Manuscript Group 350, Elias Tomkins (1791-1866) and Ambrose Tomkins (1802-1851) Papers, 1828-1898


Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 350, Elias Tomkins (1791-1866) and Ambrose Tomkins (1802-1851)

Papers, 1828-1898, 0.1 linear feet / 23 items

Call Number: MG 350



Correspondence, petitions, articles of agreement, and financial documents mostly pertaining to Elias Tomkins, Ambrose Tomkins, the Newark Lime and Cement Manufacturing Company, and Tompkins, Hedden and Company.  Includes several documents concerning the inventor Seth Boyden, and letters of Marcus L. Ward and Cortlandt Parker, Jr.

Gift of Mrs. Robert Bowne.

Biographical Note:

Enos Tomkins (1770-1854) of Orange (Essex County), New Jersey married Sarah Condit (1773-1815) and had eight children: Elias (1791-1866), Calvin (1793-1890), Sarah (1795-1821), David Condit (1799-1878), Lydia (1800-1866), Ambrose (1802-1851), Daniel (1807-1877), and Enos Condit (1810-1867).  After Sarah’s death, Enos married Eunice Kent (b. 1780), with whom he had one daughter, Sarah (1822-1890).  Enos’ third wife was named Susannah Russell (b. 1783).

Elias Tomkins (1791-1866) and Jothan Hedden (fl. 1833-1840) owned Tomkins, Hedden & Company, a lime and cement company at 40 Bridge Street, in Newark (Essex County), New Jersey. In 1840, the name of the company was changed to Newark Lime and Cement Company, which remained in operation until about 1929.

Elias Tomkins married Phebe Townley (1792-1840) in 1815, with whom he had seven children: John Townley (1815-1866), Sarah (1816-1819), Edward (1819-1892), Calvin (1822-1846), Daniel Freeman (1824-1905), Rebecca Townley (1826-1889), and Mary Ann (1828-1886).  After Phebe’s death, Elias married Abigail Crowell (1803- 1892) in 1841, and they had Francis (1842-1899).

Elias’ brother, Ambrose Tomkins (1802-1851), was a hat maker living in Orange (Essex County), New Jersey.  In 1826, Ambrose married Nancy Lyon (d. 1866) with whom he had the following children: Elizabeth Lavinia (1827-1860), Susan Condit (b. 1829), Charlotte Gardiner (1830-1857), Salina Augusta (b. 1832), Nancy (1835-1838), Catherine (b. 1836), Nancy Cecelia (1838-1853), Mary Caroline (1842-1843), and George Washington (1842-1911). A number of these children later spelled their name “Tompkins.”

In 1862, George Washington Tompkins married Phebe Ann Townley (1836-1899) and with her had two sons, Ambrose (b. 1863) and Brenton (b. 1865).

Ambrose Tomkins (b. 1863) worked for Newark Lime and Cement Company in 1890, but by 1895, he and his brother Brenton owned Tomkins Brothers Coal at 82 Passaic Avenue in Newark, which remained in operation until about 1958.  In 1887, Ambrose Tomkins (b. 1863) married Claribel Allen (1863-1934), with whom he had two daughters: Dorothy (b. 1890) and Jeanette (b. 1896).


Tompkins, Robert A., The Tomkins-Tompkins Genealogy, (published by the author, 1942).

McFarland, Emily Frelinghuysen, The Frelinghuysen Family in New Jersey, 1720-1970, (published by the author).

Who Was Who in America, Volume 1, 1897-1942

Newark City Directories, The New Jersey Historical Society.

Provenance Note:

This collection was the gift of Mrs. Robert Bowne, date unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection of 23 items dating from 1828-1898 consists mostly of financial documents and correspondence regarding members of the Tomkins family.  It is arranged into the five following series: Series I – Newark Lime and Cement Company, 1835-1886; Series II – Ambrose Tomkins, 1828-1837; Series III – the Mary Margaret, 1842; Series IV – Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1855-1898; and Series V – Miscellaneous Checks.  Within these series, the items are arranged chronologically.

Series I – Newark Lime and Cement Company, contains thirteen items dated from 1835-1886 regarding either Tomkins, Hedden and Company or The Newark Lime and Cement Company. This series includes an 1838 bill for mechanical work done by Seth Boyden (1788-1870) and an 1845 contract with Boyden to build a steam engine.  This series also includes financial documents involving Theodore Frelinghuysen, Jr. (1814-1898), Cortland Parker (1818-1907), and repairs to the Croton Reservoir.

Series II – Ambrose Tomkins, contains four items dating from 1828-1837 regarding Ambrose Tomkins and his business as a hat maker in Orange, New Jersey.  This series includes financial and legal documents and correspondence regarding his apprentice James Brady, The Orange Bank, The Mechanics’ Fire Insurance Company, and George A. Colton.

Series III – the Mary Margaret, contains two items dating from 1842 regarding the sloop Mary Margaret.

Series IV – Miscellaneous Correspondence, contains three items dating from 1855-1898.  The correspondents include Charlotte (Tompkins) Howard, George Washington Tompkins of Peekskill, New York, (both offspring of Ambrose Tomkins), Governor Marcus L. Ward (1812-1884), and Cortland Parker, Jr. (1857-1945).

Series V- Miscellaneous Checks, is a sheet of six blank checks from the State Bank at Newark dated “181_.”

Item List:

Series I – Newark Lime and Cement Company

· A shipping contract for 60 tons of coal, dated June 12, 1833. The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company shipped the coal aboard the schooner Energy with “Master Hedden” to West Point, New York, and it was received by “Quarter Master” J. Edmund Blake.

· A bearer note for 30 bushels of lime from Abner S. Reece to Tomkins, Hedden & Company, dated October 2, 1837.

· A bearer note for 100 bushels of lime from Cyrus Durand to Tomkins, Hedden & Company, dated October 16, 1837.

· An itemized list of machine parts and services provided to Tomkins, Hedden & Company by Seth Boyden, dated February 10, 1838.

· A promissory note to Seth Boyden from Calvin Tomkins for $256.25 for a term of five months, dated April 1, 1831.

· A bearer note for 28 bushels of lime from Seth Boyden to Tomkins, Hedden & Company, dated June 1, 1840.

· A contract between the contractors McCoullough, Black & Company and Newark Sand and Lime Company to rebuild the Croton Dam, dated June 11,1841. The Croton Dam was part of the structure of the Croton Reservoir that supplies water to New York City.

· A copy of promissory notes between Theodore Frelinghuysen, Jr., William S. B. Clark, John P. Van Ness, and Newark Lime and Cement Company, dated September 19, 1843.

· Correspondence to Newark Lime and Cement Company from L. M. Halleck, dated October 17, 1843.

· A contract for Seth Boyden to build a steam engine for Newark Lime and Cement Company for $400, dated February 15, 1845.

· Two copies of a petition and announcement of a town meeting regarding Newark’s water system, dated April 12, 1886. These documents are signed by Cortland Parker, other prominent Newark residents, and L. C. Jones, secretary of Newark Lime and Cement Company.

· An undated bill to Tomkins, Hedden & Company from Mechanics’ Bank at Newark.

Series II – Ambrose Tomkins

· A check from Ambrose Tomkins to “AB” drawn from an account at Orange Bank, dated October 18, 1828.

· A contract for apprenticeship of James Brady to Ambrose Tomkins in the trade of hat making, dated May 4, 1829.

· An insurance receipt made to Ambrose Tomkins by the Mechanics’ Fire Insurance Company, dated April 30, 1830.

· Letter to Ambrose Tomkins from George A. Colton of Louisville, Kentucky, dated November 15, 1837.

Series III – The Mary Margaret

· A receipt for a port license and insurance made out to Henry Wilde, master of the sloop Mary Margaret by the Port of Newark, dated January 24, 1842.

· A license for the sloop Mary Margaret issued by the Port of Newark, dated January 25, 1842.

Series IV – Miscellaneous Correspondence

· Letter from Charlotte (Tompkins) Howard to George Washington Tompkins of Peekskill, New York, dated March15, 1855.

· Letter from Governor Marcus L. Ward (1812-1884) to members of the “Committee of Union Men” at 102 Broad Street, Newark, dated June 1, 1864.

· Letter from Cortland Parker Jr., to Ambrose Tomkins (II) regarding the “Essex Troop,” dated October 5, 1898.

Series V – Miscellaneous Checks

· A sheet of six blank checks from the State Bank at Newark, dated “181_.”

Processed by Luis Delfino, March 2001 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.


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