Monday, August 30, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Newspaper Advertisements for Property Sales

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the property of two Jonathan Lewises that was advertised for sale in New York City area newspapers. I found these on the America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 database on Newsbank, through the NEHGS's External Databases collection last week.

1) Jonathan Lewis (1688-1764) died on Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, leaving a will that required the executors to sell his property. The executors placed this advertisement in the newspaper:

A newspaper article in the New York Gazette newspaper, dated 18 March 1765, Issue 328, Page 3 (accessed on the "America's Historical Newspapers" database on describes public sale of the estate of Jonathan Lewis:

"To be Sold, at Publick Vendue, on the Premises on Thursday, the 28th of March next, to begin at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon;

"The Farm or Plantation, which belonged to Jonathan Lewis, late of Staten Island, in the Province of New-York, deceased, containing upwards of two hundred acres, whereon is a good House, Barn, and Orchard, of five hundred bearing Apple Trees, with a variety of other Fruit Trees, a sufficient Quantity of Fresh (or English) and Salt Meadow, to keep a good Stock of Cattle, all adjoining; well-timbered and watered, a constant Brook running through the Land, and a very good Landing, where Boats of ten Cords Burthen, or upwards, frequently load for New-York Market. It is conveniently situated, lying at the Fresh-Kill, on the main Road from the Narrows to the Blazing Stars Ferry. -- There will be sold at the same Time and Place, the Stock of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, and Hoggs, farming Utensils, and Household Good. Likewise, two Negroe Men, one of them understands House-Work, was bred in Town, and both used to farming Business.

"February 23d, 1765
Joseph Bedell, Silas Bedell, Benj. Seaman, Executors."

2) Jonathan Lewis (1715-1785) of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, the son of the above Jonathan Lewis, died in late 1785. His executors placed these advertisements in the local newspapers:

A newspaper advertisement in the Loudon's New-York Packet newspaper, dated 30 January 1786, Issue 563, Page 3 (accessed on the "America's Historical Newspapers" database on describes the attempted sale of the estate of Jonathan Lewis:

"To be Sold, at Public Vendue

"On Monday, the 20th day of March next, on the premises (if not disposed of before at private sale,)

"The valuable MILLS, with the lot of ground and meadow adjoining the farm; containing about forty acres. There are on the premises a good dwelling-house, barn and out-houses, belonging to the estate of Jonathan Lewis, deceased, and commonly known by the name of Beadle's Mills, situated on Staten-Island, near Richmond town. -- As this place is well calculated for a store-keeper, and many advantages arising from the situation, any person inclining to purchase, may know both situation and terms of sale, by applying to Mr. Abraham Bond, in New-York, near the White-Hall, or to the subscribers residing on the premises.

"Jonathan Lewis, David Lewis, Executors
Richmond county, January 26, 1786."

A subsequent article for the sale of the farm was placed in The New-York Journal, & Patriotic Register newspaper, dated 10 March 1792, Volume XLVI, Issue 20, Page 4 (accessed on the "America's Historical Newspapers" database on It reads:


"Two Valuable FARMS

"ON Staten-Island, pleasantly situated within one mile of the village of Richmond, one late the property of Jonathan Lewis, deceased, the other of John Laforge, deceased; the two containing two hundred and twenty-five acres of land and salt meadow; one being bounded, in front, by the Fresh Kill Creek and the main road from New-York ferry to the Old Blazing Star; the other bound, in front, by the main road from New-York ferry to Perth Amboy, and joining in rear; there are on the said farms two good dwelling houses, almost new, two good barns, and out houses of every kind, with a sufficient proportion of fresh meadow and wood, with post and rail timber of the best kind; likewise, an excellent stream and situation for a grist mill, with a landing place, navigable for vessels of fifty tons burthen. The said farms are in good repair. Any persons inclining to purchase, may know the terms, by applying to the subscribers, on the premises.

"Jonathan Lewis, David Lewis, Executors
Staten-Island, Dec. 31, 1791."

It is unclear to me if the three advertisements above are for exactly the same property or if they are for different, but close, properties. Deed and probate research would likely uncover many more details. The first Jonathan Lewis above had, apparently, only one son, the second Jonathan Lewis above. The second Jonathan Lewis had five sons, including first-born Jonathan Lewis and second-born David Lewis. Those are the two names listed as executors for the second Jonathan Lewis; however, the third Jonathan Lewis is said to have died in 1781 in Dutchess County, before his father died in 1785.

No comments: