February in the Archives

It is time once again to recap the month’s processing activity. All of the records for our NHPRC project have been uploaded to our online catalog and the materials are ready for you to research!

Frederick Curtis‘s silver manufacturing company is considered the first to manufacture German silver (Nickel silver) in the country. An account book kept by the Curtisville (area of Glastonbury now known as Naubuc) company records employee names, hours, wages, and types of tableware produced. Also included are the production records of finishers. At the time the records begin, January 1852, there were 40 production employees. By November 1862 there were only five. Frederick Curtis bought the buildings and land for his company in 1846. During the Civil War he sold to the Connecticut Arms and Manufacturing Company.  One of the employees listed in the book is Albert Walker, a magician whose props are part of the CHS museum collections.  (Ms 73440)

The earliest item in this small Hartford Fire Department collection (0.25 linear foot) is a receipt listing firefighters and the pay they received in 1851. The collection also includes early 20th century rules and regulation booklets, instructions for the fire alarm and telegraph stations, programs from several banquets and balls, an account of being on special assignment with a New York fire company, lists of firefighters with their ages, weights and heights, and correspondence of Fire Chief Michael T. Kenna. Kenna was involved with Hartford’s 1937 Disaster Emergency Committee. He also received a 1941 report titled “Planning for Hartford’s Future.” (Ms 68083)

Among the interesting pieces in a collection of papers from the Fitch and Chapman families of the Norwich, Connecticut, area are agreements for the partnership of Fitch and Bissell to build the National Road in Pennsylvania and legal documents regarding Azel Hyde, Benjamin Fitch, and Ebenezer Fitch’s debts. Due to lack of payment the men served time in New Gate Prison. (Ms 100831)

Robert Hale Kellogg enlisted in the Civil War from Wethersfield, Connecticut. Kellogg (1844-1922), a Sergeant Major with the 16th Connecticut Volunteers, was held as a prisoner of war at Camp Sumter and later wrote a book about his experiences in the war. Some of his notes are included in this collection. Diaries included cover his time in the war, between 1862 and 1865. Other pieces  include letters sent to his parents, Silas and Lucy Kellogg, of Sheffield, Massachusetts. Other Civil War related items include his enlistment, promotion certificate, discharge, a New Testament Kellogg carried with him, as well as a prayer book. (Ms 68013)

Envelope sent to Silas Kellogg

Envelope from Robert Hale Kellogg papers, 1862-1931, Ms 68013. CHS, Hartford, CT

The Rowland Family collection deserves a blog post of its own, or at least the work of our extra fabulous volunteer, Racquel, deserves more than the few lines I can devote here. The collection contains extensive correspondence among members of a Windsor, Connecticut, family. The majority of the letters were written to Frances Bliss Rowland, the daughter of Reverend Henry Augustus Rowland and Frances Bliss of  Windsor. Henry and Frances Rowland had eight children, seven of whom are represented in the collection: Frances Bliss, Henry Augustus, Elizabeth Newberry, William Sherman, Edward, George, and James Edwards. Reverend Rowland led a pious life and in his letters admonished his children to live upright, Christian lives.  Henry Augustus Rowland Jr., a Yale graduate, served at the Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for three years in the 1830s before returning north. His letters from that time described life in the ante-bellum South and included a description of a brutal incident involving slaves. George described his journey through Panama to California in 1849 and the difficulty making a living during the Gold Rush, warning his siblings not to follow him.  William Sherman Rowland described an 1840 Democrat and Whig procession in New York City, discussed society and empathized with Frances about the limited options for women, and discussed his disappointment in not accompanying brother George to California. Edward Rowland described a slave auction in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1833, discouraged Frances from taking a job at the McLean Asylum, and mentioned his marriage of convenience in 1841 to Elizabeth Avery. In letters to his brothers, he described his collection of plants, flowers and herbs. Of particular interest is a letter dated October 23, 1840, from Rosetta, a servant who came into cousin Mary Elizabeth Rowland’s family at the age of 9 and was educated by the family. In the letter she discussed prejudice, the frustrating need to get free papers to move west, and her desire to live in free air, or not at all. (Ms 66917)

The papers of Theodore Woodbridge focus on the years of the American Revolution and consist of general orders, returns, accounts with the State of Connecticut, troop reports, loyalty oaths, and correspondence with William Health, Heman Swift,  A. Chapman, and Ruben Calkin. The topics of the letters include troop movements, lack of sufficient men to hold a line, deserters, army morale, selling forfeited (Tory) estates, smallpox among the army, and military strategy, including Woodbridge’s taking of Morrisania (now part of the Bronx). A letter from A. Chapman dated February 1, 1778, includes a description of the Seven-Day Baptists at Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  Heman Swift wrote wanting to discuss the General Assembly’s plan to pay officers with land instead of money. This could have been in response to a complaint from the men of the Connecticut Line of the Continental Army about the depreciation of specie. After 1783, the number of items decreases considerably and in most cases is related to financial dealings, although there are several letters about surveying land in Ohio. (Ms Woodbridge)

Hope you will come and take a look at these collections and more. Visit our web site for more details!

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