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Jesse Merritt Family

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Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. 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

Jesse Merritt (1889-1957) was a Quaker historian of Nassau County, N.Y., and President of Bethpage Press of Farrnlngdale, N. Y. The Merritt family settled on Long Island, NY, in the mid-18th century. The first Jesse Merritt (1767-1843) was the son of Nathaniel and Anna Merritt. He married Mary Cornelius at Bethpage meeting house in 1789 and was a friend and fellow traveler of Elias Hicks, the Quaker minister. Mary was a descendent of Thomas Powell who had been the original proprietor of Bethpage Purchase. Jesse and Mary had three children. Jesse Merritt (1889-1957) was the grandson of their son John C. Merritt.

Jesse Merritt was born in 1889 in Bethpage, Nassau County, NY., the son of Jesse and Pauline Willis, who were members of Jericho Monthly Meeting. In 1918, he married Mabel Witte, who became a Quaker in 1925. The couple settled on Long Island where Jesse Merrit owned and published a newspaper and was involved in local government and history. Their two daughters, Jean and Jessica, attended Swarthmore College, and Jesse Merritt was an honorary curator of Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. He died in 1957.

This collection contains the family papers of Jesse Merritt including biographical and genealogical material, correspondence, writing, legal papers, and memorabilia. In addition to the information on Nassau County, NY, of particular note is a letter collected by Jesse Merritt from Isaac T. Hopper concerning a young female former prisoner who is looking for work.

The collection is divided into eight series:

  1. Biographical and genealogical
  2. Correspondence, primarily between Jesse Merritt and the staff of Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
  3. Writings
  4. Printed articles on Jesse Merritt and his daughter Jean
  5. Scrapbook on the opening of Bethpage meeting house
  6. Legal papers
  7. Reference material collected by the family
  8. Pictures.

Donor: Jesse Merritt, ca. 1936-1943

The collection was given

Processed by FHL staff prior to 1967. Correspondence of Alfred A. Merritt, 1893-1905, unrelated to this collection but added to it circa 1959, was removed 4/2000 and placed in a Small Collection.

The following genealogical charts have been placed in the Chart Case, filed as a group under "Merritt":

  1. Goffe, Whalley. (ms.); Powell, Thomas, founder of Bethpage, N. Y., ancestor of Pres. Chas. DeGarmo and Dean Elizabeth Powell Bond of Swarthmore College. Taken from Mary Powell Seaman Bunkers Long Island Genealogies. (pos. Photostat)
  2. Underhill, Capt. John - Elizabeth Feke, of Westchester Co., N. Y. (pos. & neg. photostats)
  3. Underhill, Capt. John, m. 1st. Mary Mosely; m. 2nd. Elizabeth Feke. (1 neg., 2 pos. photostats)
  4. Whaley, Underhill, Sutton, Goffe(Gough) (2 pos.; 2 neg. photostats; 2 mss.)

The following pictures have been catalogued and filed in Picture Files:

  1. Photostat of Muirhead Bone etching of view from 2nd floor of Fifteenth Street Meeting House, N. Y.
  2. Elizabeth Fenimore Cooper, mother of James Fenimore Cooper, from unpublished daguerreotype. (neg., 2 pos. photostats)
  3. Hicks Hall (London) c.1750. (photostat); Rotogravure copies of paintings by Thomas Hicks of Stephen Foster, Abraham Lincoln, with attached carbon of letter from Charles F. Jenkins to Jesse Merritt, 10-25-193.; photographs of Thornas Hicks's summer and winter paintings of Westbury L.I., Meeting House, and photostat of section of diary of Mary F. Willitts recording her watching, 1853, Thomas Hicks painting the Meeting House. Also, article from American Collector, June 1942, by Jesse Merritt, re. the two paintings; 2 photostats (large & small) of Howard Pyle's painting "Quaker Wedding"; "Skipper Ireson's Ride",- Will H. Low's illustration for the Whittier poem. (photostat); 2 photostats of Spencer's engraving of George Fox at Cambridge; Portrait of Anna W. Waln (Rawle)(photographic copy) by Thomas Sully. Original in Brooklyn Museum; Clipping of copy of Swarthmore (Parrish Hall) drawn by Thomas Moran; plate of Thomas Hicks's painting of Westbury Meeting House (summer).

The following printed materials have been catalogued as appropriate:

  1. Another Cry of the Oppressed for Justice:.., London, 1664
  2. A Declaration and an Information from Us the People of God Called Quakers..., Thos. Simmons & Robt. Wilson, Lond. 1660
  3. The Devil Was and Is the Old Informer Against the Righteous, by George Fox. John Bringhurst, Lond., 1682/3
  4. Extracts from the Minutes of the Yearly Meeting of Friends held in N. Y., opened on the 2th of 5th month, 1866. Egbert, N.Y.,1866
  5. The Guide Book to Historic Germantown, prepared for the Site and Relic Society by Charles F. Jenkins, Germantown, 1904
  6. The Hicksite Quakers and Their Doctrines, by James De Garmo. N. Y., Christian Literature Co., 1897
  7. Inward Light, 22, Dec. 1944
  8. The Journal of John Woolman with introduction by John G. Whittier. Boston, Houghton, Osgood & Company, 1879. (Riverside Press, Camb.); Memorial of the Society of Friends in re. to the Indians. Rose & Co., Balt., Md., [c.1867]; Newsletter on Economic Problems, Committee on Economic Problems, Friends General Conference. Jan., Feb., Mar., 1944
  9. A Particular Account of the Late and Present Great Sufferings and Oppressions of the People Called Quakers.... Andrew Soule, Lond., 160.

Publisher
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
Before 1950
Sponsor
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/.

Collection Inventory

Bible of Benjamin Albertson.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Given to Jesse Merritt by his mother, Pauline Willis Merritt, granddaughter of the original owner. Stored with "Bibles." Contains genealogical pages between Apocrypha and New Testament, on Albertson family and related families

Goffe genealogical chart.
Box 1
Genealogical notes on Goffe (Gough), Seaman, Sutton, Underhill, Whalley families.
Box 1
Physical Description

Binder, stapled sheets, and loose sheets

General correspondence, largely between Jesse Merritt and members of the staff of the Friends Historical Library, 1937-1949.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes letter from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Jesse Merritt, 1937 4mo 5 (photoprint).

Dolly P. Madison to I.T. Buckingham, 1838 4mo 5.
Box 1
Physical Description

ALS

Isaac T. Hopper to Hannah Pennock, 1847 12mo 10.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Concerning a young female former prisoner who is looking for work.

Physical Description

ALS

John Greenleaf Whittier to "My Dear friend", June, 1860.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Filed in Whittier Mss.

Physical Description

photostat

Extract of letter from B. Chew, Jr. to J. Chew, 1795 8mo 28.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes letter from John Chew to John Galloway 1795 9mo 2

Physical Description

photostats

Scope and Contents

Jean was the daughter of Jesse. Writings are chronologically arranged.

"Walt Whitman and Long Island Quakerism," by Jean Merritt. Clipping from The Long Islander., 1938 6mo 24.
Box 1
Article on Robert Moses, by Jean Merritt. Clipping from The Nassau Daily Review-Star., 1940 5mo 17.
Box 1
Letter to the editor, "Don't Throw America Overboard," by Jesse Merritt, Clipping from The Farmingdale Post, 1941 5mo 22.
Box 1
Article, "Thomas Worth, Humorist to Currier Ives," by Jesse Merritt, in American Collector, August 1941.
Box 1
"Historical Notes," by Jesse Merritt, in The Nassau County Historical Journal, Sept. 1941.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Jesse Merritt was the news editor.

Article, "Thomas Hicks, N. A.," by Jesse Merritt. Clipping from The Nassau County Historical Journal., Spring 1943.
Box 1
Article, "The Duke's Laws Adopted In Hempstead at 1665 Assembly Still States' Basic Laws", by Jesse Merritt. Clipping from The Hempstead Sentinel, 1943 10mo 7.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes picture of Jesse Merritt.

"Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick, Physician," by Jesse Merritt, from "Masonic Miniatures", 1945.
Box 1
Article, "The Founding of Hicksville," and "Historical Notes," by Jesse Merritt, in The Nassau County Historical Journal, Autumn 1948.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Jesse Merritt was the associate editor and trustee.

"Historical Notes," and "List of Nassau County Markers," by Jesse Merritt, in The Nassau County Historical Journal, Spring 1950.
Box 1
Article, "Thomas Dongan and the Charter of Liberties", by Jesse Merritt, in The Nassau County Historical Journal. (Jesse Merritt trustee), Fall 1951.
Box 1
Article, "George Washington and a Quaker Friend," by Jesse Merritt, n.d.
Box 1
"The History of Bethpage Meeting House," by Jesse Merritt., n.d.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Citing of his address at re-opening of Bethpage Friends Meeting House.

Article, "West and Quaker Artists", by Jesse Merritt?, n.d.
Box 1

6 clippings: containing pictures of Mrs. Merritt and daughters Jean and Jessica, and of the Merritt home, 1923 10mo 5, 1941 8mo 14.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Includes 4 undated clippings, one containing a picture of Jesse Merritt.

Physical Description

pos. photostat

Scrapbook re: re-opening of Bethpage Friends Meeting House.
Box 1

Power of Attorney, J. Thomas Young to Samuel Young, 1729 Feb. 4.
Box 1
Summons signed by Benj. Chew, Att'y Gen'l, with portrait, 1758.
Box 1
Physical Description

photostats

Scope and Contents

Filed under "M"

Physical Description

pos. photostats

Thomas Willetts, Sr. to Thomas Willetts, Jr., Islip, Suffolk Co., Nassau Island, 1712, May 30.
Box 1
Benjamin Birdsall and Martha, to Ananias Wording, Oysterbay Twp., Queens Co., Nassau Island, 1753, March 6.
Box 1
Elias Hicks to Royal Idrich, Jericho, Oysterbay Twp., Queens Co. N.Y., 1802, 5mo 14.
Box 1
See also MISC. MSS. Samuel Chew's Commission as Clerk of Court, Kent Co., Del, Jan. 4, 1771.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Filed under "Chew"

Physical Description

pos. photostats

Nathalia Crane's "The Bryant Tree" and biographical sketch of the poet., 199?.
Box 2
Physical Description

printed poem and copy

Papers re: Benjamin Chew picture.
Box 2
Physical Description

photostats

Material re: Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Includes 11 photostats of items on him. Also includes letter from Dr. Dick to Jarnes H. Howe, 2mo 2 1815.

"A Treatise of the Materia Medica," by Wm. Cullen, M. D. with Elisha C. Dick's name inside cover.
Box 2
"An Elegy on the Death of John Woolman" anon. verses, 1788.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

"For Jane Mott, 1788"

Physical Description

ms.

"History of the Society of Friends in Queens Co..." by Henry Onderdonk, Jr., 1870.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Revised 1876.

Physical Description

ms.

Positive photostat of Contents, Preface, and Index.
Box 2
Miscellaneous clippings relating mainly to the history of Long Island.
Box 2
Roscoe Pound's remarks for the anniversary of Bethpage Friends Meeting.
Box 2
"The Rise of Jacob Brown", by Capt. Joseph I. Greene, from Seventh Regiment Gazette,, March 1938.
Box 2
Westbury Monthly Meeting, extracts from minutes, 1755.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Certifying membership of certain individuals. Filed in RG 5++M under Merritt Papers.

Physical Description

pos. photostats, 2 sheets

Gravestone of Job Anthony, grandfather of Susan B. [Anthony] Plate of Mary F. Jillitts's signature, 1853.
Box 2

Print, Suggest