The Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan Papers are the correspondence and business papers of the famous trading house of colonial Philadelphia that began about 1757 as Baynton and Wharton, a partnership of John Baynton and Samuel Wharton. The firm was involved in trade with Europe, the West Indies, other mainland colonies, and settlers in the western regions of the continent. Its papers came into the possession of the Commonwealth during legal proceedings to settle the accounts and land transactions of Peter Baynton, state treasurer, 1791-1801. The documents are rich in information covering the years between the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. There is a particularly heavy focus on the early development of the Illinois country, on the fur trade, and on the supply of provisions for military posts, and they generally shed light on the role played by this firm in western expansion.


Letter Book, 1729. Includes Peter Baynton’s correspondence with James Young, June 28 and July 14, 1729, which refers to various slave transactions, recording both the physical conditions and the deaths of slaves.


General Correspondence, 1758-1787.

Correspondence of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan, A-Z 1763-1783. Includes many letters pertaining to commercial activities with merchants in South Carolina, Alabama, Jamaica, Martinique, and Lisbon. For instance, correspondence from Thomas Brignall of Port Royal and St. Peters, Martinique from 1761 through 1762 provides information on slavery in the West Indies. Also included are letters concerning plans for Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan to establish a trading house on the island. See: Thomas Brignall to Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan (firm), January 22, 1762; February 16, 1762; March 7, 1762; April 13, 1762; and May 25, 1762.

Miscellaneous Correspondence, A-Z 1759-1799. Includes a record of "Imports and Exports of Merchandise the Produce of South Carolina, 1760-1766." This record enumerates slave sales transacted by the Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan firm for these years.

Business Accounts, 1746-1776.

Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan Accounts, 1762-1776.

Journals, 1754-1765.

Supplement, Journal A, 1762-1765. Entry for an African American slave named "Negro Martin," owned by John Beck and hired out to sea by Robert Field.

Accounts Current, 1766-1771.

Account with the Plantation (Kaskaskia and Ft. Charters), 1768-1770. Plantation account book contains two entries that list "3 shirts for Negroes" and "Two Negro Men and Negro Boy."

Ledgers, 1766-1771.

Ledger, 1767-1768. Covers sale of "Negroes" at Kaskaskia (in present day Illinois), December 9, 1767 to October 29, 1768, and also contains a list of "negroe bonds" bearing interest at 10 percent from December 9, 1767 to May 6, 1768.

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