1. Who were the parents, spouses, children, and other siblings of the German (brothers?), Michael & John PAFF of New York City?For 13 years, 1789-1802, John Jacob ASTOR of 81 Queen Street, in NY City, sold musical instruments and pianos made in London by his brother George Peter Astor.By 1802 J. J. Astor had decided to concentrate his energies in the fur trade and sold his NY music business to (brothers?) Michael & John PAFF, who succeeded him in that branch of his business, and who also may earlier have been his business associates or partners in London & NYC, circa 1781-83-1802.
2. A probable direct descendant of this PAFF family was Eliza "POFF" (b. ca 1795 in NY; d. after 1850 Census in IL) who in 1835 emigrated with her NY City merchant husband, Israel PINKNEY (b. ca 1785 in NY; d. after 1850 Census in Peoria, IL) & family to Peoria County, IL.In the Peoria, IL, biographic sketch of their son, Andrew William PINKNEY, he stated that his "maternal ancestors lived in Germany.Grandfather POFF, on his mother's side, came to America with John Jacob Astor."
3. John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) was b. in the small village of Waldorf, Baden-Wurtemburg, Germany, 3d son of a butcher. Just before his 17th birthday, ca 1780, he followed his older brother, George, to London, and worked with him there, in the flute and piano factory of their uncle, of the firm Astor and Broadwood.Two years later, late in 1782, he decided to journey from London to New York City, where another brother, Henry Astor, already was working.We know that John Jacob Astor came first to Baltimore with $50 and seven flutes that he was to sell on consignment, and that he arrived in NY City in 1783, just before the British evacuation, after the Revolution.Astor first worked for a Quaker furrier and then opened his own shop on Water Street.
After getting established in NY, he returned to London and arranged to work as the NY agent of Astor & Broadwood in America. He then returned to NY and opened a "wareroom for the sale of musical instruments, becoming the first regular dealer in such articles in the U.S."
4. If the account of Eliza Poff Pinkney's son, Andrew, is accurate, then "Grandfather POFF," who may have been Eliza's father/Andrew's grandfather (or possibly Eliza POFF's grandfather) would have journeyed "to America with John Jacob Astor" circa 1782-83.In other words, the 1802 sale of Astor's NY City music business to Michael and John PAFF may possibly have followed an earlier association that dated back, perhaps, to 1782 or so, perhaps to London, or earlier still, possibly back to Germany, ca 1780.In any event, Astor was in NYC by 1783, married in 1785, and opened a shop in 1786, where he sold musical instruments from his brother, George Astor, in London.We know from the 1850 IL Census that Eliza Poff Pinkney was born in NY ca 1795, but we do not yet know who her parents were.
5. On 28 July 1796 the firm of "Kirner & Paff" at 245 Water Street, NYC, ran an advertisement in the newspaper "Argus" for a collection of German Cuckoo Clocks, musical clocks and other curious pieces of mechanism, wood carving, statuary, and for the sale and repair of various musical instruments.
6. On 21 Jan 1797 "John Paff" ran an ad in "The Diary" for musical clocks, human and animal automaton figures, wood carvings, and a variety of musical instruments ranging in price from $5 to $20.The shop was at 245 Water Street, near Peck-slip, in NYC.
7. On 10 February 1798, the "Daily Advertiser" announced "Just received from London, and for sale at John PAFF's Music and Toy Store, No. 34 Maiden Lane, [at] the corner of Nassau Street,"an organ, bird organs, musical instruments, wood carvings, curious articles, small clocks, alarm and cuckoo clocka, warranted to go well and will be sold from four to twenty dollars each."
8. On 11 July 1798, "John and M. Paff" ran an ad in the "Commercial Advertiser" announcing that they had received from London a great variety of musical instruments, novel mechanisms to include "a bear dancing with monkies," a German couple dancing with the bear, a bear and harlequin doing tricks across an iron bar, all to the accompaniment of fife, drums, and clarinet, and a Rastadt Clock, representing the Treaty of Campo Formio between Napoleon and Prince Charles.The Paff store was still at 112 Broadway, in NYC.
9. On 31 Dec 1798 the Paff (Brothers?) "J&M Paffs" ran an advertisement in the "NY Daily Advertiser" for artwork by J.C. Rauschner of Vienna.The Paff store/gallery was at that time located at 112 Broadway, across the street from the City Tavern.
10. On 12 January 1799, "J. & M. Paffs, No. 112 Broadway, Opposite the City Tavern" ran an ad in the New York Gazette and General Advertiser, announcing that they had "received from London a great variety of Musical Instruments, Viz: Violins, German and English Flutes, basoons with and without the additional keys, clarinets, hau[t]bois, fifes, violincellos, flageolets, flutes, walking sticks, etc.Octave flutes, Potter's patent flutes with 1, 4, 6 keys, ASTOR's new patent clarinets, and patent barrel organs with drum and triangles.A street organ ... and a variety of other bird and barrel organs, great and small Piano Fortes. ... Guitars, Tambourines, and an elegant harp, a quantity of spring and wooden alarm clocks ... N.B. The Street Organ will be hired out upon good security."[The reference to the receipt of such a rich variety of musical instruments, from London, including "Astor's new patent clarinets," is further circumstantial evidence that the brothers Michael and John PAFF (or PAFFS) were in some sort of a business relationship with John Jacob Astor of NY City and with George Peter Astor of London, well before the 1802 sale of Astor's New York City Music Store to the Brothers Paff.
11. John and Michael PAFF, of New York, also published sheet music. "Adeste Fideles!" with "words [in Latin] and music by John Francis Wade (?)," and "published by John and Michael Paff, N.Y., ca. 1803," can be down-loaded from the internet via Google.Com.
12. On 3 May 1801 Michal PAFF and Miss Maria Antynette Delanoir "both of New York" were married in Newark, Essex Copunty, NJ, at Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church, by the Rev. Uzel Ogden (Rector of that Church, 1788-1805).For some reason the NJ Census of 1801 records Michael PAFF "of New York" as being in Essex County, New Jersey."
13. The "Index of Wills for New York County, NY, 1851-1875,"
records that the WILL of Maria A. PAFF was proven on 2 January 1864 (Liber 150, Page 340).It will be interesting to learn where she may be buried, and which family members may be buried alongside her.
14.The Biographical Dictionary of American Music by Charles Eugene Clagorn (NY: Parker, 1973; which I have not yet seen) rather tentatively suggests that Michael Paff may have died in "1810?"Yet the 24 volumes of "American National Biography" edited by John A. Garrety & Mark C. Carnes (NY: Oxford Univ., 1999) indicate Michael Paff died in 1838.
15.Michael PAFF is not listed in the 1790 US Census for New York; in fact, there are no other PAFFs in this first Census in NY.Michael PAFF, however, consistently is listed as living in the 3rd Ward of New York City in the Federal Census of 1800, 1810, 1820, aqnd 1830. He is absent from the 1840 Census.I have not yet looked to see the ages of family members in his household, 1800-1830.It will be interesting to learn with whom Maria was enumerated in 1850 and 1860, just before her 1864 death.Her will also may contain useful information and should be available.
16.The 1829-30 Manhattan New York City Directory listed the occupation of Michael Paff, at this time, as "gallery of fine arts," with an address at 221 Broadway.An on-line history of NY City, whose correct bibliographic citation I didn't print (http://www.earlyrepublic.net/octo/octo-04.htm) adds that "M. Paff, known as 'Old Paff,' formerly at 20 Wall Street, now kept a variety or bricabrac store at 221 Broadway, on a part site of the present Astor House.He also bought and sold paintings, and some marvellous stories were told of his availing himself of his knowledge in purchasing old, laid-aside paintings, restoring them, and selling them at a great profit."
17.Some of the advertisements run in NY newspapers by John and Michael PAFF are reproduced in Rita Susswein Gottesman, "The Arts and Crafts in New York, 1777-1799 (NY: The New York Historical Commission, 1954), 36, 181-183, 377-378, 457.These suggest that on 28 July 1796 the Paffs were partners in "Kirner and Paff," at 245 Water Street.By 21 January 1797 John Paff was still at this address, but Kirner was no longer mentioned.On 10 Feb 1798 John Paff's Music and Toy Store was at 34 Maiden Lane.Yet on 11 July 1798 and again on 31 Dec 1798, John and M. Paff were still at 112 Broadway.It would appear that John and Michael Paff had more than one store.The business that Astor sold in 1802 may have been at 81 Queen Street.And we also know that Michael Paff's Gallery had moved, by 1829-1830, from 20 Wall Street to 211 Broadway.So the Paffs moved around a bit.
18.The History of Long Island, New York, by Wm. S. Pelletreau, Volume III, reports that an Andrew PAFF emigrated from Germany to New York in 1784.This was about a year after Astor arrived in New York City.Andrew Paff reportedly was the son of John PAFF of Wurtemburg, Germany.
His wife is not known, but his sons included a George R. Paff (b. 7 Feb 1789) and a John H. PAFF.George R. Paff's descendants are known.
19.John T. Paff is enumerated in the 1800 US Census as living in the 3rd Ward of New York City (where Michael Paff also then lived).There is another John Paff in the 4th Ward of NYC in this same 1800 Census.Neither John Paff is in the 1810 US Census for NYC; however, Andrew PAFF is in the 6th Ward in 1810, and Michael is in the 3rd Ward.By 1820, Michael Paff is in Ward 3, George Paff is in Ward 6, and Andrew Paff is in Ward 10.In 1830 we have "F. Paff" in Ward 11 and Michael Paff in Ward 3.By 1840 Michael has probably died; but we still have Henry Paff in Ward 10, John H. Paff in Ward 13, and George Paff in Hempstead, Queens County, NY.By 1850 we have both May A. Paff and Morisa A. Paff (Maria Antynette Paff?) in Ward 9; and both George and John H. Paff are living in Hempstead, Queens.
20.Finally, in re-reading the above, it occurs to me that John and Michael PAFF may not be brothers, but could have been related in some other way.I may have assumed this without any justification.Perhaps the music dictionaries will clarify the relationship.
21.Solicit your help in tracing this interesting family of PAFF, POFF (and Pfaff?) from Long Island and New York City to (London and) Germany (Wurtemburg?Baden-Wurtemberg?). These German entrepreneurs, Michael and John, long worked with and were associated with John Jacob Astor and perhaps two of his brothers, also from Baden-Wurtemburg.We do not yet know whether their association reaches all the way back into Germany, but it seems to extend earlier than New York. Eliza POFF PINKNEY's son, Andrew, reported that "Grandfather POFF" came to America with John Jacob ASTOR, and there seems to be an Andrew PAFF who arrived in NY City in 1784.He just might be the link.Any help will be much appreciated.
Regards, George H. Stevens
Fort washington, Maryland