Carty family papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

The Carty family papers, 1815-1912, represent nearly a century of the business activities as well as the personal lives of various members of the Carty family of New Jersey. The collection also includes papers of the Shreve family, which seems to have been related to the primary family in some way.

The family lived in the town of Florence, located in Burlington County, New Jersey. The Township is situated in the northern part of the county, bordered by Mansfield on the east, and the Delaware River on the north. The Carty family had lived in Florence since its creation on March 7, 1872. An Alfred Carty was a township commissioner in 1872, and he was appointed to establish the dividing line between Florence township and the neighboring Mansfield township. Documents in the collection dated before 1872 place the Carty family in Mansfield Township, the township divided to create Florence.

The collection consists mainly of business receipts, bills, and account books of Peter and William Carty. Most of the business transactions occurred within Burlington County, but some display contacts between the Carty family and businessmen in nearby Philadelphia. It seems that the Carty family owned land in Florence and Mansfield Township throughout the nineteenth century.


Bisbee, Henry Harold. Place Names in Burlington County New Jersey. Riverside, NJ: Burlington County Publishing Co., 1955. pp. 42-3.

Woodward, E.M. History of Burlington and Mercer Counties: With Biographical Sketches of Their Pioneers and Prominent Men. Salem, Mass: Higginson Book Co., 1992. pp. 327-331.

Scope and Content Note

The Carty Family Papers consist of .3 linear feet of material spanning the dates 1815 to 1912. The material consists mainly of receipts, account ledgers, and personal and business correspondence of the Carty family of Florence, New Jersey. The bulk of this small collection is grouped around three Carty family members: Peter, Shreve, and William. There are two additional folders containing miscellaneous material pertaining to the Carty family and Shreve family (F7) as well as miscellaneous material with no apparent connection to the Carty or Shreve family (F8).

Although many members of the Carty and Shreve families appear in this collection briefly, the majority of the material is associated with Peter and William, although it is unclear how these men are related. From the receipts of Peter Carty, which span the years 1846 to 1896, it seems that Peter was a land owner who rented out some of his land during this period of time. He also incurred the cost of the construction of at least one house. In his personal business records, which were kept in small account books or in the back of a grade school exercise book, he kept track of such activities as paid labor for picking peaches and chopping wood, the duration of masonry work or house construction, as well as how many days of school his children attended. Peter also oversaw the dispersal of the estate of a Joseph Carty in 1858 (F4).

William Carty seems to have been a land owner as well. A portion of this land may have been used as a cemetery, as some of his papers include requests for cemetery plot prices, or reference funerals or the purchase of plots. Many of the receipts and business records associated with William also relate to building materials. William received a letter from a nephew, Harry, who described economic and climatic conditions in Colorado in 1887 (F6).

The remainder of the collection is miscellaneous material associated with the Carty or Shreve family, as well as some pieces that do not clearly relate to either family. The Shreve family may be represented in the name of Shreve Carty, which implies the tradition of naming from the maternal side of the family, but there is no clear explanation of kinship between the two families to be found in the collection. A Mary Newman appears in both Peter Carty's papers, as well as in the miscellaneous documents, although her relation to the Carty family is not clear. The other Carty family members who appear are Shreve Carty, Joseph Carty, Asa Carty, Jonathan Carty, Alfred Carty, Albert Carty, and Elmer Carty.

The Carty family papers would be of use to various types of researchers. The material would enrich any inquiry into the history of Florence township because the material reflects the business and personal life of a family who lived in the area prior to and after the creation of the township. This collection could also supplement any research pertaining to economic history of the area due to the abundance of receipts and other business records that reflect the economic activity within the Burlington County area, as well as the Carty's business interests in nearby Philadelphia. Architectural historians may be interested in the receipts pertaining to the purchase of building materials as well as the construction time of a house found in the papers of Peter, Shreve and William Carty (F1-F6). Peter Carty's exercise books, which include math exercises as well as provide an example of "decorative" page headings (F4) and William Carty's penmanship exercise books (F6), may be of interest to those studying education or penmanship techniques in the nineteenth century. Although the Carty family papers do provide brief glimpses into certain aspects of life in New Jersey in the nineteenth century, the small and fragmented collection lacks a clear and flowing narrative of a family history. The most cohesive aspect of the material is the records pertaining to the construction of housing by Peter, Shreve, and William Carty.