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The Beckwith Papers


BECKWITH PAPERS
Special Collections
Benjamin F. Feinberg Library
Plattsburgh State University College
Plattsburgh, N.Y. 12901
by
Richard D. Doina, Jr.
July l981

INTRODUCTION
Donated to the Clinton County Historical Association by Mrs. Robert Bier, the Beckwith Papers are on deposit in Special Collections, Benjamin F. Feinberg Library.
The Beckwith family resided in Lyme, Connecticut until 1810 when Baruch Beckwith (1775-1855) moved to Beekmantown, N.Y., where he settled and practiced medicine until 1850. He served as the first town Supervisor of Beekmantown from 1821-1822 and then again from 1831-1832. Baruch married Lucy Mather (1777-1859), a descendent of Increase Mather.
Their son, George M. Beckwith, was born June 27, 1805. He attended Beekmantown Common School and then the Plattsburgh Academy. After graduation, he began studying medicine under his father, but later gave up his pursuit of medicine in favor of law which he studied under J. B. L. Skinner. He was admitted to the bar in 1832. Prior to that, he held the post of deputy to the county clerk. In 1840, he was elected to the State Assembly on the Whig ticket and in 1864 was appointed a United States Commissioner, a position he held until 1871, when he was elected county judge as a Republican.
On February 20, 1833, George M. Beckwith married Hannah Elizabeth Mooers, the granddaughter of General Benjamin Mooers. They had four children: George H. (b. 1834), Benjamin M. (b. 1837), Margaret L. (b. 1840), and Lucy M. (b.1845).
George M. Beckwith practiced law with William Swetland until 1847; with a man named Johnson until 1860 and, finally, with his sons George H., who was admitted to the bar in 1860,and Benjamin Beckwith.
George H. Beckwith married Emeroy F. Vilas and they had five children: Anna, Grace, Samuel, Harriet, and Margaret.
The Beckwith Papers primarily consist of indentures, deeds and agreements involving George M. Beckwith personally or as a lawyer. These are contained in folders 13-19. In addition, there is a variety of miscellaneous materials, including accounts, genealogical information, the will of John Boynton and items relating to it.
Folder 2 contains material relating to the Saranac Academy. It appears that the Academy was in financial trouble and a board of directors was established to help ease the financial burden.
BACKGROUND SOURCES LOCATED IN SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Clinton County Census on microfilm 1810-1870
Hurd, Duane H. History of Clinton and Franklin Counties. (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis and Company, 1880.)
White, Philip. History of Beekmantown. (Texas: University of Texas Press, 1979.)
CONTENTS
Contained in one flat Hollinger box, the Beckwith Papers consist of 126 items. Indentures, deeds, and agreements are in folders 13-19, arranged chronologically.
Box 1 of 1
Folder
Items
# of items
1
Genealogical Notes
4
2
Saranac Academy
17
3
Court Claims and sherrifs Notice
2
4
Accounts
8
5
Land Surveys
4
6
Clippings
3
7
Will of John Boynton
6
8
Indentures Undated
1
9
Cady Material
7
10
Baruch Beckwith
2
11
Miscellaneous
8
12
Indentures 1810-1819
3
13
Indentures 1820-1825
2
14
Indentures 1830-1839
11
15
Indentures 1840-1849
23
16
Indentures 1850-1859
19
17
Indentures 1860-1879
3
18
Indentures 1880-1889
5
Total # of items 126