TABLE OF CONTENTS
The New Jersey Historical Society
Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. November 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.
Caleb Wheeler Bruen (1768-1846), the son of Anna Wheeler (1742-1794) and Caleb Bruen (1735-1818), was born in 1768, the second of four children. Caleb W. Bruen’s elder brother Matthias (1766-1846) became a merchant in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and New York City, and Caleb inherited the cabinetmaking and distilling family businesses in Newark, New Jersey. Caleb W. Bruen married Rachael ( ) and they had at least one daughter together: Anna Eliza. Caleb W. Bruen died in Newark on December 9, 1846.
This collection contains five record books of Caleb W. Bruen, dating from 1804-1829, with bulk dates of 1812-1828. Four of the five volumes are daybooks, which track the different businesses that Bruen was involved in: cabinetmaking, spirits, apples, and cider. The entries in the cabinetmaking daybook run from 1804-1807, and specify person, job, and price. Bruen typically built or mended such pieces as mahogany tables, bureaus, bookcases, and cabinets. The spirits and apples daybooks run from 1812-1829, and the cider daybook from 1812-1828. Entries in all three volumes are by date, and then specify person and amount bought (measured in gallons, quarts, and pints for spirits; in bushels for apples; and in barrels for cider).
The various business accounts track each venture’s debits and credits and tally up total earnings or losses. The entries list customer names and give a good outline of the clientele. The volume also contains individual accounts for various Morris and Sussex County men, including Isaac Sharp, Morgan Drake, Jonathan H. Laurence, Matthew Vandine, John Martin, Richard Stephens, Samuel Stephens, Hartshorn Fitz Randolph and his sons, Phineas and Richard. With debit and credit entries, each of these accounts tracks a man’s business with the store, forge, and other operations. The store garnered the most business and the volume of transactions in the ledger reflects this.
The last volume is Caleb W. Bruen’s account book from 1811-1828. Entries are by person and then specify date, job, and price. Typical jobs include selling rum, cider, and vinegar; building furniture such as dining tables and bed stands; and working in the mill. The account book is indexed.
This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 79, Caleb W. Bruen (1768-1846), Cabinetmaker and Distiller
Record Books, The New Jersey Historical Society.
This collection was donated by Mrs. Alex M. Linnett through Dr. William S. Disbrow in January of 1921. Caleb W. Bruen’s account book had been moved to Manuscript Group 146, Nichols Family Record Books, probably because it contains a receipt made out to Isaac Nichols. The handwriting and account entries, however, match those of Caleb W. Bruen, not Isaac Nichols, and the volume was returned to Manuscript Group 79 at the time of processing.
Bruen Family File, The New Jersey Historical Society
Caleb Bruen Biography File, The New Jersey Historical Society.
Genealogical Card Index, The New Jersey Historical Society.