Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
James Robinson Newhall Account Book
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.