The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera

Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE  19735

302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883





Creator:          Gilpin, Thomas, 1776-1853                                         

Title:               Inventories, deeds, and letters

Dates:             1738-1852

Call No.:         Col. 246

Acc. No.:         67x5, 69x222.1-.15, 88x90; 05x25

Quantity:        34 items

Location:        34 K 4, and map case 1, drawer 6






Thomas Gilpin (1728-1778) was a Quaker merchant and manufacturer.  Born and raised in Chester County, Pennsylvania, he owned flour mills at Millington, Maryland, and near Wilmington, Delaware.  In 1777, he was arrested with other members of the Society of Friends who were suspected of being loyalists and exiled to Winchester, Virginia, where he died on April 30, 1778.


Thomas Gilpin (1776-1853), the son of the elder Thomas Gilpin, was born in Philadelphia on September 10, 1776.  He and his brother Joshua (1765-1841) established Delaware's first paper mill near Wilmington in 1787.  Although Thomas maintained his residence in Philadelphia, he summered near the mill.  Joshua resided in Delaware at Kentmere.  In 1817, Thomas invented and patented the first continuous papermaking machine in the U.S., based on information secured by his brother in England.  While the brothers were successful in their business endeavors, they suffered from a shortage of capital and losses in other investments.  As a result, they sold the mill in 1837.





Contains an estate inventory for Isaac Gilpin dated 1745, an inventory of items owned by Thomas Gilpin taken between 1839 and 1850; an invoice listing glassware, bookcases, and books, purchased by Joshua Gilpin in 1801; and property deeds relating to members of the Gilpin family.  The volume containing Thomas Gilpin's inventory opens with a table of contents listing packages, the inventories of the packages, a list of furniture and other articles, and items sent to various individuals.  The inventory documents such possessions as paintings, drawings, lithographs, copper plates, and other types of art; letters, ledgers, journals, and other business records; books, maps, and pamphlets by title; paper on hand at Brandywine, 1839; clothing with information on the date each article was made and its condition; napkins, table cloths, sheets, blankets, and other household linens; silver, crockery, dishes, china, glassware, and other housewares; and deeds, patents, and other private papers owned by Thomas Gilpin.  An 1844 inventory of financial holdings and a list of books lent in 1843 are also included.  The volume closes with a room by room inventory of the furniture in Catherine Hubert's cottage.  The invoice of goods purchased by Joshua Gilpin in 1801 also includes three pencil drawings of caskets or decorative boxes.


Property deeds record purchases of lots and houses by Thomas Gilpin in Wilmington between 1748 and 1771.  An associated document from 1748 shows a plot with a store and house owned by Gilpin, Joshua Way, and John Knowles.  Thomas Gilpin was also involved in land transactions with Thomas Fisher, Samuel R. Fisher, and Miers Fisher in Bedford and Westmoreland Counties, Pa. between 1773 and 1777.  Another deed indicates that Lydia Gilpin purchased a lot in Wilmington from Simeon Hutton in 1792.  The last deed involves the transfer of two tracts of land in Indiana County, Pa. from Henry D. Gilpin to Richard Gilpin in 1849.


The letters are to or from the younger Thomas Gilpin.  Some of them concern business, some family news.  He writes about his efforts to pen a Gilpin family history and to obtain illustrations for it. 





The items are in accession number order.  Oversize deeds are in a map case drawer.





The materials are in English.





Collection is open to the public.  Copyright restrictions may apply.





Purchases and gifts from various sources.






            Gilpin family.

            Gilpin, Thomas, 1728-1778.

            Gilpin, Joshua, 1765-1840.

            Gilpin, Isaac, d. ca. 1745.



            Real property, Exchange of - Delaware.

            Real property, Exchange of - Pennsylvania.

            Inventories of decedents' estates - Pennsylvania - Chester County.

            Clothing and dress.

            Household linens.


            House furnishings.

            Kitchen utensils.

            Household supplies.




            Private libraries.

            Art - Collectors and collecting.






            Estate records.







Location: 34 K 4, and map case 1, drawer 6



67x5    Thomas Gilpin’s Inventory book, 1839-1850.


Includes lists of packages and boxes and their contents and “account of paper on hand Brandywine Jany. 1839.”  The boxes held a wide variety of household goods, clothing, art prints, and books.  The titles of the prints and books are given.  The clothing is described, e.g. “green silk diamond pattern waistcoat.”  On page 131, two pieces of furniture were not only described, but small drawings were also included.  On page 137 are drawings of shafts and screws.  The volume includes a list of books loaned to others.  Several bills and an inventory of financial documents, take July 1, 1844, are laid into the volume.



69x222.7         Plot of the store and wharf, by scrivener Goldsmith E. Ffowell, 5th mo. 20, 1748.  A draft of Shipley’s part of store house.


Gives description and map of location of lot purchased by Joshua Way, Thomas Gilpin, and John Knowles from William Shipley, along the Christiana River in Wilmington.



69.222.12        Invoice of glassware, bookcases, and books, purchased in London on June 16, 1801, by Joshua Gilpin.


                        Among the types of glassware purchased were tumblers, goblets, liqueur and wine glasses, water and jelly glasses, butter boats, lamps, flower vases, and dishes.  Brief titles of the books are listed.  On the last page are three pencil drawings of caskets or decorative boxes, which have nothing to do with the inventory.


05x25.1           receipted bill from Mr. Duval, Philadelphia, to Thomas Gilpin, October 17, 1848, for printing 200 copies of “Residence of George Fox” [probably a print, not a book or pamphlet]


                        The letterhead includes an advertisement for Mr. Duval’s lithography business.


05x25.2           Letter, Samuel Breck, to Thomas Gilpin, January 29, 1852.


                        Thanks Gilpin for sending him a copy of “The Exiles in Virginia During the Revolutionary War.”  The bad weather is keeping him in.


05x25.3           Letter, Jno. Jay Smith, to Thomas Gilpin, January 12, 1852.


                        Asks Gilpin if he would like to be a subscriber to a dinner being given for Mr. Penn. 

                        With note on back: Gilpin thanks I. [or J.] P. Hutchinson for his invitation, but the delivery was delayed and he did not receive it in time.


05x25.4           Letter, Thomas Gilpin, Walnut St., Philadelphia, to niece Maria, January 13, 1852.


                        Mentions Louis Kossuth’s visit to Philadelphia; sorry to hear that she and Mr. Maddock have not yet received all the furniture shipped to their new home in Louisiana; cold weather; fires in the city.


05x25.5           letter, Samuel Breck, to Thomas Gilpin, March 26, 1852.


                        Enjoyed reading the book about the exiled Philadelphians; comments how a man fighting tyranny sometimes becomes a tyrant himself


05x25.6           note, Joseph [illegible], Brandywine Mills, to Thomas Gilpin, March 26, 1852


                        check enclosed


05x25.7           note, William Wells(?), Pottsville, to Thomas Gilpin, April 12, 1852


                        about a judgment in the case of Gilpin against Peregrine F. Cooper


05x25.8           note, T. Gilpin, Philadelphia, to Granville J. Penn, June 28, 1852


                        encloses note from his cousin about the tournament [this note is no longer with the letter]; suggests that Benjamin Smith be invited to the tournament in lieu of his father Daniel B. Smith of Germantown


05x25.9           receipt, Kay and McNichol, Philadelphia, to Thomas Gilpin, July 10, 1852


                        received payment for carpentry work


05x25.10         letter, Thomas Gilpin, Philadelphia, to William Hepworth Dixon, October 1, 1852.


                        Encloses a copy of his diagram of the Penn family; has copyrighted the work but grants Dixon permission to use it in his history of William Penn; the Society of Friends has been misrepresented in histories of the United States, and this led him to write about those members (including his father) who were unfairly exiled during the Revolution.


05x25.11         letter, Thomas Gilpin, Philadelphia, to James Smilie, New York, October 13, 1852.


                        Would like to have 100 impressions of the plate that reads “Gilpins Mills on Brandywine,” specifies type and size of paper on which to be printed; wants them for a private family history.

                        Includes a diagram of how he wants the printed sheets laid out


05x25.12         letter, Thomas Gilpin, Philadelphia, to Elizabeth [Gilpin Maury, New York], October 27, 1852.


                        Glad that she and Ann Maury like the picture of Kentmere; please don’t talk about his secret family enterprise – he isn’t sure it will succeed [may be referring to the writing of the Gilpin family history]; encloses a likeness of Bernard Gilpin; is sending her a copy of Henry’s speech at the Webster memorial meeting; love to Matthew Maury who deserves to have a planet named for him; joke about General Washington [a postage stamp] not being able to carry anymore news

                        [note: Daniel Webster died on October 24, 1852.]


05x25.13         letter, Thomas Gilpin, Philadelphia, to cousin Jane Ledyard, November 27, 1852


                        encloses a Gilpin genealogy, an engraving made from Ann Maury’s drawing of Kentmere, and an engraving of Bernard Gilpin; news of his brother’s family.


05x25.14         letter, Thomas Gilpin, Philadelphia, to nephew Henry D. Gilpin, December 25, 1852.


                        Has had printed and encloses a few copies of his history of the Gilpin family, although his research is not yet complete


05x25.15         note, R. Fisher, Chestnut St., to cousin Thomas Gilpin, n.d.


                        requests Gilpin to obtain several tickets to the Academy of Natural Sciences for Fisher’s grandson Charles Lewis


05x25.16         untitled poem about children


05x25.17         list of names, dates, amounts of money, no year


05x25.18         envelope addressed to Thomas Gilpin, probably from Granville Penn, whose initials appear in the lower left corner.


                        Red wax seal on back shows the word Pennsylvania above a lion and the initials G.I. [or J] P.




Oversized deeds:


69x222.1         deed, Thomas West, yeoman, and his wife Susanna; William West, cordwainer, and his wife Mary; James Robinson, tanner, and his wife Eleanor (or Elinor); and John Staples, cooper, and his wife Rachel; Elizabeth West, spinster; and Joseph West; to Thomas Gilpin, yeoman, September 4, 1746; by scrivener Goldsmith E. Ffowell


                        for a lot in Wilmington



69x222.2         deed, William and Elizabeth Shipley of Wilmington, to Thomas Gilpin of Wilmington, July 13, 1748; by scrivener Goldsmith E. Ffowell


                        for store and wharf in Wilmington


69x222.3         deed, William Shipley, yeoman of Wilmington, to Thomas Gilpin, gentleman of Wilmington, August 28, 1755


                        for a lot in Wilmington, on which are stable, barn, and a little orchard, adjoining the lot where the house and garden are; this may be the same property mentioned in 69x222.13


69x222.4         deed, Ann Caldwell Gilpin, widow of Wilmington, to Thomas Gilpin, merchant of Philadelphia, June 4, 1771


                        for a lot in Wilmington (see also 69x222.15)


9x222.5           deed, George Gartrill, blacksmith, of Chester County and his sister Sarah, spinster, to Thomas Gilpin of Philadelphia, August 3, 1774


for a lot in Wilmington which the Gartrill’s father had purchased from Thomas West


69x222.6         deed, Simeon Hutton, hatter of York, Pennsylvania, to Lydia, Joshua. Sarah, and Thomas Gilpin of Philadelphia, January 4, 1792


                        for a lot in Wilmington which had been purchased from William West by Simeon’s father Joseph Hutton in 1742


69x222.8         lease for 2000 years, vestrymen of the Swedes Lutheran Church, called Trinity Church  [names of vestrymen are listed], to Thomas Gilpin, October 13, 1770


                        for a lot of land in Christiana Hundred


69x222.9         deed, John Brady of Northumberland County and James Dickinson of Philadelphia, to Thomas Gilpin, Thomas Fisher, Samuel Fisher, Miers Fisher, and Jabez Maud(?) Fisher, all of Philadelphia, August 20, 1773


for lands in Bedford and Westmoreland Counties, Pennsylvania,


69x222.10       deed and schedule for lands in Westmoreland and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania, between Thomas Gilpin (merchant of Philadelphia) and wife Lydia, Thomas Fisher (merchant of Philadelphia) and wife Sarah, Samuel Rowland Fisher (merchant of Philadelphia), Miers Fisher and wife Sarah Redwood, March 12, 1777


                        attached to the deed is a “schedule containing a list of the warrants and applications for land taken out of the Land Office of Pennsylvania for the use of the parties to this indenture”


69x222.11       Indenture, Henry D. Gilpin (attorney-at-law) and wife Eliza, to Richard A. Gilpin, conveying two tracts of land in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, February 16, 1849


                        the land was along the Crooked Creek; deed includes information about previous owners and a plat map of the property


69x222.13       Indenture, lease of land belonging to Thomas Willing and wife Catherine, to Thomas West, June 19, 1738; by scrivener Goldsmith E. Ffowell [father of John Ffowell]


                        the land was in Willingtown [later called Wilmington, Delaware]; this may be the same property that is mentioned in 69x222.3


69x222.14       deed, William West (cordwainer) to John Staples (cooper), August 15, 1752


for house and lot in Wilmington


69x222.15       deed, John Staples (cooper) and wife Rachel, to Ann Caldwell [also spelled Cordwall], November 8, 1754


for lot in Wilmington; Thomas Gilpin was one of the witnesses (see also 69x222.4)


Oversized paper:


88x90a-b         two sheets of paper made by Gilpin’s paper mill; one bears the watermark: T Gilpin & Co, Brandywine; the other bears the watermark: crown over a shield decorated with a fleur-de-lis, over the script letters TG.