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John Janvier account books for New Castle, Delaware

Identifier: MSS 0096-Item 0054

Scope and Contents

In the mid-nineteenth century, John Janvier was a prominent citizen of New Castle, Delaware. He served as treasurer of the stagecoach route between New Castle and Frenchtown. Later, with Thomas Janvier, he established the first turnpike stage line in Delaware; called the “Union Line”; it ran along the route of the New Castle and Frenchtown Turnpike and Railroad Company. The first two volumes of his account books detail his personal loans and investments in the years just after the company was sold in 1837, and before the rail lines were dismantled in 1858. These years of financial transition are documented here. The subsequent three volumes detail investments in a variety of financial institutions and rail companies. They also include accounts with other prominent Delaware families, including the Tatnal (Tatnall) family.


  • Creation: 1836-1885

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

The progenitor of the Janvier family in America, Thomas Janvier (1664 – ca. 1729), emigrated from France to New Castle County, Delaware. He married Sarah Jordain, a New Castle resident. The couple’s six sons established a number of Janvier family lines in the mid Atlantic. Over generations, family members achieved prominence in a variety of occupations ranging from skilled craft work, including smithing and cabinetmaking, to service as merchants and politicians.

John Janvier, the great-grandson of Thomas Janvier, was an investor and a civic leader in nineteenth century New Castle, Delaware. His ledger books, dating from 1836 to 1885, detail a variety of financial interests. During the mid-nineteenth century he served as a trustee of the commons of New Castle, as the president of the branch bank of New Castle, and as president of the New Castle Turnpike and Railroad Company. He may have owned Batten Mills. He was also an active investor with the New Castle Gas Company and Water Works and an officer of the Farmer’s Mutual Fire Insurance Company. His brother William Janvier, whose accounts appear throughout the books, was an attorney-at-law.

New Castle on the Delaware, Delaware Federal Writers’ Project in the American Guide Series, New Castle County Historical Society, 1974. pp 41, 45-46, 105Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware,1609-1888, 2 volumes. Philadelphia: L.J. Richards and Company, 1888.Additional information drawn from the collection itself.


5 volume


In these mind-nineteenth-century account books, John Janvier of New Castle, Delaware, records his personal loans and investments, including stage lines, financial institutions, and rail companies.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchases, August 1984, and September 1996

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of MSS 0096 Account Books and Ledgers collection.

Shelving Summary

Item 0054: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096

Processing Information

Processed by Colleen E. Lemke, December 2004. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, March 2018.

Finding aid for John Janvier account books for New Castle, Delaware
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2018 March 28
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA