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Haverford College
Quaker and Special Collections

Nicholas Waln Family Papers, 1783-1895 (bulk 1783-1819)

Ms. Coll. 966
ca. 80 items (3 boxes)

Table of Contents

Biographical background

Nicholas Waln (1742-1813), Quaker minister, was the son of Nicholas and Mary Shoemaker Waln. He married Sarah Richardson in 1771. Their children included Joseph R. Waln (1773-1783), Jacob Shoemaker Waln (1784-1847), William and Nicholas Waln. Waln was educated as a lawyer but as a young man gave up his lucrative practice as the result of a profound religious experience in 1772. He began to travel in the ministry in 1774 and made two religious visits to Great Britain in 1783 and 1795.

(Sources for biographical information: DQB, DAB, Jordan's "Colonial families of Philadelphia")

Links to images

The following are all of the image links found within this finding aid.

Scanned Image Temple, 7th mo. 9th, 1807. Letter to A. Mifflin [cousin], Phila. Page 2 | Page 3 (each approximately 59K). Topics: comments on Napoleon

Scanned Image Document signed by Pres. Andrew Johnson appointing Thomas Wister Commissioner to negotiate with Native Americans in the Southwest (59K).

Scanned Image Page 1 of will signed by Nicholas Waln (1650-1721) and by the Registrar General of the Probate, Philadelphia, 1721/2. Page 2 | Page 3 (each approximately 137K).

Summary of collection

Correspondence, portraits, photographs, poetry, genealogy and misc. papers related to Nicholas Waln and the Waln family. Bulk of the material consists of correspondence related to Nicholas Waln's journeys as a Quaker minister in England and Ireland. Topics discussed include news of family, Friends activities, travel, friendship, spiritual matters, ministry, slave conditions in the West Indies (1784 letter from William B. Clark); other correspondents include James Bringhurst, Joseph Bringhurst, Henry Drinker, Rebecca Jones, John Parrish, M. Richardson, David Sands, Hannah Stephenson, John Townsend, Robert Valentine, Richard Waln, Robert Waln and Sarah Richardson Waln. Includes letters (1807-1809, 1818-1819) of Jacob Shoemaker Waln to his family while studying law in England and visiting France, letters discuss his travels and activities and include comments on social life, Napoleon; also letters (1818-1819) of Townsend Compton to Sarah R. Waln giving news of her son Jacob; letter of Lloyd Mifflin on provenance of Waln letters; poems written on the death of Joseph R. Waln (1773-1783), include poem by Robert Proud; chart of Waln family genealogy.

Papers consist of deeds relating to Nicholas Waln's (1650-1721/2) land holdings in the Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia where his estate, Walnford, was located (Box 2); wills, including the certified copy of the will of Nicholas Waln in 1721/2 (Box 3); letters to Richard Waln (1737-1809), brother of Nicholas Waln (Box 3); documents, including the appointment of Thomas Wistar as Indian Commissioner by Andrew Johnson (Box 3) and Zachary Taylor; and a photograph of Wistar with Sac, Fox and Kiowa Indians taken in ca. 1866 by Alexander Gardner.

Arrangement and description of collection

Box 1

  1. Bringhurst, James (1730-1810)
    ALS of above, dated Phila., 1st of 6th mo., 1784 to Nicholas Waln, "To the care of James King, Glasshouses, Newcastle upon Tyne"
    topics:
    • news of NW's family
    • many Friends traveling in the ministry at this time
  2. Bringhurst, Joseph (1733-1811)
    ALS of above, dated Phila., 21st of 4th mo., 1784 to NW, "To the care of John Townsend, No. 47, Prescot Street, Goodman's Fields, London"
    topics:
    • detailed news of various Friends' activities
  3. Clark, William B.
    ALS of above, dated Phila., 23rd of 4th mo., 1784 to NW, "[per] favour of S. Emlen, London" [with typed note that this letter is printed (p. 88-89) in Annals of the ancestry of Charles Curtis Harrison and Ellen Waln Harrison, comp. by Mary Harrison, Phila., Lippincott, 1932]
    topics:
    • his difficult voyage to Philadelphia
    • stop in St. Kitts and the condition of the blacks [slaves] there who spend much time in improer pursuits (gambling, dancing, drinking, etc.)
    • news of NW's family
  4. Compton, Townsend
    3 ALS of above, dated London, Aug. 28 and Nov. 25, 1818 and March 17, 1819 to Sarah Waln, Phila.
    topics:
    • news of her son Jacob and particulars of TC's own family
  5. Drinker, Henry (1734-1809)
    ALS of above, dated Phila., 4 mo. 17, 1784 to NW, "to the care of John Townsend, Merchant, London"
    topics:
    • friendship
    • religious thoughts
  6. Jones, Rebecca (1739-1817)
    (2 items)
    ALS of above, dated Plow Court, 6th day, [no year] to NW, "at Jno Townsend's Prescott Street"
    topics:
    • her regrets at not seeing him before she leaves for Ireland
    • photograph of a silhouette of Rebecca Jones [photo gift of Susan J. Dewees, 1950]
  7. M., M.P.
    ALS of above, dated 3rd day, Sept. 19, [no year] to Sally Waln
    topics:
    • friendship
  8. Mifflin, Lloyd (1846-1921)
    ALS of above, dated Columbia, Pa., Jany 22, 1895 to Mrs. Charles C. Harrison
    topics:
    • letters of Waln family [apparently this collection] he wishes her to have, having come to him through the estate of Ann Waln (his great uncle Lloyd Mifflin was her executor)
  9. Miscellaneous
    (3 items)
    2 bills, 1783, 1802, from Great Britain; bank draft?, 1783 [with note in hand of Anna B. Hewitt that this material not cataloged]
  10. Parrish, John (1729-1807)
    ALS of above, dated Phila., 18th of 6th mo., 1784 to NW, "to the care of James King, near Newcastle upon Tyne, favoured by Jno. Cook"
    topics:
    • news of NW's family, Friends
  11. Richardson, M.
    ALS of above, dated "First day, just meeting time" to Sarah Waln, Phila.
    topics:
    • friendship
  12. Sands, David (1745-1818)
    (4 items)
    ALS of above, dated London, 4th of 6th mo. 1796 to Sarah Waln, Phila.
    topics:
    • news of NW and his ministry

    3 silhouettes of DS

  13. Stephenson, Hannah
    ALS of above, dated Bristol, 23rd of 1 mo., 1786 to NW, Phila.
    topics:
    • friendship
    • religious thoughts
  14. Townsend, John (1725-1801)
    4 ALS of above, to Sarah Waln [with typed note that letter of 2 mo. 2, 1784 is printed in Annals of the Ancestry of Charles Custis Harrison and Ellen Waln Harrison, p. 82-83
    London, 2 mo. 2, 1784
    topics:
    • news of her husband [NW] and how he bore news of son's death (Joseph)

    Westbury, 5th mo. 27, 1786
    topics:

    • wishes her to take notice of John Warder's wife who has come to Phila.

    London, 9th mo. 29, 1795
    topics:

    • NW now in Ireland

    London, 11th mo. 2, 1795
    topics:

    • news of NW in Ireland
  15. Valentine, Robert
    ALS of above, dated Norwich, 26th of 7th mo. 1783 to NW, [c/o] "Daniel Mildred, London, for Nicholas Waln"
    topics:
    • hopes to see him during his stay
    • RV's travel plans
    • news of other Friends
  16. Waln family genealogical chart (3 p.)
    "Descendants of Nicholas Waln" (b. ca. 1650), a family tree ending with John Waln, b. ca. 1766. (6 p.)
  17. Waln, Jacob Shoemaker (1784-1847) [folder no. 1, 1807-1809]
    3 ALS of above to family [with typed note that letter of 2 mo. 10, 1807 is printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 102-104]
    Middle Temple, 2nd mo. 10th, 1807 to his mother [Sarah Waln], Phila.
    topics:
    • describes surroundings, lottery, sends presents

    Scanned Image Temple, 7th mo. 9th, 1807. Letter to A. Mifflin [cousin], Phila. Page 2 | Page 3 (each approximately 59K). Topics: comments on Napoleon

    Falmouth, 5th mo. 7th, 1809 to his parents, Phila.
    topics:

    • plans for departure
  18. Waln, Jacob Shoemaker (1784-1847) [folder no. 2, 1818]
    6 ALS of above, to his mother, Sarah Waln, Phila.
    Bombay Hook, April 28, 1818
    topics:
    • his arrival there

    Liverpool, May 18, 1818
    topics:

    • voyage to England

    Liverpool, May 19, 1818

    London, June 2, 1818
    topics:

    • trip to London, visits Oxford, Derby, reflects on English character

    London, June 10, 1818
    topics:

    • wishes to get chambers at the Temple

    London, June 17, 1818
    topics:

    • describes his situation
  19. Waln, Jacob Shoemaker (1784-1847) [folder no. 3, 1818]
    5 ALS of above, to his mother, Sarah Waln [with typed note that letter of Aug. 15, 1818 is printed in Annals of the Ancestry ..., p. 105-106
    London, July 4, 1818
    topics:
    • education of children

    London, July 24, 1818
    topics:

    • mention of S. Grellet ["Grelette"] calling on him, JSW reflects on nature of man

    London, Aug. 15, 1818
    topics:

    • visits various people

    London, Aug. 21, 1818
    topics:

    • arrival in France

    London, Aug. 25, 1818
    topics:

    • arrival in Paris, Fete of St. Louis and military parade
  20. Waln, Jacob Shoemaker (1784-1847) [folder no. 4, 1818]
    6 ALS of above, to his mother, Sarah Waln, Phila., as follows: [with typed note that letters of Paris, Oct. 22, 1818 and London, Dec. 14, 1818 are printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 106-109]
    Paris, Sept. 26, 1818
    topics:
    • grapes and wine making, visits La Fayette, describes countryside, doings at Aix la Chapelle (re: Napoleon?)

    Paris, Oct. 22, 1818
    topics:

    • departure of foreign troops from France, visits French convent

    Paris, Nov. 12, 1818
    topics:

    • visits French prison for women

    Paris, Nov. 30, 1818
    topics:

    • sending presents from Paris, goes to the ballet

    London, Dec. 14, 1818
    topics:

    • returns to London

    London, Dec. 27, 1818

  21. Waln, Jacob Shoemaker (1784-1847) [folder no. 5, 1819]
    6 ALS of above to members of his family, as follows:
    London, Jan. 31, 1819 to his mother, Sarah Waln, Phila.
    topics:
    • wishes to practice law

    London, Feb. 9, 1819 to his sister
    London, March 4, 1819 to his mother, [Sarah Waln, Phila.]
    topics:

    • plans for returning home

    London, April 25, 1819 to his mother, [Sarah Waln, Phila.]
    topics:

    • visit to Christ's Hospital, London ("blue coat school")

    New York, July 8, 1819 to his brother, William Waln, Phila.
    topics:

    • arrival from Liverpool

    New York, July 9, 1819 to his mother, Sarah Waln, Phila.
    topics:

    • remarks on a comet
  22. Waln, John (d. 1824)
    ALS of above, dated Holmesburg, Feb. 24, 1819 to "Dear father" (William Waln), Phila. [with typed note that letter is from John Waln, son of William Waln, nephew of Jacob S. Waln and was written when writer was about 12 or 13 years old; also that letter is printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 109]
    topics:
    • benefits of education and grammar as opposed to gold
  23. Waln, Joseph R. (1773-1783)
    (4 items)
    4 poems on the death of above [with typed note that "Extempore verses, on the death of Jos. R. Waln, (eldest son of N. Waln of Philadelphia) aged about 10 years and buried 12 mo. 14th, 1783" by Robert Proud and "Verses" by Essex Flowers (a teacher of the Waln children) are printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 84-85]
  24. Waln, Richard (1737-1809)
    (3 items)
    ALS of above [brother of NW], dated Walnford, 7 mo. 22, 1784 to NW "To the care of John Townsend, Prescott Street, Goodmans Fields, No. 47, London, 7th mo. 28 Forwarded by thy affectionate Friend, Thomas Fisher" [also typed note that this letter is printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 92-93]
    topics:
    • informs him of illness and death of his uncle Robert Waln, leaves a large estate, loss of wheat and rye crop to an insect pest
    • 2 photo-postcards of "Walnford" [house] Walnford, N.J.
  25. Waln, Robert (1721-1784)
    ALS of above [uncle of NW], dated Phila., 5th mo. 25, 1784 to NW, "to the care of J. Townsend or Jno. Warder Mercht. London" [also typed note that letter is printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 89-90]
    topics:
    • wants to know why NW hasn't written to him once in the year he's been away
  26. Waln, Nicholas (1742-1813)
    (12 items)
    includes:
    • 2 portraits of NW [one gift of Mary Maule Haines, 1952]
    • "Nicholas Waln's prayer" (spoken by him at youth's Meeting 1771, see The Friend 54:362, text of this prayer is also printed in The Friend, 32:23) [1 p., undated, "loaned by Mrs. Edward Wanton Smith, 1945"]
    • ALS of NW, Bristol, 1 of 10 mo., 1783 to James Pemberton, Phila. topics: news of English Friends, petition to Parliament on behalf of slaves [?], NW has been sitting quietly in meetings, John Elmsley's financial problems
    • [cataloged at item level in OCLC, TRIPOD as "Letter. To James Pemberton"]
    • brief note by NW that he forgot to put date on a letter
    • ALS of NW, Liverpool, 27 of 9 mo. 1784 to Sarah Waln, Phila.
    • [typed note says this letter printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 96]

    topics:

    • sending her a Cheshire cheese and beer, traveling with Morris Birkbeck

    AL [signature cut out] of NW, Westbury, Long Island, 28 of 5 mo., 1786 to Sarah Waln, Phila. [typed note says this printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 99]
    topics:

    • his trip and safe arrival at L.I., [his meal of bacon, eggs and crabs made him ill], travel plans

    ALS of NW, London, 13 of 7 mo., 1795 to his son, William Waln, Phila.
    topics:

    • delayed in leaving London, spiritual and business advice, news of Friends

    ALS of NW, London, 10th 3 mo., 1796 to his wife, Sarah Waln
    topics:

    • his health not good and how he is treating it, Wilberforce has bill in the House calling for the abolition of slave trade in 1797

    ALS of NW, Bristol, 20th 4 mo., 1796 to his wife, Sarah Waln
    topics:

    • visiting various meetings, news of Friends

    ALS of NW, Waln Ville, 4th 10 mo., 1799 to Samuel Coates, Pennsylvania Hospital
    topics:

    • financial difficulties of George Kenton

    ALS of NW, Newton, n.d., to Samuel Coates
    topics:

    • Yearly Meeting financial matter, trust involving legacy of Aaron Ashbridge
  27. Waln, Sarah Richardson (1746-1825)
    4 ALS of above, dated Phila., 4 mo. 9, 7 mo. 5, 23, 10 mo. 25, 1784 to NW [note that all are printed in Annals of the Ancestry..., p. 86-87, 90-91, 93-95, 96-98]
    topics:
    • news of family and friends
    • family business developments
    • news of death of Uncle Robert Waln and his estate
    • difficult business climate, paper money expected to be issued, people in jail for debt
    • reflects on death of son Joseph
    • news of death of Uncle Jonathan Shoemaker

Box 2

Folder 1: 1690-1716

  • 1690 Francis and Mary Cooke to Edward Smoout [sic]
  • 1696 Nicholas Rideout
  • 1697 Joshua Carpenter
  • 1697 David Lloyd and Isaac Norris, Executors of Thomas Lloyd
  • 1697 Nicholas Walln [sic] to Ellis Jones. 3 items.
  • 1698/9 George Walker
  • 1700 Thomas Woolrith to Robt. F. Smith
  • 1701 Thomas Ffarmar [sic], Sheriff
  • 1703 Nathaniel Bye. Signed by David Lloyd.
  • 1703 Robert Heath. Signed by David Lloyd.
  • 1703 John Swift. Signed by David Lloyd.
  • 1711 Robert Heaton to Evan Griffith
  • 1719 Richard and Ann Morrey and Humphrey Morrey. Signed by Isaac Norris.
  • 1716 John Ffrniss [sic] and Penelope Ffurniss [sic] to Ismael Bennet [sic]
  • 1716 Nicholas Waln and Jane Waln to Ishmael Bennett [sic] and copy
  • 1716 Isaac Norris and Nicholas Waln. Copy signed by Isaac Norris.

Folder 2: 1724-1792

  • 1724 Richard and Jane Waln to William Waln
  • 1724 Richard and Jane Waln to William Waln
  • 1726 William and Ann Waln to Richard Waln
  • 1726 William Waln to Richard Waln
  • 1730 Isaac Norris to Richard Waln
  • 1738 William and Elizabeth Melchior to John Thompson
  • 1743 Richard Waln to Nicholas Waln
  • 1760 Richard Waln, Jr. to Jonathan Mifflin
  • 1764 Abraham Howell to Jonathan Mifflin
  • 1779 Jonathan Mifflin to Samuel Mifflin
  • 1792 George and Mary Fox to Henry Hill

Folder 3: 1803-1848

  • 1803 John Dorsey and Archibald McCall (for Gideon Hill Wells) to Benjamin W. Morris
  • 1816 William Hill Wells and Elizabeth by John Hallowell, atty. to William T. Stockton
  • 1817 Caspar W. Morris, Luke W. Morris, Isaac W. Morris, Israel W. Morris to William T. Stockton
  • 1818 Benjamin Wistar Morris and Mary Morris and Rachel Hill Wells to William T. Stockton by Jacob S. Waln, atty. Signed by Robert Vaux and George Vaux
  • 1824 Nathan Bucknam to Jacob S. Waln and Samuel B. Morris
  • 1824 Benjamin and Seward Bucknam to Jacob S. Waln and Samuel B. Morris
  • 1824 Ezekiel Prince to Jacob S. Waln and Samuel B. Morris
  • 1827 Jacob Strembeck, Sheriff for Stockton Estate to Thomas Lee
  • 1845 James Kempton to Stille family to Henry L. Waln
  • 1848 James Kempton to Charles and Henry Borie to Henry L. Waln

Box 3

Folder 1: Documents

  • Election certification of 12 Philadelphia men as sheriffs, 1762
  • List of quit rents, 18th century
  • Financial account for Richard Waln, 1803
  • Promissory note of M.S. Wickersham, 1852
  • Scanned Image Document signed by Pres. Andrew Johnson appointing Thomas Wister Commissioner to negotiate with Native Americans in the Southwest (59K).

Folder 2: Documents

  • 18 land surveys or notes respecting property, 17th and 18th century

Folder 3: Letters to Richard Waln, 1760-1793

  • Dury, William to Richard Waln. Barbados, 1760
  • D. & I. Barclay [Co.] to Richard Waln. London, 4th Nov. 1772
  • Jones, Joseph to Richard Waln. N. Carolina Pasquotank, 12th Nov. 1772 [has loaded schooner Ann headed for Barbados with lumber, slaves and __?]
  • Montogmery, T. to Richard Waln. Allentown, 1790 [re: manumission of a slave]
  • Waln, Richard to (father) Richard Waln. Philadelphia, 1793 [re: a child's death and yellow fever]

Folder 4: Wills

  • Will of William Kenton leaving estate to Mary Kenton, 1695
  • Scanned Image Page 1 of will signed by Nicholas Waln (1650-1721) and by the Registrar General of the Probate, Philadelphia, 1721/2. Page 2 | Page 3 (each approximately 137K).
  • Will of Thomas Armitt, 1726

Items removed from collection and stored in 990B-R:

  • Partially printed document signed by Z[achary] Taylor. 4 April 1849. [Appoints Thomas Wistar commissioner to execute the distribution of $40,000 allowed in the treaty of 1848 with Menomonee Indians.
  • Photography of Commissioner Thomas Wistar with Sac, Fox and Kiowa Indians. Taken by Alexander Gardner, ca. 1866. Albumen print.

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Contact Diana Franzusoff Peterson (dfpeters@haverford.edu or 610-896-1284) for more information about this collection. Please include the manuscript collection number in your request.

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