Oliver Phelps Papers

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Oliver Phelps papers
Creator: Phelps, Oliver, 1749-1809
Call Number: A.P54
Dates: 1788-1791
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Access
Use
Citation
Related Materials
Content List
Series I: Correspondence and bill of goods
Collection Overview
Title: Oliver Phelps papers
Creator: Phelps, Oliver, 1749-1809
Call Number: A.P54
Dates: 1788-1791
Physical Description: 1 box
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
Oliver Phelps was a merchant, soldier, judge, United State Representative, and land speculator who served as Deputy Commisary of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Phelps was born in Poquonock, Connecticut, October 29, 1749 and married the daughter of Zacahriah and Sarah (Steele) Seymour, Mary Seymour (1752-1826), with whom he had two children, Oliver Leicester (1775-1813) and Mary (1778-1859). In 1770, he moved to Granville, Massachusetts to open his own store at the age of 21. During the Revolutionary War, Phelps joing the Continental Army and fought at the Battle of Lexington. Phelps led a group of speculators to organize the Connecticut Land Company and purchase preemtion rights to approximately three million acres in the Connecticut Western Reserve of Ohio. Phelps was also largely involved in land speculation in western New York and the lower Mississippi. Together with Nathaniel Gorham, Phelps purchased the title and preemtive rights to the 'Western Territory' (6,000,000 acres in Western New York between Lake Ontario and the Pennsylvania border, to the west of Seneca Lake) from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $1,000,000 on April 1, 1788. This purchase, fittingly called the Phelps and Gorham Purchase, granted Phelps and Gorham exclusive negotiating authority with the Iroquois to determine and settle land ownership. Presbyterian minister and missionary among the Oneida, Samuel Kirland, assisted Phelps and Gorham when negotiating with the Oneida and Iroquois. After the Revoutionary War, Phelps ran for Lieutenant Governor alongside Aaron Burr in the 1804 gubernatorial election. Phelps died on February 21, 1809 at the age of 59. The Oliver Phelps family is buried in Pioneer Cemetery, Canandaigua, New York.

Scope and Content
The Oliver Phelps Papers are comprised of one box containing correspondence written by Samuel Street (1753-1815), a merchant trader and land speculator who supplied goods to the British stationed at Fort Niagara during the Revolutionary War. In addition to Oliver Phelps, Street's correspondents include General Israel Chapin (1740-1795), George Washington's aide-de-camp and first agent for Indian Affairs in Western New York, and Reverend Samuel Kirkland (1741-1808), missionary and liason between New York State and the Iroquois in land negotiations following the Revolutionary War and founder of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, which was to become Hamilton College. The correspondence largely concern relations with the Native Americans and land settlements. One bill for goods, issued to Chapin by Street and Colonel John Butler (of Butler's Rangers), is housed in the last folder.

Subject(s):
New York (State)
Phelps and Gorham Purchase
Indians of North America
American Revolution (1775-1783)
Land speculation
Correspondence
Phelps, Oliver, 1749-1809
Street, Samuel, 1753-1815
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was purchased from R. W. G. Vail, April, 1930.Access
The Oliver Phelps papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Oliver Phelps papers, A.P54, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of RochesterRelated Materials
Other collections in the Department of Rare Books & Special Collections relating to the Oliver Phelps Papers are:

Oliver Phelps:

Individual Manuscript Collection, N-Z

General Israel Chapin:

Individual Manuscript Collection, A-M

Samuel Kirkland:

Individual Manuscript Collection, A-M

Phelps and Gorham Purchase:

Howard L. Osgood Papers

George J. Skivington Collection

New York State Miscellaneous Documents

Other collections outside of the Department of Rare Books & Special Collections relating to the Oliver Phelps Papers are:

Oliver Phelps:

1806 Indenture between Oliver Phelps and Andrew Kingsbury , Hamilton College Archives

Oliver Phelps Family Papers , Western Reserve Historical Society

General Israel Chapin:

Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 , Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Samuel Kirkland:

Samuel Kirkland Papers , Hamilton College Archives

Phelps and Gorham Purchase:

Phelps and Gorham Purchase Collection , Syracuse University Libraries

Shaker Collection , Hamilton College Archives


Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Series I: Correspondence and bill of goods
Box 1, Folder 1Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, October 20, 1788
Box 1, Folder 2Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, October 24, 1788
Box 1, Folder 3Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, March 10, 1789
Box 1, Folder 4Samuel Street to Samuel Kirkland, March 12, 1789
Box 1, Folder 5Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, March 16, 1789
Box 1, Folder 6Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, March 23, 1789
Box 1, Folder 7Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, April 17, 1789
Box 1, Folder 8Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, May 14, 1789
Box 1, Folder 9Samuel Street to Israel Chapin, May 19, 1789
Box 1, Folder 10Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, July 5, 1789
Box 1, Folder 11Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, August 22, 1789
Box 1, Folder 12Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, July 23, 1790
Box 1, Folder 13Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, March 18, 1791
Box 1, Folder 14Samuel Street to Oliver Phelps, March 23, 1791
Box 1, Folder 15Bill of goods issued to General Israel Chapin by Street & Butler, November 19, 1789


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