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John Janvier account books for New Castle, Delaware


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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 progenitor of the Janvier family in America, Thomas Janvier (1664 – ca. 1729), emigrated from France to New Castle County, Delaware. He married Sarah Jordain, a New Castle resident. The couple's six sons established a number of Janvier family lines in the mid Atlantic. Over generations, family members achieved prominence in a variety of occupations ranging from skilled craft work, including smithing and cabinetmaking, to service as merchants and politicians.

John Janvier, the great-grandson of Thomas Janvier, was an investor and a civic leader in nineteenth century New Castle, Delaware. His ledger books, dating from 1836 to 1885, detail a variety of financial interests. During the mid-nineteenth century he served as a trustee of the commons of New Castle, as the president of the branch bank of New Castle, and as president of the New Castle Turnpike and Railroad Company. He may have owned Batten Mills. He was also an active investor with the New Castle Gas Company and Water Works and an officer of the Farmer's Mutual Fire Insurance Company. His brother William Janvier, whose accounts appear throughout the books, was an attorney-at-law.

New Castle on the Delaware, Delaware Federal Writers' Project in the American Guide Series, New Castle County Historical Society, 1974. pp 41, 45-46, 105Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware,1609-1888, 2 volumes. Philadelphia: L.J. Richards and Company, 1888.Additional information drawn from the collection itself.

In the mid-nineteenth century, John Janvier was a prominent citizen of New Castle, Delaware. He served as treasurer of the stagecoach route between New Castle and Frenchtown. Later, with Thomas Janvier, he established the first turnpike stage line in Delaware; called the "Union Line"; it ran along the route of the New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Railroad Company. The first two volumes of his account books detail his personal loans and investments in the years just after the company was sold in 1837, and before the rail lines were dismantled in 1858. These years of financial transition are documented here. The subsequent three volumes detail investments in a variety of financial institutions and rail companies. They also include accounts with other prominent Delaware families, including the Tatnal (Tatnall) family.

Item 0054: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

Purchases, August 1984, and September 1996

Processed by Colleen E. Lemke, December 2004. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, March 2018.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2018 March 28
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Account book, 1836-1854.
Volume 1
Scope and Contents

34 pages of entries, including personal loans such as bonds, notes, and mortgage accounts, and investments. Debtors listed include Jesse Moore, John Moore, Peter Springer, John McPike, -- Janvier, Enoch Roberts, Thomas Calhoun, Thomas Newton, Charles Black, Robert M. Janvier, George Tybout, William Janvier, and John Alrich. Institutions listed in which Janvier owned stock include the Farmer's Bank, Union Bank of Delaware, Bank of Wilmington and Brandywine, and the Delaware and – Canal Company. The end of the volume contains an additional list of stock, bonds, and mortgages.

Account book, 1847-1854.
Volume 2
Scope and Contents

39 pages of entries, including personal loans and daily accounts. Individual debtor accounts listed include Charles Black, John Morrison, John Dorman, James Kennedy, Michael King, and Edward Hance. Entries include information about cattle trade and the exchange of agricultural products, such as potatoes. Volume also includes instructions for "How to measure an Acre Land."

Account book, 1853-1861.
Volume 3
Scope and Contents

61 pages of entries including personal loans and investments and newspaper clippings. Institutions listed in which Janvier owned stock include the Farmers Bank of Delaware, Mechanics Bank of Wilmington, Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, Beaver Meadow Rail Road Company, Alleghany County & Alleghany Valley Rail Road Bonds, and the Wilmington and Great Valley Turnpike.

Account book, 1853-1885.
Volume 4
Scope and Contents

43 pages of entries, including personal loans and investments. Debtors listed in addition to those with previous accounts include Jemima Crow and others. Also includes a section titled "Day Book," notes on the "Acting Committee of the N. Castle Common," accounts of Simmons Farm, "bought Dec 16, 1878," with a list of the construction costs of a barn on the Simmons Farm, and a list titled "Marketing Calves Hougs & Poultry Sold."

Account book, 1858-1880.
Volume 5
Scope and Contents

84 pages of entries, including personal loans and investments accounts. Institutions listed in which Janvier owned stock include the National Bank of Wilmington and Brandywine, Farmers Bank of Delaware, Mechanics Bank of Wilmington, Delaware Rail Road Company, Lehigh Valley Rail Road Company, Pennsylvania Rail Road Company, and First National Bank of Wilmington. Debtors listed in addition to those with previous accounts include Henry Tatnal, John Black, George Danby, Eliza Richards, Ann Hoy, Susan Darragh, Mary Caroline Reybold, and many others. Also includes a "list of stocks, bond & mortgages now held by me."

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