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Karthaus family papers

Accession 1340

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, DE, 19807
302-658-2400
research@hagley.org

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-09-03T13:58-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, Karthaus family papers (Accession 1340), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Karthaus family papers
Dates: 1794-1966
Accession Number: 1340
Creator: Karthaus family
Extent: 1.3 linear feet
Language of Material: English
Language of Material: Some items are in German.
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: Peter Arnold Karthaus (1765-1840) immigrated to the United States from Hamburg, Germany in 1796 and established a mercantile business in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River Valley. The collection documents Karthaus' mercantile business, land development in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and his partnership with fellow German immigrant, Frederick W. Geissenhainer, a pioneer in using coal to smelt iron.
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Historical Note

Peter Arnold Karthaus, Sr. (1765-1840) was born in Hamburg, Germany, and emigrated to Baltimore. There he established a mercantile business trading with Germany, Holland, France and the Caribbean. During the War of 1812 he operated at least ten vessels as privateers under letters of marque, although he remained a silent partner in these ventures.

Karthaus was also a pioneer in opening up the trade of the valley of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and attempting to direct it to Baltimore. Early on he purchased large tracts of land in Clearfield County, Pa., particularly around the junction of Little Moshannon Creek and the West Branch, where the town of Karthaus was eventually built. As early as 1811 he was associated with a fellow German immigrant, the Rev. Frederick W. Geissenhainer, a pioneer in using coal to smelt iron. Agents were sent to open the property and ship coal down the Susquehanna to Baltimore in flatboats.

Geissenhainer came up to Clearfield County in 1814 and directed the erection of a charcoal blast furnace which turned out hollow ware and stoves. The partnership of Karthaus and Geissenhainer was dissolved in December 1818. Thereafter Karthaus retained the land as an absentee owner. Peter A. Karthaus, Jr., died without issue in 1861. Administration of the Karthaus Estate passed to his sister Regina and her husband, Frederick Focke, and eventually to their grandson, Charles Lee Reese, Sr.

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Scope and Content

The collection documents Karthaus' mercantile business, land development in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and his partnership with fellow German immigrant, Frederick W. Geissenhainer, a pioneer in using coal to smelt iron.

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Series Descriptions and Inventory

I. Peter Arnold Karthaus, 1806-1836
Scope and Content
The papers of Peter A. Karthaus (1765-1840)consist of a book of shipping invoices (1806-1814) for tobacco, sugar, cotton and coffee shipped between Baltimore and Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Bremen, Havana and Puerto Rico. There are also about 30 items relating to Karthaus's investments in Central Pennsylvania, including shares of the Milesburg & Smethport Turnpike (of which Karthaus was president), deeds, accounts, power of attorney, correspondence and indentures. There is also a printed family register in German.
Box
1 P.A. Karthaus book of shipping invoices, 1806-1814 [Shipping invoices for tobacco, sugar, cotton and coffee between Baltimore and Amsterdam. Also Bordeaux, Bremen, Havana and Puerto Rico.]
Box
1 Peter Arnold Karthaus, papers, 1813-1836 [Includes certificate of shares in the Milesburg & Smithport Turnpike Road Co. signed by P.A. Karthhaus, President, 1828-1829; deeds, agreements, power of attorney, accounts, correspondence and indentures. Also a printed family register (in German) with mss. notes by P.A. Karthaus, 1813-1836.] ; approximately 30 items
II. Peter Arnold Karthaus, Jr., 1829-1871, undated
approximately 200 items
Scope and Content
The papers of Peter A. Karthaus, Jr. (1799-1861) include a letterpress book (1829-1843) concerning accounts, financial and business matters. There are also land and estate papers relating to the Karthaus holdings in Pennsylvania, including lawsuit material, the lease for the furnace at Karthaus, a petition for a railroad and a description of the Karthaus lands in Clearfield County. There are also copies of Karthaus' will, small accounts, indentures, mortgages and promissory notes.
Box
1 Letter press book of [P.A. Karthaus, Jr.], 1829 December 30 - 1842 August 12 [Most letters are written from Baltimore, M.D.]
Box
1 Final letter regarding accounts and financial and business matters, 1843 November 3
Box
1 Land and estate papers of Peter Arnold Karthaus, Jr. and others, 1829-1871, undated [Includes agreements, powers of attorney, copy of P.A. Karthaus, Jr.'s will, small accounts, indentures, mortgage, promissory notes, receipts, marriage contract between George Keidel and Fredericka Karthaus (1860, signed and sealed copy), lawsuit material, lease for furnace at Karthaus, P.A., petition for railroad and a description of Karthaus lands in Clearfield County, P.A., 1829-1871.] ; approximately 200 items
III. Karthaus estate, 1794-1905, 1958-1966
Scope and Content
The Karthaus estate material consists primarily of correspondence between the trustees, Charles Lee Reese, Sr. (1862-1940) and Clement W. Smith, and later of Charles Lee Reese, Jr. It also includes genealogical material relating to the other Karthaus descendants. The correspondence is primarily with law firms and prospective buyers of land. There are maps of the property in Clearfield County, a printed geological report by D. M. Butts (1894), and notes on coal samples and analysis, along with original deeds and land patents dating back to 1794 and accounts of the trustees (1824-1905).
Box
1 Correspondece regarding settlement of the Karthaus Estate (mainly in Clearfield County, P.A.), 1958-1966 [Originals and copies from law firms C.L. Reese, Jr. and other Karthaus descendants. Includes genealogical data and accounts.] ; approximately 130 items
Box
1 Correspondence and estate related papers of Charles Lee Reese, Trustee (1862-1940), 1884-1902 [Much of the material is correspondence between C.L. Reese and Clement W. Smith, Trustee, and concerns prospective buyers of the Karthaus estate. Also one item regarding coal samples and analyses from Karthaus land and one mss. passport for Charles L. Reese, 1884, on paper watermarked with a large Seal of the United States.] ; approximately 45 items
Box
1 Maps of Karthaus, PA estate and general area, 1870-1894 [Includes printed report with map (2 copies) by D.M. Butts, 1894.] ; 9 items
Box
1 Accounts and statements of trustees, 1824-1905; 22 items
Box
1 Deeds, 1794-1826 [Original deeds and patents regarding Karthaus land in Clearfield County, P.A.] ; 17 items
IV. Karthaus Bituminous Coal Company of New Jersey, 1845-1901 (Box 1)
circa 23 items
Scope and Content
The Karthaus Bituminous Coal Company is represented by a prospectus, blank subscription agreements, blank stock certificates, a Bradstreet's rating of the company, deeds and correspondence with the trustees of the Karthaus Estate.
Includes prospectus, blank subscription agreements, blank stock certificate, stock agreements, agreement to deed property in Karthaus to the company, Bradstreet's ratings, list of officers of the company, proposition from trustees of the Karthaus estate and correspondence regarding the estate and company.
V. Frederick Focke, 1843-1849, undated
Scope and Content
A business diary of Frederick Focke, the son-in-law of P.A. Karthaus, Sr., recounts trading voyages to Holland and England in 1847-1849. It contains some accounts and copies of correspondence. Statistics on tobacco sales and accounts include a comparative statement of tobacco exports from the United States for the years 1843-1847.
Box
1 Business diary of Frederick Focke, 1847-1849
Box
1 Accounts and copies of correspondence, undated
Box
1 Statistics on tobacco sales and accounts, 1843-1847 [Includes a comparative statement of the exports of tobacco from the United States for five years.] ; 1 volume
VI. News clippings, 1832-1834, 1949-1950, undated
Scope and Content
There is also a collection of news clippings (1833-1950) relating to Karthaus, and a facsimile of the Declaration fo Independence printed for the Centennial Exhibition.
Box
1 Broadside of the Declaration of Independence, undated [distributed by Farrell & Co., Philadelphia at Centennial]
Box
1 Baltimore Patriot and Mercantile Advertiser, 1834 March 12
Box
1 Delaware Journal, 1832 May 22
Box
1 Delaware Journal, 1832 May 29
Box
1 Delaware State Journal, 1833 February 22
Box
1 Pennsylvania Reporter, 1834 March 11
Box
1 Capitol News, Harrisburg, 1950 August 7
Box
1 The Progress, 1949 April 5
Box
1 The Progress, 1949 March 29
Box
1 The Progress, 1949 March 28
Box
1 New York Times, page 23, 1950 August 22; 2 copies