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Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(NEW YORK.) Account book kept by Gilbert van Cortlandt of Cortlandt Manor. Approximately 260 manuscript pages. 4to, disbound with original 1/2 calf boards present; moderate wear, possibly incomplete. Vp, 1779-1805
Gilbert Van Cortlandt (1757-1786) was born into one of New York's wealthiest families. His great-grandfather Stephanus Van Cortlandt had been granted the vast Cortlandt Manor on the east side of the Hudson River in 1697. Gilbert's father Pierre served as the state's lieutenant governor from 1777 through 1795. During his short life, Gilbert managed the family orchards and served as a captain in the Westchester County militia. This volume contains both ledger and daybook entries, with most of the volume dating from 1784 to 1786. The earliest entries from 1779 to 1782 are in the rear of the volume, while entries kept by unidentified later family members through 1805 are interspersed. A drawing of a horse graces the rear pastedown. The early war-date entries are a mix of financial memoranda and occasional brief diary-type entries: "Vacation at Millstone, 1st Tuesday in Octo. 1780" or "I went with Papa to Peeks Kill for Mr. G.G.B." or "Drake's barn took fire by lightning & was consumed" (13 May 1782). War content appears to be minimal: "Sold a black 3 year old steer to the Commissary for 90, gave Papa the money." The bulk of the entries seem to relate to management of the manor--rents, farm labor, supplies, milling of grain and the like. One daybook section is headed "An account of the Croton River Farm for the year 1781 and the production thereof." One entry near the rear of the volume reads "The Overshot Mill began to grind Saturday ye 26 of Aug't 1786, had water enough to grind constantly."
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