Elijah D. and John Tompkins Social Services Account Book, 1843 - 1851
The booklet measures19.5 cm x 16 cm x 1 cm with covers of green, pink, tan marbled paper on cardboard with leather spine in very poor condition. Faint blue lined pages are loose from spine with some missing. Different inks are used and different handwriting is apparent.
- Unknown (Person)
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1 volume ; 20 cm
Biographical / Historical
In the booklet, Elijah D. Tompkins is listed as Overseer of the Poor in connection with Hanover Township, New Jersey. Elijah D. Tompkins and his wife, Margaret, were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey as of December 3, 1847 but are listed from Parsippany. Their son is listed as John Tompkins, however, in 1855 he is listed with the church in Whippany. In the New Jersey Index of Wills, 1912, Elijah D. Tompkins’ will was posted in 1851. By 1852 Margaret Tompkins is listed in church records as having remarried to E. Stiles. John Tompkins possibly was born in 1806 and lived at 354 Beaufort Avenue, Livingston, New Jersey according to the 1939 New Jersey Writers Project WPA book.
The entries in the account book appear to have been made by an officer of the law perhaps a Township or County Clerk or a Sheriff. Prior to 1844 the county clerk was appointed by the governor but after 1844, the position was by election. Many entries reflect on the economic state of the township making note of the destitute, with removal of stragglers, poor Irish or persons of color, consulting lawyers, attending trials and arrangements made for indigent families, orphaned children, medical attention for the poor, funerals, sale of stray animals or confiscated items. In the 19th century public attitudes toward the poor were often uncharitable, but there were distinctions generally drawn between the so-called worthy or deserving poor and those considered unworthy and undeserving. This attitude is apparent in the entries of this account book. Financial records are entered for cost of examinations of indigent people paid for by the township. The resulting decisions apparently were to be worthy for admission to the County House or unworthy with the indigent person paid to leave the township with their property confiscated and subsequently sold to benefit the township.
The text is written in two directions: an untitled accounting of various expenses and a titled section – Elijah D. Tompkins administrator of John Tompkins which contains several pages of Debit and Credit notations. The untitled account begins July 9 unknown year and extends to April 4, 1851. Pages are missing therefore dates are interrupted. The debit and credit entries for the Estate of John Tompkins section of the booklet are dated April 13, 1843 to December 2, 1844. Following these entries are a few entries in pencil regarding August 4, 1888 for milk and bread.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
No additions anticipated.
- Finding Aid of the Elijah D. and John Tompkins Social Services Account Book, 1843 - 1851
- William Ying
- September 26, 2013
- Language of description
- finding aid revision date not supplied: July 7, 2011 : Finding aid created -- September 16, 2013 : Finding aid revised -- September 26, 2013 : EAD created
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