transactions of Jacob
               Albertson.  It includes promissory notes and bonds
               placing him in debt to a number of persons. 
               Frequently these documents have had the signature
               of Jacob Albertson cut from the document.  Also
               included are receipts of payments to and from
               Albertson, a document for sale of land to
               Albertson from Joseph Potts, an undated inventory
               of Jacob Albertson's goods, a tax notice, and
               several other miscellaneous items.

     F1   Documents, 1781-1803
          Includes bonds, land sale document, promissory notes,
          receipts, and articles of agreement. 

     F2   Documents, 1804-1819 and n.d.
          Includes receipts; a dissolution of partnership with
          his son, Josiah; an inventory of goods and chattels; a
          tax notice; an invitation; and the settlement of Susan
          Albertson's estate. 

          Series II.  Josiah Albertson, 1800-1849
               The correspondence and documents in this series
               describe aspects of the life and business affairs
               of Josiah Albertson (1788-1846).  The series
               includes personal correspondence from his family
               and friends, as well as correspondence related to
               business affairs.  Financial documents comprise a
               large portion of the series.  These documents
               consist of receipts, account books, militia fines, 
               lists of accounts, subpoenas, bills of sale,
               bonds, promissory notes, checks, contracts,
               estimates of work, and other material.  Includes a
               number of documents related to the Plymouth
               Railroad, and the limestone business.

          Series II.1. 1800-1819

     F3   Correspondence, 1800-1819
          Autograph letters from family, friends, and business
          acquaintances.  Includes letters from Hannah Albertson,
          Mary Albertson, Jacob Albertson, Thaddeus Marg, Francis
          Dauglor, Phillip Markley, and William Proctor.

     F4   Documents, 1800-1819
          Consists of autograph financial documents which include
          receipts, militia fines, a list of accounts, and
                    statements of sales. 

  1      Series II.  Josiah Albertson (cont'd)
          Series II.1.  1800-1819 (cont'd)

     F5   Composition Book, 1801-1802
          Includes poems and writings copied by Josiah Albertson
          at Plymouth boarding school between 1801-1802. Topics
          include the death of Joseph Waln (1784), a comparison
          between a winter orchard and the church, "Hymns to the
          evening," "On the suffering of Christ" by Deborah
          Barkrose, "The Converted Thief," "On the Certainty of
          There Being a God" by Ann Rees, "Luke Cock's Sermon,"
          "Words by John Hunt at Hopewell monthly meeting in
          Virginia," "On the Death of Charles Williams" by Lydia
          Williams his daughter, "On Dress," "On the Death of
          W.E.L." and "To a Daughter Who Wished..."

          Series II.2.  1820-1829

     F6   Correspondence, 1820-1829
          Autograph letters from family, friends, and business
          acquaintances.  Includes letters from Benjamin
          Albertson, John Clarke, H. Williams, Nathan Hunt,
          Jonathan Maulsby, Peter Breinig, Martha Shoemaker, Hugh
          Foulke, Jr., and David Mapps.

     F7   Documents, 1820-1829
          Autograph financial and business documents which
          include bills of sale, accounts of debts, subpoena,
          promissory notes, bonds, militia fines, a list of
          subscribers for repairing the Plymouth Meeting school
          house, receipts, articles of agreement, plot plan for
          Albertson land, and other documents.

     F8   Checks and receipts, 1820-1829
          Includes checks written from an account with the Bank
          of  Montgomery County and receipts.

          Series II.3.  1830-1839

     F9   Correspondence, 1836
          Includes letters from family, friends, and business
          acquaintances, letters from Benjamin Albertson.

     F10  Correspondence, 1837 Jan-Aug
          Includes letters from his brother Benjamin and letters
          concerning business arrangements or financial debts.

     F11  Correspondence, 1837 Sep-Dec
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson and business
          associates and concerning the railroad and canal.

     F12  Correspondence, 1838 Jan-Mar
          Includes numerous letters from Benjamin Albertson
          concerning business matters.        
    1    Series II.  Josiah Albertson (cont'd)
          Series II.3.  1830-1839 (cont'd)

     F13  Correspondence, 1838 Apr-May
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson concerning
          business transactions, a letter from Josiah to a
          business associate, and letters to Josiah from other
          persons concerning the lime or boat  business. 

     F14  Correspondence, 1838 Jun-Dec
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson concerning the
          lime business, a letter from Josiah to Wells and Coffin
          concerning bills due for the Plymouth Railroad, and
          letters concerning the finances of the railroad and
          lime business.

     F15  Correspondence, 1939
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson concerning
          lime business, letters concerning the imprisonment of
          Robert Miller, a funeral notice, and letters from

     F16  Documents, 1831-1836
          Includes Plymouth Railroad accounts, cost estimates for
          railroad expenses, proposals for excavations and
          walling for the railroad, a lumber contract, a bond
          made by Josiah Albertson, one note of payment.

     F17  Documents, 1837-1839
          Includes summons and court document concerning a suit
          by William Moore vs. Josiah Albertson and associates,
          estimates for work on the Plymouth Railroad, bills
          related to the railroad, lime and lime boat contracts,
          certificates of delivery for railroad building
          materials, receipts, articles of agreement between
          Josiah Albertson and individuals for various services.

     F18  Promissory Notes, 1830-1837
          Includes promissory notes made by Josiah Albertson to
          the Bank of Montgomery, to Benjamin Albertson, and to
          other individuals.

     F19  Promissory Notes, 1838
          Includes notes made by Josiah Albertson to the Bank of
          Montgomery and to others.

     F20  Promissory Notes, 1839
          Includes notes made by Josiah Albertson to the Bank of
          Montgomery and to others.

     F21  Receipts and Check Stubs, 1830-1835
          Receipts bear lists of supplies or details of services
          rendered to Josiah Albertson.
     F22  Receipts and Check Stubs, 1836-1839
          Receipts detail goods and services received from Josiah
          Albertson from a number of individuals.

     F23  Daybook and Ledger, 1828-1839
          Details of finances and daily routines. See Box 2.

     F24  Account and Receipt Book, 1836-1837
          Includes accounts and receipts for the lime business
          and the Plymouth Railroad.  Most were originally
          individual items which have been pasted into this book.

     F25  "Josiah Albertson's Receipt Book for Plymouth
          Railroad," 1836-1839
          Consists of autograph receipts made by Josiah Albertson
          for materials and services related to the construction
          of the Plymouth Railroad and the canal.  Also contains
          several receipts laid in the front of the book.

     F26  Account and Receipt Book, 1837-1838
          Booklet kept by Josiah Albertson.  Includes accounts
          and receipts related to the Plymouth Railroad, the lime
          business, and boats built for transporting lime.

     F27  Account Book, 1830-1841
          Includes accounts for lime business as conducted by
          Josiah and Benjamin Albertson, especially as related to
          a lime boat called "Plymouth Rover."

          Series II.4.  1840-1849

     F28  Correspondence, 1840 Feb-Jul
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson and others
          concerning his lime business.  Some of the letters from
          his brother Benjamin also detail their family lives.

     F29  Correspondence, 1840 Aug-Dec
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson and others. 
          Most of the letters concern his lime business.  One
          letter, from a James Morris details legislation in
          Pennsylvania concerning the "insane poor."

     F30  Correspondence, 1841
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson and others
          concerning the lime business, sale of the lime boat,
          "Rover," Plymouth Railroad, and financial matters.

     F31  Correspondence, 1842-1843
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson and others
          concerning the lime business and financial affairs. 
          Also includes letters from Josiah to Benjamin and one
          letter to Josiah concerning the Friends Meeting.

     F32  Correspondence, 1844-1849 and n.d.
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson, Mary
          Albertson (Josiah's mother), and others.  Most of the
          letters concern financial matters although some do
          detail family information.

     F33  Documents, 1840-1849 and n.d.
          Includes an account of transportation on Plymouth
          Railroad, bonds by Josiah Albertson, court documents
          related to Albertson vs. Wells, subpoenas, a notice of
          taxes, documents concerning the Plymouth Railroad
          (including the rules and regulations), and documents
          concerning the lime business of Josiah Albertson.

     F34  Promissory Notes, 1840-1846
          Notes by Josiah Albertson to a number of individuals.

     F35  Receipts, 1840-1844
          Numerous individual receipts detailing supplies and
          services received by Josiah Albertson.

     F36  Receipts, 1845-1850 and n.d.
          Includes individual receipts listing items and services
          received by Jacob Albertson.

          Series III.  Alice Albertson, 1828-1862
               Alice Albertson was the wife of Josiah Albertson
               and the daughter of Samuel Maulsby.  The material
               in this collection relates to her butter business
               and includes account books, bills, receipts, and
               correspondence.  Arranged chronologically.

     F37  Correspondence, 1828-1847
          Includes letters from several friends and two of her
          nieces and concerns a variety of personal and family

     F38  Butter Account Books, 1831 and 1839
          The account books detail Alice Albertson's butter
          business.  The two books list customers, amounts of
          butter sold, and prices.

     F39  Receipts and Bills, 1847-1850
          Includes receipts and bills which bear detailed lists
          of merchandise and services.

     F40  Receipts and Bills, 1851-1862 and n.d.
          Includes documents which detail her purchases of
          supplies and services.

1         Series IV.  Benjamin Albertson, 1825-1839
               Benjamin Albertson was the son of Jacob Albertson
               and the brother of Josiah Albertson.  He was
               involved with his brother in the lime business and
               the Plymouth Railroad.  This collection of
               material includes correspondence, receipts, and
               other documents.  See Series II for correspondence
               from Benjamin to Josiah.

     F41  Correspondence, Receipts, and Documents, 1825-1839
          Includes a proxy signed by Benjamin, several brief
          notes to Benjamin, letters concerning the lime business
          from customers, and letters from family.

          Series V.  Jacob Albertson, 1839-1847
               Jacob Albertson (1790-1859) was the twin brother
               of Benjamin Albertson.  This small collection of
               material includes correspondence, receipts, and a
               composition book.

     F42  Correspondence, Documents, and Receipts, 1839-1847
          Includes letters from Benjamin Albertson, a court
          summons, and several receipts.

     F43  Composition Book, 1805
          The book contains samples of Jacob Albertson's
          penmanship for September 16 through October 22, 1805.

          Series VI.  Miscellaneous Material Related to the
               Albertsons, 1811-1880
               Includes bills, correspondence, and receipts.

     F44  Correspondence and Documents, 1811-1880
          Includes correspondence, receipts, or bills related to
          a number of Albertson family members, including Rachel,
          Samuel, Hannah, Charles, William, and Joseph.

          Series VII.  Plymouth Meeting (Friends) Material,
               Consists of various records concerning the Friends
               Meeting at Plymouth, including an account book and
               treasurer's report.  The records note the
               participation and support of the Albertson family. 
               Josiah appears to have kept the accounts of the
               treasury for the meeting between 1828-1838. 

     F45  Documents of Plymouth Meeting, 1782-1838
          Includes a list of books at Plymouth Meeting in 1824,
          notes from the 1782 annual meeting, treasurer's records
          for 1828-1838, a letter of complaint concerning Samuel
          Maulsby by the children and legatees of David Brooke in
          1832, and a "Report of Committee on Subject of
          Spirituous Liquors."

1         Series VIII.  Miscellaneous Material, 1774-1867
               This series consists of a variety of material,
               including receipts, bills, accounts, testimonies
               to a death, the account book of Hugh L. Tyler, and
               an incomplete morality play.

          Series VIII.1.  Bills, Receipts, Accounts, and Other
               Documents, 1805-1853

     F46  Bills, Receipts, Accounts, and Documents, 1805-1853
          Includes bills and receipts which detail supplies and
          services purchased, transcribed quotations of poetry,
          copies of trigonometry problems, lists of accounts, and
          other brief notes.

          Series VIII.2.  Testimony of the Death of Hannah Hill,
               Jr., 1774

     F47  Testimony of the Death of Hannah Hill, Jr., 1774
          Consists of a booklet beginning on page 5 which bears
          the description of the death of Hannah Hill as recorded
          by an unidentified person.  Testimonies are made by
          Griffith Owen, Thomas Chalkley, and an unidentified

          Series VIII.3.  Account and Receipt Book, 1811-1812
               This may have been an account book kept by Jacob
               Jones, who is mentioned in the book.

     F48  Account and Receipt Book, 1811-1812
          This book details various accounts and receipts for hay
          and corn.  Most of the receipts are to Jacob Jones.

          Series VIII.4.  Account Book of Hugh L. Tyler, 

     F49  Account Book of Hugh L. Tyler, 1846-1867
          Consists of detailed records of the purchases and other
          business transactions of Hugh L. Tyler.  The records
          seem to indicate that Mr. Tyler owned a farm and that
          Mrs. Tyler sold butter.

          Series VIII.5.  Untitled Morality Play, n.d.

     F50  Untitled Morality Play, n.d.
          This unidentified morality play is incomplete,
          beginning on page 9.  The play consists of a dialogue
          between a blind man and Death.  Consists of pages 9-28.
2    --   Josiah Albertson.  Daybook and Ledger, 1828-1839.
          Ledger removed from Box 1, F23.

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