Collection ID: SF001

Collection context


Samuel S. Forman
The Samuel S. Forman Papers contain administrative records, books, cattle and livestock papers, papers pertaining to the Cazenovia Post Office, certificates, correspondence, estate records, genealogy, Jonathan Denise Ledyard, government records, land documents, legal documents, lists, papers pertaining to the Madison County Court, John H. Oley, Richard Button Patent, slave documents, store documents, speeches and addresses, writings, and miscellaneous papers. Although the Samuel S. Forman Papers are primarily made up of business documents and papers from Forman's time as a shop owner of general stores for the Holland Land Company, and a store in Middletown Point, New Jersey. These business documents and papers include: account books and statements, ashes, bills and receipts, calculations, cashbooks, correspondence, daybooks, invoice books, ledgers, memorandums, orders for payment, petty lists, receipt books, registers, scratch books, and suppliers for Forman's stores. Some business documents and papers pertain to business dealings with specific people and organizations such as Jonathan and Samuel Forman Sr., Oneida Turnpike Road Co., the Cazenovia Establishment, the Sloop Monmouth, Jacob H. Ten Eyck, Sweet and Lovejoy, the Third Great Western Turnpike, S. Van Rensselaer, and Isaac Van Vleck.
46.04 linear feet, 55 manuscript boxes, and 14 oversized boxes


Scope and Content:

Although the Samuel S. Forman Papers do include various record series, this collection is primarily made up of business documents and papers and store documents relating to Forman's business proceedings as a store merchant, the suppliers of goods for his stores, bills and receipts, papers for asheries and ashes bought and sold, business correspondence, orders for payment in his stores and unspecified, account books and statements, invoice books, receipt books, daybooks, memorandum books, ledgers, registers, salt papers, business relating to the Sloop Manmouth, the Oneida Turnpike Road Co., Jonathan Forman, Samuel Forman Sr., Isaac Van Vleck, Sweet and Lovejoy, Jacob Ten Eyck, and S. Van Rensselaer. These documents cover the years of 1750s-1820s.

A description of the other record groups can be found in the abstract field.

Biographical / Historical:

This biographical history of the Samuel S. Forman Papers was written by previous staff of the Lorenzo State Historic Site: In 1793, Samuel S. Forman, a young businessman and adventurer from Middletown Point, New Jersey, was recruited by John Lincklaen, a land agent for a group of Dutch investors, to travel with him recently purchased tract of land in central New York, In a contract signed March 17th, 1793, Forman agreed that for an annual salary of 500 Spanish milled dollars, he would, "go with the said Lincklaen in the back parts of the state of New York to form a settlement and take charge of all Merchandize as is assigned to him, transact the business under the directions of said Lincklaen, and in his absence said Forman to superintend generally the business to the best of his abilities.:

Forman was recruited for two reasons. First, he possessed the necessary business skills for the position having worked for his father Samuel Forman, a Middletown Point merchant. He also possessed a certain knowledge of the wilderness having recently returned from an extended rafting expedition down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans with another of his relatives.

Upon reaching the site of Cazenovia on May 8th, 1793, Forman set about overseeing the construction of a land office as well as a store so that both could be ready when land sales commences on June 1st. Within a few years, Forman took over the store operation in his own right and eventually operated stores in Pompey, Fabius, Eaton, and German as well.

In the mid 1820s, Forman sold the Cazenovia store to his assistant, Jacob Ten Eyck, and moved to Syracuse. At that time, Forman left the accumulated records of his business as well as records of his father's business in Middletown Point, and those of his brother Jonathan, a sometime partner, at the new home of his nephew Jonathan Denise Ledyard. Ledyard's house, "The Meadows", was completed in 1827.

In 1976, the then owner of "The Meadows", Anna Hubbard Oakman, a great gradndaughter of Ledyard, invited the Historic Site Manager of "Lorenzo", the home of John Lincklaen, to examine a large group of documents residing in her attic. She indicted that neither she nor her other before her had ever allowed any outsider to see the papers and claimed to have never examined them herself.

The documents turned out to be the Forman business records containing more than 15,000 items. A wealth of minutia, the papers contain the essence of an economic history of early Cazenovia and neighboring central New York communities.

Acquisition information:
The Samuel S. Forman Papers were donated to the Lorenzo State Historic Site by Anna Burr Hubbard (nee Oakman) in 1976 when Russell Grills was invited by her to examine the documents in the attic of George S. Ledyard Sr.'s house, "The Meadows".
Processing information:

The Samuel S. Forman Papers were first processed by Russell Grills and Sharon Cooney c. 1976, then reprocessed by Lucy Bell for the 2021/2022 grant funded project from the New York State Parks and Recreation Department to create and publish finding aids for the archives of the Lorenzo State Historic Site.


There have not been any accruals made to The Samuel S. Forman Collection nor do any expect to be made in the future.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: a Content Standard



The Samuel S. Forman Papers are open for public research. The Lorenzo State Historic Site archives are open to researchers by appointment only. Please call 315-655-3200 to set up your appointment.


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South Cottage
17 Rippleton Road
Cazenovia, NY 13035, United States