John Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur collection  [1769]-1790
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The John Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur collection contains one copybook of official certificates, endorsements, and testimonies, and three original documents, used to prove his children's inheritance rights to his French estate. Crèvecoeur needed to provide documentation to the French government, because his children were born in America to a protestant American mother, and because he and his wife were married outside the Catholic Church.

The volume (147 pages) was assembled in 1786 with documents translated from the original English by Monsieur de Lisle. The volume opens with a table of contents that lists 47 documents, though the volume only contains the first 24 items. Pages 1-78 are primarily English language documents, and pages 79-140 are the French translations of these documents. Several documents, such as nos. 12 and 14, were originally in French and not translated into English. Crèvecoeur petitioned the French Consul General with copies of marriage and baptism records along with notarized accounts and public endorsements attesting to his children's legitimacy. Contributors included New York Governor George Clinton; clerk official of Orange County, New York, Thomas Moffat; the politician and jurist Robert R. Livingston; Mayor of New Haven Roger Sherman; Revolutionary War Colonel Jesse Woodhull; and numerous other notaries and officials from New York and Connecticut. Friends also offered testimony and accounts of the Crèvecoeur marriage, such as item 15, which contains letters from Dorothy and Verdine Elsworth, mentioning Crèvecoeur's wife in 1776.

The collection holds 3 original items with signatures and wax seals. The first two items are labeled No. 16 and No. 12, corresponding with document numbers in the copybook, and dated February 11, 1784, and February 5, 1785, respectively. Both are in French. The first document is an official copy of Crèvecoeur's commission as diplomat to New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The second item is a two-page document concerning the citizenship of Crèvecoeur's two sons. The third item, April 10, 1790, is a four-page document with an English translation, certifying that William Alexander St. John, Crèvecoeur's 17-year-old son, is an American citizen.

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