Skip to main content

Martha Bradstreet papers

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 674

Scope and Contents

The papers consist chiefly of handwritten copies of maps, survey reports, and other legal documents related to litigation by Martha Bradstreet to gain title to land throughout the Mohawk River Valley in New York State. The land, including portions of Cosby's Manor and Utica, was originally the property of Major General John Bradstreet (1714-1774), the stepfather of her father, Samuel Bradstreet. Survey reports and maps in the collection served as evidence for litigation by Martha Bradstreet against owners and tenants of the land, and document landownership in the regions, as well as partitions and subdivisions made during the early nineteenth century within the Mohawk River Valley communities, especially in Utica, as well as Deerfield, Masonville, and Tompkins. The papers also include newspaper clippings, printed notices, copies of court records, and a holograph manuscript of Bradstreet's An Offering at the Altar of Truth (1827), detailing thirty-five cases she brought in federal courts and the unfavorable rulings made by Justice Alfred Conkling (1789-1874) of United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. Correspondence includes letters pertaining to her litigation, as well as personal letters to and from her husband Matthew Codd in the first decade of their marriage (in Series III), and from friend Clarissa "Clara" Bartlett Gregory Catlin (1807-1845) (in Series II).

Dates

  • circa 1750-1900
  • Majority of material found within 1800 - 1840

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Martha Bradstreet Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from the William Reese Company on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2009, and from RJM Antiques on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2012.

Arrangement

Organized into three series: Series I. Maps, Legal Documents, and Writings, circa 1750-1877. Series II. Correspondence, 1837-1854. Series III. March 2012 Addition, 1790-circa 1900.

Extent

5.63 Linear Feet ( (6 boxes) + 25 broadside folders)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.bradstreet

Overview

The papers consist chiefly of handwritten copies of maps, survey reports, and other legal documents related to litigation by Martha Bradstreet to gain title to land throughout the Mohawk River Valley in New York State. The land, including portions of Cosby's Manor and Utica, was originally the property of Major General John Bradstreet (1714-1774), the stepfather of her father, Samuel Bradstreet. Survey reports and maps in the collection served as evidence for litigation by Martha Bradstreet against owners and tenants of the land, and document landownership in the regions, as well as partitions and subdivisions made during the early nineteenth century within the Mohawk River Valley communities, especially in Utica, as well as Deerfield, Masonville, and Tompkins. The papers also include newspaper clippings, printed notices, copies of court records, and a holograph manuscript of Bradstreet's An Offering at the Altar of Truth (1827), detailing thirty-five cases she brought in federal courts and the unfavorable rulings made by Justice Alfred Conkling (1789-1874) of United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. Correspondence includes letters pertaining to her litigation, as well as personal letters to and from her husband Matthew Codd in the first decade of their marriage (in Series III), and from friend Clarissa "Clara" Bartlett Gregory Catlin (1807-1845) (in Series II).

Overview

The papers consist chiefly of handwritten copies of maps, survey reports, and other legal documents related to litigation by Martha Bradstreet to gain title to land throughout the Mohawk River Valley in New York State. The land, including portions of Cosby's Manor and Utica, was originally the property of Major General John Bradstreet (1714-1774), the stepfather of her father, Samuel Bradstreet. The papers served as evidence for litigation by Martha Bradstreet against owners and tenants of the land. Survey reports and maps in the collection document landownership in the regions, as well as partitions and subdivisions made during the early nineteenth century within the Mohawk River Valley communities, especially in Utica, as well as Deerfield, Masonville, and Tompkins. The papers include a holograph manuscript of Bradstreet's An Offering at the Altar of Truth (1827). It details thirty-five cases she brought in federal courts and the unfavorable rulings made by Justice Alfred Conkling (1789-1874) of United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. A small amount of correspondence includes letters and draft letters pertaining to her litigation and personal letters from her friend Clarissa "Clara" Bartlett Gregory Catlin (1807-1845).

Martha Bradstreet (1780-1871)

Martha Bradstreet was born on the island of Antigua in the West Indies. Her father, Samuel Bradstreet (died 1784), named her after his sister, Martha Bradstreet (died 1782). She married Matthew Codd from Ireland in 1799 and divorced him in 1816. Their marriage produced five children, Elizabeth Catherine (later Bennett), Sarah Mary Anne (later Sterling), Eleanor Cloney, John Bradstreet, and Edward Livius (born circa 1809). Through acts in the New York State Assembly, she regained her birth name in 1817 and applied the surname of Bradstreet to her children in March 1818.

Martha Bradstreet inherited land in the Mohawk River Valley of New York through the estates of her father, her namesake, and aunts, Agatha Bradstreet Evans (died 1794) and Elizabeth Bradstreet Livius (died 1795). Most of the land originally accrued through the estates of her step-grandfather, Major General John Bradstreet (1714-1774) and her grandmother, Mary Aldridge Bradstreet (died 1782). However, poorly drafted deeds of sales created uncertain titles to a portion of the land. The terms of the estate of Elizabeth Bradstreet Livius further complicated Martha Bradstreet's land claims because she had married without the approval of the estate's executor. Bradstreet subsequently discovered that much of the land she inherited from her aunt Martha was sold by the estate's executor, Charles Gould (1726-1806) through his son and attorney, Edward Goold (Gould). During the early nineteenth century she pursued litigation to cancel the land sales and gain title to the properties designated for her in the bequests. In 1831, the United States Supreme Court denied her claim to portions land in Cosby's Manor, a tract of land in and around Utica, New York, in James Jackson, Ex Dem. of Martha Bradstreet, v. Henry Huntington, 30 U.S. 5 Pet. 402 (1831).

Bradstreet continued to pursue her land claims in communities throughout the Mohawk River Valley until her death in Bennettsville, New York.

Processing Information

The descriptions of material in this collection were chiefly repurposed from identifications provided by the dealer.
Title
Guide to the Martha Bradstreet Papers
Status
Completed
Author
by Matthew D. Mason and Ève Bourbeau-Allard
Date
October 2009, July 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.