Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Samuel Lightfoot Surveyor's Journal, 1739-1788

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, October 2012

Summary Information
Title: Samuel Lightfoot surveyor's journal
Creator: Lightfoot, Samuel, 1701-1777 and Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1739-1788
Bulk dates: 1739-1743, 1753-1757, 1786-1788
Extent: 1 volume
This journal contains Samuel Lightfoot's notes about surveys he conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania in the mid-18th century. An account book, dated primarily in the 1780s, is laid into the volume.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2007. M-4579.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Samuel Lightfoot Surveyor's Journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Samuel Lightfoot was born in Ireland on February 5, 1701, the son of Thomas (ca. 1645-1725) and Sarah Lightfoot. The Lightfoot family, who were Quakers, emigrated from Ireland to New Garden, Pennsylvania, in 1716, and Samuel later moved to Pikeland Township, Pennsylvania, where he was a surveyor and justice of the peace. He married Mary Head on July 30, 1725, and they had four children: Benjamin (b. 1726), Thomas (1728-1793), Samuel Abbott (1729 or 1730-1759), and William (1732-1797). Samuel Lightfoot died on February 26, 1777.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This journal (around 200 pages) contains Samuel Lightfoot's notes about surveys he conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania in the mid-18th century. An account book (30 pages), dated primarily in the late 1780s, is laid into the volume.

Samuel Lightfoot recorded information about surveys he conducted in Berks, Chester, Lancaster, and Lehigh Counties, Pennsylvania, from June 8, 1739-December 2, 1757. A 73-page section covering September 1743-March 1753 is missing. Lightfoot made detailed notes about his work, including the names of his customers and property owners and the boundaries of surveyed tracts.

The first 2 pages of the small account book pertain to "Outstanding Debts Due To Samuel Lightfoot," with a list of names and monetary amounts. The remaining 28 pages concern an anonymous author's personal finances from June 3, 1786-September 13, 1788. The accounts consist of brief notes about individual transactions, which often involved farm labor, such as haying or threshing, and the sale of potatoes. At least one laborer was a woman. A memorandum on the back of the volume concerns the sale of a tract of land by David Davis to George Davis. The account book also has a note laid inside it, indicating the extent of a lot of land owned by Thomas Lloyd.

Subject Terms

    • Agricultural laborers--United States.
    • Finance, Personal.
    • Pennsylvania--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
    • Real property--Pennsylvania.
    • Surveyors.
    Genre Terms:
    • Account books.
    • Journals (accounts)
    • Notes.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Samuel Lightfoot surveyor's journal,  June 8, 1739-December 2, 1757, and anonymous account book,  June 3, 1786-September 13, 1788 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College have collections of Lightfoot family papers.


    Futhey, J. Smith, and Gilbert Cope. History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches. Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881.

    Myers, Albert Cook. Immigration of the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania, 1682-1750, with Their Early History in Ireland. Swarthmore (Pa.): Published by the author, 1902.