Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 262, Essex County, New Jersey Tax Office
Account book, 1772-1780, 0.2 linear feet / 1 volume
Call Number: MG 262(os)
Accounts kept by Silvanus Baldwin, James Clark, Isaac Longworth, John Ludlow, Francis Post, Thomas Post, and Derrick Vreeland - agents for the collection of county taxes and sinking funds, provincial taxes, and later state taxes. Among the communities indicated are Acquackanock (now Passaic), Connecticut Farms (now in Union Township), Elizabeth, Newark, Rahway, Springfield, and Westfield. Also includes Samuel H. Congar's notes for his Genealogical Notices of the First Settlers of Newark, Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. 6, supplement (Newark, NJ, 1866), pgs. 105-166.
Because the expenses of maintaining the early colonial government were relatively slight, roughly $10,000 as late as 1770, taxation on individuals with property was light. The money supply was very low in the colonies, and the currency exchange of the various forms of cash was chaotic. In addition, a large portion of the trade within the colonies involved barter of agricultural products or skins, so the need for cash was low. Only possessions such as houses, livestock and improved property were taxed, not income or investments. The colonial governments also raised funds in times of need by issuing bonds, issuing paper money, and receiving credit from Britain.
Much of the anger that led to revolution was derived from measures such as the Stamp Act of 1665 and constraint of trade that effectively forced the colonies to finance the wars of an overextended Britain. After the Revolutionary War, however, the new government was heavily in debt, and the tax burden on the citizenry was not substantially reduced. Before long the government introduced new sources of revenue such as tariffs and tax stamps on legal documents to raise funds.
Samuel Hayes Congar (1796-1892) was a coach painter by profession; however, in 1848 he became a member of The New Jersey Historical Society. He was appointed the first librarian of the Society in 1853 and served until his death in 1872. In addition to his duties as librarian of the Society, Congar edited many of the publications of the Society such as the Newark town records in 1864, and he wrote articles for the Newark Daily Advertiser. Samuel Congar also served as the librarian of the Apprentices Library of Newark. He married Hannah Parkhurst (1799-1879) and with her had two sons.
Shaw, William H., History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey, Vol. 1 (Everts & Peck, Philadelphia, 1884).
The source of this collection is unknown.
This volume contains the Essex County, New Jersey Tax Office accounts of tax collection agents dating from 1772-1780, and Samuel Hayes Congarís notes for his Genealogical Notes of the First Settlers of Newark (1866).
The Essex County Tax Office account book tracks the accounts of the following collection agents: Sylvanus Baldwin (1721-1799) and Isaac Longworth (1726-1794) of Newark, Edward Thomas (fl. 1774-1775) of Elizabethtown (now named Elizabeth), James Clark (1745-1794) of Connecticut Farms (now named Union), John Ludlow (fl. 1773), Francis Post (fl. 1779-1780), and Derrick Vreeland (fl. 1773-1774) of Acquackanock (now named Passaic). Early in this volume, the sums collected were provincial taxes, but after the Revolutionary War, they became county and state property taxes. This volume documents taxes collected in Acquackanock, Connecticut Farms, Elizabethtown, Newark, Rahway, Springfield, and Westfield. These accounts occupy about a third of this volume, another third are the handwritten notes of Samuel Hayes Congar in pencil, and the remaining pages are blank.
Samuel Hayes Congarís Genealogical Notes of the First Settlers of Newark was published in The New Jersey Historical Society Proceedings, volume 16, series I (1866) (call number N974.9 N4211 v6 supp).
Processed by Luis Delfino, July 2001 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