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Guide to the Leech Family papers, 1796-1955 and undated

Summary

Correspondence, legal and financial papers, photographs, writings, printed material, and volumes relating to the Leech family and to relations in the Dewey and Duryea families.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11398
Title
Leech Family papers
Date
1796-1955 and undated
Extent
4 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The papers of the Leech family primarily consist of family correspondence, writings, and financial papers and ledgers. Correspondence topics include: nineteenth-century American politics, reform movements, lectures and lyceums in New York (including the Jamaica Lyceum), late nineteenth-century courtship, and school activities at the Stone School and Williams College. The papers are geographically centered in New York and are rich in news of growth and travel in the area (particularly during the 1840s). The Leeches owned a great deal of property in Queens County and documents related to these date from 1795-1919.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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Collection is open for research.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Leech Family papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence, 1815-1955 and undated

Leech and Dewey family letters. Correspondents include Richard Holland, Cornelius Duryea, John King, Mrs. Holdridge Dewey, Holdridge Newcomb "Nuke" Dewey (Holdridge’s son and John Leech's father-in-law), Sarah Thorne, Simon Dunne, Edgar Skinner, John Leech, A.P. Sayles, and Kate Dunn.

The Abraham Paul Leech folders contain letters addressed to Abraham Paul Leech. These letters are mostly from brother Benjamin Charles Leech, who resided in Brooklyn, and cousin Richard Holland, who resided in Manhattan. One letter from August 3rd, 1841 mentions Abraham's boating excursion with Walt Whitman.

Letters from the late 1890s concern the courtship between John Leech and Harriet Dewey and school letters from their son John Holdridge Dewey Leech, who went to The Stone School and Williams College.

Correspondence, 1815-1955 and undated
(8 folders)

Predominantly Leech and Dewey family letters. Several letters from Abraham Paul Leech to his wife (Phebe Duryea Leech) and mother (Susan Holland Leech) while travelling. Abraham’s letters to his mother are signed "Bub.”

Box 1
Correspondence, 1815-1955 and undated
(3 folders)

Predominantly Leech and Dewey family letters. Several letters from Abraham Paul Leech to his wife (Phebe Duryea Leech) and mother (Susan Holland Leech) while travelling. Abraham’s letters to his mother are signed "Bub.”

Box 2
Abraham Paul Leech correspondence, 1822-1845
(4 folders)

Letter from August 3rd, 1841 mentions Abraham's possible boating excursion with Walt Whitman.

Box 2
Abraham Paul Leech correspondence, 1846-1881 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 3
Invitations, calling cards, etc., 1864-1926 and undated

Small items including party and wedding invitations, wedding and graduation announcements, and business, holiday, and calling cards.

Box 3

2. Financial/Legal, 1796-1939 and undated

Contains various receipts, lists, notes, and documents indicating the family’s financial and legal operations. Several documents pertain to real estate in Queens County, Long Island, New York.

Miscellaneous financial and legal papers, 1816-1880 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 4
Bills, receipts, accounts, 1809-1939 and undated
(7 folders)
Box 4
Receipts for schooling, 1825-1924
Box 5
Wills and estate papers - Cornelius Duryen estate, 1861-1886
Box 5
Wills and estate papers - Kendall Dunn and Mercy Keys estates, 1872-1882

Kendall Dunn estate 1872-1874, Mercy Keys estate 1877-1882

Box 5
Wills and estate papers - Obadiah Paul Leech, Phebe Kissam (Duryea) Leech, Abraham P. Leech estates, 1875-1893

Phebe Kissam (Duryea) Leech estate 1875-1888, Obadiah Paul Leech estate 1881-1887, Abraham P. Leech estate 1886-1893

Box 5
Wills and estate papers - Miscellaneous, 1823-1901 and undated
Box 5
Scroll map, undated

Indicates property boundaries on Union Hall Street and New York Avenue (bounded by Fulton and South Streets). Also shows the Long Island Rail line.

Box 6
Indentures, mortgages, 1796-1919
(7 folders)
Box 6
Local taxes, 1843-1916
(5 folders)

Long Island, New York

Box 7
Notices of land sales for taxes, 1898 and 1909
Box 7
Real estate - miscellaneous maps, 1836-1883 and undated
Box 7
Real estate - receipts for building and maintenance, 1852-1917 and undated
Box 7
Real estate - indenture and map of properties, 1793 and 1862

Indenture between Samuel and Sarah Denton and Obadiah Leech, dated 1793 "Map of property belonging to Richard Brush" with two lots marked in red noted to belong to Cornelius Duryea, dated 1 February 1862

Oversize-folder 1
Real estate - printed advertisements, 1931 and undated

"Jamaica Hillcrest" advertisement, not dated "Supplement to 16th Anniversary Edition of The Queens Evening News" 11 November 1931

Oversize-folder 2
John Leech residence construction contracts and blueprints, 1916
Oversize-folder 3

3. Photographs, 1883-1940 and undated

Predominantly unidentified people, children, houses, furniture, and natural landscapes. A few are dated and a few have names including John Leech, Clara Delia Driggs Alexander, Florence (Driggs) Warner, W.D.N. Perine, George Wingate, Robert S. Alexander, Richard F. Cole, Herbert Cook, Harriet D. Leech, Donald Walker, Mary E. Woodruff, James Hoffman, Joe Hoffman, and Josie Hoffman.

Photographs, 1883 and undated

Includes photographs with these notes: Compliments of J.C. Hendrickson 4/21/83; Nellie Shay, Mrs. Walter J. Lapham; prob. John Leech; and Clara Delia Driggs.

Box 8
Photographs, 1888, 1896 and undated

Includes photographs with these notes: Clara Driggs Alexander and Florence (Driggs) Warner 1896; W.D.N. Perine, George Wingate, Robert S. Alexander, Richard F. Cole, Herbert Cook off of the yacht Lone Star, Shelter Island, N.Y. 1888; and “Big Jack” from Lora.

Box 8
Photographs, 1921, 1935, 1940 and undated

Includes photographs with these notes: Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Alexander at Kennebunkport, Maine; Harriet D. Leech; Mary Saidla’s Sherman, June 1935; Donald Walker at Berksleine; Mrs. Curtis House, Berksleine; Housatana (Housataine); October 1921 at Miami Fla. “Our Winter Home”; M.E. Woodruff and Harriet D. Leech; N.Y. World’s Fair October 25th, 1940 Mrs. John Leech and Mary E. Woodruff; and James, Joe, and Josie Hoffman and Grey’s River, three miles from their home.

Box 8

4. Writings, 1837-1936 and undated

Manuscript stories and verse from unknown authors. A few are marked N.H.M. and at least one is marked BCL (Benjamin Charles Leech). Includes school papers and hand-written recipes.

Assorted writings, 1837-1886 and undated
Box 8
Abraham Paul Leech, 1874 and undated

Mostly poems, many signed N.H.M.

Box 8
Independent Gazette, 1842

Handwritten Gazette "Published every now and then by P.H. Lewis"

Box 8
Recipes and report cards, 1857-1912 and undated
Box 8
School and Jamaica Women's Club, 1886-1936 and undated
Box 8
Brochures and bulletins, 1866-1874 and 1903-1964
Box 9
Christian pamphlets, 1848-1894 and 1943-1960
Box 9
Church bulletins and pamplets - First Presbyterian Church, 1888-1959 and undated
Box 9
Clippings, 1840-1933 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 9
Family genealogy notes, late 1800s
Box 9
Ledgers: list of sales, legal fees, payments, church donations, 1840-1853

First ledger: one side contains a list of sales made on behalf of Mrs. Francis Rhoades; the other side lists fees charged for arresting, transporting, detaining, and presenting prisoners. Includes several mentions of negro apprehensions (see page 13). Second ledger belonged to Benjamin Charles Leech and includes dates of deaths of Sarah Doughty, Hannah Doughty, Stephen Doughty, Priscela Doughty, and William H. Duryea (at end).

Box 10
Abraham Paul Leech miniature journals and ledger, accounts ledger and weather journal, 1846-1877
Box 10
Penmanship books used as ledgers and scrapbooks, notebook of quotes, 1875-1889 and 1921-1944

Penmanship books used as ledgers (one by A.D. Leech), penmanship book used as a scrapbook with clippings of poems (undated), and a small notebook (1921-1944) which contains quotations.

Box 10
John Leech accounts ledger, 1886-1908
Box 10
John A.D. Leech astronomy notebook and a Hymn book, 1880s and 1896

Hymn book from 2nd (Second) Presbyterian Church stamped Sep 20 1896

Box 10
Scrapbooks regarding Robert S. Alexander, 1856-1959

“Life History of Robert S. Alexander” (1908-1959) - also contains wedding anniversary dates of friends and family, descriptions of travels, a list of books “that have a value and are in my bookcase,” health, weather, and geography notes. “Scrap Book of Squire Alexander and Robert Squire Alexander from 1856 to 1900 Deliver this book to John H.D. Leech” (1856-1912)

Box 10
 

Historical Note

Obadiah Paul Leech (1792-1881) was an auctioneer in Jamaica, New York (in Queens County, Long Island). He was married to Susan Holland (1788-1868) and his father was also named Obadiah. Children of Obadiah and Susan were Abraham Paul, Jane Eliza, and Benjamin Charles.

Abraham Paul Leech (1815-1886) was a bookkeeper, known friend of Walt Whitman, and involved citizen of Jamaica, New York. He served as the secretary pro tem of the Jamaica Lyceum in the 1840s. Abraham's sons were Abraham Duryea Leech (1851-1876) and John Leech (1860-?) who married Harriet Dewey.

Benjamin Charles Leech (1824-1896) was a shopkeeper in Brooklyn and married Anna Creed. They had one child.

Jane Eliza Leech (1817-1881) married John Dunn and had four children.

A family tree is included in the Information folder in Box 1.


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Provenance

The Leech Family papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in November of 1984. Additions were made to the collection in January and September of 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by Lucy VanderKamp, March 2017.

Collection was acquired in 1984 and 1986.