Philadelphia, Pa. & Burlington, Vt: Oct. 28, 1830 - Dec.ember 22, 1837.
79 leaves on versos and rectos in ink, with close to 500 entries, each signed by a merchant, contractor, vendor. 1 vols. 6 x 3 /12. Elihu Chauncey’s Receipt Book, Founder of Reading Railroad. Original reversed calf binding, lower cover missing, spine defective. Item #13291
Elihu Chauncey (d. 1843), younger brother of the famous clergyman Charles, graduated from Yale in 1796 and moved to Philadelphia. He was Cashier of the Pennsylvania Bank, when Joseph Norris was its Presdent, then became interested in the contruction of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. He was elected the first President of that Company in 1834, and continued in office until 1842. “To Elihu Chauncey, probably more than to any other man, is due the organization and early development of that great railroad…He was a man of national importance. He became a complete master of politcal economy, and was, in that science, one of the most accmplished men the Country produced. He was active in public affairs, especially in the financial policy of the Government, and by reason of his rare ability, his opinions were sought whenever loans were to be floated by Municipal, State or Federal authorities.” — Lewis, The History of an Old Philadelphia Land Title (Phila., 1934).
An interesting peek into the business history of Philadelphia and Chauncey’s private affairs in those years from 1830 to 1837, precisely when he was involved in building the railroad. His transactions with vendors, servants, craftsmen, workers, shopkeepers, tax collectors, are all recorded here, and Chauncey had a lot of money to spend, with houses on Walnut Street, with business interests also in Burlington, Vermont (where some of these transactions are recorded). He paid considerable taxes on his property (city, county, and “poor”) and expended a substantial amount on the contruction of his houses on Walnut stree, as recorded in the pages (on stone, on carpenters, “gravel hawling”, etc.). Chauncey also regularly rented a pew in the First Presbyterian Church to the tune of $36 per annum.
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