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Vanuxem papers, 1778-1900, bulk 1781-1869

Accession: 1982Identifier: 1982-I.

Part of collection: Wurts family papers (1982)


  • Creation: 1778-1900
  • Creation: bulk 1781-1869

Historical Note

Among the earliest papers in Accession 1982 are the Vanuxem Papers (1778-1937). James Vanuxem (1745-1824), the family patriarch, was born in Dunkerque, France. He emigrated to America at age twenty-nine and soon settled in Philadelphia. Vanuxem married Rebecca Clark (daughter of Colonel Elijah Clark and Jane Lardner Clark) in 1779 and they had fifteen children, of which eight died before reaching adulthood.

Vanuxem became engaged in the shipping trade by 1779 and was also a merchant in Philadelphia from the 1780s through at least the first decade of the nineteenth century. Vanuxem had several partners in business at various times that included his brother-in-law John Lardner Clark and Herman Joseph Lombaert. In 1816 Vanuxem and his then-business partner J. B. Sartori purchased the Robert Morris property in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There, they leased to two of Vanuxem's sons, Louis C. and James Jr., a grist and saw mill. James Vanuxem was involved in many activities such as the French Benevolent Society of Philadelphia and the Female Association of Philadelphia for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances and was a director of the Bank of Pennsylvania, an organizer of the Pennsylvania Improvement Company, an incorporator and director of the Union Mutual Insurance Company, an organizer of the American Fire Insurance Company, and a member of the Select Council of Philadelphia and its water committee. Vanuxem died in Morrisville.

Louis C. Vanuxem (1788-c. 1832) was born in Philadelphia and like his father was known as a shipping merchant. Louis C. Vanuxem married Esther ("Hetty") Shoemaker in 1815 and they had six children. Along with his brother James, Louis and family moved to Morrisville with their father in 1816 and leased the mills owned by Vanuxem and Sartori. In 1823, Louis, his wife and children moved with his wife's family to Matanzas, Cuba where he took up farming and was a merchant. He returned to the United States for visits, but maintained his permanent residence in Cuba. He died, lost at sea.

James Vanuxem Jr. (1790-1877) was born in Philadelphia. He married Susannah Lombaert, daughter of Herman Joseph Lombaert and Margaretta Wynkoop Lombaert, in 1813. After the death of his father and sale of the Morrisville property James Vanuxem, Jr. and his family moved west in 1825 to Ohio, where he lived in several places and was involved in mercantile business and farming. He subsequently moved to Dublin, Indiana and opened a store. After his wife's death in 1838 Vanuxem left the operation of the store to one of his sons, James, and went to Hazleton, Pennsylvania where he became superintendent of the Sugar Loaf Collieries. He was remarried in 1842 to Elizabeth Newbold and returned to his store in Dublin, Indiana. He finally moved to Richmond, Indiana where he died.

Edward Vanuxem (1818-1898), a son of James Vanuxem, Jr. and Susannah Lombaert Vanuxem, was born in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. While the rest of his family was living in Ohio and Indiana, he was sent east and lived with Wynkoop and Vanuxem relatives in Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Krusen in 1843 and they had one child, Anna (1846-1916), who married Theodore F. Wurts. Edward Vanuxem held different occupations in New Jersey such as storekeeper, station agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Lambertville, and proprietor of Excelsior Spoke Works. He also lived in Chicago for a time and manufactured wooden boxes. Upon his wife's death in 1884 he moved to Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he lived with his daughter until his death.

Scope and Contents

Vanuxem papers, including those of James Vanuxem (1778-1837) and Louis C. Vanuxem (1811-1832), consisting of financial and legal papers and correspondence. James Vanuxem (1745-1824) was a Philadelphia shipping merchant and helped establish several insurance companies. His son Louis C. Vanuxem (1788-1832) had several occupations: he was a shipping merchant, he leased grist and saw mills from his father in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and he later relocated to Matanzas, Cuba where he took up farming and was a merchant.


1.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Related Names



Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA