The Hagley Museum and Library.|
The Hagley Museum and Library,
Wynkoop Family Holdings
Author: Wurts, John S. (John Sparhawk), 1876-1958, collector.
Title: Wurts family papers, 1699-1964.
Description: 9 linear ft.
Notes: John Sparhawk Wurts was born in Carbondale, Pa. on June 18, 1876. He worked as an insurance agent, attorney, real estate agent, investment securities broker, was president of the World Association of Daily Vacation Bible Schools, and was a genealogist. He collected these papers because of his interest in his family's history. Three Wurts family members, brothers Maurice (1783-1854), William (1788-1858) and John Wurts (1792-1861), were instrumental in the formation of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, the basis of the family fortune. All three were born in Flanders, N.J. After William Wurts discovered anthracite coal at what is now Carbondale, Pa. around 1814, he and Maurice determined to mine and transport it by river to the Philadelphia and New York markets. After securing charters from both the Pennsylvania and New York state legislatures in 1823, construction on the canal from Honesdale, Pa., to Kingston, N.Y. began in 1825 and was completed by 1828. A gravity railroad to transport the coal from the mines to the canal was built in 1829. The STOURBRIDGE LION, the first locomotive operated in the western hemisphere, ran briefly on this railroad in 1829. John Wurts, an attorney who served in both the Pennsylvania legislature and the U.S. Congress, became president of the company in 1831 and held the position until his retirement in 1858.
Another Wurts family member associated with the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company was Lorenzo Augustus Sykes (1805-1878). He had married a niece of the Wurts brothers. Sykes, a civil engineer, began his career in 1825 in Newark, N.J. as assistant engineer of the Morris Canal, later becoming chief engineer. He resigned and in 1832 became assistant engineer with the New Jersey Railroad & Transportation Company from Jersey City to New Brunswick, later becoming chief engineer. He joined the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company around 1851 and in 1856 was appointed general agent/superintendent, resigning in 1866.
Theodore Frelinghuysen Wurts (1844-1911), father of John Sparhawk Wurts, was chief engineer for the construction of several railroads in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In addition to railroads, Theodore Wurts's engineering work also included surveying and reporting on coal mines in Pennsylvania coal fields. He also surveyed and laid out several New Jersey shore resorts. Wurts received two United States patents in 1889 and 1891 for his system of coast protection which entailed constructing breakwaters, seawalls and jetties and reclaiming overflowed lands.
The Wurts family papers are a collection assembled by John S. Wurts from various ancestors on both the male and female lines. They include family and business correspondence, diaries, estate papers, maps, engineering drawings, and financial papers such as bills and receipts, promissory notes, and accounts.
The largest and most important section pertains to the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company (1805-1869). These are primarily papers of Maurice Wurts. Primarily correspondence, they also include receipts, bills, accounts, estimates, petitions, journals, pamphlets, newspapers, articles of agreement, deeds, and powers of attorney. The records reveal Wurts's activities in mining and shipping coal, negotiating with New York and Pennsylvania politicians to secure the corporate charters, soliciting investments from New York capitalists, and supervising the construction of the canal. They include records of payments to canal contractors.
Another interesting series in the collection is the Vanuxem family papers, including those of James Vanuxem (1778-1837) and Louis C. Vanuxem (1811-1832), consisting of financial and legal papers and correspondence. James Vanuxem (1745-1824) was a Philadelphia shipping merchant and helped establish several insurance companies. His son Louis C. Vanuxem (1788-1832) had several occupations: he was a shipping merchant, he leased grist and saw mills from his father in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and he later relocated to Matanzas, Cuba where he took up farming and was a merchant.
The papers of Lorenzo A. Sykes, ranging from 1802-1886 include financial papers, correspondence, and diaries and notebooks, some which he kept while working for the Morris Canal and the New Jersey Railroad.
The Theodore F. Wurts Papers (1850-1919) consist primarily of his engineering papers and include drawings, maps, reports, and specifications for his work on railroads, coal mines, New Jersey seashore communities, and his patents for coast protection.
A diary of Samuel Grandin Wurts (1800-1803)includes brief notations about his activities on board the USS CONSTELLATION, dispatched to the Mediterranean during the Tripolitan War.
Although no members of the Vanuxem or Wurts families were members of the Mermaid Club, the records ended up in the possession of John S. Wurts. The Mermaid Club was a men's literary organization founded in 1877 in Germantown, Philadelphia. The records (1882-1902) include financial papers; correspondence; constitution, by-laws, and resolutions; secretary and committee reports; club histories; lecture and course readings lists; literary papers; and miscellany. The records also include financial papers (invoices and receipts) of St. Michael's Church, Sunday School that was also located in Germantown.
Much of the collection consists of family correspondence that illustrates the relationship between family members. These papers also reveal the concerns, amusements, interests, and attitudes of nineteenth century Americans in the professional class.
No restrictions on use.
Unpublished finding aid available in library.
Another body of Wurts family papers collected by the descendants of Charles Stewart Wurts contains additional letters of Maurice and John Wurts and is located at:
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust Street,
Philadelphia, Pa. 19107.
Allen, Horatio, 1802-1899.
Location: Hagley Museum and Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department, 298 Buck Road East, Greenville, Del. 19807.
Archbald, James, 1793-1870.
Atwater, Lyman Hotchkiss, 1813-1883.
Atwater, Robert H. (Robert Henry), d. 1900.
Binney, Horace, 1780-1875.
Clinton, DeWitt, 1769-1828.
Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851.
Girard, Stephen, 1750-1831.
Hone, Philip, 1780-1851.
Jay, Peter A. (Peter Augustus), 1776-1843.
Jay, William, 1789-1858.
Jervis, John B. (John Bloomfield), 1795-1885.
Kennedy, Robert Lenox, 1822-1887.
Kneass, Samuel H. (Samuel Honeyman), b. 1844.
Lord, Russell F., d. 1867.
McNeill, William Gibbs, 1801-1853.
Musgrave, William, d. 1856.
Olyphant, George T. (George Talbot), d. 1873.
Pettit, Charles, 1736-1806.
Reed, Henry Hope, 1808-1854.
Reed, Joseph, 1741-1785.
Reed, Joseph, 1772-1846.
Reed, William B. (William Bradford), 1806-1876.
Sartori, John B.
Seymour, Isaac N. (Isaac Newton), b. 1795.
Sparhawk, John, d. 1889.
Stewart, Charles, 1729-1800.
Strickland, William, 1787-1854.
Sykes, Lorenzo A. (Lorenzo Augustus), 1805-1878.
Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930.
Tyler, John, 1790-1862.
Vanuxem, Edward, 1818-1898.
Vanuxem, James, 1745-1824.
Vanuxem, James, 1790-1877.
Vanuxem, Louis C. (Louis Clark), 1788-ca. 1832.
Wurts, Charles P. (Charles Pemberton),
Wurts, Charles S. (Charles Stewart), 1790-1859.
Wurts, Charles Stewart, 1830-1907.
Wurts, John, 1792-1861.
Wurts, John S. (John Sparhawk), 1876-1958.
Wurts, Maurice, 1783-1854.
Wurts, Theodore F. (Theodore Frelinghuysen),
Wurts, William, 1788-1858.
Wurts, William, 1809-1858.
Wurtz, Henry, 1828-1910.
Wynkoop, Henry, 1736/37-1816.
Coal & Coke Railway Co.
Connecticut Western Railway Company.
Delaware and Hudson Canal Company.
Delaware and Hudson Company.
Guyandotte Land Company.
Insurance Company of North America.
Lackawaxen Coal Mine and Navigation Company.
Mermaid Club (Germantown, Pa.).
Morris Canal and Banking Company.
Paint Creek Collieries Company.
Pennsylvania Coal Company.
Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railway Company.
Washington Coal Company.
Wharton & Lewis.
Canals -- Design and construction.
Canals -- New Jersey.
Canals -- New York (State).
Canals -- Pennsylvania.
Canals -- Rates and tolls.
Civil engineering -- 19th century.
Civil engineering -- 20th century.
Coal mines and mining -- Pennsylvania.
Coal mines and mining -- West Virginia.
Literature -- Societies, etc.
Logging -- Pennsylvania.
Lumber trade -- Pennsylvania.
Railroads -- Connecticut.
Railroads -- Construction.
Railroads -- Massachusetts.
Railroads -- New Jersey.
Railroads -- Passes.
Railroads -- Pennsylvania.
Railroads -- Surveying.
Real estate business -- Pennsylvania.
Seaside resorts -- New Jersey -- 19th century.
Surveying -- 19th century.
Europe -- Description and travel -- 1800-1918.
New Jersey -- Railroads.
New York (State) -- Canals.
New Zealand -- Description and travel --
Pennsylvania -- Canals.
Pennsylvania -- Coal mines and mining.
Pennsylvania -- Railroads.
Pennsylvania -- Social life and customs -- 19th
Philadelphia (Pa.) -- Merchants.
Philadelphia (Pa.) -- Shipping.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Insurance policies. ftamc
Stock certificates. ftamc
Lawyers -- Pennsylvania. lcsh
Merchants -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia. lcsh
Control No.: DEHV90-A4
National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)
Hagley Museum and Library
Manuscripts and Archives Department
298 Buck Road East
Greenville, Delaware 19807.
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