Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893

James Robinson Newhall Account Book
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 177 bd

Prominent lawyer, judge, and author from Lynn, Massachusetts. Includes services as lawyer and judge (such as selling stocks, writing wills, mortgage notices, and lien certificates, and acting as administrator of estates), mention of various court cases, family members, and prominent townspeople. Also contains personal records pertaining to a rental property, and the sale of his book, History of Lynn.

Biographical Note

Prominent lawyer, judge, author of History of Lynn, Vol. I (1890) and co-author of History of Lynn, Vol. II (1897).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

James Robinson Newhall, of Lynn, Massachusetts, kept this “General Account Book” of his services as lawyer and judge from 1851 to 1883.

References are made throughout the account book to “old ledger”, “day book”, and “writ book”, indicating the existence of several other accounts of Newhall’s business/legal activities.

Services included: School Committee services (examination of school primaries), services on coroner’s jury, administering a “Poor Debtor’s Oath”, acting as administrator to various person’s estates, selling stocks, writing wills, post office affadavits, mortgage notices, lien certificates, and making tax payments. There was also one instance of his drawing up an “ante-nuptial agreement” in 1852. Aside from probate court handlings he also indicates working on ejectment (eviction) suits, trespass cases, divorce cases, an adoption case, a murder case (Nathan Breed), and guardianship cases.

In relation to guardianship cases, it was almost always the case that a mother would file for guardianship of her own children after the death of her husband. J.R. Newhall himself was acting as guardian to Mary A. Swain (Osgood), Henry A. Swain and Albert E. Swain.

Family members mentioned are his father Benjamin, sister Mary, (step?) brother Harrison, brother Benjamin Francis, Mrs. Frederick A. Newhall, Isaac Newhall, and stepmother Esther Newhall.

Frequently-accounted prominent townspersons include James Munroe, Dr. Benjamin F. Green, James N. Lindsay, John C. Vennard, Charles Merritt (Deputy Sheriff of County), Roland Usher (11th Mayor of Lynn), John Hilton, Miss Martha Curtin, and Phebe Hazeltine.

Phebe Hazeltine (daughter of Dr. Richard Hazeltine) has an unusually elaborate account. It spans from 1863 to 1873, with J.R. Newhall eventually settling her estate after her death c.1870. Of note regarding the settling of her estate is the $12,978.82 paid over to the Trustees of Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, as well as the paying of the several mortgages of townspersons that she seems to have covered.

Also included in the “General Account Book” are Newhall’s personal records, pertaining particularly to the “Old Homestead”. The house was used as rental property with rates of $2.75/month or $.63/week. In 1873, Newhall bought the property from Harrison Newhall, and it apparently remained as rental property during the time period covered in this account book. Also as part of J.R. Newhall’s personal accounts were several entries pertaining to the sale of History of Lynn.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: James Robinson Newhall Account Book (MS 177). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Martha Grier-Deen, August 1987.

Additional Information

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


  • Curtin, Martha
  • Green, Benjamin F
  • Guardian and ward--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Hazeltine, Phebe
  • Hilton, John
  • Judges--Massachusetts--Lynn--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Lawyers--Massachusetts--Lynn--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Lindsay, James N
  • Merritt, Charles
  • Mount Holyoke Female Seminary--History
  • Munroe, James
  • Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893. History of Lynn
  • Practice of law--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
  • Rent charges--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
  • Rental housing--Massachusetts--Lynn--History--19th century
  • Usher, Roland
  • Vennard, John C
  • Newhall, James R. (James Robinson), 1809-1893
Types of material
  • Account books

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