PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records




Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau of Archives and History
Pennsylvania State Archives



Series Descriptions

I. Peter Baynton Papers, 1725-1745

Peter Baynton (b. 1695, d. 1743/4) was a merchant, who engaged in business in Philadelphia in 1721. His career was a prosperous one. On his death, he bequeathed to his wife, Mary Budd, £640 per annum and left £250 toward erecting a new Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

II. Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan Papers, 1746 (1757-1787)-1787

Correspondence of John Baynton,
(101 items)


John Baynton (b. 1726, d. 1773), the son of Mary Budd and Peter Baynton, was at various times a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly, provincial commissiorner named in an Act of December, 1756, a member of the Board of Trustees for the State House, and trustee of Province Island. With William Bard, he supplied goods for the Indian treaty at Easton in 1758.

Correspondence of Baynton and Wharton,
(478 items)


As partners in the firm of Baynton and Wharton, John Baynton and Samuel Wharton (b. 1732, d. 1800) carried on a mercantile business in Philadelphia from 1757 to 1763. They dealt with farmers and others in Pennsylvania and neighboring colonies to obtain such products as hay, onions, cord wood, and lumber; and they engaged in extensive foreign trade to import such goods as sugar, rum, bottled beer, and gunpowder. Their trading ventures were extensive, reaching Quebec, Detroit, and Fort Pitt, as well as the West Indies, Portugal, and London. Gradually, their interest turned towardtrade with the Indians because it seemed most profitable. At the outbreak of the Pontiac War in 1763, the firm had large consignments of traders in the Indian country, and found itself in serious straits when goods were captured or destroyed.

Correspondence of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan,
(855 items)


In 1763, to strengthen their finances, the two partners, Baynton and Wharton, persuaded their clerk, George Morgan (b. 1743), to enter the partnership, which thus attained its full title-Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan. Morgan brought to the firm a substantial inheritance from his father, Evan Morgan (d. 1748), as well as knowledge and experience gained in half a dozen years' service as a clerk. The new partnership began prosperously and the business became even more extensive.

Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan joined in the protests against the Stamp Act of 1765, but they and other Philadelphia merchants were more seriously affected by the Acts of Parliament restraining colonial trade in the interest of the mother country. They joined in non-importation agreements and enforced them by cancelling orders placed in England and refusing to sell goods on commission for British merchants until the legislation was modified. This alteration of trade relations led the partners to give even more attention to trade with the Indians.

With the cooperation and connivance of George Croghan, deputy Indian superintendent under Sir William Johnson, Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan moved to seize a virtual monopoly of the Indian trade of the Illinois country at the close of the Pontiac War. In this "Grand Illinois Venture," the firm pioneered in the development of British trade in this area which had previously been controlled by the French. However, difficulties with the military, growing competition from other traders, and charges of unscrupulous business practices brought about a decline in the company's fortunes by 1767, and the partners went into voluntary receivership with their creditors administering the business. In 1772 the firm withdrew from the Illinois venture, and the process of liquidation continued until about 1776.

Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan had bought the claims of many "suffering traders" whose goods had been destroyed in 1763 at the outbreak of the Indian war. After the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix awarded a huge tract of land in the Ohio country to the "Sufferers of 1763" as compensation for their losses, Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan counted their share in this "Indiana Grant" or "Traders Grant" as one of their most important assets. It became the basis for the Indiana Company and of other companies which were formed successively to exploit Ohio lands.

Correspondence of George Morgan,
(171 items)


George Morgan, the third and youngest partner in the firm of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan, was the son-in-law of John Baynton, the senior member of the firm. In 1765 he went to the Illinois country as representative of the company, and was involved in all the difficulties which ensued there and elsewhere down to the termination of the partnership. Later, during the Revolutionary War, he was notable for his role as U.S. Indian agent at Pittsburgh. In quieter times Morgan lived at his farm "Prospect," near Princeton, New Jersey; and at "Morganza," near Washington, Pennsylvania, where he gave much attention to scientific agriculture.

Correspondence of James Rumsey and Windsor Brown,
(68 items)


James Rumsey managed affairs for Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan during Morgan's absence from the Illinois country in 1770. Although he was an old friend of Morgan, he accepted an offer to become the secretary of Lieutenant Colonel John Wilkins, Morgan's enemy, and became a partner of William Murray, in competition with his old employers. It was through Rumsey and Murray that George Morgan sold out the remaining goods of Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan in 1770, when they gave up their "Grand Illinois Venture." Windsor Brown was clerk to James Rumsey at Kaskaskia, and received goods for him.

Correspondence of Baynton and Morgan,
1766, 1775-83.
(8 items)


A new partnership of Baynton and Morgan was formed on March 1, 1775, by Mrs. John Baynton and her son-in-law George Morgan. Elizabeth Chevalier (b. 1726) had married John Baynton in December of 1747 and was left a widow in 1773. She was the daughter of the Philadelphia merchant Peter Chevalier, who came from England about 1720. The new firm had a store at the corner of Third and Elm streets, Philadelphia, where the partners supplied groceries, hardware, and ships' stores at retail or wholesale.

Correspondence of Joseph Bullock,
(49 items)


Joseph Bullock, a Philadelphia merchant, was a business associate and family connection of the Bayntons and of George Morgan. He married Esther Baynton, daughter of John Baynton in December of 1770.

Correspondence of Peter Baynton,
(118 items)


Peter Baynton (b. 1754, d. 1821) was the son of John Baynton and the grandson of Peter Baynton. He went with George Morgan to Kaskaskia in the latter part of 1770, read law with Alexander Wilcocks during 1771, and became postmaster of Philadelphia in 1776. In 1785 he set up in business as a merchant at 56 Walnut Street, between Second and Third streets, Philadelphia. The General Assembly appointed him state treasurer in 1797, and he was adjutant general in 1799. He married Elizabeth Bullock, the sister of Joseph, and lived in Germantown. Correspondents in this series include William Buchanan, Tench Coxe, John R. Hansen, Ebenezer Hazard, James Hopkins, John and William Patton, and Dr. Benjamin Rush.

Correspondence of John Baynton,
(98 items)


Includes John Anderson and John Nicholson letters. The son of John Baynton and the brother of Peter Baynton, he was deputy paymaster general to the troops and garrison on the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1777-1779.

Correspondence of Benjamin Baynton,
(6 items)


The son of John Baynton (b. 1726, d. 1773), he joined the British Navy in January of 1776 and remained on the British side.

Correspondence of George Baynton,
(17 items)


George Baynton was another of the sons of John Baynton (b. 1726, d. 1773).

Military Warrant Book,
(1 volume)


Warrants made to John Baynton, deputy paymaster general, to the troops and garrison on the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1777-78, signed by General Edward Hand.

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records