Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 1139
Scott Family (Elizabethtown, NJ)
Papers, 1792 - 1863
.15 linear feet / 7 folders
Processed by Irina Peris in January 2000 as part of the "Farm to City Project," funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
These papers pertain to Gavin Scott (1738 - 1815), a resident of Alnwick, Northumberland, in England, who immigrated to the new world. In May 1795, he with his wife, Mary, and his son, William, and his brother-in-law, Thomas Mather, left for America. They arrived in New York City where Mather Scott, one of Gavin’s sons, resided at the time. Gavin Scott settled in nearby Elizabethtown, New Jersey and undertook various agricultural enterprises.
This collection was purchased in October, 1980.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection contains Scott family correspondence sent within the US and to England. The letters cover a broad variety of subjects ranging from social and political commentaries to descriptions of the weather and everyday matters. Of primary importance are the letters written by Gavin Scott. For instance, in a letter of July 8, 1795, Gavin Scott describes the Atlantic voyage from England to Cape Cod to his brother Thomas Scott. In his letter from Elizabethtown (Dec.31, 1796), Scott describes the difficult winter, daily farming routines, and the role of women in the U.S. In another letter to his brother Thomas (April 1, 1798), Scott comments on the U.S. relationship with France. In his letter to the same addressee (July16, 1798), Scott discusses further the crisis with France and its impact on agriculture and the tobacco trade. In a letter from April 19, 1799, he reviews the state of the tobacco trade and describes at considerable length the status and habits of women at Elizabethtown. He also comments on the dietary habits of the population, and makes a favorable comment in regard to the Sedition Act. In a letter to an old friend in England written in April 1800, Scott describes his journey to America five years earlier, his arrival in Boston and visit to Bunker Hill as well as his journey through New England. He includes an account of his eventual settlement on 68 acres at Elizabethtown. In another letter to Thomas Scott in April, 1800, Gavin Scott discusses local economic and social conditions, including the status of women. Later that year, he wrote about Federalist-Republican politics on the eve of the 1800 election as well as discussing the wool industry, and manufacturing opportunities in America. In a letter to his cousin, Robert Pringle, on January 4, 1802, Gavin Scott describes a yellow fever epidemic in New York City. The rest of the correspondence pertains largely to business dealings by William Scott.
The New Jersey Historical Society