Manuscript Group 13, Guide to the Mahlon Dickerson and Philemon Dickerson Papers 1774-1922 (bulk 1830-1850)


Descriptive Summary
Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Access Points
Related Material
Administrative Information

Series Descriptions and Container List

Series 1: Mahlon Dickerson
Series 2: Philemon Dickerson (1788-1862)
Series 3: Dickerson Family

Guide to the Mahlon Dickerson and Philemon Dickerson Papers
(bulk 1830-1850)
MG 13

The New Jersey Historical Society
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
Phone: (973) 596-8500 x249
© 2005 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Kim Bedetti.

Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. June 2005. 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.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Dickerson, Mahlon
Title: Mahlon Dickerson and Philemon Dickerson Papers
Dates: 1774-1922 (bulk 1830-1850)
Abstract: Diary, 1782-1809, 1832-1852; correspondence, 1794-1848, indexed in the manuscript card catalog; invitations, legal documents, commonplace books, and other documents of Mahlon Dickerson. Dickerson was a Governor of New Jersey, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of the Navy. Letter received and copy letters, indexed in the manuscript card catalog; legal papers; certificates; and petitions, including some from the Camden and Amboy Railroad, of Philemon Dickerson. Dickerson was a U.S. Congressman, Governor of New Jersey, and a federal court judge for the district of New Jersey. He and his brother Mahlon were both important Whig Party leaders in New Jersey.
Quantity: 3.0 linear feet / 7 boxes
Collection Number: MG 13

Biographical Note

Mahlon Dickerson (1770-1853)

Mahlon Dickerson, the son of Mary Coe (1752-1827) and Jonathan Dickerson (1747-1805), was born on April 17, 1770 in Hanover Neck, New Jersey. Jonathan Dickerson was primarily a farmer, though also known as a carpenter, millwright, iron mine owner, and holder of a patent for an improved water wheel. Of the Dickerson’s eleven children, Mahlon was the eldest.

Mahlon Dickerson graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1789, studied law in Morristown, New Jersey, and was admitted to the bar in 1793. The following year, however, he joined the force that journeyed into western Pennsylvania to stamp out the Whisky Rebellion. After this adventure, he returned to New Jersey to practice law before moving to Philadelphia in 1797. He joined John Milnor’s law practice and soon entered into local politics where he was a strong supporter of Thomas Jefferson and later a Jacksonian Democrat. He was elected a common councilman in 1799 and was appointed by President Jefferson as the commissioner of bankruptcy in 1802. In 1805, he was appointed adjutant general of Philadelphia, a position from which he resigned in 1808 to become the recorder of Philadelphia for two years.

In 1805, Mahlon’s father died, and two years later his brother Silas (1771-1807) was killed in an accident. At this time, Mahlon took control of his father’s holdings in Morris County, New Jersey, paying particular attention to a mine in Succasunna, Randolph Township called Suckasunny and later Dickerson Mine. He bought the few shares of the mine that he had not inherited, and in 1810, moved back to Morris County. He built his home, which he named Ferromonte (Iron Mountain), near the mine and saw to the management of both. Dickerson Mine was very rich, produced good quality iron, and was profitable for the remainder of Mahlon’s lifetime.

Soon after his return to New Jersey, Mahlon Dickerson once again entered politics. From 1811-1813 he served in the New Jersey State Assembly, from 1812-1815 he was a New Jersey Supreme Court justice, from 1815-1817 he was the governor of New Jersey, and from 1817-1833 he was a United States senator. During his time in the Senate, he served as the chairman of the Committee on Manufacturers and was a strong supporter of the protective tariff.

In 1834, Dickerson accepted the nomination as minister to Russia, but was instead appointed the secretary of the Navy by President Andrew Jackson. Dickerson served in the presidential cabinet for the final two years of Jackson’s second term and for the first two years of Martin Van Buren’s. He resigned in 1838 due to health problems. He served briefly as a U.S. district judge for the State of New Jersey in 1840-1841, but resigned and was succeeded by his brother Philemon Dickerson (1788-1862).

Although no longer politically active, Mahlon attended New Jersey’s Constitutional Convention in 1844 and from 1846-1847 was president of the American Institute. In the late 1840s he finally retired from public life and spent his final days at Ferromonte, where his nephew, Frederick Canfield (1810-1867), also resided with his young family. Mahlon Dickerson never married and died at his home on October 5, 1853.

Philemon Dickerson (1788-1862)

Philemon Dickerson, the youngest son of Mary and Jonathan Dickerson, was born in Succasunna, New Jersey on June 6, 1788. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1808, was admitted to the bar in 1813, and opened a law office in Philadelphia.

On April 13, 1816, Philemon Dickerson married Sydney Maria Stotesbury, the daughter of Captain John Stotesbury, a veteran of the Revolution. The couple settled in Paterson, New Jersey where their four children, John Henry (1818-1855), Mary (b.1829), Edward Nicoll (1824-1889), and Philemon, Jr. (1829-1862), were born.

Dickerson was admitted as a counselor-at-law in 1817 and as a sergeant-at-law in 1834, and in that time period also entered politics. Like his brother Mahlon, Philemon was a Jacksonian Democrat who believed in limited government but a strong protective tariff. He served as a member of New Jersey’s State Assembly from 1821-1822 and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1833-1836. He resigned the latter position to become New Jersey’s governor from 1836-1837, after which he once again ran for Congress. In what became known as the “Great Seal War,” the election results, which placed five Democrats (including Dickerson) and one Whig in the House, were challenged and then overturned by New Jersey’s Whig governor, William Pennington. After a vote in Congress, the original election results were reinstated and Dickerson returned to the House of Representatives from 1839-1841. At the end of his term in office, Dickerson accepted the nomination as a District Court judge from President Martin Van Buren, replacing his brother Mahlon Dickerson.

Philemon Dickerson remained a District Court judge until his death twenty years later. During this time period he was instrumental in attaining Paterson’s city charter (1851) and authored a book, The City of Paterson, Its Past, Present, and Future (1856). He died in Paterson on December 10, 1862.

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Scope and Content Note

The papers consist of the correspondence, diaries, and professional papers of Mahlon Dickerson (1770-1853) and Philemon Dickerson (1788-1862), with additional correspondence and business papers of extended family members, including Edward Nicoll Dickerson (1824-1889), John M. Gould, Jonathan Dickerson (1747-1805), Silas Dickerson (1771-1807), Mahlon Ford Dickerson (1794-1823), and Mary Dickerson Canfield (1778-1830). The papers date from 1774-1922, with bulk dates of 1830-1850, and have been arranged into three series: Mahlon Dickerson, Philemon Dickerson, and Dickerson Family.

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This collection is organized into three series:

Series 1: Mahlon Dickerson (1770-1853)
Series 2: Philemon Dickerson (1788-1862)
Series 3: Dickerson Family
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Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

Use Restrictions

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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Access Points

The entries below represent persons, organizations, topics, and forms documented in this collection.

Subject Names:

Dickerson, Mahlon, 1770-1853
Dickerson, Philemon, 1788-1862
Dickerson family.

Subject Places:

Lake Hopatcong (N.J.)
Morris County (N.J.)
Succasunna (N.J.)

Document Types:


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Related Material

Manuscript Group 97, Edward Nicoll Dickerson Papers
Manuscript Group 98, M.F. Dickerson & Company Records
Manuscript Group 101, Dickerson Mine Records
Manuscript Group 249, Canfield-Dickerson Family Papers
Manuscript Group 883, Louisa Halsey Canfield Diary

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 13, Mahlon Dickerson and Philemon Dickerson

Papers, The New Jersey Historical Society

Acquisition Information

Gift of Frederick A. Canfield, 1926; additions by exhange and purchase, 1956-1975.

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Series Descriptions and Container List

Series 1: Mahlon Dickerson
Scope and Content:

Series I dates from 1782-1922, with bulk dates of 1830-1840, and consists of the correspondence, diaries, professional papers, financial documents, contracts, maps, study notes, and poetry of Mahlon Dickerson.

The majority of the correspondence in this series consists of letters received by Mahlon Dickerson, and highlights his time as Secretary of the Navy and to a lesser extent, his time as governor of New Jersey and as a U.S. Senator. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author and then by date, and also includes a smaller number of letters written or saved by Dickerson. New Jersey politics, along with national election campaigns and Jacksonian and Van Buren politics are discussed throughout the correspondence. As a result, Dickerson’s support of the Democratic Party and of Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and Lewis Cass for president are all documented. Specific political issues of the time, such as the Second Bank of America, the Bankruptcy Bill of 1841, the Protective Tariffs of 1828 and 1832, and Southern nullification are highlighted, as is Dickerson’s strong support of protective tariffs and the iron industry. There are also a large number of letters to Dickerson both as senator and as secretary of the Navy requesting recommendations and/or military or political appointments. Correspondents on these topics include John Quincy Adams, Joseph Anderson, William Ashbridge, Samuel J. Bayard, Jonathan Dayton, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Albert Gallatin, Thomas Hart Benton, James Buchanan, John C. Calhoun, Lewis Cass, Lewis Condict, William H. Crawford, George Mifflin Dallas, James Iredell, Louis McLane, Robert Lee, James Madison, James Monroe, William S. Pennington, John Randolph, Philip Reed, Samuel L. Southard, Martin Van Buren, and Gideon Wells.

Dickerson’s role as secretary of the Navy is also documented in such topics as the building and maintaining of dry docks, ports, and navy yards in New Jersey and New York; the organization of an exploring expedition to Antarctica; naval pensions; mechanics’ rights to a shorter workday; naval contracts; and the decapitation of a figure head of Andrew Jackson on the U.S. Constitution in July of 1834. Correspondents on these topics include Jesse Duncan Elliott, B. Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Jeromus Johnson, Laurence Kearny, Amos Kendall, George McDonald, William S. Osborn, James Kirke Paulding, Samuel Swartwout, Martin Van Buren, Jacob Treadwell Walden, Garret Wall, and Samuel Welles.

Other professional topics in Dickerson’s correspondence include the iron industry of New Jersey, Dickerson Mine, the manufacturing of Colt guns in New Jersey, and patent infringements, particularly that of Oliver Evans’ steam engine for mills, and Robert Fulton and John R. Livingston’s steamboat engine. These topics are covered in the letters of William Ashbridge, Frederick Canfield, Roswell L. Colt, Oliver Evans, Thomas R. Lacey, and John R. Livingston.

The correspondence also contains one bound volume of letters between Mahlon Dickerson and his brother Silas, dating from 1794-1806 when Mahlon was in Philadelphia and Silas was in Stanhope, New Jersey. The brothers discuss their professional careers – the law career of one and the manufacturing business of the other; their political careers, for both are early Democrats and involved in local and state government; their concerns over their younger siblings; and general family matters such as health updates and daily news. The letter book strongly documents the close relationship between the two brothers.

The papers also contain four hand-written volumes of Mahlon Dickerson’s diary, dating from 1782-1809 and 1832-1852. The diaries give an almost daily account of Dickerson’s life from his education as a boy to his retirement from public office. Early entries discuss his legal education and career, his participation in the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, and his move back to New Jersey. His various professions are detailed, including his work at the Dickerson Mine and his numerous public offices, including his sixteen years as a senator and his service as secretary of the Navy. The diary includes an account of the duel to the death between Congressmen William J. Graves and Jonathan Cilley in 1838 and an eyewitness account of the attempt on President Andrew Jackson’s life in 1835. The papers contain typescript copies of three of these four volumes, and a typescript copy of excerpts from Dickerson’s 1809-1819 diary, which is located at Rutgers University.

Series I also includes a small number of professional and financial documents of Mahlon Dickerson. There are two dockets dating from 1795-1801 and 1800-1809 documenting Dickerson’s career as a lawyer, and a folder of notes on commerce and manufacture documenting his interest and involvement with the Senatorial Committee on Manufacturers. There are also a small number of professional certificates, receipts, accounts, bank notes, contracts, maps of Morris County, study notes, poems, newspaper clippings, and genealogy charts of the sovereigns of Europe.tter book strongly documents the close relationship between the two brothers.

Subseries A: Correspondence
Box Folder Title Date
1 1 Correspondence, letters received from: Adams, John Quincy (2 letters); Adams, Louisa Catherine; Albuquerque, Cava; Alling; Pruden; Anderson, Joseph; Anonymous (“A Friend to My Country”); Anonymous (“A Lover of a True Soldier”); Anonymous (“Homo”); Anonymous (“Multitude”); Ash, [no first name]; Ashbridge, William (6 letters) 1813-1838
1 2 Correspondence, letters received from: Bache, Alexander Dallas; Bankhead, [no first name]; Barron, James; Bayard, Samuel John; Beckett, [no first name]; Behr, Charles de (4 letters); Benton, Thomas Hart; Biddle, James; Biddle, Thomas; Bockee, Abraham; Boisaubin, Edward (2 letters); Borras, Joseph; Boudinot, Tobias ; Bradford, Alden ; Brees, Sidney; Buchanan, James; Buchanan, [no first name]; Buckingham, [no first name]; Burrough, M.; Burrow, Silas E.; Butler, [no first name]. 1830-1839
1 3 Correspondence, letters received from: Calhoun, John C.; Cambreleng, Churchill Caldom; Canfield, Frederick; Canfield, Israel; Carnahan, James; Carusi, [no first name]; Cass, Lewis; Cassedy, Samuel; Chandler, John; Channing, Henry; Chauncey, Isaac; Chroostoff (?), A. (?); Citizens of New York, signed Cornelius W. Lawrence, Enos T. Throop, John J. Morgan, John S. Crary, J. Oakley, Jacob Harvey, William Leggett, Theodore Sedgwick, Jr., William Van Wyck, Morgan L. Smith, William M. Price, F. Depeyster, and Prosper M. Wetmore. 1809-1838
1 4 Correspondence, letters received from: Clark, Peter I.; Coleman, David; Colt, Roswell Lyman ; Committee appointed by the Democratic Citizens of Princeton, signed Robert F. Stockton, James S. Green, John R. Thomson, David N. Bogart, John A. Perrine, John S. Van Dyke, and William Cruser; Condict, Lewis; Cooper, Thomas; Coxe, John Redman; Crane, Isaac Watts; Crawford, William Harris; Crowell, Timothy B.; Cumming, Robert H.; Custis, George Washington Parke. 1815-1847
1 5 Correspondence, letters received from: Dallas, Alexander James, Jr. Dallas, George Mifflin; Dallas, Arabella Maria (Smith); Dayton, Jonathan; DeCamp, John; Decatur, S.; Democratic Citizens of the First Congressional District of Pennsylvania, signed by William W. Chew, George C. Stevenson, Joseph M. Doran, and Pierce Butler; Democratic Committee of Invitation, City & County of Philadelphia, signed by Henry Simpson, Henry Horn, H.D. Gilpin, Benjamin E. Carpenter, John Thompson, Peter Hay, and A.L.; Democratic Republican Citizens of New-York, signed Charles A. Jackson, Thomas N. Carr, Joseph Dreyfous, George S. Mann, Robert H. Morris, James Ballagh, Alfred A. Smith, Erastus Barnes, John Alwaise, Samuel J. Willis, Jeremiah Dodge, Benson Milledoler, Benjamin Ringgold, Prosper M. Wetmore, and John J. Morgan; Dickerson, Aaron; Dickerson, Joseph Jr. 1817-1838
1 6 Correspondence, letters received from: Dickerson (Vanatta), Julia Maria; Dickerson, M.L.; Dickerson, Mahlon Ford; Dickerson, Mary (Coe) ; Dickerson, Philemon; Dickins, ( ); Dickinson, John D.; Dickinson, Samuel S. ; Dix, John Adams; Donelson, Andrew Jackson; Duncan, S.; Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen; Duryea & Heyer; Earl, [no first name]. 1803-1837
1 7 Correspondence, letters received from: Eckford, Henry; Edwards, Henry Waggaman; Ellicott, N.; Elliott, Jesse Duncan; Elliott, William; Erkridge, Thomas P.; Etting, Henry; Evans, Oliver; Eyre, Manuel. 2001
Sept. 14
1 8 Correspondence, letters received from: Fairchild, Ebenezer; Felder, John M.; Ferguson, James; Findley, William; Fischer, [no first name]; Forsyth, John; Forsyth, John Jr.; Fox, [no first name]; Franklin, B.; Frelinghuysen, John; Frelinghuysen, Theodore. 1824-1836
1 9 Correspondence, letters received from: Gambon, [no first name]; Gentlemen of Morris-Town, signed by David Ford, Sylvester D. Russell, and George K. Drake; Gibbs, George; Glover, Jacob; Godon, [no first name];Graham, George ; Green, Ashbel; Green, Jacob; Green, James Sproat; Green, Nathaniel; Greenleaf, Jonathan; Grinnell, George Jr. 1804-1837
1 10 Correspondence, letters received from: Hagerty, Uzal C.; Haines & Broderick; Haines, Sidney P.; Halsted, Job Stockton; Hardenbergh, Jacob Rutsen; Hassler, Ferdinand Rudolph; Hayne, A.P.; Hazard, A.G. & Co.; Herring, James; Hersant, [no first name]; Howell, Wilmot ; Hubbard, [no first name]; Hull, Isaac; Hull, Samuel P.; Hunter, Alexander; Hunter, William; Hunting, Stephen Darby; Hurd, Pierson. 1818-1848
1 11 Correspondence, letters received from: Ingersoll, I.R.; Iredell, James ; Iron Proprietors in the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania, signed C. Ridgely, Holker Hughes, H.Y. Slaymaker & Co., J.W.& E. Patterson, John McPherson Brien, Henry B. Chew, Samuel Royer, Hugh Boyle, and Jonathan Creery; Israel, Israel; Jackson, Andrew; Jackson, Andrew Jr.; Jackson, Charles Jr.; Jackson, George; Jackson, Joseph; Jarvis, R.; Johnson, Jeromus ; Johnson, Richard Mentor; Johnston, Robert; Jones, John Pringle; Kane, John Kintzing; Kearny, Lawrence; Kendall, Amos (2 letters, one is actually to Andrew Jackson, who then forwarded it to Dickerson); King, Rufus; Kirkbride, Joseph; Kissam, Harriet; Kittera, John Wilkes; Krehmer, [no first name]; Krudener, [no first name]. 1800-1853
1 12 Correspondence, letters received from: Lacey, John; Lacey, Thomas R.; Lamson, Daniel; Lawrence, Mary; Lederer, L.; Lee, Emund Jennings; Lee, Robert; Leib, John L.; Lindsley, William M.; Livingston, E. Ridley; Livingston, John R.; Livingston, John R. Jr.; Logan, George W.; Logan, William; Losey, Israel C.; Losey, Jacob; Losey, John M.; Ludlow, Benjamin; Lyon, A.W. 1813-1838
1 13 Correspondence, letters received from: Macculloch, George P.; McDonald, Alexander L.; McDonald, George; McIlvaine, Joseph; McKain, Alexander; McKean, Elizabeth; McKeon, John; McKim, Isaac; McLane, Louis; Macomb, Harriet Balch (Wilson); McWilliams, Alexander; Madison, James; Martin, William Jr.; Martini, [no first name]; May, C. (envelope only); Mease, James; Monroe, James; Moore, Loammi; Morris, Charles;
Mott, Edward T.; Munson, Josiah; Musgrave, Joseph P.; Newell, James; Niles, Hezekiah.
1 14 Correspondence, letters received from: Ogden, Stephen J.; Osborn, William S.; Otto, William Tod; Palmer, Marin; Pampillo, [no first name]; Parker, [no first name]; Paulding, James Kirke; Pendergast, John G.; Pennington, William Sanford ; Percival, John; Perrico, Luigi; Philippart, John; Phillips, [no first name]; Phoenix, J.P.; Phoenix, P.; Poinsett, Joel Roberts;
Polk, James Knox
Box Folder Title Date
2 1 Correspondence, letters received from: Porter, David; Porter, Eveline (Anderson); Potestad (?); Pratt, Caroline; Pratt, Edmond 1823-1838
2 2 Correspondence, letters received from: Randolph, John; Randolph, Robert B; Randolph, Thomas Jefferson; Reed, John; Reed, Philip; Renwick, James; Renwick, William; Reynolds, Robert; Richards, Mark; Rodgers, [no first name]; Rodney, Caesar Augustus; Ruschenberger, William S.W.; Rutherfurd, John ; Ryerson, Thomas C. 1804-1838
2 3 Correspondence, letters received from: Sailer, Joseph; Sartori, John B.; Schneeman, Ellen (Ulrich); Segur, Thomas B.; Shute, William; Sickler, John Rowan; Silliman, Benjamin; Simms, J.D; Slidell, Alexander; Smith, Samuel; Smith, Walter; Southard, Samuel Lewis; Steedman, Charles John; Stevenson, Andrew; Stiles, Henry; Stiles, John; Stockton, Richard; Stockton, Robert Field; Stopford (?), [no first name]; Stanburrough, John H.; Stryker, Thomas Johnson. 1812-1837
2 4 Correspondence, letters received from: Taliaferro, John; Taney, Roger Brooke; Taylor, Virginia; Teackle, Littleton D.; Thompson, Benjamin F. ; Throop, Enos Thompson; Todd, John P.; Trumbull, John; Ulrich, H.; Vail, Stephen; Van Buren, Martin; Van Buren, Martin Jr.; Van Buren, Smith Thompson; Voorhees, John Flagg; Vroom, Peter Dumont. 2001 Fall
2 5 Correspondence, letters received from: Walden, Jacob Treadwell; Walker, Joseph Jr.; Wallace, William A.; Ward, A.; Warrington, Lewis ; Watterston, George; Wayne, James Moore; Welles, Gideon; Welles, Samuel; Werse, Neiser W.; Westcott, Richard D.; Wilkes, Charles; Williamson, Frances H.; Williamson, Isaac Halsted; Wiltbank, ( ); Wood, Freeman; Woodbury, Levi; Yard, Edward; Zabriskie, James C.; [no last name], Julia. 1813-1841
2 6 Correspondence: Letters sent to: Alling, Pruden; Barton, William Paul Crillon; Bayard, Samuel John; Bloomfield, Joseph; Branch, John ; Calhoun, John C.; Dayton, Jonathan; Elliott, Jesse Duncan; Fernald, Theodore ; Fulton, Robert (1765-1815) 1813
2 6 – Garland, J.
2 7 Correspondence: Letters sent to: Hallowell, John; Hunter, William; Kane, John Kintzing; Kirkbride, Joseph; McDonald, Alexander L.; McLane, Louis; Niles, Hezekiah; Patton, John; Paulding, James Kirke; Phillips, Benjamin; Porter, David; Read, George; Smith, James M.; Smith, Samuel; Smith, Walter; Stevens, Thomas Holdup; Thompson, Smith; Throop, Enos Thompson; Trenton Banking Company President; Williamson, Isaac Halsted;Woodbury, Levi. n.d.
2 8 Correspondence: Letters sent to: Currell, Joseph S. & William Ackerson from Jesse Duncan Elliott; Elliott, Jesse Duncan from Anonymous (“A Friend”); Ewing, W.M. from Isaac Halsted Williamson; Hull, Isaac from Anonymous (“One of the Poor Mechanics”); Jackson, Andrew from Citizens of Brooklyn and New York (many signatures); Jackson, Andrew from Garret D. Wall; Jordan, Merit from John Boyle; McIlvaine, Joseph from Benjamin Jones; McKeon, [no first name] from Alexander Heratio; Miller, Daniel H. from Mark Richards; Morris, Charles from John Quincy Adams; Southard, Samuel Lewis from David Porter; Stockton, Ebenezer from Ebenezer Bradford; Throop, Enos Thompson from H. Davidson; Voorhees, B.M. from James (?) Zabriskie; Watterston, George from Clement C. Biddle. n.d.
Box   Title Date
3 (OS)   Bound Letters: Correspondence between Mahlon and Silas Dickerson 1794-1806
Subseries B: Diaries
Box Folder Title Date
2 9 Diaries 1782-1801; 1801-1809
Box Folder Title Date
4 1 Diaries 1832-1845; 1845-1852
4 2 Typescript copy of 1782-1801 Diary 1919
4 3 Typescript copy of 1809-1819 Diary: Extracts n.d.
4 4 Typescript copy of 1832-1845 Diary 1919
4 5 Typescript copy of 1845-1852 Diary: Extracts n.d.
Subseries C: Professional Papers
Box Folder Title Date
4 6 Docket: Court of Common Pleas 1800-1809
Box Folder Title Date
5 1 Docket: Various Courts (also contains Canfield Family Accounts) 1795-1801 (1867-1876)
5 2 Case Files 1794-1816
5 3 Notes on Commerce and Manufactures . 1820, n.d
5 4 Certificates 1813, 1833, 1835
4 5 Typescript copy of 1845-1852 Diary: Extracts n.d.
Subseries D: Financial Documents
Box Folder Title Date
5 5 Receipts, Accounts, Notes 1796-1853, n.d
5 6 Accounts with Mahlon F. Dickerson 1813-1819, n.d.
Subseries E: Contracts
Box Folder Title Date
5 7 Dissolution of partnership with Mahlon F. Dickerson; Land Deed, bought from John and Mary B. Sammis 1817; 1848
Subseries F: Maps
Box Folder Title Date
5 8 Morris County, Succasunna – land owned by the Kirkbride Family, copy of a land survey taken ca. 1713-1716; Morris County, Lake Hopatcong area with lake boundaries before and after the Morris canal, also shows roads, iron works, mines, and the Morris Canal. ca. 1790s; n.d
Subseries G: Notes and Poetry
Box Folder Title Date
5 9 Notes on Russell’s Modern Europe; Notes on Blackstone’s Commentaries 1793; n.d.
5 10 Notebook: Legal notes; Notebook: Various topics 1792; n.d.
5 11 Addresses and Poetry 1800, 1834, n.d.
Subseries H: Miscellaneous
Box Folder Title Date
5 12 Newspaper clippings, stationery, notes n.d.
Box Folder Title Date
OS (mapcase) 13 Genealogies of the Sovereigns of Europe, compiled by Mahlon Dickerson n.d.

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Series 2: Philemon Dickerson (1788-1862)
Scope and Content:

Series II dates from 1803-1860, with bulk dates of 1835-1845, and consists of the correspondence, professional papers, financial documents, and contracts of Philemon Dickerson.

As in Series I, the majority of the correspondence consists of letters received by Philemon Dickerson documenting his careers as a lawyer and statesman. The letters have been arranged alphabetically by author and then by date, and largely discuss New Jersey politics. There are also letters regarding Dickerson’s legal cases, and numerous requests for recommendations or political appointments for such offices as postmaster and steam boat inspector during his time as governor of New Jersey. Other issues brought to Dickerson’s attention include the Bankruptcy Bill of 1841, miners’ rights to mineral property in New Jersey, protection of the land rights of Louisiana residents during the switch from French to American rule, the Camden and Woodbury Railroad, and the relocation of various regiments along the southwestern frontier. Correspondents of Philemon Dickerson include Pruden Alling, Samuel Beardsley, F.W. Brinley, Joseph Wheeler Camp, Lewis Cass, Roswell L. Colt, John L. Daniel, Richard Dennis, Mahlon Dickerson, Samuel Doughty, John F. Ellis, William Gale, George Griswold, Robert William Harris, Wanton R. Hazard, Joseph C. Hornblower, H.J. James, Louis McLane, Henry Nicoll, Ephraim F. Ogden, Aaron Peck, J.A. Phillips, Joseph C. Potts, Stacy G. Potts, Martin Rouen, B. Livingston Ship, Silas Stilwell, Elias Van Arsdale, Levi Woodbury, and Joseph A. Yard.

The professional papers in the series largely document Dickerson’s legal career. The series contains Dickerson’s docket from 1815-1826; U.S. District Court documents, which include court calendars, marshal bonds and oaths of office, and juror summons; and case files from Dickerson’s time both as a lawyer and a judge. The latter files include cases argued by Aaron S. Pennington (1800-1869), another Paterson lawyer and possibly Philemon Dickerson’s partner or co-counsel. This group of documents also contains a list of deputy marshals for the 1840 census in New Jersey and notes and pamphlets on Congressional legislation dealing with the repeal of a pilot law (1837), pensions for widows (1838), naval pensions (1840), protective tariffs (1840), and a general bankruptcy law (1841).

Lastly, Series II contains a smaller number of financial documents, largely receipts, bills, notes, and bonds, and a number of contracts. While the contracts are mostly miscellaneous, possibly dealing with Dickerson’s legal cases, there is a deed for the sale of land in Paterson, New Jersey to Philemon Dickerson and Aaron S. Pennington.

Subseries B: Professional Papers
Box Folder Title Date
6 6 Docket 1815-1826
Box Folder Title Date
7 1 U.S. District Court for New Jersey:

– Court Calendars

7 2 U.S. District Court for New Jersey:
– Marshall Bonds, Marshall Oaths of Office
7 3 U.S. District Court for New Jersey:
– Juror Summons
7 4 Case Files, District Court: United States vs. John Develin; The Trenton Iron Company vs. The Schooner George Barsol; United States vs. Wesley Smith; United States vs. James Ackerman and George Miller 1857-1860
7 5 Miscellaneous Case Files:
7 5 – Dennis McKiernan and Patrick Garret 1832
7 5 – Charles G. Ferris, et al. vs. David Bench, et al., Prerogative Court 1836
7 5 – Susannah B. Young vs. David Bruch and William H. Mead; Charles G. Ferris, et al. vs. David Bruch and William H. Mead 1837
7 5 – John Den, et al. vs. George Zabriskie 1838
7 5 – Myers and Morris vs. Clinton Manufacturing Company 1838
7 5 – John Kip vs. Elias Van Arsdale, et al. 1840
7 5 – William R. Van Blarcom vs. Samuel Burhaus 1842
7 5 – Sylvester Seely vs. Thomas Jaccobus 1843
7 5 – George Rundle, et al, trustees of the estate of John Savage, deceased vs. the Delaware and Raritan Canal 1848-1853
7 5 – Lewis Water vs. Imlah Moore, et al. 1849
7 5 – Albert G. Sloo vs. George Law, et al. 1849
7 5 – Philemon Dickerson, executor of Mahlon Dickerson vs. Mahlon D. Canfield, et al., 1856
7 6 Case/Court Notes n.d.
7 7 List of deputy marshals for taking the 1840 Census in New Jersey ca.1840
7 8 Notes and Pamphlets on Congressional Legislation 1837-1841, n.d.
Subseries C: Financial Statements
Box Folder Title Date
7 9 Receipts, Bills, Notes, Miscellaneous Bonds 1803-1855
Subseries D: Contracts
Box Folder Title Date
7 10 Agreement for sale of property to Philemon Dickerson and Aaron S. Pennington from Samuel Burhaus; Articles of Agreement making John Brickhill a servant of Ralph Weldon; Articles of Agreement for the sale of land and property to John P. Voorhees by David Roe; Contract for Peter Vandyke to manage John Travers’ farm; Licenses of a Patent to Elijah C. Pierson and Cyrus Peck from Charles St. John, Henry A. Burr, and Alice B. Taylor; Lease to Valorous Lewis from John Graham; Statement to the Paterson Bank from J.J. Plume 1804-1855
Subseries E: Miscellaneous
Box Folder Title Date
7 11 Poem; Announcement of city charter of Paterson 1812; 1851

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Series 3: Dickerson Family
Scope and Content:

The final series dates from 1774-1859, with bulk dates of 1845-1855, and consists of the correspondence and professional papers of various members of the Dickerson Family, particularly Edward Nicoll Dickerson and his brother-in-law, and probably law partner, John M. Gould.

Series III contains letters written to Augustus Canfield (1801-1854), David Sealy Canfield (1774-1830), Frederick Canfield (1810-1869), Mary “Polly” Dickerson Canfield (1778-1830), Edward Nicoll Dickerson (1824-1889), John B. Dickerson (1786-1822), Jonathan Dickerson (1747-1805), Silas Dickerson (1771-1807), and John M. Gould. The majority of this correspondence is between family members and deals with family updates, worries over money, upcoming marriages, deaths, and illnesses. The correspondence of Edward N. Dickerson and John M. Gould, however, deal with their professional lives and consist of discussion of various law suits and requests to the court clerk, a capacity in which both served.

The professional papers in this series also document the legal careers of Edward N. Dickerson and John M. Gould. The papers contain case files of the two lawyers, which largely consist of patent infringement suits, and include documents from Goodyear vs. Day (Fed. Cas. No. 5569), one of Dickerson’s most important cases.

Lastly, this series contains two contracts of John M. Gould dealing with property transfers and a “private memorandum book” kept by Mahlon Ford Dickerson from 1816-1822. The latter is a journal tracking mostly monetary events in Dickerson’s life, such as the dissolution of his partnership with his uncle Mahlon Dickerson in M.F. Dickerson and Company, a general store in Succasunna, New Jersey.

Subseries A: Correspondence
Box Folder Title Date
7 12 To Augustus Canfield (1801-1854) from: Lewis, William; To David Sealy Canfield from Dickerson, Silas; To Frederick Canfield from: Dickerson, Mahlon and Dickerson, Philemon; To Mary “Polly” Dickerson Canfield from: Dickerson, Aaron, Dickerson, John B.; Dickerson, Mary (Coe); Dickerson, Philemon; and Dickerson, Silas. 1812; 1851
7 13 To Edward Nicoll Dickerson (1824-1889) from: Adrain, Robert; Bradley, Joseph P.; Burr, Henry A.; Campbell, John; Campbell, [no first name]; Carey, Henry Charles; Collins, William; Colt, Samuel; Ewing, Thomas; Haines, Daniel; Halsted, [no first name]; Hamilton, Samuel Randolph; Hornor, Robert Emley ; Jeffers, William N.; Jones, George H.; Jordan, Thomas; Judson, William; Kanouse, Thomas H.; Kennedy, Robert S.; Redmond, Jas. M.; Rowan, Martin Jr.; Sloo, A.G.; Spafford, Charles; Sullivan, George; Townsend, Isaiah; Townsend, Frank; Vroom, Peter D.; Walker, Robert J.; Whitehead, Asa; Wilson, James G. 1847-1854
7 14 To John B. Dickerson from: Dickerson, Aaron; Dickerson, Mahlon; Dickerson, Mahlon Ford; Dickerson, Philemon; To Jonathan Dickerson from: Bradford, Ebenezer; Cook, Ellis; Dickerson, Silas; Halsey, Daniel; Harris, Ephraim; Kirkbride, Mahlon; To Silas Dickerson from: Bloomfield, Joseph, 1847-1854
7 15 To John M. Gould from: Bentley, Peter; Bowne, W.A.; Bradley, Joseph P.; Clark, Edward; Dickerson, Philemon; Gilchrist, Robert ; Gould, Robert S.; Gummere, Samuel R.; Hamilton, Robert; Husband, Charles; Inslee, William R.; Kanouse, J. Alfred; Morris, William L.; Priest, T. Abbot V.; Ramsey, J.M.; Sargeant, George D.; Tolles, H.B.; Whitehead, Asa; Zabriskie, Abraham Oothout; John M. Gould to: Ramsey, J.M.; Shepard, S.O.; Tappan, Lewis. 1774-1819
Subseries B: Diaries
Box Folder Title Date
7 16 Mahlon Ford Dickerson – “Private Memorandum Book” (Journal) 1816-1822
Subseries C: Professional Papers
Box Folder Title Date
7 17 Case Files for Edward Nicoll Dickerson and John M. Gould: Abraham Stevens, Jr. vs. Peter M. Ryerson ; Seth T. Barstow vs. Arnold St. John, et al. ; Charles C. Alger vs. Joseph E. Edsell; Abraham Stevens vs. John J. Van Allen, et al.; Oliver H.P. Parker, assignee of Zebulon Parker, vs. James S. Hulme, Circuit Court; Jacob Wagoner, et al vs. The Morris and Essex Railroad Company; Samuel Hanna vs. William Reading 1844-1851
7 18 Case Files for Edward Nicoll Dickerson and John M. Gould: Charles Goodyear vs. Horace H. Day; Henry A. Burr, et al. vs. A. Peck et al. ; John Den, et al. vs. John B. Coles, et al.; Charles Goodyear and the New England Car Spring Company vs. The Central New Jersey Railroad of New Jersey; Thomas Kearny, et al. vs. John J. Taylor, et al; Moses Van Ness and Thomas Van Ness vs. Margaret Van Ness, et al. 1851-1859
7 19 Certificates – Edward N. Dickerson and Philemon Dickerson, Jr. 1850; 1851; 1855
Subseries D: Financial Documents
Box Folder Title Date
7 20 Receipts, Accounts, Notes 1783-1814
Subseries E: Contracts
Box Folder Title Date
7 21 Acceptance of Warranty deed by Philip Rafferty and Peter Taggart for property of John M. Gould; Agreement selling land of John M. Gould to John English 1846;1855

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