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Samuel Moore Barclay papers


Samuel Moore Barclay papers
Barclay, Samuel Moore
Collection number:
23 items
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

Samuel Moore Barclay was a Bedford, Pennsylvania, attorney who corresponded with a number of prominent Maryland individuals and business firms on legal, political, and business matters. Among Barclay's correspondents were William Tiffany and Co., H. P. Hepburn, Jonathan M. Edgar, and C. D. Slingluff. Topics discussed include legal cases, monetary claims, and business arrangements.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Samuel Moore Barclay papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Samuel Moore Barclay, the youngest son of Hugh and Hetty Barclay, was born in October 1802. He was educated at the Bedford Academy and, after leaving school, worked in the office of his brother Josiah. He passed the Bedford, Pennsylvania, bar and by 1828 was practicing law with a partner, Francis B. Murdoch, Esq. Barclay's brother, John Young Barclay (1798-1841), was also a lawyer, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Samuel Barclay married Ann Eliza Sophia Morrison on January 3, 1839; she died on November 26, 1839 at the age of nineteen. Barclay may have been married several times, although solid evidence does not exist.

Barclay practiced law in Bedford, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Some prominent Bedford County residents read law in his offices, including his brother, John Young Barclay, and another prominent Bedford citizen, John Cessna. During 1833, Samuel Barclay served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly as a Representative from Bedford County.

Samual Barclay was one of the main supporters of the New Jerusalem, or Swedenborgian church in Bedford, Pennsylvania.

Samuel Moore Barclay died on January 3, 1852 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Papers of Samuel Moore Barclay consist of twenty-three letters sent to Barclay and other Bedford County individuals by prominent Maryland businessmen, mostly from Baltimore, between 1818 and 1849. Seventeen of the letters are addressed to Barclay, and six of the letters are addressed to John Young Barclay, John Tod, Humphrey Dillon, Abraham Kerns, and the firm of T. Montgomery and Company. Subjects covered primarily include debt collection and property claims.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the papers of Samuel Barclay from Charles Apfelbaum in July 1991.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Christine Lutz, August 2004.

Processing note:

The letters were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Jennie A. Levine, September 2004.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is organized in a single series:

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1818-1849 (23 items)

The majority of the letters to Samuel Moore Barclay pertain to debt collection. There are initial letters as well as follow-up letters checking on Barclay's progress collecting debts. Many of these letters illustrate the frustrations inherent to this business. For example, four letters from Baltimore domestic commission merchants William Tiffany and Company span the course of five years and appear to address the same problem. Failing to receive a response from Barclay over time, William Tiffany and Company's letters became less friendly and increasingly terse.

Other letters also indicate that Barclay could be unresponsive or less than punctual in his work. In his 1846 letter to Barclay, J. M. Edgar reminded him that in a previous letter he "earnestly begged you to redeem yr. promise as to sending me a precise and particular statement of the entire balance." Mr. Hambleton, of the firm Gosnile and Hambleton, stated in an 1837 letter that he was "mortified" that a case in Barclay's hands had not been settled. Barclay apparently took issue with an earlier letter from the firm, in which Hambleton "disclaimed any wish to injure" Barclay's feelings. Hambleton had believed that Barclay would quickly settle the matter at hand, but here asked, "what am I to say in your defence (sic) now to my former partners?"

In an 1818 letter, Smith and Phillips of Baltimore requested that Humphrey Dillon, a Bedford innkeeper, secure a claim on property from one Henry Hipple, who had fled the area. Hipple resided in Morrison's Cove, an area of Bedford County rich in iron ore. Smith and Phillips requested that if Dillon could not secure the property for them, that he should find a magistrate who could secure their claim. They expressed interest also in goods that were sent to Hipple that "might be got at."

Some correspondents sought to enlist Barclay's services in matters other than debt collection. H. P. Hepburn requested Barclay's help in locating a Bedford man who brought a suit regarding a house against Hepburn's clients. R. DeCharmes, and in an 1846 letter, sought to employ Barclay as attorney in a family dispute over the settlement of, presumably, his father-in-law's estate. One letter in the collection was sent to Barclay as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The correspondent, John M. Buchanon of Ellerslie, near Cumberland in Allegany County, Maryland, wrote to Barclay in 1834 (the year following Barclay's service in the state government) regarding the state of education in Allegany County, and requested documents on "internal improvement" from the Pennsylvania state legislature.

Other recipients of letters in the Barclay Papers faced similar issues. John Tod (1779-1830) was a Bedford lawyer whose family were early Bedford County settlers. After practicing law in Bedford County, Tod served as a member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, followed by two terms in the United States Congress. After his tenure in Congress, he returned to Pennsylvania as the presiding judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the sixteenth judicial district, then as associate judge of the State Supreme Court. In an 1819 letter to Tod, Christopher Raborg and Son wrote to alert him that they were placing an account in his hands and included two sworn statements from the Baltimore County clerk and justice of the peace. Raborg & Son sought to collect money owed by a Bedford coppersmith who purchased materials, including copper, solder, and rivets, three years earlier. In another letter, written in 1821, Jacob Albert of Baltimore told Tod that, "I chance to remark that the $30 you intend to charge is very considerable above the customary charge for collecting and shall expect you will be as moderate in the charge as the matter of the case will admit." Interestingly, this letter also mentioned Henry Hipple of Morrisson's Cove and the goods he ordered, "before he absconded."

An 1828 letter from James Latimer to Abraham Kerns, a Bedford merchant, concerns Latimer's land. Like a number of letters in this collection, the letter consists in part of a note of introduction from a mutual friend.

An 1832 letter in the collection is addressed to John Young Barclay (1798-1841), Samuel Barclay's brother and a career lawyer who was a member of the convention that framed the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1838. Here, William F. Murdoch, Alexander Murdoch, and James Armour, wholesale dry goods merchants, expressed their desire for John Barclay to "institute suit upon these notes in the United States Court and collect the money without delay," referring to money owed them by John Irvine of Bedford County. In an 1840 letter to T. Montgomery and Company in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, a part of Bedford County renowned as a fertile valley, Wylie Wilson alerted the Bedford company to the current prices of such goods as pork, flour, butter, dry peaches and apples, and feathers.

Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence, March 1818-July 1849 series 1box 1folder 1

Related Material

A collection of Samuel Moore Barclay's papers spanning 1819 through 1851 is housed at Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University. Photocopies of biographical entries and family trees compiled by researchers are available from the curator upon request.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.


Names (Added Entries)