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Major David Lenox papers


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

Major David Lenox (1753-1828) served in the Revolutionary War and later became a successful merchant, Federal marshal, diplomat, and banker in Philadelphia.

Born October 3, 1753 in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, David Lenox emigrated with his brother Robert to Philadelphia sometime before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. On January 5, 1776, Lenox was commissioned Captain of the 3rd Battalion of the Pennsylvania Militia. Lenox was serving at Fort Washington on the northern edge of Manhattan when it was captured by the British on November 16, 1776. He was wounded and taken prisoner, and held at Flatbush on Long Island until his release in May 1778. From 1779 to 1781, Lenox served in the Philadelphia City Troop. On October 4, 1779, James Wilson and his colleagues barricaded themselves in Wilson's home, or Fort Wilson, during a riot following Wilson's successful defense of 23 people from property seizure and exile by the radical government of Pennsylvania. Lenox was a member of the Philadelphia City Troop who participated in ending the riot.

Following the Revolutionary War, Lenox entered mercantile life in Philadelphia and became very prominent in business. Appointed on September 26, 1793, Lenox served as a Federal marshal of the district of Pennsylvania until May 18, 1795. During his service as marshal, he participated in the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. From 1799 to 1801, Lenox served as Agent for the United States to the Court of St. James, during which he worked to exchange American sailors who were captured by the British and French during the Quasi-War.

In 1812, Lenox was appointed a trustee of the Girard Bank, a position in which he served until his death. In 1813, he became president of the Philadelphia Bank, serving until 1818.

On August 26, 1779, Lenox married Tacy Lukens, the granddaughter of John Lukens (circa 1720-1789) who served as Surveyor General of Pennsylvania and Delaware. From 1818 until his death on April 10, 1828, Lenox lived in retirement in Philadelphia.

This collection consists of one linear foot of correspondence relating to David Lenox's career following the Revolutionary War. In particular, these letters focus on land speculation, duties in the Whiskey Rebellion, executorship of estates, banking, personal business and household receipts, and records relating to the settlement of his estate.

Lenox handled the estates of John Lukens and Joseph Prowell. John Lukens (1720?-1789) served as Surveyor-General of Pennsylvania and Delaware from 1761 to 1776, and of Pennsylvania from 1781 to 1789. Major Joseph Prowell served in the Philadelphia Light Horse during the Revolutionary War, and in 1777, was commissioned a captain in the Pennsylvania Line, participating in battles at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown.

Included in the collection is Alexander Hamilton's and Richard Peters's letter of November 11, 1794, thanking Lenox for his government service, but urging him to the bedside of his sick wife. Also included are letters from Robert and William Pulsford advising Lenox on the financial affairs of the Washington Plantation. These letters contain discussions of the sale of slaves. Other correspondents include Horace Binney, William Bradford, George Fisher, Alexander Graydon, Robert Lenox, Levi Lincoln, various members of the Lukens family, various members of the Prowell family and Forsyth Smith and Co.

Boxes 1-3: Shelved in SPEC MSS mss (3 in)

Gift of the Moyerman family, 1970-1972.

The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.

Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, April 2018.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2018 April 30
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
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

Box 1 Folder F1
Box 1 Folder F2
[1 of 2], 1801-1810.
Box 1 Folder F3
[2 of 2], 1801-1810.
Box 2 Folder F4
[1 of 2], 1811-1819.
Box 2 Folder F5
[2 of 2], 1811-1819.
Box 2 Folder F6
Deed: The Philadelphia Bank to Samuel Miller, 1817.
Box 2 Folder F7
Physical Description

Document is handwritten on vellum, folded

[1 of 4], 1820-1829.
Box 2 Folder F8
[2 of 4], 1820-1829.
Box 3 Folder F9
[3 of 4], 1820-1829.
Box 3 Folder F10
[4 of 4], 1820-1829.
Box 3 Folder F11
Box 3 Folder F12
Box 3 Folder F13
Drafts of letters, 1782-1832.
Box 3 Folder F14

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