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Carpenter Family Papers


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Carpenter family was among the first settlers of the Philadelphia area, established several towns in Salem and Gloucester counties, New Jersey, and had ties to numerous prominent families in the Philadelphia and Mid-Atlantic region. Extensive genealogical and biographical information about the family can be found in Edward Carpenter's book, Samuel Carpenter of Philadelphia and his Descendants, listed in the bibliography.

Samuel Carpenter (1649-1714) left England after the death of his father, in part because of the persecution he faced as a Quaker. He spent ten years as a businessman in Barbados before emigrating to Philadelphia in 1683. He married fellow Quaker Hannah Hardiman the next year, and the couple had three children live to adulthood. Already a man of means when he arrived in Philadelphia, Carpenter became one of the richest men of his day and served in various colonial government roles, including as Governor's Provincial Council member, provincial treasurer, and member of the Assembly. He built one of the first wharves in Philadelphia, the mansion known as the "Slate Roof House," a tavern, a bakery, ten storage warehouses, and more. He also owned substantial landholdings in the countryside around Philadelphia and across the Delaware River in New Jersey in Salem and Gloucester counties.

Samuel's great-grandson Thomas Carpenter (1752-1847) was born in Salem County, N.J., and during the Revolutionary War served as paymaster of the militia of the counties of Salem and Gloucester and as quartermaster of the first battalion of Salem troops. In the late 1780s, Thomas moved to Carpenter's Landing (now Mantua), N.J. and established a store and lumber business there. He also partnered with Colonel Thomas Heston, a relative by marriage, to create a large glass factory in Glassborough (now Glassboro), N.J.

Thomas's son Edward Carpenter (1777-1813) married Sarah Stratton (1781-1852), whose father was Dr. James Stratton (1755-1812) of Swedesboro, N.J. Dr. Stratton served as president of the Medical Society of New Jersey and as a surgeon in the 1st Regiment Gloucester County militia. Circa 1790, he built a large brick mansion in Swedesboro called Stratton Hall.

Edward and Sarah Carpenter's son Thomas P. Carpenter (1804-1876) was born at Carpenter's Landing, N.J. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1830, and in 1845, he was appointed as an associate judge on the New Jersey Supreme Court by his uncle, Governor Charles C. Stratton (1796-1859). He retired from the bench in 1852.

Thomas's brother Edward Carpenter, 2nd (1813-1889) was born in Glassborough, N.J. He moved to Philadelphia in 1843 and studied law as well, but he focused on real estate for most of his life. He married Anna Maria Howey (1818-1883) in 1837, and they had two children: Louis Henry Carpenter (1839-1916) and James Edward Carpenter (1841-1901).

Louis Henry Carpenter was also born in Glassborough, N.J., and left the University of Pennsylvania in 1858 at the end of his junior year to enroll as a private in the Union army. He was promoted many times over his thirty-eight years of military service, eventually retiring as brigadier general U.S. Army. He served in the Civil War campaigns of the Peninsula, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg, among others, and was among the white officers who oversaw African American troops in the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry. After the Civil War ended, Louis Henry served thirteen years in the Indian Wars in the West. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration, for his gallantry during those campaigns. At the end of his career, as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Louis Henry was ordered to Cuba during the Spanish-American War and later served as military governor in Cuba's Puerto Principe province. He never married, and retired in 1899. He was a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and various other social and intellectual organizations in Philadelphia. After his death in 1916, Louis Henry was buried in the family plot at Trinity Episcopal Church New Cemetery, Swedesboro, N.J.

Louis Henry's brother James Edward Carpenter (1841-1901) also served in the Union Army during the Civil War, but did not pursue a military career. He was honorably discharged at the end of his term of service and was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1865. He married Harriet Odin Dorr (1842-1896) in 1867, and they had four children live to adulthood, including Edward Carpenter, 4th (born 1872). James Edward served as treasurer and member of the Executive Committee of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

The Carpenter family papers include Brigadier General Louis Henry Carpenter's military papers and Civil War-era correspondence, family correspondence, miscellaneous family papers, and genealogical materials. The collection offers insights into a variety of disparate topics, including the Revolutionary War in the Philadelphia region; the early history of Haddon Township, N.J.; medicine in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; and the Civil War.

This collection was processed according to the "more product, less processing" model, and is not arranged into series. Folders are arranged alphabetically by folder title, with oversized items grouped in Box 5 and Flat File 1.

Louis Henry Carpenter's military papers span his entire thirty-eight-year U.S. Army career. Two bound volumes (vols. 17-18) contain his correspondence home to his mother, father, and occasional other correspondents during the Civil War, and provide a detailed account of his life as a soldier. Five bound volumes (vols. 8-12) preserve his military orders, commissions, and other correspondence. Volume 13 is a scrapbook of newspaper clippings related to the battles and campaigns in which Carpenter was involved. A folder of loose military papers (Box 3, Folder 8) includes a handwritten history of Carpenter's military service.

The collection also includes more than 200 years of family correspondence concerning topics as varied as the Revolutionary War, the early history of Haddon Township, N.J., and assorted news of acquaintances, family happenings, and health issues. Correspondents include Samuel Carpenter, John Estaugh, Isaac Norris, Preston Carpenter, Dr. James Stratton, Mary Stratton, Edward Carpenter, Charles C. Stratton (Box 2, Folder 5), and Thomas P. Carpenter, among many others.

The collection contains a fair amount of Carpenter family genealogical material. A folder of genealogical research (Box 3, Folder 7) includes correspondence and records related to research conducted in London about the Carpenter family, while other genealogical materials include reminiscences and family notes (Box 3, folders 5-6); an obituary for Thomas P. Carpenter (Box 4, Folder 3); and pamphlets and programs related to family history (Box 4, Folder 4). Volume 14 appears to be a handwritten copy of Edward Carpenter's 1912 book on Samuel Carpenter and his descendants (listed in the bibliography), and includes illuminated initial letters and scroll work done by Edward. Volumes 15-16 contain Thomas P. Carpenter's memoranda on the Carpenter family, including printed ephemera, newsclippings, and some correspondence.

The rest of the collection is a highly miscellaneous mix of family papers. Financial and legal papers include bills and receipts (Box 1, Folder 2); various account statements, including the estate settlements of Samuel Carpenter, William Hicks and John Carpenter (Box 1, Folder 1); numerous wills (Box 4, Folder 10; Box 5, Folder 6); a copy of Thomas Carpenter's affidavit concerning his service in the War of the Revolution (Box 1, Folder 3); and legal papers from a case that Thomas P. Carpenter argued in 1843-1844 regarding allegations that a county sheriff assaulted a woman.

Property records include deeds (Box 3, folders 1-4); surveys, agreements and transfers (Box 4, folders 7-8); a plan of Carpenter's Landing (Flat File 1); and documents describing the 1807 division of Glassborough, N.J., real estate owned by Thomas Carpenter and Thomas Heston, including maps of the lots (Box 1, Folder 1; Box 5, Folder 3).

A small group of family photographs can be found in Box 1, Folder 5, and other miscellaneous photographs, portraits, and prints can be found in Box 5 (folders 2, 4-5), including a single photo of James Edward Carpenter with his Dining Club of the Loyal Legion.

Other notable materials in the collection include broadsides regarding the sale of timber near Glassborough, N.J. (Box 5, Folder 1); miscellaneous newsclippings and printed material; Thomas Carpenter's account book circa 1811-1812 (Box 4, Folder 9); and 1759 provision tables for His Majesty's forces in North America (Box 4, Folder 6). A printed biography of Elizabeth Haddon Estaugh (Box 1, Folder 8) describes one of the first residents of what is now known as Haddonfield, N.J. Seven volumes belonging to Dr. James Stratton (vols. 1-7) provide a glimpse into the work of a late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century doctor, recording his patients' payments, medicines, and services received.

Carpenter, Edward and Louis Henry Carpenter. Samuel Carpenter of Philadelphia and his Descendants. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1912.

Gift of Louis H. Carpenter and Edward Carpenter, 1915-1916.

This collection was formerly titled "Louis H. Carpenter estate papers." The content of the collection has not changed, but the title was changed in 2010.

At some point, a 1780 broadside belonging to Thomas Carpenter was moved to the HSP Broadsides Collection (Call number Ab 1780-15).

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cathleen Miller and Dana Dorman
Finding Aid Date
The Digital Center for Americana pilot project was funded by the Barra Foundation and several individual donors.
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Accounts, (1707-1858).
Box 1 Folder 1
Bills & receipts, (1706-1883).
Box 1 Folder 2
Bonds, agreements, and legal papers, (1791-1834).
Box 1 Folder 3
Broadsides and circulars, (1795-1892, undated).
Box 1 Folder 4
Carpenter family photos, (undated).
Box 1 Folder 5
Case of Bateman v. Ware, (1843-1844).
Box 1 Folder 6
Certificates and commissions, (1701-1874).
Box 1 Folder 7
Contributions to the Biography of Elizabeth Estaugh, (1894).
Box 1 Folder 8
Correspondence, (1695-1698, 1700-1719).
Box 1 Folder 9-10
Correspondence to Rachel Carpenter, (1746-1812).
Box 1 Folder 11
Correspondence, (1754-1795).
Box 1 Folder 12-14
Correspondence, (1800-1909, undated).
Box 2
Deeds, agreements, conveyances, (1708-1836).
Box 3 Folder 1
Deeds, (1704-1796).
Box 3 Folder 2-4
Genealogical material, (1798, 1878, undated).
Box 3 Folder 5-6
Genealogical research, (1887-1894).
Box 3 Folder 7
Louis H. Carpenter military papers, (1864-1889).
Box 3 Folder 8
Miscellaneous printed material, (1850-1915).
Box 3 Folder 9
Newspaper clippings, (1839, 1902, 1908).
Box 3 Folder 10
Newspaper clippings, (1843-1911, undated).
Box 4 Folder 1-2
Obituaries for Thomas P. Carpenter, (1876).
Box 4 Folder 3
Pamphlets & programs -- family history, (1859-1902).
Box 4 Folder 4
Prints, family seals, ephemera, (undated).
Box 4 Folder 5
Provision tables for His Majesty's forces in North America, (1759).
Box 4 Folder 6
Surveys, (1709-1836, undated).
Box 4 Folder 7
Surveys, agreements, and transfers, (1734-1896, undated).
Box 4 Folder 8
Thomas Carpenter's account book, (1811-1812).
Box 4 Folder 9
Wills, (1742-1901, undated).
Box 4 Folder 10
Broadsides -- sale of timber near Glassboro, NJ and Carpenter's Landing, (1835-1841).
Box 5 Folder 1
Dining club of the Loyal Legion, (1885).
Box 5 Folder 2
Division of property in Glassborough, NJ, (1807).
Box 5 Folder 3
Miscellaneous photographs and prints, (1867, undated).
Box 5 Folder 4
Portraits, (undated).
Box 5 Folder 5
Wills, (1730, 1748, undated).
Box 5 Folder 6
Dr. James Stratton ledger A, (1779-1789).
Volume 1
Dr. James Stratton daybook, (1784-1789).
Volume 2
Dr. James Stratton ledger B, (1789-1795).
Volume 3
Dr. James Stratton ledger C, (1794-1811).
Volume 4
Dr. James Stratton ledger D, (1797-1809).
Volume 5
Dr. James Stratton ledger E, (1799-1812).
Volume 6
Dr. James Stratton ledger F, (1800-1816).
Volume 7
Military papers #1, Brig-General L. H. Carpenter, U.S. Army, (1864-1876).
Volume 8
Military papers #2, Brig-General L. H. Carpenter, U.S. Army, (1876-1885).
Volume 9
Military papers #3, Brig-General L. H. Carpenter, U.S. Army, (1885-1892).
Volume 10
Military papers #4, Brig-General L. H. Carpenter, U.S. Army, (1892-1909).
Volume 11
Military papers #5, Brig-General L. H. Carpenter, U.S. Army, (1861-1866).
Volume 12
Military papers #6, Brig-General L. H. Carpenter, U.S. Army, (1858-1912).
Volume 13
Genealogical memoranda of Samuel Carpenter and the Carpenter family compiled by Edward Carpenter, (1889).
Volume 14
Memoranda of the Carpenter family #1, (undated).
Volume 15
Memoranda of the Carpenter family #2, (undated).
Volume 16
Letters from the Army, L. H. Carpenter U.S.A., #1, (1861-1863).
Volume 17
Letters from the Army, L. H. Carpenter U.S.A., #2, (1863-1866).
Volume 18
Plan of Carpenter's Landing, (undated).
Oversize Flat File 1

Print, Suggest