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2.5 Estate Accounts, 1734 - 1926

 Sub-Series

Scope and Contents

Subseries 2.5 contains financial records pertaining to estate properties in southern Maryland and Pennsylvania held by the Jesuits of the Maryland Province. These records document the management of plantations that depended upon enslaved labor, and of lands leased to tenant farmers. The Province’s Procurators maintained financial records of the estates detailing day-to-day expenses; accounts with overseers, vendors, and trading partners; the costs of provisions for enslaved laborers; the construction and repair of buildings; and tenants’ rent books. This subseries contains both compiled and individual records of the Province’s estates, and documents the following properties: Bohemia, Bushwood Farms (near Newtown), Conewago, Goshenhoppen, Newtown, St. Inigoes (and the nearby St. Clement’s Island), St. Joseph’s Church, St. Thomas Manor (including Chapel Point and Cedar Point Neck), and White Marsh.

Collectively, these records reveal transformations in commercial agriculture from the early years of colonization through the beginning of the twentieth century. Documents from the eighteenth century reflect the bookkeeping practices of the Chesapeake mercantile elite, while after the American Revolution, the Jesuits began to emphasize grain production and processing, and they considered withdrawing from slave ownership. Journals and day books record transactions in chronological order, but do not track profits and losses year-to-year. Records books track different aspects of plantation operations: the performance of overseers, crop rotation, and the exporting of tobacco. Records and account books also provide census inventories of enslaved people on plantations. Rental records provide insight into the history of tenant farming in Maryland; the earliest rental records, dating from the 1730s, document some of these long-term relationships. After the Jesuits’ sale of 272 enslaved individuals in 1838, the Province leased nearly all their lands and invested in saw mills, blacksmith shops, and a steam mill; related records track advancements paid for supplies, rental payments, and debts. The account books of the early twentieth century reveal the decline of agriculture in Southern Maryland.

**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**

Materials on Slavery

Some materials in this subseries contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Some materials in this subseries address the Province's 1838 sale of 272 enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.

Provenance and Arrangement

The materials in this subseries are drawn from both the original collection placed on deposit at Georgetown in the 1970s, as well as items from the Addenda, which was deposited at Georgetown at a later date. Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject and type of record.

Dates

  • 1734 - 1926

Extent

From the Collection: 292 boxes (292 total boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers (201 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 53 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, 14 card catalog drawers))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Multiple languages