John Simmons
Papers, 1826-1882

SC23041

Quantity: 2 boxes (0.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research.
Acquisition: Gift; Mrs. John Watcher and Dr. Kenneth Watcher of Coronado, California, November 30, 2007; includes papers purchased from Carmen D. Valentino, 2004 (acc. #22810); collated April 2009
Processed By: Christine Alexander, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, May 2009

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Biographical Note:

John Simmons was manager of the Ulster Iron Works, situated in Saugerties (formerly Ulster), New York, from 1828 to 1863. Simmons was born May 22, 1799, in Deepfield, Staffordshire, England. He was the son of John and Phoebe Edwards (Cosely) Simmons, and used the name John Simmons, Jr., in his earlier years. John’s father was the manager of High Field Iron Works in Staffordshire. John Jr. learned about puddling furnaces and the production of rolled iron in England. He spent seven years in France constructing and managing iron works. Simmons immigrated to the United States in 1828 and was soon hired to manage the Ulster Iron Works started by Henry Barclay. While at the Ulster Iron Works, John Simmons introduced the puddling process for producing iron, and manufactured fine hoops. The Ulster Iron Works recruited Welsh iron workers skilled in the new iron-working technologies. John Simmons encouraged his father and siblings to immigrate to the United States, and they did so in 1830-1831. John’s brother, Edward, who had expertise in rolling iron, was particularly active in the Ulster Iron Works. John Simmons left the Ulster Iron Works in the spring of 1842 but returned in the winter of 1844 as a contractor with his brother, Edward. John retired in favor of his son, Ovid T. Simmons, in 1860. Ovid and Edward Simmons operated manufacturing at the iron works as contractors from 1860 to 1863, and John acted as representative for Josh and Lucius Tuckerman, who eventually became owners of the works. Simmons was married twice, first in 1831 to Mrs. Nancy Minor Dewey, who died within months of their marriage, and then in 1834 to Caroline Campbell. He died on March 31, 1878.

Scope and Content Note:

These papers consist chiefly of correspondence and financial records related primarily to the personal business affairs of John Simmons. Correspondence includes letters from William Young (president of Ulster Iron Works), Henry Carey, and his brother, Edward Simmons, all of whom were also involved in the operations of the Ulster Iron Works. Financial records consist mostly of account books that document investments in real estate, banks, manufacturing, etc., some of which may have been related to the iron works. The records also include numerous accounts that appear to be more personal in nature, such as church pew rents, livery services, medical care and medicine, and maintenance of dwelling houses and grounds.

Container List

Box Folder Description
    Correspondence, 1828-1863
1 1 Correspondence, 1828 (4 items)
1 2 Correspondence, 1829 (23 items)
1 3 Correspondence, 1830-1834 (16 items)
1 4 Correspondence, 1835-1836 (9 items)
1 5 Correspondence, 1837-1839 (12 items)
1 6 Correspondence, 1840 (18 items)
1 7 Correspondence, 1841-1842 (15 items)
1 8 Correspondence, 1843 and undated (9 items)
1 9 Correspondence, 1863 (1 item)
    Legal and Financial Papers
1 10 Agreement, 1835, between Henry Barclay and Michael Quinn for location of dwelling house (1 item)
1 11 Agreement, 1843, to furnish iron and coal, written by Horace Gray, Esq. (unsigned) (2 items)
1 12 Bail bond for John Dade, 1830 (1 item)
1 13 Bank statements, 1840-1842, Kingston Bank (2 items)
1 14 Design statement describing pulleys and blowers on puddling furnaces, 1841-1842 (1 item)
1 15 Invoices and receipts, 1830-1843 (14 items)
1 16 Manufacturing statement of costs to produce a ton of hoops, undated (1 item)
1 17 Manufacturing statement for puddling furnaces, November 1834
1 18 Promissory notes and drafts, 1832-1840
1 19 Record of time worked by carpenters, 1850 (1 item)
1 20 Tariff of prices for stone and mason work, Saugerties, April 1830 (1 item)
1 21 Debit-credit account, John Simmons with Ulster Iron Works, 1831-1833 (1 item)
1 22
  1. Cash account book “A”, 1 January 1867-3 May 1867
  2. Cash account book “B”, 11 May 1867-26 October 1867
  3. Cash account book “C”,  29 October 1867-8 April 1868
1 23
  1. Cash account book “D”, 9 April 1868-20 August 1868
  2. Cash account book “E”, 20 August 1868-28 December 1868
1 24
  1. Cash account book “F”, 1 January 1868-30 September 1869
  2. Cash account book “G”, [16] October 1869-11 January 1870
1 25
  1. Cash account book “H”, 12 January 1870-22 April 1870
  2. Cash account book “I”, 23 April 1870-13 August 1870
  3. Cash account book” J”, 13 August 1870-31 January 1871
1 26
  1. Cash account book “K”, 1 February 1871-2 May 1871
  2. Cash account book “L”, 3 May 1871-2 September 1871
1 27
  1. Cash account book “M”, 4 September 1871-30 December 1871
  2. Cash account book “N”, 1 January 1872-30 June 1872
1 28
  1. Cash account book “O”, 1 July 1872-11 January 1873
  2. Cash account book “P”, 13 January 1873-25 May 1873
2 1 Account book with extracts from payroll and manufacturing statements, 1861
2 2 Ledger book of sundry accounts, 1862-1876
Insurance, bills rendered and paid, loans, bonds and mortgages
2 3 Journal of cash accounts, 1879-1882
2 4 Ledger of debit-credit accounts for business and some personal expenses, as well as records of investments, including mortgage loans made, real estate, bonds, bank and canal stocks, State of Michigan war bonds and U.S. Treasury notes, 1858-1863
Last Updated: January 12, 2010