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Morris Canal and Banking Company Business Papers 1843 - 1864


Held by Special Collections, Linderman Library
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015

Call No.: SC MS 0156
One box, .05 linear feet


The Morris Canal started in 1825 was built from Phillipsburg, New Jersey on the Delaware River eastward across northern New Jersey to connect in 1831with the Passaic River tidewaters as a public highway.  By 1836 it was extended to Jersey City on the Hudson River.  Its main commerce was carrying coal from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley to the growing iron industry in New Jersey and iron ore back to Pennsylvania but also carried other freight.  The canal was the only canal in America that utilized inclined planes to overcome the elevations involved in crossing hilly northern New Jersey.  In 1871, Asa Packer’s Lehigh Valley Railroad leased the canal company to transport Pennsylvania anthracite to markets in the Northeast.  This collection of business papers represents the peak years of freight transportation on the canal.  The papers represent receipts, checks, ledger accounts, personal business correspondence, bills of lading, tolls and tariffs, and two maps.


Contact Information:
Special Collections
Linderman Library
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18015, USA
Phone: 610-758 4506
Fax: 610-758 6091

Processed by:
Eleanor Nothelfer

Lehigh University, Linderman Library, Special Collections

The Morris Canal and Banking Company

The Morris Canal and Banking Company Business Papers

Restrictions to Access:
This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:
[Identification of item], The Morris Canal and Banking Company Business Papers 1843 to 1864, SC MS 0156, Special Collections, Linderman Library, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Copyright Notice:
Please inquire about copyright information.

Historical Note:
By an act of legislature of the State of New Jersey dated December 31, 1824, the Morris Canal and Banking Company, as a private company, was chartered to build an artificial navigable waterway as a public highway across northern New Jersey within 15 years.  The charter provided that New Jersey could take over the canal at the end of 99 years.  In the event that the state did not take over the canal, the charter remained in effect 50 years more, after which the canal became the property of the State without cost.  The original company failed in 1841, was reorganized in 1844 with banking privileges dropped in 1849 leaving only a canal operating business.

The canal was intended to connect Phillipsburg, New Jersey on the Delaware River with the tidewaters of the Passaic River.  The canal was totally hand dug four to five feet deep 109 miles long completed in 1831but was extended to Jersey City on the Hudson River from 1834 to 1836.  What was truly exceptional about this canal was the use of inclined planes as well as locks to gain elevation.  It was the only canal in America to use the inclined plane.   The canal boats loaded onto railroad carriages were hauled by wire rope (supplied by John A. Roebling’s company) up and down the inclines to the level of the waterway. The canal primarily facilitated carrying coal from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley to fuel New Jersey’s growing iron industry and on return carried iron ore to western New Jersey and Pennsylvania among other types of freight.

By the1850s, the canal began to be eclipsed with the construction of railroads.  It remained in use through the 1860s for hauling coal and freight.  In 1871 Asa Packer’s Lehigh Valley Railroad Company leased the canal to gain the canal’s terminals at Phillipsburg and Jersey City to control the fees being charged for shipment of Pennsylvania coal by the Central Railroad of New Jersey.   The Lehigh Valley Railroad did not make money on the lease.  By leasing the Morris Canal and Banking Co., Asa Packer gained a foothold for his railroad to cut out using the Central Railroad of New Jersey to carry Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal to the Northeast markets especially in New York City (a letter from Cornelius V. Roosevelt, a New York banker and real estate investor and grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt, reflects New York business dealings).  This collection of business papers illustrates the large variety and volume of freight carried by the Morris Canal during the period from the 1850s through the mid 1860s.

In the 1890s, talk began of abandoning the Morris Canal.  The railroads had surpassed its usefulness as a public highway and an economical way to haul freight.  The Morris Canal was taken over by the State of New Jersey in 1922 and formally abandoned in 1924 being dismantled during the following years.

Portions of the canal are preserved today such as the Waterloo Village near Stanhope, N.J., the Morris Canal Park in Clifton, N.J. and nearby the Liberty State Park in Bayonne, N.J.

The Morris Canal was considered a technical marvel in its day because of the extensive use of inclined planes to overcome the large elevation changes across northern New Jersey hills.  An 1827 map illustrating the proposed entire length of the canal is included in the collection as well as an 1893 map of Lake Stanhope, a reservoir for the canal feeders, from the Lehigh Valley Railroad.  On the canal’s western end (Phillipsburg, N.J.) a cable ferry allowed the Morris Canal boats to cross the Delaware River to Easton, PA and thereby enter the Lehigh Canal to travel up to Mauch Chunk (renamed Jim Thorpe) and White Haven in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region.

Scope and Content Note:
This collection contains 337 paper items including various receipts, bills of lading, tariff and tolls, checks, paycheck ledgers, business correspondence and two maps.  The span of time represents approximately 50 years from 1827 to 1893.  The years 1854, 1856, 1857, 1859, 1863 and 1864 represent the largest amount of transactions.   Some years have no represented paper transactions.   The 1827 map (a Photostat copy) is of a map at one time located in the Morris Canal Office at Phillipsburg, N.J.  The 1893 map (blue print) has indications that this map is from the Lehigh Valley Railroad office in Jersey City, N.J.  The 335 pieces of paper represent the various aspects of Nineteenth Century business and banking practice.  The collection was originally filed in a box identified as 627.13 M875 Morris Canal pamphlets.

Organization of the Content:
The collection of ephemera contains 14 legal size folders each representing a year from1827 to 1893.  The main body of material includes business papers from the years of 1843 to 1864.  Within each yearly folder the documents are sorted by month and day usually of the earliest date of transaction.  Two maps are included: one from 1827 illustrating the entire length of the Morris Canal acknowledged to be a copy from the Morris Canal Office, Phillipsburg, N.J and an 1893 of Lake Stanhope acknowledged from the Lehigh Valley Railroad office in Jersey City, N.J.

Online Catalog Terms:
Banks and banking.
Canals – New Jersey.
Inland navigation.

Morris Canal (N.J.)
Morris Canal and Banking Company.
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.
Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.
Thomas Iron Company.
Lehigh Crane Iron Company.

Roebling, John Augustus, 1806-1869.
Roosevelt, Cornelius Van Schaanck, 1794-1871.
Marsh, Ephraim.
Safford, George E.
Talcott, W. H.

Related Material:
Perkins, William Cassidy.  The Morris Canal of the State of New Jersey, Senior Thesis, Lehigh University, 1890.

Roeder, Adolph.  The Morris Canal.  Special Report of the New Jersey State Civil Federation, Number Eleven, Orange, New Jersey, 1910.

Wilde, Edward S.   Review of the Report of the Commissioners Appointed Under Concurrent Resolution of March 31, 1903, to Investigate and Report Upon the “Abandonment of Navigation on the Morris Canal,” and of the Bill Proposed by the Commissioners, 1905. 

0156.01.01      1827 Map of Morris Canal.   Line of the Morris Canal New Jersey    

0156.01.02      1843 Bill Accounts for Litigation

0156.01.02.01           In Chancery of New Jersey Between The Morris Canal &
Bkg Co. And The Mayor and Common Council of Jersey City May Term

0156.01.02.02           In Chancery of N. J. Between The Morris Canal & Bkg Co.                                         and Franz O. Matthiessen & William A. Wiechers May Term

0156.01.02.03           In Chancery of New Jersey Between The Morris Canal & Bkg Co. and the Mayor and Common Council of Jersey City
                                    May Term

0156.01.02.04           In Chancery of New Jersey Between The Morris Canal and Banking Co and Granz O. Mathiessen etals May Term          

0156.01.03       1853 Bank Checks and Freight Invoices
0156.01.03.01           March 1853( two checks signed by E. Marsh, President payable to L. J. Lyons and Newark Gas Light Co.)

0156.01.03.02           April 1853( five checks signed by E. Marsh, President payable to Geo. E. Safford, Secty; one bill for towing in New York Harbor)

0156.01.03.03           May 1835 (two checks signed by E. Marsh, President payable to Alexander Lentz of Weissport, Pa)

0156.01.03.04           June 1853( check signed by E. T. Foster payable to Rockwood Hazard & Co. and Geo E. Safford); (invoice from John Brookfield & Co. for towing in Harbor of New York to the Morris Canal Co); (stock certificate Morris Canal Co. to
                                    E. W/ Clark Dodge & Co.)
0156.01.03.05           July 1853  (33 canal boat freight receipts and two checks for advertising ; six receipts for work done on the canal)

0156.01.03.06           December 1853 (invoice from John Brookfield & Co. to Morris Canal Co. for bridge building across the canal)

0156.01.04       1854 Accounts and Correspondence
0156.01.04.01           February 1854 (one promissory note signed by Ephraim Marsh)

0156.01.04.02           March 1856 (two receipts; letter from Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co, Mauch Chunk, Pa  dated March 1, 1854 to Geo. E. Safford; check signed by E. Marsh payable to W. H. Wood)

0156.01.04.03           May 1854 (check signed by E. Marsh payable to Francis Linsley; check dated June 6, 1854 (May crossed out) from George Brown for coal barge No. 384)

0156.01.04.04           July 1854 (promissory note signed by Ephraim Marsh payable to W. H. Talcott; receipt from Hudson River C. Co.;  receipt from James A. Emmons representing Morris Canal payable to Steamer Convoy for towing; one invoice for transportation services; five receipts from canal boats)

0156.01.04.05           August 1854 (check from E. F. Foster payable to Geo. E. Safford; 39 canal boat freight receipts; one note from W. H. Talcott; one receipt from Owners of Boat 489 to Steamboat  J. D. Secor for towing from New York to Jersey City; directive  from Conrad Kocher, Mauch Chunk, Pa to Morris Canal agents to pay to Boat No. 337 for delivery of cargo; check from E. F. Foster to Geo. E. Safford; receipt for Morris Canal Boat No. 426; invoice for transportation costs of several boats; directive to pay A. P. Berthoude for services as asst. eng.)

0156.01.04.06           September 1854 (invoice for oil to A. R. Riggs, Drakeville approved by W. H. T.(Talcott)

0156.01.05      1856 Accounts and Morris Canal Check Rolls
0156.01.05.01           January 1856 (one invoice for kegs of powder William Young; January Morris Canal Check Roll Western Division)
0156.01.05.02           February 1856 (receipt to John H. Husk for a rebuilt bridge; receipt for load of dirt to Jacob Abram)

0156.01.05.03           March 1856 (receipt from Office of the Fire Insurance Company of Northampton County, Easton, Penna. To Hon. Ephraim Marsh; promissory note from Morris Canal and Banking  Company to John A. Roebling)

0156.01.05.04           May 1856 (three promissory notes from Morris Canal Co to Ephraim Marsh (by E. Marsh), W. B. Scott & Co. (by L. N. Condit, Sec’t Morris Canal),  Able Berthoude & Co. (by W. H. Talcott, Supt & Engr.)

0156.01.05.05           July 1856 (two checks for advertising payable to The Tribune and Luther A. Pratt & Co. publisher of Daily Sentinel & Advertiser; promissory note payable to Lewis O. Reese signed by Ephraim Marsh and W. H. Talcott)

0156.01.05.06           August 1856 (receipt to Joseph Ball from Morris Canal for a blinded horse; dividend to the Morris Canal & Banking Co. from L. N. Condit, Secty, Philadelphia; receipt of J. W. Kerr for salary from the Morris Canal)

0156.01.05.07           September 1856 (check to Rockwood Hazard & Co. written from Mauch Chunk; five Morris Canal Check Rolls)

0156.01.06      1857 Checks, Receipts, Morris Canal Check Roll

0156.01.06.01           February 1857($5,000. promissory note to Ephraim Marsh by W.H. Talcott)

0156.01.06.02           April 1857 ($2,500. Promissory note to Ephraim Marsh by W.H. Talcott)

0156.01.06.03           June 1857 (three notes of wharfage and dunnage on canal boats; toll receipt boat 428; water rents payment; canal repair invoice; Morris Canal Check Role)

0156.01.06.04           July 1857(three Morris Canal Check Rolls; Jersey City Gas Light Co. gas bill to Morris Canal Co.; invoice for boat agent service; invoice for lime bought from J. and C.H. O’Neill; receipts from Lewis Audenried; F. Hazard; Franklin Ferguson for advertisement in N.J. Dollar newspaper; two applications for Morris Canal drawbacks, iron purchased from T. B. Coddington & Co., J. F. Randolph & Co. for drawback, W. H. Talcott receipt for $500 paid by Morris Canal Co., receipts for advertisements from Joseph Mackey the United States Economist and Wm Rice per Thomas McNamara the The Pennsylvanian;  invoice from Hudson River Cement Co. for barrels of cement; receipt from A. Pardee Co.; invoice for bricks from David Weed; receipt from C. E. Detmold Canal Boat 147;  four receipts for dunnage; order to Daily Sentinel Office,  three receipt for drawback)

0156.01.06.05           November 1857 (two receipts from Lindley & Freeman, Dover N.J. for Store Goods)

0156.01.06.06           December 1857 (twenty receipts from Lindsley & Freeman, Dover, N.J. for Store Goods;  invoice from West Point Foundry for cast iron shaft to G. Kemble)

0156.01.07       1858 Checks, Invoices and Lehigh Coal Accounts

0156.01.07.01           January 1858 (eight Pay to the Bearer receipts for Store Goods; three invoices from the West Point Foundry to Robert P. Parrott; account regarding Beaver Town plane repairs from Morris Canal Co to Alex Elliott)

0156.01.07.02           October 1858 (receipt from the Easton Whig, Easton, PA; invoice from Morris Canal Co. to J.W. Kerr, Coll.; account of Lehigh Coal shipped from J(ersey) City to various northeast towns)

0156.01.07.03           December 1858 (19 Morris Canal and Banking Company receipts for freight hauled by various canal boats; Squire Phillips account for freight shipped by canal boats and repairs on the canal)

0156.01.08       1859 Freight Receipts and Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. accounts

0156.01.08.01           May 1859 (three receipts for reconstruction of Plane 11 and coal freight from Mauch Chunk to New York)

0156.01.08.02           June 1859 (16 canal boat freight receipts: iron shipped from Allentown to Jersey City, Coopers (Furnace) to Newark, coal shipped from Mauch Chunk to Jersey City, Newark, New York, Yorkville , Penn Haven to Jersey City, White Haven to Jersey City, New York, boarding hands at break on lock No. 2; account of coal shipped at Mauch Chunk by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company on various canal boats)

0156.01.09      1860 Permits for Tolls

0156.01.09.01           April 1860 (two Morris Canal Permit for Tolls at Jersey City)

0156.01.09.02           July 1860 (two Morris Canal Permit for Tolls at Port Washington from Cooper Hewitt Co., Lehigh Crane Iron Co)

0156.01.09.03           August 1860 (two Morris Canal Permit for Tolls at Port Washington from Allentown Iron Co., Cooper Hewitt Co.)

0156.01.09.04           December 1860 (five Morris Canal Permit for Tolls at Port Delaware from Buck Mountain Coal Co., Port Washington from Cooper Hewitt Co., Lehigh Crane Iron Co., N. Jersey & Penn Freight Line, Thomas Iron Co.)

0156.01.10       1861Receipts for Material and Repairs
                                    (two receipts: November to Wm Beaty for lumber; December, Jan. Feb. Mch, Apl 1862 to James Dufford for canal repairs – nails, spikes, oats & hay and pump)

0156.01.11      1862 Receipts, Correspondence, Check Roll

0156.01.11.01           February 1862 (letter from Roosevelt & Son, 94 Maiden Lane, New York to E. Marsh signed by (Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, banker (founded Chemical Bank of New York) and grandfather of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.)), supplies receipt of Perry & Robeson)

0156.01.11.02           June 1862 (four receipts Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Rail-Road; three June Morris Canal Check Roll canal repairs on Middle Division, Western Division, Mont Ville Division)

0156.01.11.03           July & August 1862 (four July receipts for canal repairs, one July Morris Canal Check Role Jersey City Division, one August receipt for canal repair)

0156.01.12      1863 Receipts, Invoices, Drawbacks

0156.01.12.01           January, February, March 1863(receipts for repairs to Plane 5/11W Warren Foundry & Mch. Co. (rail, oil cups, sheaves, shears, brass steps), J. M. Weller (chestnut floor timbers))

0156.01.12.02           May 1863 (four invoices to Hagerly & Durling for repairs on Boat No. 484, No. 599, No. 623, No. 939)

0156.01.12.03           June 1863 (Export Drawback applications: previous to June 1, 1863 and from June , 1863 to Oct 10, 1863)

0156.01.12.04           July 1863 (invoice to Hagerly & Durling for repairs on Boat No. 584)

0156.01.12.05           August 1863 (11 invoices for canal boat repairs: No. 766, 498, 622, 765, 495, 484, 632, 627, 631, 494,590, 621, one invoice for aqueduct repair; list of boats and destination from August 1863 to January 1864)

0156.01.12.06           September 1863 (five invoices to Hagely & Durling for repairs and drawbacks)

0156.01.12.07           October 1863 (invoice to Samuel Donnell Jr. for Drawbacks, Recapitulation, Shipments at Mauch Chunk)

0156.01.13       1864 Back Money and Coal Transfer Receipts , Law Expenses, Drawback Applications
0156.01.13.01           January 1864 (seven coal transfer receipts (Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co.; two drawback applications claimed by E.A. Quintard)

0156.01.13.02           February 1864 (Morris Canal Co. to J.E. Bartlett for expenses regarding arresting parties for stealing pig iron; three documents for drawback through the Morris Canal; two checks for payment: Sweeney & Straden, L. Zabriskie; one back money receipt roll)

0156.01.13.03           March, April, 1864 (invoice for extra strong canal pump from William L. Tuttle, check for tax paid to Township of Mansfield for year 1863)

0156.01.14      1893 Map of Property of Morris Canal and Banking Co. at Stanhope Reservoir at Stanhope, N.J. Showing Encroachments, etc. Scale: 1”-200”, Engr’s Office L.V.R.R., Jersey City, N.J. April 1893 (blueprint is 27 ½” x 39” /68.75cm x 97.5cm because of size this map is not filed in the box with the other Morris Canal documents)






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