Guide to the Rodman M. Price papers, 1843-1892.

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History --History, California Geographical (By Place) --California

Guide to the Rodman M. Price papers, 1843-1892.

Collection number: BANC MSS C-B 455

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Rodman M. Price papers,
Date (inclusive): 1843-1892.
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 455
Creator: Price, Rodman M. (Rodman McCamley), 1816-1894
Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Rodman M. Price papers, BANC MSS C-B 455, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Source: T.W. Norris Collection; and purchase from Edwin Grabhorn, Nov. 24, 1942.

Scope and Content

The papers in this collection were purchased from Edwin Grabhorn, Nov. 24, 1942. Some additional material came from the T. W Norris Collection.
The collection includes correspondence relating mainly to Rodman Price's land in San Francisco and to the lawsuits concerning it. There are some letters and a few papers pertaining to Price's career as a purser in the U. S. Navy; a few letters written to Price as Governor of New Jersey; miscellaneous accounts and legal papers; correspondence and accounts of the Banking firm of Ward & Price.
The bulk of the collection, however, centers around two law suits involving property in San Francisco. The first case was Du Pont vs. Wetherman, Price et al, 1857-1864. When Price and Du Pont were stationed in Monterey in 1846, Du Pont had Price buy some land for him in San Francisco. Du Pont later gave Price a power of attorney to sell the land. Price sold it for $8,000 to his lawyer, who, having Price's power of attorney, bought it for Price. When Price returned East, he gave Du Pont $4,000, the rest of his possessions having been burnt in a fire on the steamer. Du Pont, in the meanwhile, had been told the property was worth much more, and finally brought suit to get back the property. Since, by this time, Price had sold the property to Wetherman, Du Pont had to sue Wetherman.
The second case, Price vs. Dewey et al, 1857-1864, is somewhat similar in nature. Price, when he went back to New Jersey, gave General Keyes his power of attorney, whereupon Keyes sold all Price's land for a low price to Dewey and Payne in 1853. Price, four years later, brought charges for fraud against Dewey and others.
There are also a few papers relating to three other cases: Price Vs. Price, relating to his father's estate; the U. S. Government Vs. Price, pertaining to Price's accounts as Purser in the Navy; and Price vs. Ward et al.


Rodman McCamley Price, naval officer and Governor of New Jersey, was born in New Jersey, went to Princeton and studied law. He married Matilda Trenchard, the daughter of a naval captain.
In 1840 Price received an appointment as purser and was sent first to Europe. He was with the Cyane in 1846, became alcalde in Monterey, was sent back to Washington, returned to San Francisco after the gold discovery to facilitate the transmission of funds. At this time he made money in real estate and was involved in California politics, being a member of the first California constitutional convention. In December 1849 he was relieved of duty as naval agent. He lost receipts and vouchers as well as all his personal possessions when the steamer burned on his return trip to Washington. This loss resulted in a long litigation with the United States Government.
In 1850 Price was elected to the House of Representatives in New Jersey, and in 1853 he was elected Governor, serving a three year term from 1854 to 1857. He showed a good record as a constructive legislator. Not being eligible for a second term, Price retired from politics to his farm in New Jersey.

Container List

Box 1:

Letters from Rodman McCamley Price: 6 letters, 1850-1880.

Scope and Content Note

Includecopies and drafts.

Letters to Rodman McCamley Price and others, arranged alphabetically.

see partial list of correspondents


Papers as Purser, U. S. Navy


Passport issued in Gibraltar in 1843


Various vouchers and accounts, 1842-1850


Papers relating to prize money of the Cyane (6 items)


Papers relating to discharge of sailors on the Warren (4 items), 1850-1851


Transcript of proceedings of case U. S. vs. Rodman McCamley Price, copied from the Trenton State Gazette, 1856



Miscellaneous legal papers, indentures and agreements, 1849-1880, copies and originals

Scope and Content Note

Including abstract of title, indentures and satisfaction of mortgage on San Francisco property.


Scope and Content Note

Including receipts, promissory notes etc., 1842-1853, 13 items, arranged chronologically. Also 11 checks drawn on Merchant's Exchange Bank, 1849-1850.


Scope and Content Note

Transcripts from various newspapers relating to R. M. Price' s peculations. Two compositions by Francis Price, 1855-1856.

Ward & Price, (firm), New York. Papers:


Correspondence, arranged alphabetically.

see partial list of correspondents


Promissory notes, 1850 (11 items)


Bills of exchange, drawn on Godeffory, Sillem & Co., 1849-1851 (48 pieces)


Bills of exchange, etc., 63 items, alphabetically arranged.

Scope and Content Note

Include orders from Alexander G. Abell, Alfred J. Ellis, Thomas Oliver Larkin, Albert Priest, and others.

Bills and receipts, 58 pieces, 1850-1851, alphabetically arranged.


Accounts current, 1849-1850, 5 pieces (for Ward & Co.)


Accounts current, 1850, 3 items


Checks drawn on Merchants Exchange Bank, 1850, 287 pieces.


Checks drawn on Phenix Bank, 1850, 401 items


Miscellaneous, 1850-1852, 2 items.

Box 2:

Papers relating to law suits.


Price vs. Ward et al.


Certified copy of proceedings, July 7, 1853


Du Pont vs. Weatherbee, Price et al.


Papers relating to the trial, 1857-1859




Documents (originals, copies of abstracts, conveyances) used in the trial


Review of opinion of the Supreme Court


Miscellaneous notes


Price vs. Dewey et al.


Copies of documents, mainly relating to property in San Francisco -powers of attorney, deeds, agreements, receipts, etc. 37 items, 1847-1859.


Papers relating to the trial, 1854-1864




Schedules A and B


Depositions, affidavits


Miscellaneous notes


Fees in the case


Price vs. Weehawken Ferry Co.


Papers, 1866. 5 items. See also Price vs. Price.


Price vs. Price


Papers, 1869-1880.

Scope and Content Note

Relate to Rodman Price's father's estate. 3 items.

Partial Lists of Correspondents

Letters to Rodman McCamley Price and Others


Ball, A. Everett


1 letter, Nov. 21, 1887

See also Edwin Lewis folder, in which a letter to Lewis, dated Apr. 27, 1887, is to be found.


Bigelow, Samuel F.


1 letter, Nov. 28, 1882


Boyce, Isaac G.


1 letter, Dec. 20, 1853


Brannan, Samuel, 1819-1889


1 letter, Aug. 31, 1852. Written for him and also signed by A. Wardwell.


Crosby, Henry R.


1 letter, July 12, 1886


Cummins, John


1 letter, Mar. 3, 1853


Cummins, Alexander & Green (firm), New York


17 letters, 1857-1864. Mainly to Rapallo & Doyle, and relate to case Price vs. Dewey et al.


Dana, A. H.


1 letter, Aug. 16, 1861, addressed to John Thomas Doyle, relating to Price vs. Dewey et al.


Develin, John E.


1 letter, Oct. 1, 1861, addressed to John Thomas Doyle, relating to Price vs. Dewey et al.


Dewey, Squire Pierce, 1818-


1 letter, Oct. 22, 1856, addressed to Samuel Francis Du Pont, concerning Du Pont's property in San Francisco. Copy only.


Du Pont, Samuel Francis, 1803-1865


3 letters, 1855-1856, relating to Price's disposal of Du Pont's property in San Francisco. Addressed to John Libby Folsom and to Squire P. Dewey. Copies only.


Fullerton, William


1 letter, July 15, 1864, addressed to S. E Lyon, relating to Price Vs. Dewey et al.


Graham, William Alexander, 1804-1875

See U S. Navy Department.


Hart, Jesse B.


1 letter, Jan. 19, 1860, relating to witnesses in the case Price Vs. Dewey et al. 2 copies.


Hawes, Horace, 1813-1871


2 letters, May 1850, to Aert M. Van Nostrand, concerning power of attorney from Thomas H. Stevens to Rodman M. Price. Copies only.


Janes, H. P.


1 letter, Sept. 17, 1857, to Hall McAllister, relating to Price vs. Dewey et al.


Johnson, John Neely, 1825-1872


1 letter, Mar. 10, 1856


Keyes, Erasmus Darwin, 1810-1895


2 letters, 1854-1857, to Squire P. Dewey and to Rapallo & Doyle, relatingto Price vs. Dewey et al.


Lewis, Edwin


7 letters, 1854-1889, to his uncle. Some signed "Ned." Letter of Apr. 27, 1887 includes a letter of the same date from A. Everett Ball, addressed to Lewis.


Lewis, John R.


1 letter, Oct. 28, 1885, to his uncle, Rodman M. Price.


Lewis, J. Roome


2 letters, 1866, to his brother, Rodman Price Lewis.


Lewis, Rodman Price


1 letter, Feb. 2, 1880, to his aunt, Matilda S. (Trenchard) Price, (Mrs. Rodman M. Price).


Marshall, Edward C.


1 letter, June 26, 1883


Morris, William Gouverneur, d. 1884


1 letter, Mar. 4, 1856


Newton, John Thomas


1 letter, Feb. 4, 1853


O'Conor, Charles, 1804-1884


1 letter, Feb. 24, 1862, addressed to John Thomas Doyle, relating to Price vs. Dewey et al.


Page, James M.


1 letter, Oct. 8, 1883


Preston, William Ballard, 1805-1862

See U.S Navy Department.


Price, Edward Trenchard


2 letters, 1881-1882


Price, Francis


1 letter, July 4, 1880, to his mother, Matilda (Trenchard) Price.


Price, Rodman McCamley


3 letters, 1879-1882, to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Price.


Prince, J. Hardy


2 letters, 1850, concerning prize money for captures by sloop Cyane.


Revere, Joseph Warren, 1812-1880


1 letter, Apr. 2, 1854


Salisbury, Edward


1 letter, Oct. 21, 1876


Seymour, Charles H.


1 letter, Mar. 30, 1891


Sherburne, J. A.


1 letter, June 29, 1850


Shuttleworth, W.


1 letter, Jan. 2, 1853


Simons, William W.


1 letter, Feb. 25, 1852, concerning prize money of Cyane.


Stevens, Thomas H.


1 letter, Mar. 20, 1850, addressed to Aert M. Van Nostrand, concerning sale of Steven's property in San Francisco. Copy only.


Sutherland, Josiah


2 letters, 1862, to John Thomas Doyle, relating to Price vs. Dewey et al.


Thomas, J. Bayard


3 letters, 1850, relating to Price's accounts as purser, U. S. Navy.


Tichenor, F. M.


3 letters, 1880, addressed to Squire P. Dewey.


U.S. Navy department


3 letters, 1850-1854. Signed by William Ballard Preston, William Alexander Graham and William Sinclair. Relate to Rodman M. Price's duties as purser, U. S. Navy. Letter of July 20, 1850 includes copy of letter by Price, July 24, 1850.


Vallejo, Mariano Guadalupe, 1807-1890

See Van Nostrand, Aert M


Van Alstine, Cornelius J., d. 1866


1 letter, July 10, 1852


Van Nostrand, Aert M.


14 letters, 1850-1857. Written mainly as Price's agent, relating to Price's San Francisco property. Letter of May 7, 1850 is copy only of letter to Horace Hawes. Letter of Mar. 11-31, 1850, includes document signed by M. G. Vallejo.


Ward, Samuel, 1814-1884


2 letters, 1854-1858, relating to Price vs. Dewey et al. Copies only.


Wilson, Joseph


1 letter, Sept. 27, 1851. At end of page, copy of letter by Rodman M. Price to James E Heath.

Correspondents of Ward & Price


Devereux, George T.


1 letter, May 23, 1851


Godeffroy, Sillem & Co. (firm), San Francisco


39 letters, 1849-1852


Gray, John B.


1 letter, Sept. 10, 1850


Hobson, William L.


1 letter, Feb. 2, 1851


Judah, Charles D.


1 letter, Feb. 28, 1851


McAdam, John


1 letter, Dec. 14, 1850


McAllister, (Matthew Hall & Hall), firm, San Francisco


1 letter, Feb. 1, 1851


Missroon, John Stoney, 1810-1865


1 letter, Aug. 23, 1850


Snyder, Jacob R., 1813-1878


1 letter, May 24, 1850


Wilson, Benjamin Davis, 1811-1878


1 letter, Mar. 31, 1851. Written and signed for him by W. O. B. Sanford.