Manuscript Group 944, Edsall Family (English Neighborhood, NJ) Papers, 1792 – 1882 (Bulk dates: 1820 – 1866)

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 944, Edsall Family (English Neighborhood, NJ)
Papers, 1792 – 1882 (Bulk dates: 1820-1866), 0.25 linear feet / 1 small manuscript box
Call Number: MG 944 + Folder number



Correspondence, receipts, and indentures of a family living in what was then called English Neighborhood, a region of Bergen County extending from Englewood to Ridgefield. The collection contains letters written by three soldiers in New Jersey regiments during the Civil War. Also included are letters and financial records of Garret L. Edsall, Jacob Edsall, John Edsall, Naomi Edsall, and Samuel Edsall.

Biographical Note:

The Edsalls were early settlers of what was known as English Neighborhood in Bergen County, New Jersey. It was there that they established a large homestead and were farmers for many generations. Garret L. Edsall, son of Gertrude (Lydecker) and John Edsall, was one of many English Neighborhood men to fight in the Civil War, where he reached the rank of second lieutenant before resigning. James Dean, R. C. Dey, John E. Johnson, and David W. Terhune were other family members or neighbors who also became soldiers.

See Edsall Family Tree.


Edsall Family Vertical File, The New Jersey Historical Society.

Van Valen, J. M. History of Bergen County New Jersey (New Jersey Publishing and Engraving Company: New York, 1900) pgs. 538-541, 555-559.

Provenance Note:

The source of this collection is unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection is mostly made up of the correspondence and receipts of the Edsall family. The collection dates from 1792-1882, with bulk dates of 1820-1866, and has been divided into three series: Correspondence; Receipts; and Bonds, Bill of Sale, Pension Certificate.

The correspondence in the collection mostly dates from 1862-1864 and deals with the Civil War. It has been divided by recipient and then sorted by writer and date. R. C. Dey, David W. Terhune, James Dean, John E. Johnson, and Garret L. Edsall all wrote home and to each other about their experiences as soldiers in the Union Army. They discuss such topics as army movements, army politics and appointments, the resignation of Garret L. Edsall and of Lieutenant Colonel ( ) Davis, deaths, food, prices, and the weather. They often mention each other in their letters and pass along status reports. The remainder of the letters in the collection deal with a variety of topics, including farming, prices, road surveying, and the maintaining of indentured servants.

The collection also contains a large series of receipts. These have been divided by person and arranged chronologically. The receipts document purchases, estate settlements, and tuition costs, and largely belong to Garret L. Edsall, John Edsall (d. ca. 1794), John Edsall (d. 1876), and Jacob Edsall.

The last series in the collection consists of various legal contracts or documents. There are a number of bonds belonging to the Edsall family, along with a bill of sale for a “Negro man named Jack aged about twenty six years.” This series also contains the pension certificate of Margaret A. Terhune, mother of David W. Terhune.

Folder List:

Folder Title Dates
1 To Garret L. Edsall from:
  – R. C. Dey 1862
  – R. C. Dey 1863
  – R. C. Dey 1866
  – R. C. Dey 1866
  – R. C. Dey 1866
  – Frederick Gibbs 1851
  – E. G. Gismond 1882
  Invitations to the wedding of Mr. & Mrs. Garret L. Edsall’s daughter 1874
  Three yellow envelopes n. d.
2 To John Edsall (d. 1876) from:  
  – John De Groot 1827
  – R. Despard 1819
  – R. Despard 1820
  – R. Despard n. d.
  – Frederick DeVoe 1827
  – Rinier Wortendyke 1820
3 Johnson Family:
  – Joel M. Johnson to John E. Johnson (2 xerox copies) 1859
  – John E. Johnson to “Uncle” 1863
  – John E. Johnson to “Uncle” Nov. 26 (no year)
  – Envelope n. d.
4 Terhune Family:
  – David W. Terhune to “Sir” 1862
  – David W. Terhune to “Brother & Family” 1863
5 To “Friend,” “Cousin,” or “Parents” from:
  – Clara Brinkerhoff 1864
  – James Dean 1863
  – James Dean 1863
  – James Dean 1863
  – John Edsall 1862
  – James McMurray 1863
  – Thomas Prindell n. d.
6 Garret L. Edsall 1851-1870
7 Jacob Edsall and his estate (Abel Smith and Samuel Edsall, executors) 1797-1799
8 John Edsall ( and his estate (Samuel Edsall, executor) and John Edsall (d. 1876) 1794-1851
9 Naomi Edsall and Rinier Wortendyke 1818-1841
10 Unidentifed Edsalls, William Day, ( ) De Groot 1819-1878, n. d.
Bonds, Bill of Sale, Pension Certificate  
11 Bond: Jacob Edsall bound to Hartman Brinkerhoff 1792
  Bond: Jacob Edsall bound to Abel Smith 1794
  Bill of Sale: Sale of “Negro man named Jack” to Samuel Edsall by John Van Buskirk 1794
  Pension Certificate: To Margaret A. Terhune, mother of David W. Terhune 1864
  Bond: Gertrude Vreeland bound to Joel M. Johnson, administrator of the estate of John Edsall 1878

Family Tree:
See Biographical Note

Samuel Edsall (b. ca. 1630) + Jannetje Wessel (d. ca. 1675)


John Edsall (b. 1660)

| (descendants)

Samuel Edsall
John Edsall (d. ca. 1794)
Jacob Edsall (d. ca. 1797)

| (probably descendant of one of these)

Samuel E. Edsall + Naomi Christina Day


Naomi Edsall (?)
John Edsall (d. 1876) = Gertrude Lydecker


Samuel Edsall
Garret L. Edsall (d. 1885) = Lavinia Terhune


John G. Edsall = Pauline Pruden

Processed by Kim Charlton, December 1999 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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