Manuscript Group 99, Guide to the Ralph Doremus (1797-1886), Merchant and Farmer Record books 1830-1855


Descriptive Summary
Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Access Points
Administrative Information

Container List

Books and Ledgers

Guide to the Ralph Doremus (1797-1886), Merchant and Farmer Record books
MG 99

The New Jersey Historical Society
52 Park Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Contact: NJHS Library
Phone: (973) 596-8500 x249
© 2005 All rights reserved.
The New Jersey Historical Society, Publisher
Inventory prepared by Kim Charlton as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Finding aid encoded by Julia Telonidis. December 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.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Doremus, Ralph, 1830-1855.
Title: Ralph Doremus (1797-1886), Merchant and Farmer Record Books
Dates: 1830-1855
Abstract: Financial records of a cloth and dry-goods merchant in Paterson, New Jersey. Roelof Jacobus (Ralph) Doremus maintained his store on the west side of Main Street between Broadway and Van Houten Street. He served as town clerk of Saddle River Township, 1828-1831, and later as accountant of the Paterson Fire Association. I 1837, he was elected to the appeals court. The panic of 1837 forced him to retire from business, devoting himself thereafter to the care of his considerable farming property.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet
Collection Number: MG 99

Biographical Note

Roelof Jacobus Doremus was born on July 16, 1797 to Susanna Jacobus Jones (1767-1840) and Petres Doremus (1773-1846), a farmer in Mountain View, Passaic County, New Jersey. Roelof, or Ralph, left his parents’ home at an early age and was soon hired by a dry goods store in New York City. After earning a clerkship, he left to establish his own store in Paterson, New Jersey, where he sold cloth and dry goods.

On June 1, 1825, Ralph Doremus married Catharine Van Houten (1806-1874), the daughter of Jannetje Garritse (1774-1855) and Gerrebrand Van Houten (1770-1831), the president of Paterson Bank. The couple built their homestead at 115-121 Water Street in Paterson, where on July 15, 1828, their twin sons, Henry C. and Francis E. were born.

Ralph Doremus served as the town clerk of Saddle River Township from 1828-1831, and in 1837 was elected a judge of the Court of Appeals. He was also a member and patron of the Second Reformed Church of Paterson and was involved with the Paterson Fire Association, serving as its accountant in 1830 and as a member of Engine Company No. 5 in 1835.

A few years after the Panic of 1837, Doremus closed his store and focused on his extensive farmlands. He died on November 18, 1886.

Doremus Family Tree:

Petres Doremus (1773-1846) = Susanna Jacobus Jones (1767-1840)

Roelof Jacobus Doremus (1797-1886)
Nicholas Jones Doremus (1799-1887)
Thomas Doremus (1801-1894)
Francis Doremus (1804-1846)
Rachel Doremus (1808-1820)
Cornelius Doremus (b. 1813)

Gerrebrand Van Houten (1770-1831) = Jannetje Garritse (1774-1855)

Maria Van Houten (1791-1862)
Hillegont Van Houten (1798-1847)
Catrenau Van Houten (1800-young)
Catrenau Van Houten (1806-1874)

Roelof Jacobus Doremus (1797-1886) = Catrenau Van Houten (1806-1874)

Henry C. Doremus (1828-1889)
Francis E. Doremus (1828-1896)

Henry C. Doremus (1828-1889) = Ann Eliza Banta (b. 1831)
Catherine Jane Doremus (1851-1853)
Anna Gertrude Doremus (1856-1892)
Salome Williams Doremus (b. 1862) = William Nelson (b. 1847)

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Scope and Content Note

The record books consist of four volumes, dating from 1830-1855, that contain accounts and daily transaction entries for Ralph Doremus’s store, farm, and smokehouse. The volumes also contain accounts for debts owed to Doremus after the Panic of 1837, and document his attempts to collect on them.

There are two daybooks from Doremus’s Paterson dry goods store, which document the daily selling of such items as cloth, buttons, and handkerchiefs from 1836-1843. The collection also contains a petty ledger, inscribed “Commenced on October 1, 1839” that has alphabetical entries for customers with the amount they owe. In the back of this volume there are some entries documenting promissory notes owed and paid by various men from 1840-1843. The final volume contains scattered records for all of Doremus’s businesses, including farm accounts and daybook entries for such products as oats, shingles, and pasture for a horse; a list of cases for debts owed to Doremus and the amount of money awarded; and accounts for various meats from a smokehouse.

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Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

Use Restrictions

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

The New Jersey Historical Society complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials.

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Access Points

The entries below represent persons, organizations, topics, forms, and occupations documented in this collection.

Subject Names:

Doremus, Ralph, 1830-1855.

Subject Organizations:

Paterson Fire Association.
Second Reformed Church (Paterson, N.J.)

Subject Topics:

Dry-goods–New Jersey–Paterson.
Farms–New Jersey–Paterson.
General stores–New Jersey–Paterson.
Merchants–New Jersey–Paterson.
Stores–New Jersey–Paterson.

Subject Places:

Paterson (N.J.)
Saddle River (N.J.)

Document Types:

Financial records.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Manuscript Group 99, Ralph Doremus (1797-1886), Merchant and Farmer

Record books, The New Jersey Historical Society.

Acquisition Information

The daybooks were the gift of Salome Doremus Nelson in January, 1911, and the record book and petty ledger that of her husband, William Nelson in May of that same year.

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Container List

Books and Ledgers
Box   Title Date
1   Daybook for the store 1836-1840
Box   Title Date
2   Daybook for the store 1840-1843
Box   Title Date
3   Petty Ledger, probably for the store (also contains list of notes received 1840-1843) 1839
Box   Title Date
4   Record book that contains: daybook entries for the farm; list of money received in debt cases; accounts for the farm; accounts for the smokehouse 1830-1855

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