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Conklin and Bedell families papers

Call Number



1839-1917, inclusive


Bedell family
Old Bushwick Reformed Church (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Conklin family


1 Linear Feet in one record carton

Language of Materials

The materials are in English.


The Conklin and Bedell families papers (1839-1917) contain financial records and some personal correspondence generated by Ebenezer Conklin of Brooklyn, New York, and his descendants. The bulk of the records were generated by Ebenezer Conklin, and mostly concern household expenses, repairs and improvements made on Conklin's several properties. The records of Nathaniel Augustus Conklin and Sarah Bedell, two of Ebenezer's children, continue the history of Ebenezer's properties. The small amount of correspondence contains Civil War letters, and a copy of the General Orders of the 19th Army Corps Headquarters at Camp Russell, Virginia. The collection also holds a cash accounts book and a pew ledger of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Bushwick for the years 1876-1884.

Biographical / Historical

Ebenezer Conklin and his wife Sarah Aletta Clowes had five children, four of whom survived to adulthood. Sarah, the eldest, and Nathaniel Augustus, the third child, are represented in this collection. Sarah married George Bedell, the son of William Bedell. Sarah and George Bedell had two children, one of whom may be Elbert Bedell. William Bedell appears to have been Conklin's business partner for a time--there are several mentions in the records of a "Bedell and Conklin Company"--but the nature of this business is unclear. William Bedell was the chief proprietor of a straw and feed company; there are several receipts from his store included in the collection. While Ebenezer Conklin is represented in this collection primarily as a landlord and property owner, he was also an employee or associate of the Peter Cooper glue factory and millworks. Nathaniel Augustus Conklin, known as "Gus," served in the Civil War and later came to reside at 175 Ainslie Street. The two letters to his father included in this collection make some mention of his own business affairs. Harriet Louisa Conklin, the second of the Conklin children, is represented in this collection only by the presence of her school bills, and possibly by a letter from Gus addressed to a "sister."

(Sources: 173rd New York State Volunteer Infantry: Letters of Nathaniel Augustus Conklin. accessed 24 July 2007; Brooklyn Genealogy Information Pages. accessed 24 July 2007.)


The collection is arranged in the following order: Financial Records, 1839-1917 and undated; Correspondence, 1863-1901 and undated; Printed Ephemera and Clippings, 1878-1913 and undated; and Account Books of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Bushwick, 1876-1884.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains financial records, family correspondence, and a small collection of ephemera. The financial records of Ebenezer Conklin make up the greatest part of the collection and pertain to all aspects of Conklin's financial life. With the exception of the Reformed Protestant Church ledgers, the financial records of his descendants and relatives generally concern only building repairs and tax records, those records which pertain to their various properties. Between the early 1860s and 1917, Conklin and his descendants maintained several properties on Orient Avenue, Kingsland Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, and Maspeth Avenue. Nathaniel Augustus came to live at 175 Ainslie Street. (As most houses and buildings were not numbered until the advent of the modern postal service in the United States, the earlier property and tax records in this collection do not have numeric street addresses but are instead identified by lot numbers and geographic descriptions. Later records in the collection generally identify the properties by number.)

The first seven folders in the collection contain Ebenezer Conklin's financial records; following folders contain the financial records of his children who continued to maintain and reside at many of Conklin's properties, in addition to acquiring several new lots. Included in Ebenezer Conklin's records are school bills, tax receipts, sales receipts, estimates from contractors, cancelled checks, and mortgages. The records of Conklin's descendants are primarily tax returns and sales receipts. The tax records of previous owner of the Ainslie Street property, Jonas Dale, are also included in this collection, along with the Nathaniel Augustus Conklin records. A map, though undated and badly damaged, shows the Bedell family lots.

The small amount of correspondence includes several items between Augustus and the widow of a man who served in his regiment during the Civil War; one of Augustus's Civil War letters; a copy of the General Orders of the 19th Army Corps Headquarters at Camp Russell, Virginia; a few letters from Ebenezer Conklin to a Boston business associate S. H. Robinson; two letters from Augustus Conklin to Ebenezer Conklin; and a letter from Ebenezer Conklin to the Brooklyn Board of Aldermen protesting a proposed sewer on Orient Avenue.

The collection includes cards and other promotional materials from Brooklyn businesses, as well as Elbert Bedell's calling card. It also contains two clippings: one from the classifieds of the June 8, 1913, Boston Sunday Globe, the other from a paper dated 1899 of a short Civil War camp anecdote.

Finally, the collection holds a cash accounts book and a pew ledger of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Bushwick for the years 1876-1884. William Bedell and his son George Bedell are listed as parishioners.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Conklin and Bedell families papers, 2005.021, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the Brooklyn Historical Society in 2005 by Bertil and R. Jay Wahlberg. R. Jay (Mrs.) Wahlberg obtained the documents from the home of her uncle, Lancelot Smith Bedell. Ebenezer Conklin, who appears extensively in the collection, was Mrs. Wahlberg's great-grandfather.

Related Materials

The 173rd New York State Volunteer Infantry: Letters of Nathaniel Augustus Conklin can be accessed on-line at: (Accessed 30 April 2012.)

Collection processed by

Jessica Nauright

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:18:22 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: The finding aid is written in English.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and described in July 2007 by Jessica Nauright. The description was slightly modified to accommodate input to a collection management system, Archivists' Toolkit, by Larry Weimer in April 2012.


Brooklyn Historical Society
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201