Guide to the Amos and Eleazar Roberts, Mill Owners Record Book 1772-1828 MG 171
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The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Bob Golon, December 2003, as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. February 2006. Production of the EAD 2002 version of this finding aid was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Finding aid written in English.
Amos Roberts was an Essex County carpenter and landowner. He lived in West Farms, which eventually became Irvington, and was a central figure in pre-revolutionary activity in the Essex County area. Some historical materials show his date of birth as early as 1694, but there is also evidence of his estate being settled as late as 1803. His main activities as a leader of the Essex County Land Riots were from 1746-1750, so his date of birth more likely was in circa 1720.
A dispute over land titles arose in 1746 between the local settlers, who sought to buy additional land from the Indians, and the East Jersey Proprietors, who claimed rights to the land according to the original grants from the British crown. The dispute led to riots and bloodshed, and Amos Roberts was described as “the chief captain of the whole rioters of this province.” (Siegel, p. 30) Settlers Robert Young, Thomas Serjeant, and Nehemiah Baldwin were taken into custody by Governor Morris in 1746 for claiming land and refusing to leave it. Three hundred angry men gathered by the jail, and the Newark Militia was dispatched to disperse the crowd. It was at this point when Roberts rallied the men against the militia, and successfully freed the prisoners. This incident led to Roberts becoming the acknowledged leader of the early revolutionary feeling against the King, and his followers numbered in the thousands.
Amos Roberts was a capable political organizer who was bold and at times rash. He also had the courage of his convictions, and his bravery led to his leadership role. He viewed defending the rights of English land settlers as paramount, and was really the first of a new generation of revolutionaries who would be willing to lead the fight for the independence of the colonies.
In his later years, Roberts and his son Eleazor owned and operated a sawmill and gristmill in Irvington. These mills operated for the purpose of processing grain from the local farmland. New Jersey was suited very well for this type of plant, due to the abundance of running streams that provided water flow to power the mills.
This collection consists of one financial record book from Amos and Eleazor Robert’s sawmill and gristmill, detailing a list of individuals that the mills did business with, along with lists of the cash disbursements and payments between the Roberts and their customers. The first entry in the book is from March 17, 1772, and a copy of a promissory note is the final entry, dated April 5, 1838.
There are transactions listed from Caleb Camp, Jonathan Day, Josiah Meeker, and Henry Tichenor, all prominent early settlers of the West Farms area of Essex County, which became Camptown (named after the Camp Family) and finally Irvington.
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.
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This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 171, Amos and Eleazar Roberts, Mill Owners Record Book, The New Jersey Historical Society.
The source of this collection is unknown.
In the cause of freedom: Irvington, New Jersey, in the American Revolution.Skirbst, Henry F. Irvington, New Jersey: Irvington Historical Society, 1976.
New Jersey’s Great Northwest Skylands Webpage on grist mills, entitled “Run of the Mills,” retrieved on December 16, 2003 at: http://www.njskylands.com/tnmills.htm
Siegel, Alan A. Out of our past: a history of Irvington, New Jersey.Irvington, New Jersey: Irvington Centennial Committee, 1974.