Manuscript Group 202, George Smock (1754-1836), Farmer Records, 1786-1836 (Bulk dates: 1802-1830)
New Jersey Historical Society
Manuscript Group 202,
George Smock (1754-1836), Farmer
Records, 1786-1836 (Bulk
dates: 1802-1830), 0.2 linear feet / 3 volumes
Call Number: MG 202 + Item
Daybooks and an account book
kept by a farmer and lumber mill owner from “Island Farms” at the
junction of the Raritan and Millstone Rivers in Somerset County, and later from
Pleasant Valley near Holmdel, Monmouth County. Included are popular
Gift of John C. Smock, 1923.
George Smock, the son of John Smock (b.
1727) and Elizabeth Conover (fl. 1740-1754) was born November 24, 1754.
He grew up in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, and in 1776 enlisted in the
Continental Army. Following his involvement with the military, Smock spent
most of his adult life as a farmer and owner of a lumber mill. In 1779, he
married Sarah Conover and sired six children: John, Aaron, Hendrick, Peter,
George, and Mary. In 1794, he married his second wife, Margaret Van
Deventer, and the family settled into a new home called “Island Farms”
near Bound Brook, Somerset County, New Jersey. Located near the junction
of the Millstone and Raritan rivers, George Smock built the house on the site of
an earlier structure called “Kells Hall.”
From 1795-1818 (when George Smock sold the
house and lands to John Hebert for $22,000) Smock lived at “Island
Farms” where he had eight more children with Margaret: Jacob, Garret,
Sarah, Elizabeth, Jane, Letty, Ann, Isaac G., and Eleanor. After selling
the estate in 1818, Smock moved his family to Pleasant Valley in Marlboro
Township (near Holmdel), Monmouth County, New Jersey. He died in 1836 and
left his farm and residence to his son Isaac G. Smock (1809-after 1885).
Adelberg, Michael S. Roster
of the People of Revolutionary Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Clearfield Company, Inc: Baltimore, Maryland, 1997.
Brecknell, Ursala C. “Commemorative
Issue: 1882-1982,” Somerset
County Historical Quarterly.
Somerville, New Jersey, 1983: pages 6-7.
Ellis, Franklin. History of Monmouth
County, New Jersey. Philadelphia: R.T. Peck & Co., 1885: Pages 676-677.
The three volumes in the collection were a
1923 gift of John C. Smock, Isaac G. Smocks son. Upon acquisition, the
volumes were assigned the accession numbers M1833, M1835, M1836. M1834, an
account book beginning in 1810, was part of the original donation but appears to
have been lost.
The records consist of three account books
dating from 1786-1836 that document the business transactions of George
Smock. The three books illuminate different periods of Smocks career
and are easily identified as each volume has a different accession number and is
covered with a different material. The earliest account book (M1833) dates
from 1786-1800 and has a canvas covering. The second volume (M1835) has a
heavy paper exterior and dates from 1823-1830. The third volume (M1836) is
bound in leather and dates from 1802-1836. Each volume lists customer
name, date, goods or services provided, price, and method of payment. The
majority of the entries detail the sale of meat products, livestock, grains, and
services such as tanning, leatherwork, and labor. Smocks customers
include Jeremiah Harrison, John and Isaac Detter, Elisha Shepherd, and his sons
Aaron and George, Jr. Another customer bearing the family name is listed
as “James Smock – Colored Man.” The last few pages of each
volume contain folk remedies for curing ailments such as “Rumatic
pains,” “the dropsy,” “the cancer,” “the gravil,”
and “outward mortification.”
See other farmers’
(paper) with donation letter from John C. Smock (M1835)
(leather): “George Smocks Daybook Oct. 15, 1802” (M1836)
Processed by Jeff McMillan, August 2000 as part of the “Farm to
City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications
and Records Commission.