Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 290, Anne Hart (fl. 1804-1811) / Reverend John Stanford (1754-1834)
Correspondence, 1804-1811, 0.1 linear feet / 1 volume
Call Number: MG 290
Letters written from Burlington, New Jersey by Anne Hart, widow of Reverend Oliver Hart of Hopewell in Mercer County, to Reverend John Stanford of New York.
Reverend John Stanford was born in Wandsworth (Surrey), England on October 20, 1754. His parents, William and Mary Stanford, died before he was twenty years of age. He was ordained in England in 1781 and moved to the United States five years later.
He first worked as a pastor in Virginia and later as pastor in the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1789, he traveled to New York City and helped erect a building on Fair (now Fulton) Street that served as a combination church, school and residence. He served as pastor until 1801 when, following the yellow fever outbreak of 1798 that ravished the congregation, a fire destroyed the building.
After leaving New York City he was an itinerant preacher on the eastern seaboard for nearly a decade before his appointment in 1812 as chaplain to the New York State Prison. It was in this position that he advocated separating children from hardened criminals in order to promote their reeducation. He also founded the House of Refuge to provide emotional support and moral guidance to the poor.
On June 16, 1790, Stanford married Sarah Ten Eyck, with whom he had two sons and two daughters. Sarah Ten Ecyk Stanford died of yellow fever in 1798. John Stanford died in New York City on January 14, 1834.
Mrs. Anne Hart, who wrote the letters in this collection, was the widowed wife of Reverend Oliver Hart (d. ca. 1804) of Hopewell, New Jersey. She resided in Burlington, New Jersey when these letters were written.
The source of these letters is unknown.
The Anne Hart /Reverend John Stanford correspondence consists of twelve original letters dating from 1804-1811 bound together chronologically in one scrapbook. The scrapbook also contains the paper envelopes that held each letter.
Anne Hart, a pious woman, wrote to Reverend Stanford for spiritual guidance after the death of her husband. These letters reflect the personal trials and tribulations of Anne Hart during this time period. She confides in Reverend John Stanford about her family concerns, religious devotion, personal health and local issues. She became one of many who religiously wrote Reverend Stanford for friendship and advice.
Processed by Stephen Sullivan 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