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1836 – 1885

Manuscript Collection Number 96, item 54


Accessioned: Purchases, August, 1984, and September, 1996


Extent: 5 volumes


Content: Account books


Access: The collection is open for research.


Processed: December 2004 by Colleen E. Lemke

Table of Contents

Introductory Note

            The progenitor of the Janvier family in America, Thomas Janvier (1664 – ca. 1729), emigrated from France to New Castle County, Delaware. He married Sarah Jordain, a New Castle resident. The couple’s six sons established a number of Janvier family lines in the mid Atlantic. Over generations, family members achieved prominence in a variety of occupations ranging from skilled craft work, including smithing and cabinetmaking, to service as merchants and politicians.

            John Janvier, the great-grandson of Thomas Janvier, was an investor and a civic leader in nineteenth century New Castle, Delaware. His ledger books, dating from 1836 to1885, detail a variety of financial interests. During the mid-nineteenth century he served as a trustee of the commons of New Castle, as the president of the branch bank of New Castle, and as president of the New Castle Turnpike and Railroad Company. He may have owned Batten Mills. He was also an active investor with the New Castle Gas Company and Water Works and an officer of the Farmer’s Mutual Fire Insurance Company. His brother William Janvier, whose accounts appear throughout the books, was an attorney-at-law.



New Castle on the Delaware, Delaware Federal Writers’ Project in the American Guide Series, New Castle County Historical Society, 1974. pp 41, 45-46, 105


Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware,1609-1888, 2 volumes. Philadelphia: L.J. Richards and Company, 1888.


Additional information drawn from the collection itself.


Scope and Content Note

            In the mid-nineteenth century, John Janvier was a prominent citizen of New Castle, Delaware. He served as treasurer of the stagecoach route between New Castle and Frenchtown. Later, with Thomas Janvier, he established the first turnpike stage line in Delaware; called the “Union Line”; it ran along the route of the New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Railroad Company. The first two volumes of his account books detail his personal loans and investments in the years just after the company was sold in 1837, and before the rail lines were dismantled in 1858. These years of financial transition are documented here. The subsequent three volumes detail investments in a variety of financial institutions and rail companies. They also include accounts with other prominent Delaware families, including the Tatnal (Tatnall) family.


Related Collections:

MSS 221 John Janvier Black Papers are papers of the probable nephew of John Janvier.

Two additional collections of Janvier family papers are held at the Winterthur Library: the Janvier Family Papers, Collection 155, and the Margaret Janvier Hort Papers, Collection 33.

Contents List

Volume        Descriptions of Contents

                        Account Books for John Janvier of New Castle, Delaware, 1836 – 1880


1                      Account Book, 1836 – 1854

                        34 pages of entries, including personal loans such as bonds, notes, and mortgage accounts, and investments. Debtors listed include Jesse Moore, John Moore, Peter Springer, John McPike, -- Janvier, Enoch Roberts, Thomas Calhoun, Thomas Newton, Charles Black, Robert M. Janvier, George Tybout, William Janvier, and John Alrich. Institutions listed in which Janvier owned stock include the Farmer’s Bank, Union Bank of Delaware, Bank of Wilmington and Brandywine, and the Delaware and – Canal Company. The end of the volume contains an additional list of stock, bonds, and mortgages.


2                      Account Book, 1847 – 1854

                        39 pages of entries, including personal loans and daily accounts. Individual debtor accounts listed include Charles Black, John Morrison, John Dorman, James Kennedy, Michael King, and Edward Hance. Entries include information about cattle trade and the exchange of agricultural products, such as potatoes. Volume also includes instructions for “How to measure an Acre Land.”


3                      Account Book, 1853 – 1861

                        61 pages of entries including personal loans and investments and newspaper clippings. Institutions listed in which Janvier owned stock include the Farmers Bank of Delaware, Mechanics Bank of Wilmington, Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, Beaver Meadow Rail Road Company, Alleghany County & Alleghany Valley Rail Road Bonds, and the Wilmington and Great Valley Turnpike.


4                      Account Book, 1853 – 1885

                        43 pages of entries, including personal loans and investments. Debtors listed in addition to those with previous accounts include Jemima Crow and others. Also includes a section titled “Day Book,” notes on the “Acting Committee of the N. Castle Common,” accounts of Simmons Farm, “bought Dec 16, 1878,” with a list of the construction costs of a barn on the Simmons Farm, and a list titled “Marketing Calves Hougs & Poultry Sold.”


5                      Account Book,1858 – 1880

                        84 pages of entries, including personal loans and investments accounts. Institutions listed in which Janvier owned stock include the National Bank of Wilmington and Brandywine, Farmers Bank of Delaware, Mechanics Bank of Wilmington, Delaware Rail Road Company, Lehigh Valley Rail Road Company, Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, and First National Bank of Wilmington. Debtors listed in addition to those with previous accounts include Henry Tatnal, John Black, George Danby, Eliza Richards, Ann Hoy, Susan Darragh, Mary Caroline Reybold, and many others. Also includes a “list of stocks, bond & mortgages now held by me.”


UD Special Collections > Finding Aids > John Janvier Account Books

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