Guide to the Papers of Benjamin White 1825-1899, ca. 1946 MG 946
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1825-1899, ca. 1946
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
(973) 596-8500 x249
© 2004 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Stephen Yautz as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle Kovacs. September 2003. 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.
Benjamin White, the son of George and Anna White, was born on December 4, 1755. His mother died young, leaving Benjamin’s father to raise his family of seven children alone. However, his father would soon thereafter die from injuries sustained in a fall. It was then that Benjamin was sent to live with his uncle, John White. When he became older, White worked on another uncle’s farm. After holding a series of smaller jobs, he worked for a period of time in Philadelphia, and then with his brother, Robert White, in New York.
With the British takeover of New York during the Revolutionary War, White fled the city and returned to his native Shrewsbury, New Jersey. He then moved to western New Jersey, where he met General Israel Putnam after the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, since they boarded in the same house. White had managed to provide forage for the General’s horses, whereupon he was made wagon master under his command.
Upon completion of his service during the Revolutionary War, he again returned to Shrewsbury. Here, he set up a store with his brother Robert. On April 25, 1780, he married Mary Morris (1758-1807) with whom he had 13 children: Elizabeth (b. 1781), Caroline (1782-1798), John (b. 1783), Mary (1785-1861), Agnes (1786), Joanna (1788), Anne (1789-1860), Susanna (1791-1796), Joanna (1793), Morris (1794-1796), Benjamin Morris (1797-1817), Joseph Embree (b. 1799), and Susan (1801-1865).
White, after the death of his first wife, Mary, married Sarah Decou (1776-1847) on March 9, 1809. Together, they had three children: Stacy Decou (1809-1848), William Decou (b. 1811), and Sarah (b. 1816).
Benjamin White died in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, on November 7, 1841.
The papers in this collection contain Benjamin White’s autobiography, family records, and other genealogical material relating to White and his family, and cover the years 1825 to 1946.
White’s manuscript autobiography dates from February 1825. In his account, White reveals his purpose for writing his memoirs, stating “I have for Sume time had it in my mind to Leave a Memorandum of Sume Seens of passing through Life…that my Children may peruse & See the grate goodness of kind providence and how often he has preserved my life.” He also recounts events during his service in the Revolutionary War. He continues with various accounts of his business ventures as a merchant, as well as his partnership with his brother.
The papers also contain Benjamin White’s genealogy, compiled by him. The original part of this document is dated June 18, 1831. Other genealogical data on White’s family were added by possibly one of his descendants at later dates.
Additionally, the papers contain transcripts of the manuscript autobiography and the family records. Along with the final version of the transcript of the autobiography are two rough drafts. These typed copies date from circa 1899. In August 1899, another transcript was made, modernizing the spelling and punctuation, and has some small stylistic changes.
The genealogical notes of Graham Brush, the great-great-grandson of Benjamin White, complete the collection. Included in these records are notes from tombstone inscriptions as well as genealogical charts of the Brush and White families. Among the notes is a transcript of an original letter in the Edith Johnson Collection at The Monmouth County Historical Association, from Robert Morris to Colonel Asher Holmes (original is dated May 26, 1780), which makes reference to the wagon master, who in this case, could possibly be Benjamin White. The materials date from circa 1899 to 1946.
The collection is arranged with White’s original papers appearing first, which are in chronological order, followed by the transcripts of his papers.
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.
For a version of White’s autobiography and his family records in print based upon the transcripts in this collection, see:
Stillwell, John E. Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Early Settlers of New Jersey and their Descendants. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970.
For related genealogical material on Benjamin White at the Monmouth County Historical Association, see:
Collection 22, Cherry Hall Papers
Collection 55, James Steen Collection
For material related to merchants during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries at The New Jersey Historical Society, see:
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 946, Benjamin White Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society.
This collection was donated to the New Jersey Historical Society by Graham Brush in 1946.
Due to the poor condition of the original manuscript autobiography and family records, researchers are encouraged to consult the typewritten transcripts of the papers.