Manuscript Group 262, Essex County, New Jersey Tax Office Account book, 1772-1780
Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 262, Essex County, New
Jersey Tax Office
Account book, 1772-1780, 0.2 linear feet /
Call Number: MG 262(os)
Accounts kept by Silvanus Baldwin, James
Clark, Isaac Longworth, John Ludlow, Francis Post, Thomas Post, and Derrick
Vreeland – agents for the collection of county taxes and sinking funds,
provincial taxes, and later state taxes. Among the communities indicated
are Acquackanock (now Passaic), Connecticut Farms (now in Union Township),
Elizabeth, Newark, Rahway, Springfield, and Westfield. Also includes
Samuel H. Congar’s notes for his Genealogical Notices of the First Settlers
of Newark, Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. 6,
supplement (Newark, NJ, 1866), pgs. 105-166.
Because the expenses of maintaining the
early colonial government were relatively slight, roughly $10,000 as late as
1770, taxation on individuals with property was light. The money supply
was very low in the colonies, and the currency exchange of the various forms of
cash was chaotic. In addition, a large portion of the trade within the
colonies involved barter of agricultural products or skins, so the need for cash
was low. Only possessions such as houses, livestock and improved property
were taxed, not income or investments. The colonial governments also
raised funds in times of need by issuing bonds, issuing paper money, and
receiving credit from Britain.
Much of the anger that led to revolution
was derived from measures such as the Stamp Act of 1665 and constraint of trade
that effectively forced the colonies to finance the wars of an overextended
Britain. After the Revolutionary War, however, the new government was
heavily in debt, and the tax burden on the citizenry was not substantially
reduced. Before long the government introduced new sources of revenue such
as tariffs and tax stamps on legal documents to raise funds.
Samuel Hayes Congar (1796-1892) was a
coach painter by profession; however, in 1848 he became a member of The New
Jersey Historical Society. He was appointed the first librarian of the
Society in 1853 and served until his death in 1872. In addition to his
duties as librarian of the Society, Congar edited many of the publications of
the Society such as the Newark town records in 1864, and he wrote articles for
the Newark Daily Advertiser. Samuel Congar also served as the
librarian of the Apprentices Library of Newark. He married Hannah
Parkhurst (1799-1879) and with her had two sons.
Shaw, William H., History of Essex and
Hudson Counties, New Jersey, Vol. 1 (Everts & Peck, Philadelphia, 1884).
The source of this collection is unknown.
This volume contains the Essex County, New
Jersey Tax Office accounts of tax collection agents dating from 1772-1780, and
Samuel Hayes Congars notes for his Genealogical Notes of the First
Settlers of Newark (1866).
The Essex County Tax Office account book
tracks the accounts of the following collection agents: Sylvanus Baldwin
(1721-1799) and Isaac Longworth (1726-1794) of Newark, Edward Thomas (fl.
1774-1775) of Elizabethtown (now named Elizabeth), James Clark (1745-1794) of
Connecticut Farms (now named Union), John Ludlow (fl. 1773), Francis Post (fl.
1779-1780), and Derrick Vreeland (fl. 1773-1774) of Acquackanock (now named
Passaic). Early in this volume, the sums collected were provincial taxes,
but after the Revolutionary War, they became county and state property
taxes. This volume documents taxes collected in Acquackanock, Connecticut
Farms, Elizabethtown, Newark, Rahway, Springfield, and Westfield. These
accounts occupy about a third of this volume, another third are the handwritten
notes of Samuel Hayes Congar in pencil, and the remaining pages are blank.
Samuel Hayes Congars Genealogical
Notes of the First Settlers of Newark was published in The New Jersey
Historical Society Proceedings, volume 16, series I (1866) (call number
N974.9 N4211 v6 supp).
Processed by Luis Delfino, July 2001 as part of the “Farm to City”
project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records