Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 836, Savage Family
Papers, 1758-1938 (Bulk dates: 1788-1797, 1840-1890), 0.5 linear feet / 1 box
Call Number: MG 836
Letters, legal papers, printed matter, certificates, biographical and literary material of the Savage family in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. James Savage's Boston commonplace book, 1762-1780, includes political observances and poetry written during the Revolutionary War. The collection includes letters of Grover Cleveland, Henry Knox, and one by John Green to Benjamin Franklin.
Gift of Mrs. Samuel P. Savage, 1963.
The Savage Family in this collection is descended from Thomas Savage (1608-1682), who emigrated from England to Boston, Massachusetts in 1635. Samuel Phillips Savage, his great-grandson, insured vessels and cargo in Boston’s shipping business and lived in Weston, Massachusetts. He was an active patriot who was president of the Massachusetts Board of War and involved in the Boston Tea Party. Samuel Phillips Savage’s first wife, Sarah Tyler, died in February of 1764; his second wife, Bathsheba, in June of 1792.
Samuel’s son, Joseph Savage (b. June 13, 1756), fought in the American Revolution as captain of a Massachusetts Artillery Company during the Battle of Yorktown. He remained in the army until 1792 and then settled in Berwick, Maine where he was a justice of the peace. He and his wife Sophia (?) had at least three children together: Charles Tyler, Sarah (?), and Samuel A.
Samuel A. Savage was born on October 29, 1789 in West Point, New York. He was a merchant in Highland Falls, New York and New York City. He married Letitia Webber (1787-1879), the daughter of Philip Webber of New York, with whom he had three children: Joseph W., Susan Maria, and George Washington.
George Washington Savage (1819-1893) settled in Rahway, Union County, New Jersey in 1852. He married Elizabeth C. Marbacher of Easton, Pennsylvania in 1860, with whom he had at least six children: George Washington, Jr., Joseph W., Mary Elizabeth, Edward S., Samuel Phillips, and John M.
In 1856, George was elected as one of New Jersey’s seven presidential electors and was appointed Common Pleas judge in Union County, where he served until 1862. After the Civil War, Savage was president of the Board of Fire Underwriters of New York, the International Insurance Company of New York, and the Columbia Insurance Company. From 1885 to 1889, he was the consul to Belfast, Ireland under President Grover Cleveland, and during Cleveland’s second term, the consul to Dundee, Scotland. Savage died in 1893, five months after assuming his second consulship. John M. Savage, his son and vice-consul in both Belfast and Dundee, succeeded him.
Samuel Phillips Savage, another son of George and Elizabeth Savage, married Jenny Cowan Liggett in 1893 and the couple lived in the family home in Rahway. Edward S. Savage, George and Elizabeth’s third son, was a New Jersey assemblyman and president of Union County Bank.
See Savage Family Tree.
Clayton, W. Woodford, ed. History of Union and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men (Everts & Peck: Philadelphia, 1882).
Ricord, F.W., ed. History of Union County, New Jersey (East Jersey History Company: Newark, NJ, 1897).
The majority of the papers were donated by Mrs. Samuel Phillips Savage of Spring Lake, New Jersey in September of 1963. Samuel Phillips Savage’s commonplace book was accessioned around 1934 and joined with these papers at a later date.
The papers consist of the correspondence, legal documents, clippings, and invitations of the Savage family, in particular George Washington Savage, Joseph Savage, and Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797). These papers date from 1758-1938, with bulk dates of 1788-1797 and 1840-1890, and have been arranged by document type.
The correspondence is the largest series in the collection and has been arranged by recipient and then author and date. It is largely made up of letters between Joseph Savage and his father, Samuel Phillips Savage while the former was a captain in the army from 1782-1792; and of the letters between George Washington Savage and his wife Elizabeth C. (Marbacher) Savage during her trip to England and France in 1886. Topics in the earlier letters include the ratification of the Constitution in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York; the passing of laws and taxes by Congress; desertion in the army; and a description of Savage’s tour of duty in Georgia. Subjects in the later letters include the social obligations of the consul of Belfast, Ireland; Irish parliamentary politics; and sightseeing in Liverpool, London, and Paris. Other correspondence in the papers discuss the shipping business in Salem and Boston, Massachusetts; the dismissal of George W. Savage’s son from Princeton College; land speculation in the west; social life and suitors in 1839; and skirmishes with the French during the French and Indian War in 1758. There are two letters from General Henry Knox to Samuel Phillips Savage reassuring him that the newspaper account of Joseph Savage’s death is inaccurate, and one letter to George Washington Savage from Grover Cleveland thanking him for his congratulations on the presidential nomination. Additionally, there is a letter from John Green to Benjamin Franklin pertaining to commerce in China.
The papers also contain a smaller number of legal, court, military, and financial documents. These items include the presidential elector certificate of George W. Savage with his ballots (for James Buchanan and John C. Breckenridge); wills; a marriage certificate; a charge to the jury by Judge George W. Savage; blank writs, summons and an injunction from Joseph Savage as justice of the peace; Civil War military passes; a study on the costs of establishing a "Regiment of Foot" during the Revolution; and mortgages, bonds, a land deed, receipts, and bills.
The papers also contain poetry, both handwritten and published, and various other printed materials: pamphlets, newspaper clippings (mostly obituaries), programs, and a large number of invitations that reflect the social aspect of consular duties. Samuel Phillips Savage’s commonplace book, containing recipes for salves and tonics, signed receipts of debts, household instructions, planting dates, poems, and hymns is also included in the papers.
Thomas Savage (1608-1682), immigrated from England in 1635
Thomas Savage = Elizabeth Scotton
Arthur Savage = Faith Phillips
Samuel Phillips Savage (d. ca. 1797) ===== 1) Sarah Tyler (d. 1764)
2) Bathsheba ( ) (d. 1792)
Samuel Savage (b. 1748)
Willliam Savage (b. 1750)
*Joseph Savage (b. 1756)
Harry Savage (b. 1758)
Sarah Savage (b. 1760) = George Thatcher
Lucy Savage (b. 1761) = Amos Bigelow
*Joseph Savage (b. 1756) = Sophia (?) ( )
Charles Tyler Savage
Sarah Savage (?)
Samuel A. Savage (1789-1830) = Letitia Webber (1787-1879)
Joseph W. Savage (b. 1812)
Susan Maria Savage (Freeman)
George Washington Savage (1819-1893) = Elizabeth C. Marbacher
George Washington Savage, Jr.
Joseph W. Savage
Mary Elizabeth Savage
Edward S. Savage
**Samuel Phillips Savage (ca. 1863-1933) = Jenny Cowan Liggett
John M. Savage (d. 1938)
**Samuel Phillips Savage (ca. 1863-1933) = Jenny Cowan Liggett
Samuel Phillips Savage = ( ) (donated the collection)
Processed by Kim Charlton, January 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