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Collection

Henry Newman family papers, 1777-1872

0.5 linear feet

The Henry Newman family papers document Henry Newman's land speculation in the southeastern United States and Ohio, and Henry Newman, Jr.'s, efforts to manage these properties and resolve legal quandaries--primarily in relation to the family's involvement with the Yazoo Land Fraud. The collection also details activities of Henry Newman's other children, particularly William Newman and the business he established in Buffalo, New York, in the 1820s.

The Henry Newman Family Papers document Henry Newman's land speculation in the southeastern United States and Ohio, and Henry Newman, Jr.'s, efforts to manage these properties and resolve legal quandaries--primarily in relation to the family's involvement with the Yazoo Land Fraud. The collection also details activities of Henry Newman's other children, particularly William Newman and the business he established in Buffalo, New York, in the 1820s.

The bulk of the Correspondence Series is letters between Henry Newman and his son, Henry Newman, Jr., from 1803 to 1811, relating to the management of their land holdings. Notably, they discussed Henry Newman, Jr's, lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., regarding their Georgia claims. In this work, he interacted with President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the commissioners appointed to consider the Yazoo land claims-- James Madison (1751-1836), Albert Gallatin (1761-1849), and Levi Lincoln (1749-1820)--as well as Perez Morton (1751-1837) and Gideon Granger (1767-1822), agents for the New England Mississippi Land Company. The letters from 1803 to 1811 periodically reference John Peck, another speculator in the Yazoo lands who would eventually become embroiled in the landmark Supreme Court Case Fletcher v. Peck in relation to the Georgia land claims.

Henry Newman, Jr., also wrote detailed letters to his father describing his travels, meetings, and financial difficulties as he worked to manage issues with land titles, taxes, surveys, squatters, and determining the quality of their disputed properties in Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Ohio. Several of Henry Newman, Jr.'s, letters also describe his interest in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and western New York as developing centers of settlement, commenting on business prospects and rising land prices.

William Newman's letters detail his business enterprises in Buffalo, New York, where he settled in the 1820s. Other letters written between members of the Newman family, particularly the siblings, document the family's social life.

Some letters of note include:
  • Descriptions of meeting Samuel Blodget (1757-1814) in Debtor's Prison and discussions regarding his failed lottery to finance construction in Washington, D.C. (November 26, 1803; November 30, 1803; December 11, 1803; December 21, 1803)
  • Land speculators' deliberate fraud in Virginia (December 10, 1803; November 9, 1805)
  • Legislative negotiations concerning compensating Yazoo claimants (March 5, 1804; March 14, 1804; December 2, 1804; December 18, 1804; February 4, 1805; February 18, 1805; February 28, 1807)
  • Mentions of the Burr conspiracy (January 28, 1807; February 1, 1807)
  • Tennessee Governor Willie Blount's comments on Congressional support for settlement in the state and the possible threat of Native American conflict should war break out with Great Britain (March 17, 1812)
  • Discussion of Ohio's promise as a site of settlement (December 2, 1804; January 28, 1807; February 28, 1807)
  • Description of Huntsville, Alabama Territory, and its prospects (July 16, 1818; May 5, 1819)
  • Prospects for settling in Texas and inducements provided by the Mexican government (October 27, 1833)
  • Commentary on a German communal society (the Community of True Inspiration) and how the rising value of western New York lands convinced them to emigrate (April 15, 1856)

The Land and Estate Documents Series consists of eight items relating to the estates of William Newman and Henry Newman, Jr., as well as documents concerning Newman lands in Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia, including three survey maps.

The Genealogy, Family Record, and Poetry Series consists of six items, which relate to the Newman and Cushing families' histories, including a detailed account of Henry Newman's final illness and an acrostic poem written for Henry Newman.