200 Years Later: School Bills & Icehouses

BY LANDY ERLICK

Mary Rutherfurd Clarkson married Peter Augustus Jay, son of John Jay, in 1807. By 1814, the pair was splitting their summertime between a home in New York City and “The Locusts” in Rye. “The Locusts”  served as a country residence for the Jay family. The Jay Heritage Center and the 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House are located on the original spot of the home. We are fortunate enough to have the account book of Mary Rutherfurd and Peter Augustus Jay from 1814 – 1815. The book documents the wage costs, fuel payments, marketing, groceries, sundries, and personal and seasonal expenditures of the family.

At the time of the book’s keeping, Mary Rutherfurd and Peter Augustus Jay had three of their eight children. We can attribute the schooling charges in the account book to John Clarkson Jay, Mary Rutherfurd Jay, and Sarah Jay.  By 1825 – an additional four children later – Mrs. Mary Jay wrote to her cousin, recounting certain aspects of her family life, including how much she loved entertaining and cooking out in Rye.  Memorials of Peter A. Jay, a private circulation piece penned by a Jay descendent, includes the text of this letter.  Mary writes to her cousin, “Tell Uncle I want to consult him about an ice house and other improvements and wish him to taste my homemade bread and rusk” (Memorials 117).  Interestingly enough, there is an ice house dating back to the late 1800s here at the Jay Estate! Perhaps it is also situated on the same site as an earlier nineteenth century icehouse? We are in a restoration process, so stay on the lookout for some posts updating the progress.

The Ice House
The Ice House, 2009

 

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