Manuscript Group 836, Savage Family Papers, 1758-1938 (Bulk dates: 1788-1797, 1840-1890)



Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 836, Savage Family

Papers, 1758-1938 (Bulk dates: 1788-1797, 1840-1890), 0.5 linear feet / 1 box

Call Number: MG 836



Letters, legal papers, printed matter, certificates, biographical and literary material of the Savage family in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.  James Savage’s Boston commonplace book, 1762-1780, includes political observances and poetry written during the Revolutionary War.  The collection includes letters of Grover Cleveland, Henry Knox, and one by John Green to Benjamin Franklin.

Gift of Mrs. Samuel P. Savage, 1963.

Biographical Note:

The Savage Family in this collection is descended from Thomas Savage (1608-1682), who emigrated from England to Boston, Massachusetts in 1635.  Samuel Phillips Savage, his great-grandson, insured vessels and cargo in Boston’s shipping business and lived in Weston, Massachusetts.  He was an active patriot who was president of the Massachusetts Board of War and involved in the Boston Tea Party.  Samuel Phillips Savage’s first wife, Sarah Tyler, died in February of 1764; his second wife, Bathsheba, in June of 1792.

Samuel’s son, Joseph Savage (b. June 13, 1756), fought in the American Revolution as captain of a Massachusetts Artillery Company during the Battle of Yorktown.  He remained in the army until 1792 and then settled in Berwick, Maine where he was a justice of the peace.  He and his wife Sophia (?) had at least three children together: Charles Tyler, Sarah (?), and Samuel A.

Samuel A. Savage was born on October 29, 1789 in West Point, New York.  He was a merchant in Highland Falls, New York and New York City.  He married Letitia Webber (1787-1879), the daughter of Philip Webber of New York, with whom he had three children: Joseph W., Susan Maria, and George Washington.

George Washington Savage (1819-1893) settled in Rahway, Union County, New Jersey in 1852.  He married Elizabeth C. Marbacher of Easton, Pennsylvania in 1860, with whom he had at least six children: George Washington, Jr., Joseph W., Mary Elizabeth, Edward S., Samuel Phillips, and John M.

In 1856, George was elected as one of New Jersey’s seven presidential electors and was appointed Common Pleas judge in Union County, where he served until 1862.  After the Civil War, Savage was president of the Board of Fire Underwriters of New York, the International Insurance Company of New York, and the Columbia Insurance Company.  From 1885 to 1889, he was the consul to Belfast, Ireland under President Grover Cleveland, and during Cleveland’s second term, the consul to Dundee, Scotland.  Savage died in 1893, five months after assuming his second consulship.  John M. Savage, his son and vice-consul in both Belfast and Dundee, succeeded him.

Samuel Phillips Savage, another son of George and Elizabeth Savage, married Jenny Cowan Liggett in 1893 and the couple lived in the family home in Rahway.  Edward S. Savage, George and Elizabeth’s third son, was a New Jersey assemblyman and president of Union County Bank.

See Savage Family Tree.


Clayton, W. Woodford, ed. History of Union and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men (Everts & Peck: Philadelphia, 1882).

Ricord, F.W., ed. History of Union County, New Jersey (East Jersey History Company: Newark, NJ, 1897).

Provenance Note:

The majority of the papers were donated by Mrs. Samuel Phillips Savage of Spring Lake, New Jersey in September of 1963.  Samuel Phillips Savage’s commonplace book was accessioned around 1934 and joined with these papers at a later date.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers consist of the correspondence, legal documents, clippings, and invitations of the Savage family, in particular George Washington Savage, Joseph Savage, and Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797).  These papers date from 1758-1938, with bulk dates of 1788-1797 and 1840-1890, and have been arranged by document type.

The correspondence is the largest series in the collection and has been arranged by recipient and then author and date.  It is largely made up of letters between Joseph Savage and his father, Samuel Phillips Savage while the former was a captain in the army from 1782-1792; and of the letters between George Washington Savage and his wife Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage during her trip to England and France in 1886.  Topics in the earlier letters include the ratification of the Constitution in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York; the passing of laws and taxes by Congress; desertion in the army; and a description of Savage’s tour of duty in Georgia.  Subjects in the later letters include the social obligations of the consul of Belfast, Ireland; Irish parliamentary politics; and sightseeing in Liverpool, London, and Paris.  Other correspondence in the papers discuss the shipping business in Salem and Boston, Massachusetts; the dismissal of George W. Savage’s son from Princeton College; land speculation in the west; social life and suitors in 1839; and skirmishes with the French during the French and Indian War in 1758.  There are two letters from General Henry Knox to Samuel Phillips Savage reassuring him that the newspaper account of Joseph Savage’s death is inaccurate, and one letter to George Washington Savage from Grover Cleveland thanking him for his congratulations on the presidential nomination.  Additionally, there is a letter from John Green to Benjamin Franklin pertaining to commerce in China.

The papers also contain a smaller number of legal, court, military, and financial documents.  These items include the presidential elector certificate of George W. Savage with his ballots (for James Buchanan and John C. Breckenridge); wills; a marriage certificate; a charge to the jury by Judge George W. Savage; blank writs, summons and an injunction from Joseph Savage as justice of the peace; Civil War military passes; a study on the costs of establishing a “Regiment of Foot” during the Revolution; and mortgages, bonds, a land deed, receipts, and bills.

The papers also contain poetry, both handwritten and published, and various other printed materials: pamphlets, newspaper clippings (mostly obituaries), programs, and a large number of invitations that reflect the social aspect of consular duties.  Samuel Phillips Savage’s commonplace book, containing recipes for salves and tonics, signed receipts of debts, household instructions, planting dates, poems, and hymns is also included in the papers.

Related Collections:

Manuscript Group 204, Joseph Savage (b. 1756) Record book

Folder List:






1 To Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage from George Washington Savage June-July 1886
2 To George Washington Savage from Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage June-July 1886
3 To George Washington Savage from:
-L. H. Atwater 1868
-Grover Cleveland 1892
-H. J. Hard 1889
-International Insurance Company Staff 1870
-William McAdoo 1887
-A. Munkittrick, Jr. 1888
-Charles Tyler Savage 1847
-Charles Tyler Savage 1849
-Samuel Phillips Savage (ca. 1863-1933) 1886
-Samuel Phillips Savage (ca. 1863-1933), with note from Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage 1886
-Henry F. Walton 1893
-Jamie (?) ( ) June 20, no year
4 To Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) from Joseph Savage 1782-Sept 1788
5 To Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) from Joseph Savage Nov 1788-1797, n.d.
6 To Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) from:
-General Henry Knox 1790
-General Henry Knox 1790
-George Thatcher 1792
-Envelope n.d.
7 To Agnes Fairley Anderson from George Washington Savage, with copy of her letter to Senator ( ) Blair 1889
To Ann Black from Adela ( ) 1839
To Ann Black from Adela ( ), with note from Mary Ann Kendall n.d.
To Captain Richard Darby from Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) 1758
To Captain Richard Darby from Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) 1760
To Thomas Darkin from Joseph Savage 1791
To Richard H. Ewart from Andrew Carnegie 1889
To Benjamin Franklin from John Green 1786
To Mrs. M. Marbacher from J. Gray 1851
To Mrs. Marbacher from E. J. Rogers n.d.
To Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage from Frances F. Cleveland 1889
To John Savage, Jr. from J. F. Cleaver 1888
To Joseph Savage from Levi Chadbaum 1799
To Joseph Savage from Tristram Gilman n.d.
To Joseph Savage from Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) 1780
To Letitia Webber (Savage) from Henry Hughes 1806
To Samuel P. Savage from Robert Hayes 1849
To ( ) Savage from A. Peabody 1828
To ( ) Savage from William H. Savage 1823
To ( ) Savage from William H. Savage 1827
To ( ) Savage from William H. Savage n.d.
To George W. Smalley from H. S. Oleoff (?) 1875
To Benjamin ( ), Henry Sheldon, & ( ) Marsh from Wheeler, et al. 1845
To Mary ( ) from Sarah ( ), with a note from Anna L. Savage 1848
To Mary ( ) from M., with note to John A. Shaffer from Mag. M. S. 1852
To ( ) from Joseph Savage 1814
To ( ) from Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) n.d.
To ( ) from D. Waldron (?) n.d.
Court Documents
8 -Printed letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled at Boston, regarding the repeal of a law removing The Supreme Judicial Court from Kennebunk to Alfred 1802
-Note on court proceedings 1806
-Injunction to Philip Webber, Isaac and Barbary Leggett, Frances and Polly Child, and Frances and Catharine Fickner(?). 1828
-Charge to the Grand Jury, George W. Savage 1859
-Blank summons to appear before a Massachusetts Justice of the Peace n.d.
-Blank writ of confiscation n.d.
-Will of Catharine Reese 1779
-Will of Arnout Webbers 1784
Military Documents
9 -Establishment of a Regiment of Foot 1775
-Military Pass, George W. Savage 1861
-Charge to George W. Savage by the Christian Commission to visit and minister to the relief of the sick and wounded soldiers 1863
Mortgages, Bonds, Land Deeds, Receipts, and Bills
10 -Mortgage and Bond: Barnet and Catharine Johnson to Elizabeth C. H. Clark, administrator of Thomas Clark 1865
-Mortgage and Bond: George W. and Elizabeth C. Savage to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York 1885
-Land Deed: Moses Plumer to William Hobbs 1806
11 Receipts and Bills 1784, 1785, 1829, 1868
Notes, Poetry, Printed Matter
12 Samuel Phillips Savage’s Commonplace Book 1762-1780
13 Notes: n.d.
-Notes and stamps
-Notes on the Tower of Pisa
14 Poetry:
-“Hymn,” by Mrs. ( ) Johnson n.d.
-“Lines on the Death of Little George D. Marbacher,” by John James Gray 1845
-“On the Death of an Affectionate Little Boy,” by James H. Walton, from the Monroe Democrat n.d.
-“The Shades of Night Were Falling Fast” n.d.
15 Printed Matter:
-Torn “Opera No. 1” paper n.d.
-Card with information about property stolen from George W. Savage’s home 1880
-Columbia Fire Insurance Company business card n.d.
-International Insurance Company brochure 1869
-Pamphlet: “Opinions on the Rights of Conscience and of Property in Trinity Church to the King’s Farm and Garden, and the Dominie Bogardus Bowery; and also, On the Like Rights in the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church to the Trust Estates of Steenwick and Harpending,” by “Lex” n.d.
-Pamphlet: “Argument of George W. Savage, Before the Senate Committee on Finance, at Albany, February 28th, 1877, in Opposition to Senate Bill No.70, relating to Taxation on Insurance Companies” 1877
-“Lines Suggested on the Death of Mrs. F. C. Chattin, by Her Father, W. B. Tolan” n.d.
-Pamphlet: “Address Delivered by Henry F. Walton of Philadelphia at the Dedication of the Pennsylvania Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition” 1904
-Program from the Young Ladies Institute, Easton, PA. 1852
-Program for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Second Presbyterian Church of Rahway, New Jersey 1899
-Christmas card, B. F. Stevens n.d.
-Christmas card, Mr. & Mrs. George W. Savage 1888
-Business card, George W. Savage n.d.
16 Newspaper clippings 1852-1938
17 Invitations 1870-Aug 1887
18 Invitations Oct 1887-1897
19 -Trinity Lodge No.10, Ancient York Masons: Samuel A. Savage -Independent Order of Odd Fellows: George W. Savage

-New Jersey Agricultural Society membership card

– Presidential elector certificate of George W. Savage, with ballots and envelops

-Marriage Certificate of George W. Savage and Elizabeth C. Marbacher

-LaFayette Lodge, No.27, Free and Accepted Masons: George W. Savage







20(OS) -First Company, National Guard: George W. Savage 1837
-Judge of Inferior Court of Common Pleas: George W. Savage 1857
-Commissioner to draft Union County Militia: George W. Savage 1862
-LaFayette Lodge No.27, Free and Accepted Masons: George W. Savage 1873
-Consul certificate of George W. Savage from President Grover Cleveland 1885
-Special passport of George W. Savage as Consul at Belfast, Ireland 1885
-Consul certificate of George W. Savage from Queen Victoria 1885
-Special passport of Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage 1888
-Special passport of John M. Savage as Consul at Dundee, Scotland 1897
20(OS) -Genealogy notes n.d.
-Map of eastern states and New England, detail of tracts from area northeast of Utica, New York n.d.


Savage Family Tree:

Thomas Savage (1608-1682), immigrated from England in 1635


Thomas Savage = Elizabeth Scotton


Arthur Savage = Faith Phillips


Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) ===== 1) Sarah Tyler (d. 1764)

2) Bathsheba ( ) (d. 1792)


Faith Savage

William Savage

Samuel Savage (b. 1748)

Willliam Savage (b. 1750)

Joseph Savage

Jane Savage

*Joseph Savage (b. 1756)

Harry Savage (b. 1758)

Sarah Savage (b. 1760) = George Thatcher

Lucy Savage (b. 1761) = Amos Bigelow


*Joseph Savage (b. 1756) = Sophia (?) (   )


Charles Tyler Savage

Sarah Savage (?)

Samuel A. Savage (1789-1830) = Letitia Webber (1787-1879)


Joseph W. Savage (b. 1812)

Susan Maria Savage (Freeman)

George Washington Savage (1819-1893) = Elizabeth C. Marbacher


George Washington Savage, Jr.

Joseph W. Savage

Mary Elizabeth Savage

Edward S. Savage

**Samuel Phillips Savage (ca. 1863-1933) = Jenny Cowan Liggett

John M. Savage (d. 1938)


**Samuel Phillips Savage (ca. 1863-1933) = Jenny Cowan Liggett


Samuel Phillips Savage = ( ) (donated the collection)


Processed by Kim Charlton, January 2000 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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