Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 118, Andrew Leake (d. ca. 1768), Merchant
Account book, 1756-1766, 0.15 linear feet / 1 volume
Kept by the proprietor of a general store in Bromley (now Burnt Mills), Somerset County, New Jersey.
Gift of William S. Hunt, 1938.
Andrew Leake, a younger son with few prospects for property ownership, immigrated from either Scotland or England to New Jersey around 1753. In 1758 and 1759 he bought land in Somerset County near the junction of the Lamington River and the North Branch of the Raritan River and in Bridgewater Township. Around 1760 he married Susan Demun (or Dumont), probably the daughter of Peter Demun, Jr., and together they had at least five children: Morgan, Susan, Catherine, Andrew, and Peter (b. 1770).
Leake became a large property owner and by 1760 owned and operated mills (probably grist mills), a general store, and a cooperage in Bromley (now Burnt Mills), Somerset County. Around this time period he also built mills (later known as Stillwell’s, Kennedy’s, and Reger’s Mills) and another store six miles away in what he probably named New Bromley, Hunterdon County (near present day Lamington). In 1763, however, Leake tried to sell the two sets of mills and general stores along with his land and residence in Bromley with the intention of moving to New York. The following year, he again offered the Bromley property for sale, this time at public vendue.
The sales, however, seem to have been unsuccessful, and in 1765 Leake became insolvent with the result that a year later his assignees, William Axtill, John Taylor, James M’Evers, and Cornelius Low, Jr., sold off his real and personal property. In 1767 or 1768, Leake left New Jersey and either headed for New York or Saint Thomas in the West Indies, where he soon died, family tradition has it, of yellow fever.
"Department of Notes and Queries: Leake-Dumont-Demun," Somerset County Historical Quarterly 1915 (Vol. IV), pgs. 75-78.
"The Sites of ‘Bromley’ and ‘New Bromley,’" Somerset County Historical Quarterly 1912 (Vol. I), pgs. 232-233.
Manuscript Group 1433, Abraham Van Doren Honeyman (1849-1936) Genealogical Collection, The New Jersey Historical Society.
This volume was donated by William S. Hunt of Newark in 1938 (accession number M2729). It was part of a much larger donation which also included four record books of Jacob Fine, a shoemaker from Raritan, Somerset County (MG 102). For a list of all items donated by Mr. Hunt, see The Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. 56, 1938, pg. 241.
The records consist of an account used by Andrew Leake to track his business at the Bromley general store from the years 1756-1766. The accounts, containing both a debit and credit side, are by customer, and record the date, purchase, and price. Customers bought such goods as rum, salt, pepper, molasses, wheat, stockings, buckles, and nails either by cash, barter, or by working off their debts through such tasks as working at the mills and carting. The accounts from the years 1756-1758 are located in the front of the book, while the accounts from the years 1759-1766 start from the other end. There is an index located in the rear of the account book.
In the middle of the volume, at the break in the store accounts, are a number of "memoranda" tracking the flow of "pork received…for cash and book debt and shop goods" from the years 1760-1764 and for "work done by the coopers" in 1760. The account book also contains writing (in pencil), consisting of doodles and miscellaneous notes, by a subsequent owner.
See other merchants' records.
Processed by Kim Charlton, July 2000 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society