Albertson family papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

The Albertson family papers portray the personal and business affairs of Jacob Albertson, his sons, Josiah and Benjamin, and other members of their family. Jacob Albertson, 1755-1833, was originally from Cheltenham township in Pennsylvania but later settled in Plymouth Meeting. He and his wife, Mary, had six children. His land was mined for iron ore.

The majority of the correspondence and documents in this collection concerns Jacob Albertson's two sons, Josiah and Benjamin. In the 1830s and 1840s, Josiah and Benjamin were involved in the lime business, mining their land as was common in the Plymouth Meeting area of Pennsylvania.

The Albertson family participated in building the Plymouth Railroad which was organized in 1836 to deliver lime. Josiah, who signed documents with the title "engineer," became manager of the railroad in 1839. The trains, carrying both freight and passengers, were pulled by horses. At the Conshohocken terminus a basin was dug, and train cars carrying lime traveled over the basin to dump their loads into waiting canal boats. However this process did not prove profitable and resulted in sheriff sales, litigation, and a removal of the tracks in the 1860s.

Josiah Albertson was married to Alice Maulsby, daughter of Samuel Maulsby, who was a farmer and lime burner. Alice was involved in the butter business. This collection contains portions of her ledger for this enterprise. Josiah, in addition to his work with the lime business and Plymouth Railroad, also was a teacher in the "old meeting-house school."

The Albertsons were Quakers and were prominent members of the Friends Meeting House in Plymouth. The collection contains a number of items related to financial affairs and business of the group.

Listed below are names of family members mentioned in this collection. Where information is known, birth dates, death dates, and family relationship are stated.




Jacob Albertson: 03/11/1755-10/10/1833: father

Mary Albertson: 05/12/1753-11/29/1825: mother

Josiah Albertson: 07/11/1788-12/28/1846: son of Jacob and Mary

Alice Albertson: 1803-1876: wife of Josiah and daughter of Samuel Maulsby

Benjamin Albertson: 12/07/1790-10/18/1856: twin brother of Jacob, son of Jacob and Mary

Jacob Albertson: 12/07/1790-01/05/1859: twin brother of Benjamin, son of Jacob and Mary

Martha Albertson: 1797-?: wife of Jacob and daughter of Samuel Livezey

Hannah Albertson: 09/14/1784-05/12/1848: daughter of Jacob and Mary

Rebecca Albertson: 01/10/1787-02/01/1791: daughter of Jacob and Mary

Rebecca Albertson: 02/25/1793-01/17/1818: daughter of Jacob and Mary




Hannah Albertson: 11/12/1829-03/30/1862: daughter of Josiah and Alice

Samuel Albertson: 04/30/1831-04/01/1874: son of Josiah and Alice

William Albertson: 07/01/1833-?: son of Josiah and Alice

Joseph Albertson: 01/11/1835-01/01/1887: son of Josiah and Alice

Abigail W. Albertson: 09/02/1841-03/12/1881: daughter of Josiah and Alice

Rachel Albertson: ?-?

Charles Albertson: ?-?

Susan Albertson: ?-?


Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Norristown, Pennsylvania: Published by the Society. No. 12 (Fall 1959-Spring 1961). pp. 84-86.

Roberts, Ellwood. Plymouth Meeting; its establishment and the settlement of the township. Norristown, Pennsylvania: Roberts Publishing Co., 1900. pp. 20-21, 71-74, 89-90, 112, 114, 125-126, and 179.

Scope and Contents

The Albertson family papers consist of 1.2 linear feet of material related to this Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania family. The collection spans the dates 1774-1889, and the bulk of the material dates between 1800-1862. The collection includes a variety of correspondence, promissory notes, receipts, account books, ledgers, checks, composition books, reports, contracts, and notes.

The collection provides a detailed description of the lives of the Albertson family, especially emphasizing the family's finances. It also provides valuable historical information on the Friends Meeting House at Plymouth, local economy and businesses, and the Plymouth Railroad.

Material pertaining to Jacob Albertson consists of autograph documents detailing his financial affairs. Included are numerous bonds to a variety of individuals, receipts of payments, a document of purchase for land from Joseph Potts, a settlement of the Susan Albertson estate, an inventory of Jacob Albertson's goods, a tax notice, and a declaration of the dissolution of Albertson's partnership with his son, Josiah.

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and documents pertaining to Josiah Albertson, Jacob's son. Personal letters are primarily from family members, including his mother Mary, his sister Hannah, and his brothers Jacob and Benjamin. Business correspondence (concerning the limestone business and the Plymouth Railroad) is to and from a variety of individuals in the Plymouth Meeting area. Also included in the Josiah Albertson series are numerous financial documents such as receipts, bills of sale, militia fines, bonds, promissory notes, lists of accounts, checks, accounts and legal documents concerning the Plymouth Railroad, articles of agreement, subpoenas, tax notices, and contracts. The Josiah Albertson material also includes several account and receipt books, as well as a composition book for 1801-1802.

Material related to Alice Albertson consists of personal correspondence from friends and family, her butter account books for 1831 and 1839, and numerous bills and receipts related to her butter business.

The collection also includes correspondence and documents related to Josiah's brothers, Benjamin and Jacob; his children, Samuel, Hannah, William, and Joseph; as well as Rachel and Charles Albertson. A composition book dated 1805 and belonging to Jacob Albertson is included in this material.

A variety of documents related to the Friends Meeting House in Plymouth are also found in this collection. The items include an account book, a treasurer's report, notes on the 1782 annual meeting, a report of the Committee on the Subject of Spirituous Liquors, and a letter of complaint against Samuel Maulsby.

Finally, the collection contains a number of receipts, bills, documents, poems, and trigonometry problems related to unidentified persons. Other miscellaneous items include the account book of farmer Hugh L. Tyler and two items of particular interest. "The Testimony of the Death of Hannah Hill" (1774) is a record of the last illness and death of a young woman as witnessed by her friends and relations. An undated and incomplete morality play includes a fascinating dialogue between a blind man and Death.