Township of Flushing Queens: 1762 - 1819. Hardcover. Unpaginated [304 pp]. 32.5 x 21 cm. Autograph manuscript, ink and pencil on paper. Accounts penned on both rectos & versos. This manuscript account book records the iron trade and farm business of Jacob Suydam (c. 1730 - 1809) in the Township of Flushing Queens. Featuring the names we now consider familiar throughout the New York City boroughs - this ledger is teeming with the linked history of early life in the New York, Long Island, Brooklyn, and the Flushing Queens community. The names of Hicks, Willet, Smith, Ries, Van Wick, Cornell, and Willis all find their places in this document.
Jacob Suydam's footprint in the new world, or as his ancestors referred to the New York area as New Netherlands, begins with his great grandfather, Hendrick Jijcken (Rycke,) who arrived in New Netherlands in or around 1663 - taking the Oath of Allegiance in September 1687, as a resident of Flatbush, Long Island. He was a blacksmith by trade, eventually settling in the Midwout section of Queens. Midwout (middle woods) was named by these Dutch settlers as an area of dense woodlands. Hendrick's son (Jacob Suydam's father) Jacob Rycke (1666-1737) adopted the name Suydam sometime in the early 1700's.
The ledger begins on March, 1762 - Jacob Suydam diligently records every patron's name and every task that was performed, along with the cost and payment or credit. Many of his neighbors were listed multiple times as this was a tight knit community and much of the trade was done locally. For instance, Benjamin Arison is listed nine times from 1766 through 1775. With over sixty different family names registered here, the ledger describes tasks such as: hoop a churn, plate a plow, shoe a horse, mend tongs, mend a grindstone, iron and nails for wagon, teeth for oyster tongs, mend for bettle ring, spring for lock, as well as credit earned for days work, foodstuffs sold, and cash lent out.
Three quarters the way through the ledger, dating July, 1777, the recording of Iron Trade work concludes and picks up on the next page, in a different hand, documenting the Will and Inventory of Jacob Suydams. Historical records are concurrent with the dates recorded here: "July 8, 1809 Cash paid for proving the will and Inventory". The next four pages chronicle the money paid out of the Estate of Jacob Suydam, with the last date in ink written May 10 1819.
We know from the 1790 census that Suydam and many of his neighbors were slave owners - Suydam owning 5 slaves that year. In his last Will (found online), Suydam sets free his slave Sarah, who is "somewhat advanced in years" and asks that she be supported by the Will if she is unable to support herself with labor. In the ledger, directly beneath the recording of cash paid out for Jacob's Will are 2 records: 1810 February 26 - "Cash paid for digging Jacob Suydam's grave" followed by Cash paid for digging old Sarah's grave" and March 2 "Cash paid for old Sarah's Coffin." Also found in historical records online - Suydam freed his "Negro Boy William", first putting him out "to service" with "such a master as will give him learning sufficient to read and write" until his age of Twenty Three and then he would "be free and at his liberty and own disposal." We believe Jacob was married but the wife had died earlier, as it states in his Will, his wife's property had already been apportioned to her relatives. Jacob's Will assigns his property to his siblings and their descendants - there seems to have been no living children.
The last quarter of the account is written in pencil and seems to be an accounting of a farm with similar customer/family names recorded earlier on in the ledger, but with foodstuffs noted. 10 handwritten pages laid in - family history linking Jacob Suydam to Benjamin Arison as his Uncle. One of the notes recalls "Uncle Ben Arison (son) having a vegetable market on Main St. Flushing for several years and I remember as a child when visiting Grandmother Fowler in Flushing around 1867-70 going to see him and eating the fruit." Note is attributed to Mary Elizabeth Roe, daughter of Mary Arison (Fowler) Roe and Newbury Roe. The letters laid in discuss the family history of many of the clients recorded in the ledger with principal family name of Roe.
Ledger is noticeably worn with cracking to the hinges, although still holding well. Pages toned with some torn and a few ripped out at the rear. Brown calf. Good. Item #2460