Guide to the Sayre Collection 1799-1885 MG 1649
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The New Jersey Historical Society
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
(973) 596-8500 x249
© 2006 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Evan Panayi.Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. December 2004. 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.
Not much is known about the Sayre/Sayer Family of Morris and Essex Counties during the 1800s. According to this collection, there were numerous members of the family in the banking industry and other financial areas. The members of the Sayre Family mentioned in the collection include George A., George M., Lewis A., Archibald, Ephraim, Joseph, David L. and Baxter Sayre.
In addition to information about the family, there is also information about the sale of slaves. From the end of the Revolutionary War, New Jersey was one of the states that trailed behind other northern states in its support of abolition (Shakir). The first effort made by the state was in 1804, when “New Jersey passed legislation stating that children born after July 4th, 1804, of enslaved parents were to be free” (Shakir). However, this law also stated, “those ‘free’ children would have to be servants to their mother’s owner” (Shakir). Because of this law, a large majority of New Jersey African Americans were free by the time of the Civil War, but there was still a percentage who were still enslaved. In New Jersey, as in the South, there was an economic dependence on slavery and there was also a fear that if slavery was abolished in the state, runaway slaves would flee to New Jersey. This is reflected in New Jersey’s support of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which permitted runaway slaves to be captured and returned to servitude in the South. After the Civil War, any existing slavery in New Jersey was abolished.
This collection deals mainly with the business transactions of the Sayre Family, which inhabited parts of Morris and Essex Counties during the main part of the 1800s. From many of the documents in the collection, it appears as if members of the Sayre Family were involved in the banking business. Accordingly, there are many documents that correspond with banking records. Some of these folders are broken down so that each member of the Sayre Family has their own folder with documents belonging to them enclosed. Some of these documents include bond and mortgage sales as well as land surveys and indentures. In addition, there are a number of very interesting documents detailing slave ownership in New Jersey during the 1800s.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 1649, Sayre Family Collection, The New Jersey Historical Society.
Shakir, Nancy. “Slavery in New Jersey.” Slavery in America. 29 Jun 2006 <http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/history/hs_es_jersey.htm>