This past month found Barbara cataloging many, many sermons. There are too many to list, but if you are looking for 18th or 19th century religious writings, definitely search our catalog. If you need any help, never hesitate to contact us (regarding sermons or any of our other research material).
Another collection with a religious aspect is that of Rev. Philemon Robbins (1709-1781) of Branford, Connecticut. The collection primarily contains writings, notebooks, sermons, and correspondence of the Robbins, his son the Rev. Ammi Ruhanah Robbins (1740-1813) of Norfolk, Connecticut, and their close family members. Correspondents include Lazarus LeBaron (1698-1773), the Rev. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), and Irene Robbins (1746-1800). The papers contain Philemon and Ammi’s corpus of sermons, school notebooks, several astral and solar drawings and tables, Church Records from the First Congregational Church (Branford, Conn.) in 1760, and a musical score entitled “Nineteenth Century L.M.,” attributed to the Rev. Thomas Robbins (1777-1856). Also included is an account of a shipwreck that Ammi’s son Chandler Robbins (1738-1786) survived off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1786, and several letters written between Ammi and his wife Elizabeth [LeBaron] Robbins (1745-1829) while he was serving in the military as a Chaplain in Col. Charles Burrall’s Regiment, Schuyler’s Brigade in the Canadian campaign during the Revolution. (Ms 100829)
It seems to have been the month for Robbins family collections. Though a small collection (0.5 linear foot), several generations are represented in the papers of John Robbins (1716-1798) and his wife Mary Russell Robbins. The collection begins with John’s probate papers. It also includes papers of Frederick and Mehitable (Wolcott) Robbins, Frederick Robbins, Jr., Horace W. Robbins, Philemon Ames, Eunice Ames, Franklin Robbins, Ashbel and Elizabeth Ann (Rutledge) Robbins, Philemon Frederick Robbins, Philemon Wadsworth Robbins, and Harriet Elizabeth (Cook) Robbins, and Clarinda Robbins (a cousin). These papers include probate documents, correspondence, last wills and testaments, deeds, promissory notes, and invitations. The family’s venture into the purchase of land in now what is known as Old Saybrook, Connecticut is represented with several property deeds, a stock certificate for The New Saybrook Company, and two maps of New Saybrook (published by the Kellogg & Bulkeley Co.). The maps portray great development and expansion in the town. An interesting piece of Frederick Robbins’ (1756-1821) is a notebook he kept on breeding and planting cycles. The papers of Harriet Elizabeth Cook Robbins include genealogical research on the family. For further details, please see the catalog entry. (Ms 100846)
Rounding off Barbara’s collections is that of George Hall. Hall was a merchant in Savannah, George and New York City. His collection consists of correspondence, accounts, bills, receipts, insurance documents, deeds, and bills of lading. The correspondence is both personal (from his brother who is sometimes in Hartford, Connecticut) and business related and includes loose items as well as letter books. Hall & Hoyt, one of his partnerships, engaged in the slave trade. They were also merchants sending cargo, including cotton, to Liverpool and Amsterdam. The financial records include accounts with various vessels, bills of lading, freight bills, and customhouse bills. Needing more research are deeds of wharf lots and land in Effingham (Georgia?) in 1835 and deeds for land in New York State. Hall also was heavily invested or was a partner in the Savannah Steam Saw Mill, for which many bills and receipts exist. One bundle of papers is identified as belonging to Henry Hall and is dated 1811-1816. (Ms Hall)
My collections this month were primarily smaller account books. Though they may not contain as much information as larger collections, I do enjoy working with the more unique ones. The Bristol & California Co. was formed in Bristol, Connecticut, in December 1848. Their purpose was mining gold in the Sacramento River Valley of California. The volume includes their articles of incorporation and the treasurer’s accounts.
Bristol & California Co. account book, 1848-1849, Ms 72657. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT
Most of the anonymous account books I encounter are farmers, merchants, or blacksmiths. Finding an undertaker was unusual. This particular tradesman worked in Griswold, Connecticut. The records contain the name and age of the deceased, location of the funeral, place of burial, to whom the services were billed, and additional services, such as sewing, flowers, and flags. The volume contains 655 entries. (Ms 72849-10)
Undertaker's account book, 1884-1895, Ms 72849-10. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT
Lastly, it is always great to find papers kept as they were by their original owner. Benanuel Bonfoey‘s leather pocket book contains receipts and a small account book. The receipts include store purchases, carding wool, attendance at a hospital, and a school bill. The account book records shipyard work. Bonfoey lived in Haddam, Connecticut. (Ms 72053)
Benanuel Bonfoey Pocket Book, 1796-1822, Ms 72059. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT
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