Lease Stephen Girard to John Young 1831

Since Stephen Girard is in the news this week Philadelphia.   FBI Recovers Rare, Local History Stolen From Girard College « CBS …    I thought I would chime in about the relationship between Stephen Girard and my three times great-grandfather John Young.

On October 18, 1830 John Young entered into a lease agreement with Stephen Girard for ALL the messuage and lot of ground situated in the township of Passyunk aforesaid, bounded northwestward by a two perch wide lane, northeastward by land occupied by the widow Hunter, southeastward by the second street road, and southwestward by land occupied by George Sting(er) containing nine acres and three quarters, TOGETHER with all and singular other the buildings, improvements, rights, members and Appurtenances whatsoever, thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining to complete tenantable repair (except the southwest end parlour and the chamber above it) . . .

Rent was set at $200 a year to be paid in four $50 installments. In turn, John Young would adhere to the following provisions of this lease: hauling on the premises a sufficiency of manure for all the purposes of the Garden- attending to the fruit trees, of which there are on the premises, three Pear, eight Plum, besides one old one, sixteen Cherry, fourteen Apple, one Peach, one English Walnut, besides one Horse Chestnut tree – also attending carefully to the Asparagus bed – to sow no grain, and if he should it is to be forfeited – and not to take anythin
g off the premises (except his own private property, at the expiration of the dscn0587lease – and leaving the said premises in good tenantable repair, except the natural and unavoidable decay.  

It appears from this lease that John and his family would be occupying the house on the property with the exception of the “parlour and chamber above it,” as noted in the first excerpt above. Was this the house that is now part of Girard Park at 21st and Shunk Street in Philadelphia ?

Stephen Girard died in December of 1831 during the first year of the term of this lease. Also contained in my family collection are two lease agreements with the Mayor Alderman and Citizens of Philadelphia. The first is dated 1850 and is between The Mayor Alderman and Citisens [sic] of Philadelphia to John Young /Girard Farm No. 1 for a term of 3 years beginning March 1, 1850. This time the lease is for Thirty-seven acres and Thirty perches, . . .  At a yearly rent of Five Hundred dollars, payable half-yearly, the first payment to me made on the first day of September next. There are very specific provisions to this lease as well:  he [John Young]will put at least three loads of manure to the acre, yearly, on such parts of the demised premises as the said agent of the Girard farm shall designate; that all manure made on the premises shall remain thereon: that they ground shall not be ploughed more than twice in two successive years: that nor more than one fourth of the ground shall be seeded in the last year of the term, the portion of ground to be seeded to be designed by said Agent: that no tree shall be cut or trimmed without consent of the said Agent: that after the grain is seeded the ground shalldscn0593 be sown with good, fresh and clean timothy seed the proper season: and that all grain raised shall be thrashed and the straw remain on the ground: and the Committee of the said farms and the Agents of the Girard Estate shall be authority, at all time, to visit the premises to ascertain whether the herein covenants are complied with.

The subsequent lease is again between The Mayor Alderman and Citisens [sic] of Philadelphia to John Young for the same property as the 1850 lease. The term for this one is to begin on March 1, 1853 and is this time for two years at the rate of $500/year. It is indicated on the document that it is a duplicate, Mayor Charles Gilpin signed the lease but this duplicate copy is not dated beyond the year and does not contain John Young’s signature.

This leads me to ponder just who was this first John Young? Unfortunately, I have no birth or death dates for him or his wife Hannah, my search for that continues. It is his son John who begins our family’s Bible and he is born in 1825. (see first post) At this time I don’t know if John (Jr) had any siblings. What I find in the Copper Wash Tub always leads me to more questions but that’s what makes this fun.








The Reality of Apprenticeships in the 19th Century

So imagine yourself – 10 or 12 years of age and one day your mother, father or stepfather delivers you to the home of another, where you will serve time learning the art and mystery of a trade. Provisions are set for your maintenance, which may or may not include attending schooling. Upon serving your time you will receive two suits of clothes, one set to be new, and if you are lucky perhaps a couple of dollars. Maybe both your parents are dead or destitute and the Guardians for the Relief or Employment of the Poor or the Managers of the Almshouse sign your next seven years away. This was a fact of life in the 18th and 19th century and the indentures I looked at today are poignant.

From 1824 to 1851 nine children whose indentures made their way into the Copper Wash Tub were apprenticed to John and Hannah Young to learn farming, gardening, housewifery and plain sewing. Many of the indentures indicate the property to be in the “City of Philadelphia, District of Southwark, Passyunk Township.” According to a lease agreement that is part of this collection John was leasing the Girard Farm from Stephen Girard and it’s possible that John’s land may have abutted the Girard Farm.

Of particular interest are the three Jones sisters. Their mother, Elizabeth Wiltoner, who it would appear has remarried, apprentices Elizabeth Jones to John and Hannah Young in August of 1836 for a period of two years ten months and twenty-three days. Then in May of


Elizabeth Jones Indenture

1838 James Wiltoner (stepfather) apprentices Hester Ann Jones to the Youngs for a period of four years and eight months. In December of 1838 James Wiltoner (stepfather) apprentices Margaret Jane Jones to the Youngs for a period of two years and fifteen days. The first question to come to my mind is did their mother die and was their stepfather just passing them off to someone else till they reached their majority? Or perhaps Hannah Young was a friend of their mother and she was doing what she could to provide for the girls? Provisions are provided for limited attendance at school for each of the girls. Elizabeth and Hester Ann are both to receive a sum of money upon the completion of their terms but not Margaret Jane. However, only Margaret Jane is to learn “Plain Sewing” so perhaps this gives her a life skill to earn a living after her term?

In 1826 at the age of 14 the Managers of the Almshouse apprenticed Walker West to the Youngs for a term of seven years. However, the contract is canceled just four months after it is signed because of “the Boy having absconded.”

The Guardians for the Relief and Employment of the Poor apprentice John Clemens at the age of eight, to the Youngs in March of 1851 for a term of twelve years five months and twenty-seven days.  As part of the Guardians contract the “master” is to show proof that the apprentice has attended school, as per the contract at the completion of the term. Contained in this collections are various small slips of paper three of which


John Clemens Indenture

certify that John as been attending Point Breeze Public School, John Brunt, Principal.


Receipt fo schooling for John Clemens

Apprenticeships were a way to provide for your children without actually providing for them yourself. In some cases these apprentices learned trades and became active in their local communities. But I suspect more often than not these faceless children just vanish from the records. I’m really wishing I could find out what happened to the Jones sisters. . . . . maybe the Copper Wash Tub will reveal their secrets as I continue to work my way through the documents contained within it.