To Maurice Rosendorff

18 June 1862


[MS in Finney Papers, Supplement # 108]


Ever since the 1830s when Finney had been a minister in New York he had a house in Catharine Street, which was mortgaged to his friend William Green Jr. Early references to the house indicate that it was No. 58, but by the 1850s it was No. 52. Since Finney's removal to Oberlin, the house had been leased out to tenants, and various agents were appointed over the years to collect the rents and manage the property. Collecting the rent had sometimes proved to be difficult and there were frequent problems with many of the tenants. Samuel Wise, a tenant who had taken the property in 1857, had paid nothing up until August 1859 when the property was repossessed. Legal action had to be taken by Finney's agent, Lauren Ford, to try and recover the rent.


On May 1, 1860, a new tenant, Maurice Rosendorff, took out a lease for a period of five years. Although rent was paid, there were difficulties arising from repairs that needed to be done to the property, and a dispute arose over whose responsibility it was to pay for them. As a result Rosendorff held back some of the rent.


Things reached a head in April 1862, while Rosendorff was away. Finney had appointed a new agent, Alfred Smith, to deal with his affairs. Smith was an old friend of Finney's and one of the early supporters of Oberlin College. He worked for the Fulton Bank in New York, and had been one of the treasurers of the Professorship Association which had largely financed Oberlin College in the early years before the financial crash of 1837. He visited the Rosendorffs on various occasions to try and sort out the problems, but dealing with Rosendorff's wife proved fruitless. She continued to hold back rent while the bill for the repairs was unpaid, and further repairs were required. Her husband was not due back until July.


On June 16th, Alfred Smith wrote to Finney:


Dear Bro

I called to day to get the balance $35 which she promised me this week waiving the bill of repairs until his return. It is of no use to talk with her. She did not want to pay me any thing more until his return. but she promised to pay me $20 or $25 which will enable me to pay Mr Ford. she says he will be in N.Y in July. I do not think it best to go to law with her if it can be avoided Yet if you think it best say so

Your Brother

A. Smith

June 16. 62


Two days later Finney wrote a letter to Rosendorff, a copy of which was made by Finney's wife which reads as follows:


Oberlin Ohio 18th June


Mr Rosendorff Esq

Dear Sir. Last summer the

rent of my 52 Catharine Street was not paid

& the excuse of my agent was, that you was

out of town -- When my son visited you

in April last you assured him that you had

always been ready to pay the rent when it

became due - That you preferred to pay

punctually & that my agent should receive

the rent on quarter day without calling more

than once - In view of such professions &

promises I have been surprised and grieved

by the manner in which payment of the

rent due the 1st of May has been delayed

by your Wife, notwithstanding the earnest

and repeated endeavours of my agent to

collect it - You are informed that it is

necessary for me to require prompt payment

of the rent, and yet you continue to absent

yourself from New York and leave it with

your Wife who persists in deferring payment

[page 2]

She pays only in small installments, & up to

this date the whole rent due the 1st

of May is not paid, & my agent writes me

that you are expected home in July when

you will pay the remainder - Now

my dear sir how am I to understand

this after your promise made to my

son in addition to the Covenants in

the lease - I earnestly hope my dear

Sir that you will attend to this, and

not force me to take legal measures

to secure the payment of the rent

My Agent is weary with attempts to get

the rent of Mrs Rosendorff & if this

delay is persisted in, or repeated

I must order the legal steps to be

taken to enforce the payment of the

rent - This I should regret to do

Will you please attend to this matter

effectually and without delay

Yours truly C. G. Finney


This letter was enclosed with the letter of the same date to Alfred Smith.



This was Charles. See Alfred Smith to Finney 10 December 1863, Finney Papers.