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Jedediah Commins Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Commins, Jedediah D.
Title: Jedediah Commins Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1808-1829
Quantity: 0.75 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers, mostly financial, illustrating the business activities of Jedediah Commins (Commins) in Central New York.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Jedediah Commins (1756?-1836) was an early settler of Lima, New York, arriving in the area prior to 1798. In 1809 he was elected an overseer of the poor. He and his wife Olive had three daughters (Anna, a second daughter named in Commins' will as "Mrs. Wealthy Miller," and Olive) and four sons (Erasmus, Jedediah, Joel, and Ezra). Jedediah Jr. (1790-1867), born in Vermont, was for some time a merchant in Lima; it is unclear whether he or his father started the business, but it was evidently very active. He and his wife Sophia eventually relocated to Akron, Ohio where opened the first drugstore in that city. Variant spellings in the collection include Cummins and Cummings. [Sources: Lockwood Lyon Doty, History of Livingston County, New York, From Its Earliest Traditions to the Present, Geneseo: Edward R. Doty, 1905; "Last Will and Testament of Jedediah Commins," New York Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999; William Henry Perrin, History of Summit County, Chicago: Baskin & Battey, 1881.]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jedediah Commins Papers consists of personal and financial material relating to Jedediah Commins (1790-1867).

Financial material includes correspondence, partnership agreements, loan agreements, memoranda, receipts, checks, ledger pages, etc. Some of the earlier items are headed "Pitts & Commins."

Personal material includes family, legal, and social correspondence, as well as a three-page essay dated 1809 on the Biblical justification for slavery.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Subdivided into personal and financial, and arranged chronologically within each series.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Commins, Erasmus.
Commins, Jedediah D.


Business enterprises -- Lima (N.Y.) -- 19th century.
Business enterprises -- New York (State) -- 19th century.
Slavery -- United States -- History.


Lima (N.Y.) -- History.
Lima (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs.
Livonia (N.Y.) -- History.

Genres and Forms

Financial records.
Ledgers (account books)
Legal instruments.
Promises to pay.
Receipts (financial records)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jedediah Commins Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2015.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 23 Sep 2015
Revision history:

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Personal material
Box 1 Correspondence 1808-1829 - includes letters to Jedediah from his father, siblings and children, some items pertaining to the local courts (e.g., a list of jurors from 1812), a few items from the local Quintillian Society, and two letters on the potential division of counties; also a three-page essay or speech (1809) justifying slavery on Biblical grounds
Financial material
Box 1 [General] 1808-Jul 1828 (21 folders)
Box 2 [General] Aug 1828-1829 (4 folders)
Box 2 [General] undated or illegible - includes partnership agreement between Pitts and Commins

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