The Force Scrapbook

Information submitted by Charles Force

Background information from Charles:-

His CV & John Thomas Force
Claudia Mabel Teufel & Katharine Camilla Force
Thomas Whitfield Force & his wife Emma & kids
Charles C. Force & family

More to follow

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Charles' family trees page 1 - Benjamin Force
Charles' family trees page 2 - Thomas Force (b1693)
Charles' family trees page 3 - Freeman Morris Force
Charles' family trees page 4 - Thomas Force (b1758)
Charles' family trees page 5 - Whitfield Force
Charles' family trees page 6 - Others

Information submitted by Charles Force

Dates in this article are in the screwy American mm/dd/yyyy system.
The data badly needs editing, which will happen as I get round to it.

From genealogy done by Catherine Lang, et al:

Matthew Force's family

“The Force genealogy has been traced back to the 1600’s, to Matthew Force. He was born sometime between 1635 and 1640. The date of his birth is not definite, nor is the date of his death. But he married Elizabeth Palmer of Gravesend, Long Island in 1667. They lived from 1668-1675 on what is now Broadway in New York Ciry, and later, elsewhere in New York. They had four sons, Benjamin, born 1668, Matthew, 1671, Thomas, 1673, and Mark, 1675.”

Information from LDS family sheet obtained from Robert Bremer, Powell, OH: Family sheet indicates source of information as: B12F12 Gates-Dawes Fam. p 647 Am. Pub. N v. 58 N.Y. Gen & Biog Rec p 738, 834. Monnettes First Settlers of Woodbridge, N.J. N.Y. 103 N.Y. mar lic. bef 1784 p 140.
Also from information obtained from Robert Bremer: ref p. 647 of the Dawes-Gates (Gates-Dawes?) Ancestral Lines: “Matthew Force, theoretically of French descent, lived at Gravesend, Long Island in 1669-71 and in New York City “on Broadway below Rector Street in 1675-8”; he was married in April 1667, to Elizabeth Palmer, daughter of Col. John Palmer [note: Vosberg lists father as William - CTF].

The children of Matthew and Elizabeth were: Benjamin, b. prob. abt 1668; he had a wife Elizabeth whom he married about 1688-9 who bore him seven children in Wrentham, Mass from 1690 to 1708; in 1712 a Benjamin Force of “Donheiter {Dorchester?} Suffolk Co, Mass Taylor.” paid 300 pounds for three tracts of land in Woodbridge, New Jersey. In August 1734, a Benjamin Force of Woodbridge made his will, naming four of the seven children born at Wrentham, the eldest of whom was still living in New England. This will was proved in November 1734.” (details of other three sons--Thomas, Matthew & Mark-included on their family notes.)

Info received from Thelma Alexander May 1995:
“enclosing a copy of the first six pages (of the Vosburgh papers)”

Handwritten note at top identifies source as a Gilbert A. Force. (writing seems to be later than Vosburgh-CTF) “I. Matthew Force, earliest known ancestor as of March 31, 1986, was born 1640-1645 (Vosburgh: NYG7BS).
Although his exact birthplace is unverified at this writing, he was almost certainly of England. Since his name does not appear before 1666 in the general records of Gravesend, New York, it is likely that his arrival in New York was related to the English takeover there in 1664. No passenger lists survive to document the year of his arrival in this country; however, it must be remembered that if Matthew was a British subject, no naturalization would have been required. His personal characteristics were those of an English settler rather than of a French Hugenot, as has been proposed by previous researchers of this family. In Kings County, NY, at the time Matthew arrived there, all of the towns except one were Dutch, with many French inhabitants as well. Yet Matthew chose Gravesend, a town founded by English religious dissenters. Non-English were not unknown in Gravesend; however, it is still curious that Force would choose such a settlement if he were not English and a dissenter himself. This does not rule out the possibility that Matthew Force was of French descent, but from a family that had lived long enough in England to be considered English himself.

On April 5, 1666, a suit was brought against Matthew Force in the court of sessions in Gravesend, NY, by Ralph Cardell for trespassing. (Gravesend Records, pg 116).
In April, 1667, a marriage license was granted to Matthew Force and Elizabeth Palmer at Gravesend, NY. (Orders, Warrants & Letters, pg 134, State Library, Albany, NY.)
On May 16, 1671, Matthew Force, on Thomas Stillwell’s behalf, recorded on the town book of Gravesend, NY, an earmark for his cattle.
On June 3, 1671, while a resident of Gravesend, he entered into an agreement with John Grissell of Maspeth, on behalf of Grissell’s daughter-in-law (probably stepdaughter) Hannah Banan, who was to serve Force two and one half years, in consideration of which, at its termination, Force was to furnish her with two suits of “comley and decent clothes and a heifer with calf, or one with a calf by her side”. (Gravesend Records, pg 116).
On July 13, 1671? Matthew Force sold to Daniel Carfoe, one-half of a parcel of land in the city of New York which he had lately purchased from Allard Anthony (purchase deed apparently not recorded). The property extended from Broadway to the Hudson River, and he was selling the half on the river.
On May 4, 1680, at a Court of Record in New York, “Daniel Coffoe against Allard Anthony. He complains that about five years since, he purchased of Matthew Force, a small parcel of ground in a place near ye Broadway where he now liveth, and paid for it by deed of sale. Notwithstanding which the defendant comes and demands in all, 9 pounds, one half of Francis Lee and the other half of the plaintiff.” (NY Wills, pg 243). In a footnote, the editor indicates the land was on the south side of what is now called Exchange Alley.

In 1667, Matthew chose an English bride from a fairly distant town (Westchester). The English were very prone to marry other English, and Gravesend men frequently traveled great distances to find English brides, while eligible young women of Dutch and French background were nearby. Matthew’s sons all chose to live in English communities, and there is no instance in which they are said to be of foreign descent. Matthew appears to have considered himself and been considered by others, to be an Englishman. During this research, we have seen statements that indicated Matthew Force may have died in New Jersey in 1700.

The last reference to Matthew alive is dated 1675 (NY Wills, 2:464: Lib. 19B, pg 243). At that time he was almost certainly living in New York City. No one named Force appears on the assessment rolls of the Kings county or Queens County towns, which survive for 1675-6. It would have been almost impossible for anyone to live in New York or New Jersey for another 25 years without his name appearing on some record that has survived. Even though there are few church records for that period, few Bible records go back that far, and almost no tombstones that have survived, most of the government and legal records have survived. Vosburgh tells us that no will is to be found for Matthew Force. This is not unusual since he may have disposed of all his real estate in 1675 and the rest of his estate may well have been small enough to have been settled by his wife and sons without legal action. In at least one source document, Matthew’s arrival in America was connected with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. This, of course, cannot be true, as that event took place in 1685, some 20 or more years after New York records show Matthew residing there. Matthew and Elizabeth’s sons seem to have associated themselves with Elizabeth’s family. Benjamin was in Newport in 1690, where his uncle Benjamin Palmer also had settled. Thomas went to Westchester, where Elizabeth’s parents had made their home and had various descendants.

Children of Matthew & Elizabeth (Palmer) Force:

2. Benjamin Force: B: ca 1669, probably at Gravesend, NY. Later of Wrentham, MA & Woodbridge, NJ. Died: 8/-/1734. Mrd: Elizabeth Bunn May have married (2) Damaris Sutton, at Piscataway, NJ; dau of William Sutton & has first wife, Damaris (Bishop) Sutton; granddaughter of George & Sarah (Tilden) Sutton. (NJ. Hist. & Gen. Register, Index Vol. 91, pg 68).

3. Thomas Force: B: ca 1670, probably at Gravesend, NY. Later, “of Westchester, NY” and and still later of Woodbridge, NJ. Mrd: ca 1690, Hannah (maiden name unknown)

4. Matthew Force: B: ca 1671, either Gravesend, NY or NYC, NY Later of Woodbridge, NJ. Mrd: 1/1/1696, Sarah Morris

5. Mark Force: B: ca 1673, probably New York City, Later of Wrentham, Norfolk, MA Mrd: (1) 10/13/1698, Deborah Maccane; Mrd: (2) 3/29/1709, Sarah Hills; Mrd: (3) 4/19/1736, Mary Connwall.” note: pages 4 thru 6 of material described above pertain to Benjamin Force. Material from Mark Force 8/95 includes another son, Ebenezer--no DOB LDS record received from Lance Bretsnyder 12/96 Lists POB as Bay Colony, MA, children as: Benjamin (1667/1668), Damaris (1668), Thomas (1670), Matthew (1671), Mark (1673), Ebenezer <1675>, Elizabeth <1677>, Mark (1691), Elizabeth <1693>, and Demaris <1735 (68 years after Ben--ctf)

Information received from Lance B. June 1997 re a Matthew deForce (original source unstated, but may have been Gilbert A. Force, as was in same packet as Gilbert’s genealogy which listed Matthew deForce as “believed to be father of Matthew” born 1640-45-ctf): “Born about 1620; arrived in New York about 1640. I believe that this Matthew is the father of Matthew Force born 1640-45 and who married Elizabeth Palmer. My French correspondent, Patrick Delaforce, is a genealogist and publishing a book on the Force family has made the following possible connections: Earlier Matthews deForces were judges and magistrates in France about 1240AD. The original family started with William deForce, who was first Prince de Verdun about 935AD. William was descended from the Kings of Navarre and France in the 7th century. A William deForce was one of the original Earls of Albermarle about 1190AD. He was a personal friend of Richard I of England, who married the great grandaughter of William the Conqueror. A deForce fought at the battle of Hastings; another was one of the 25 that signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede.” (The Albermarles & the Fortz who signed Magna Carta are not members of Patrick's & my Delaforce family. - Ken).

Gravesend From the (1939) WPA Guide to New York City:

Gravesend was founded in 1643 on a site marked by the square bounded on three sides by the Old Village Road at McDonald Avenue and Gravesend Neck Road. Lady Deborah Moody, a cultured, strong-willed Englishwoman, led a small flock of colonists to New Amsterdam in search of the religious freedom denied them in England and New England. Receiving a patent from Director-General Kieft and the City Council, and augmented by a group of other Englishmen, the colony settled at Gravesend on lands whose original boundaries included Coney Island. Until her death in 1659, Lady Deborah was a leader in the settlement, and even the testy Peter Stuyvesant sought her opinion from time to time. The exact location of the Moody farm is not known, but it is said that the old Hicks-Platt home, a Dutch stone house reputedly built in 1643, stood on her property (at McDonald Avenue and Gravesend Neck Road). Lady Deborah is buried in the little cemetery opposite the house in the southwest corner of the square.
(Gravesend is located in Brooklyn, north of Coney Island and Brighton Beach)

Children of Matthew Force

Internet info ( corrected by John Mort) lists children as: Damaris, b. about 1668; Matthew, b. about 1671; Thomas, b. about 1673; Mark, b. about 1675; Ebeneazer, b. about 1677; and Benjamin, b. 1669. Internet source: Matthew “Forse” FORCE BORN: 1640-1645, Bay Colony, MA DIED: Nov 1770, Newark, NJ BURIED: , MARRIED: Elizabeth PALMER, Apr 1666, Gravesend, Long Island, NY CHILDREN: 1.Benjamin FORCE

Information from Rich Force

Found the following information in Abstracts of Wills Vol II 1708-1728 From The New York Historical Society Collections, this 1893 volume features abstracts of wills on file in the Surrogates Office, City of New York, from 1708 to 1728. This is from the section entitled “Record of complaints entered in the Court of Mayor and Aldermen, and miscellaneous documents”. It appears this is from the court records on or about May 4th 1680. Page 243.--DANIEL COFFOE, against Allard Anthony. He complains, that about 5 years since he purchased of Matthew Force, a small parsel of ground in a place near ye Broadway where he now liveth, and paid for it as by deed of sale. Notwithstanding which the defendant comes and demands in all oe9, one-half of Francis Lee (Leigh), and the other half of the plaintiffs, which sum the plaintiff has formerly satisfied. But notwithstanding this, the said Allard Anthony, with many threatening words, terrifies said plaintiff, and tells him he will turn him out of his lands. He therefore prays to have his title confirmed.
[NOTE.--The above house and lot was on the south side of the narrow street called “Oyster Pasty Lane,” on the west side of Broadway opposite to Exchange Place, and now irreverently known as “Tin Pot Alley.” Strange as it may now seem, there were originally four houses on that side of the lane, one of which was that of Rev. Peter Dailie, the French Huguenot minister.--W. S. P. Note by RCF: W.S.P. was WILLIAM S. PELLETREAU This is interesting in that it not only identifies the location of the Force property in NYC as on “Tin Pan Alley” but it mentions the Rev. Dailie as being a Huguenot minister. Does that mean that Matthew owned property in a Huguenot neighborhood? Also Pelletreau identifies Dailie as a Huguenot but makes no mention of this in regard to Force. Of course, Pelletreau was writing in 1893 and may not have had all the facts.

Rich Force in NH Thomas Force From AMF’s notes: “Research Note: The question of whether Thomas & Mary (Spencer) Force had son named Timothy has finally been resolved. Mr. Jay W. Thornall, 8-272A Convent Road, Cranbury, NJ 08512, in a letter to me dated 8/21/1982, says “I can advise that Timothy was NOT one of theirs. I have a handwritten note (from Dr. J.F. Force of Minneapolis, MN dated 10/30/1908 to my great aunt, Georgianna Force (Williams)(Thornall) in which the line quite clearly goes Matthew, Thomas, Isaac, Timothy.” Just as we had thought! It also proves that our source documents were written by mere human beings and are, in some cases, in error. We can only proceed with caution as we use these works for guidelines--not facts in all cases. rfl
“ Also from information obtained from Robert Bremer: ref p. 647 of the Dawes-Gates (Gates-Dawes?) Ancestral Lines: “The children of Matthew and Elizabeth included Thomas, b. abt 1670; married about 1693 Hannah (_____); was living in Westchester Co, NY in 1698 but removed about 1713 to Woodbridge, NJ. He had two daughters and four sons, Obadiah, Thomas, Isaac and William (ref Vital records of Wrenham, I, 90-1; II, 299 (?), 447). Probably it was he “of Woodbridge” who died in June 1736, when administration on his estate was granted to his widow Mary.” Internet record of a Thomas b. 1673 ??

Posted by J. K. KEIGLEY on November 15, 1998:

In Reply to: ISSAC FORCEjr. - HANNAH WARD Circa 1730 posted by M.Force on November 14, 1998: I have Thomas FORCE b. 1670 NJ d. 1722 NJ m. Hannah Ch:- Obediah b. 1691 d. 1789 Thomas b. 1694 Isaac b. 1700 d. 1740 William b. 1710 Benjamin Force Mother’s notes: Probably born Gravesend, NY. Later of Wrentham, MA & Woodbridge, NJ. d. Aug 1734. m. Elizabeth Bunn. May have m. Damaris Sutton, at Piscataway, NJ; dau of William & his first wife, Damaris (Bishop) Sutton; granddaughter of George & Sarah (Tilden) Sutton: (NJ Hist & Gen Register: Index Vol. 91, pg 68)

BENJAMIN FORCE He married, 1687/8, Elizabeth Bunn, daughter of Matthew and Ester (Miles) Bunn. Elizabeth must have died between 1707 when her last child was born and 1734 when her husband made his will and no mention is made of her. (Vosburgh) “When Benjamin Force, by occupation a tailor, left Dorchester in Mass. Bay Colony, he was already well to do. On June 25, 1712, he bought 116 acrea of land in Woodbridge, NJ with a filling mill and grist mill standing thereon, with water rights and dam. The consideration money “$300 current silver money of the Province of New Jersey” was paid that day and the premises were delivered by “turfe and twigg” in the presence of witnesses, on July 4, 1712. Thereafter, Benjamin was styled in deeds as “clothier” and his principle occupation was the refining and finishing of homespun cloth in his woolen mill. In later years, he added to his property, by exchange and purchase.
At the time of his death in 1734, his estate consisted of 150 acres upon Mill River, the southernmost branch of the Rahway River, with a dwelling house containing six lower rooms and five fireplaces, a good orchard, a new barn, a new saw mill with iron works and other implements attached, and the fulling (or woolen) mill. This choice property was advertised for sale by his executor, in the New York Gazette, of January 21, 1735.” Benjamin Force was a Private in Captain George Lockhart’s Troop Calvery, Albany Expedition, in the winter of 1687-1688. (Monnette) “Benjamin Force, Moderator of Woodbridge, 1727, by far the more important and prominent of the Force family at Woodbridge, as he early was a leader of the church, a member of the Town Committee, and moderator in 1727 (Dally, p.188). Benjamin Force, both his origin and that of the whole family is described by a deed set forth in N.Y.Gen & Biog Rec (Vol. L III, p.166). Since his wife joined the church in Woodbridge in 1710, Benjamin Force was there at that time. (Dally, p.168). **” (NJ Col. Doc. Cal. of Wills 1730-1750, p 182) “1734”, August 16.

FORCE, BENJAMIN, of Woodbridge, Middlesex Co. yeoman: will of; Children - Thomas, Benjamin (living in New England), Charity Freeman, and Hannah, wife of John Noe. Grandsons - Henry and Thomas Palmer Force, sons of son Thomas. Lands formerly belonging to William Bunn, joining lands of Joseph Bloomfield, John Noe, John Morris, John Wilkison, land on Rahway medows joining Daniel Brittain, John Jaquashies, John Dillies, John Trueman, land purchased of Hugh Marsh, which he bought in 1670; lands joining Daniel Thorp, Jonathan Dillies, Jonathan Bishop. Executor friends Jacob Thorn, Ebenezer Johnson and John Noe, Jun’r. Witnesses- J. Stevens, John Bishop, Thomas Force, Jun’r. Proved 11/30/1734. Lib B. p.580. Vol. 2, pg 182:

Savage’s Genealogical Dictionary says: “Benjamin Force of Wrentham, Mass, came with his wife Elizabeth from Newport, Rhode Island, 1690.” which explains the revised birthplace for their first child. From: Vosburgh Files - NYG&BS: “Public notice is hereby given, that on Tuesday the eighteenth of February next there will be exposed for sale at Public Vendue to the highest bidder, the plantation of the late Benjamin Force, deceased, situate in the town of Woodbridge in New Jersey, containing about One Hundred and Fifty acres, whereon there is a good dwelling house, with six lower rooms, five fire places, a good orchard, a new barn, a saw mill and fulling mill, with all necessary utensils belonging to it, and all in good order. There is also a Freehold right and eight acres of Salt meadow. The said plantation is within a good fence, and situate upon a branch of the Rahway River and about a mile and a half from a Public Landing. The said vendue will be held at the said house and begins about twelve or one o’clock and the conditions of the sale published. If any person is inclined to view the Premises of treat about it before the said 18th day, he may apply to John Noe, the executor, living upon the premises.”
Sources: “Dedham in the Rebellion” by Joseph Henry Lathrop Dedham Historical Register, Vol. IV, 1893 Reference page 4:LDS Film 848892,
Force notes, New Jersey FORD HISTORY IN NYGBR: Vol.53, pg 166: East Jersey Deeds: Bk 1, pg 443 25 June 1712: John Ford of Woodbridge-carpenter and wife Elizabeth, convey to Benjamin Force of Dorchester, Suffolk Co, Mass. Taylor 3 tracts bo’t by J. Ford of Henry Freeman, Francis Walker and Edward Wilkinson.

From genealogy done by Catherine Lang, et al: “Son [of Matthew & Elizabeth] Benjamin was a clothier and millowner and in 1687 married Elizabeth Townsend. Their son Thomas was born July 28, 1693. (There may have been other children, but direct antecedents of present generations will be those generally named and followed in this writing.” Information from LDS family sheet obtained from Robert Bremer, Powell, OH: Family sheet indicates source of information as: Monnets “Early Settlers of Woodbridge and Piscataway Mass W63, Vol 1 pg 91 vol 2 pg 299 Mass B57 pg 109 Am Pub. N Vol 85 pg 160. [From “First Settlers of Piscataway and Woodbridge” p.112, “wife of Benj. Fors” admitted to Church of Chirst at Woodbridge on Oct 3, 1710.] Also from information obtained from Robert Bremer: ref p. 647 of the Dawes-Gates (Gates-Dawes?) Ancestral Lines: “The children of Matthew and Elizabeth included Benjamin, b. prob. abt 1668; he had a wife Elizabeth whom he married about 1688-9 who bore him seven children in Wrentham, Mass from 1690 to 1708; in 1712 a Benjamin Force of “Donheiter {Dorchester?} Suffolk Co, Mass Taylor.” paid £300 for three tracts of land in Woodbridge, New Jersey. In August 1734, a Benjamin Force of Woodbridge made his will, naming four of the seven children born at Wrentham, the eldest of whom was still living in New England. This will was proved in November 1734.” Other info places death at Gravesend. Matthew Force (b. 1671) Information from LDS family sheet obtained from Robert Bremer, Powell, OH: Family sheet indicates source of information as: B12F12 Gates-Dawes Fam. p 647 N.J. P?6 pt 5 p 824. Monettes First Settlers of Woodbridge, N.J. pt 1 p 255, 262, 267, 268, N.J. Pub. B V 59 p 30, 31. N.J. His. Soc. Proc. Also from information obtained from Robert Bremer: ref p. 647 of the Dawes-Gates (Gates-Dawes?) Ancestral Lines: “The children of Matthew and Elizabeth included Matthew, b. prob abt 1672; m. at Woodbridge Jan 7, 1696, Sarah Morris and had one son and two daughters, one of whom died young.” • On LDS family sheet indicates connecting family information is in LDS files.

Mark Force from AMF’s records: “Another book, American Marrriage Records Before 1699 lists these: Mark Force of Wrentham, Mass, married Oct. 13, 1698” Information from LDS family sheet obtained from Robert Bremer, Powell, OH: Family sheet indicates source of information as: Mass. W 63 V 1 p 91, 136 V 2 p 299, 334 Wrentham V.R. * On LDS family sheet indicates connecting family information is in LDS files. Also from information obtained from Robert Bremer: ref p. 647 of the Dawes-Gates (Gates-Dawes?) Ancestral Lines: “The children of Matthew and Elizabeth included Mark, b. prob abt 1674; m. first at Wrenham on Oct. 13, 1698 Deborah Maccane who died after October 1707; m. secondly at Wrenham on March 29, 1709, Sarah Hills; and either he or his son of the same name married at Wrenham on April 19, 1736, a Mary Connwall who died there on January 30, 1740-1 as the “wife of Mark.” See note, p. 645 for the children of Mark and the problem we face. The Vosburgh manuscript assigns Mark to us, giving him a wife Prudence--as our Mark really had--and the children born in Sudbury (see p 645) but quotes no authority or proof for the statement.” (see notes under Mark Jr)

Peter Force (b. 1790)

Photocopy material obtained from Mark Force 8/1995--source unidentified, but possible from Peter Force Library: “PETER FORCE - Printer-Soldier-Politician-Author-Archivist Nov 26, 1790--Jan 23, 1868 To those of us akin to Peter Force, by blood or by marriage, it is important that we do not permit time to dim the memory of this man who was an important part of the early history of our country, especially on the Washington, D.C. scene. Permanent evidence of this is found in the Washington Monument. At the 110 foot landing is a memorial stone, unadorned, except for the name Peter Force. On the conerstone he is named as one of the managers of the Washington National Monument Society. On the east side of the Monument is the Washington National Society stone, on which the name, Peter Force, appears twice--in the list of original managers, headed by Chief Justice John Marshall, and in the list of the eighteen corporators named in the charter. Peter Force’s political career covered a period of some eighteen years. While working as a printer, he was elected to the Washington, D.C. city council and later to the board of aldermen, serving for a time as president of each of these bodies. In 1836 he was elected Mayor of Washington, D.C. and again in 1838. He was campaign manager for John Quincy Adams, who became President in 1824. In this connection he published a semi-weekly newspaper, "The National Journal", devoted to the candidacy of Adams. After the election it became a daily and continued as such until 1831. However, the greatest contribution of Peter Force to American history, and the activity to which he devoted his later years, was his writings and his compilations of original materials regarding the colonial and revolutionary history of America. Thus were the “American Archives” started. His complete writings, known as the “Force Collection” is maintained in the Library of Congress.

William Force, Peter’s father served in the Revolutionary War, Peter himself served in the War of 1812 and his grandson, Peter, was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders at San Juan Hill. The genealogy of Peter Force shows that he was a descendent of French Hugenots who migrated to America in the seventeenth century. In this connection, it may be of interest to know that Ilna Force Moody Perkins, daughter of Ilna M. Force Moody, granddaughter of Ella Robinson Force, and great-granddaughter of Mary Agusta White Force (Feb. 22, 1838 to Nov. 27, 1921) has in her possession baby garments made of cloth woven and stiched by French nuns in the seventeenth century, handed down from mother to daughter for generations. Addendum: This statement prepared by W. H. Moody, husband of Ilna M. Force Moody (deceased). (note at bottom:) If interested in the genealogy of Peter Force write to The Library of Congress, Photo duplicationService, 10 First Street, SE, Washington, DC 20540” Part of the Cynthia Force Stead/E.S. (Edward Stead, son of Cynthia? ctf) material as received from Mark Force: “Peter Force 1790 - 1868 Sergent and Lietenant in War of 1812 Moved to Washington D.C. in 1815. Engaged in printing business. In 1822 elected to City Council, then to Board of Aldermen. Mayor 1836 - ‘40. Major General in D.C. Militia. President of National Institute for the Promotion of Science. Published: The National Journal (newspaper) 1823-’31; National Calendar and Annals of The U.S. (yearbook) 1820-’24 and 1828-’36; Historical Tracts (4 volumes) 1836-’46; American Archives (9 volumes) 1837-’53. His library of 22,500 books and 37,500 pamphlets was bought by the Library of Congress in 1866. (See A.R. Spofford’s “Life and Labors of Peter Force” in Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Vol 2.)”

FORCE, PETER (Nov. 26, 1790-Jan. 23, 1868), archivist, historian, son of William and Sarah Ferguson Force, was born near Passaic Falls, N. J. His boyhood was spent largely in New York, and in New York City he learned the printer’s trade. During the War of 1812 he served in the army, entering as a private and coming out a lieutenant. In 1815 he moved to Washington, D. C., with his employer, to work on government-printing contracts. The Washington printers of his day were almost inevitably drawn into politics; Force was no exception to this rule.
In 1822 he was elected to the city council, and later to the board of aldermen, serving for a time as president of each of these bodies. A supporter of John Quincy Adams in the campaign of 1824, he naturally became a Whig when the new party was formed; in 1836 he was elected mayor of Washington, on the Whig ticket. Two years later he was reelected, without opposition. In 1848 he again became a candidate for the same office, but this time he was badly beaten, standing lowest of the three candidates.
In 1823 he established a semi-weekly newspaper, the National Journal, devoted to the candidacy of John Quincy Adams. In 1824, the campaign year, the paper became a daily, and continued as such until 1831. Although a Whig, Force seems to have taken his politics decently, as he did everything else, and to have avoided the bitter partisanship of some of his contemporaries. In this respect his political career was typical of his whole life. His relations with his associates were always pleasant. On various occasions he was accorded honors, perhaps not important in themselves, but suggestive of the esteem in which he was held.
When he was only twenty-two years old, for example, he was chosen president of the New York Typographical Society. Later, in Washington, he became president of the National Institute for the promotion of Science, and a member of the board of managers of the Washington National Monument Society. Never a jovial man, but on the contrary rather quiet and reserved, he was possessed of a pleasing geniality that attracted people to him. Force is best known, however, not as a politician or newspaper man, but as a collector and editor, first of statistical, then of historical material.
In 1820, and for the eight years following, he printed a register of the public offices, from 1820 to 1836, with the exception of a three-year interval when he was immersed in politics, he published the National Calendar, later National Calendar and Annals of the United States, an annual of historical and statistical information. Then he collected and published four volumes entitled: Tracts and Other Papers, Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies in North America (Washington, 1836-1846). These are reprints of rare pamphlets bearing on the early history of the colonies. His father, a soldier in the Revolution, seems to have inspired in him a lively interest in the history of that movement. As a result, the son devoted the greater part of his middle and later years to the collection of historical materials dealing with the colonial period and the Revolution. In this connection Force brought out his greatest work, the monumental volumes known as the American Archives. As originally planned, the Force project involved the publication, in twenty or more folio volumes, of important original materials of American history from the seventeenth century through 1789 -- official documents of various kinds, legislative records, and private correspondence of special significance. The work was begun under contract with the Department of State, under authority of an act of Congress The six volumes of Series Four were published from 1837 to 1846, and by 1853 three volumes of the Fifth Series had appeared. These nine covered the years 1774-1776. At that point the work suddenly stopped; Secretary of State Marcy refused to approve Force’s plans for the completion of the undertaking, and no more volumes appeared. Marcy’s decision was a serious blow to Force, and to the cause of historical study in America. Basing his hope of reimbursement on a definite contract, sanctioned by Congress, Force had gone heavily into debt in order to secure his material. Now, at the age of sixty, he was faced with actual hardship. He might have sought relief through a petition to Congress, or by judicial process, but this he refused to do. Fortunately his situation was not as bad as it had at first seemed. In compiling the Archives he had procured an extraordinary mass of historical material, much of it extremely rare. Although he was inspired by the collector’s urge to accumulate, he had shown good business judgment in his purchases. He found himself therefore in possession of a large library of considerable commercial value. This he finally sold to the Library of Congress for $100,000. In addition to his work on the Archives, Force made some other contributions to American history. He was the first scholar to discover that the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of 1775 was not what it purported to be. Then he published The Declaration of Independence, or Notes on Lord Mahon’s History of the American Declaration of Independence (London, 1855 ). Occasionally, too, he printed a paper on a subject not directly related to his field: in 1852, Grinnell Land: Remarks on the English Maps of Arctic Discoveries, in 1850 and 1851; and in 1856, a “Record of Auroral Phenomena observed in the Higher Northern Latitudes” (Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Vol. VIII). These minor works perhaps are of interest merely to the antiquarian, but the American Archives are still indispensable to every student of the American Revolution. [The best account is the short paper by A. R. Spofford, in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, vol. II (1899), pp. 218-33 See also “Peter Force,” in Am. Hist. Record, Jan. 1874; and G. W. Greene, “Col. Peter Force, the American Annalist” in Mag. of Am. Hist., Apr. 1878. There are scattered references to him and to his work in W. B. Bryan, History of the National Capitol (2 vols., 1914-16) and in the Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, vols. VI, VII, and IX. The private papers of Force are in the Lib. of Cong ] R.V.H. Peter Force’s “American Archives” - a 9 Vol History of all the Colonies for the years 1775 & 1776. Originally completed in 1840, this edition is on 2 CDs for IBM Windows use only. There are 1000 pages of Table of Contents and Indices with complete (boolean) searchability.
Biographical information: Peter Force learned the printer’s trade as a youth in his native New York City. After service in the War of 1812 he moved to Washington, D.C., to work on government printing contracts. Force became involved in local politics, first as a city council member, then as Whig mayor of Washington, 1836-1848. He was a strong supporter of John Quincy Adams and established a semi-weekly newspaper, the National Journal, as a vehicle for Adams’ 1823 campaign. Force’s major achievement was as an editor and collector of historical material. He published four volumes of rare pamphlets, Tracts and Other Papers, Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement and Progress of the Colonies in North America (1834-1836). The remainder of his career he spent on his monumental work, the American Archives. Force projected a 20-volume series of primary sources of American history from the seventeenth century to 1789. The work was begun under contract with the Department of State, by an act of Congress. Force worked from 1837 to 1853, producing nine volumes covering the years 1774-1776. Work stopped abruptly when the secretary of state refused to approve completion of the project. Force would not seek congressional help. Because he had incurred heavy debts, he had to sell his library. Force had amassed a large, fine collection of printed and manuscript Americana, which was sold to the Library of Congress for $100,000. Scope and Contents: Papers of Peter Force, American historian, politician, archivist, editor. These papers contain approximately 400 letters spanning the whole of Force’s career. They relate almost entirely to his collecting and publishing. There are five boxes of manuscripts containing extracts of historical documents, notes for essays, newspaper articles, and books; some business and personal accounts are included.

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