Table of Contents
A Guide to the collection at the Connecticut Historical Society
This branch of the Baldwin family traces its lineage to Henry Baldwin of Woburn, Massachusetts. One of his sons, Benjamin Baldwin (1672/3-1759), was born in Woburn but moved and settled in Canterbury, Connecticut about 1700. Benjamin married Hannah Knowlton with whom he had eight children. Benjamin’s son Timothy (1709-1722) married Susannah Frost (d. 1795) and had six children. Timothy and Susannah had son David (1742-1826), known as Captain David. David married Esther Puffer (d. 1825) and had five children: Timothy (1775-1840), Festus (1777-1857), Susannah (b. 1780), David Clark (b. 1784) and Elijah (1783-1867). Elijah received an honorary degree from Yale in 1827, practiced medicine in Canterbury and lived on the family farm. Elijah married Hannah Bishop Burnham (1785-1866) in 1811.
Elijah and Hannah had four children: Amy (1816-1842), Esther (1814-1844), Hannah (1812-1833) and Elijah, Jr. (1820-1888). Following in his father’s footsteps, Elijah Jr. graduated from Yale in 1841 and received his medical degree from Harvard in 1845. He settled in Plainfield, Connecticut where he married Sarah Harris Mathewson (1826-1905) but moved back to Canterbury in 1855. Elijah and Sarah had six surviving children: Hannah (1855-1917), Henry (1850-1918), Sarah (b. 1846) who married Brooks Hadley of Boston, Mass., Lucy (b. 1863), Helen (b. 1865) and Abram (b. 1860).
The collection of the Baldwin family of Canterbury, Connecticut, primarily consists of correspondence between family members from 1779-1917. The most extensive letter exchanges were between Amy, Esther, Hannah and brother Elijah Jr. from 1830-1833. Three letters are indexed in the African-American Bibliography at CHS: Esther Baldwin letters, 4 May 1833, and 29 June 1833, and Harriet B. Baldwin letter 28 July 1833.
Elijah Baldwin Jr., his wife Sarah and their children maintain their correspondence between 1865 and 1878. These letters provide insight into the concerns of a mother about her children’s deportment, health, studies and clothes. She also conveys her emotions on having her children leave the farm and frequently gives moral advice. Among Elijah Baldwin Jr.’s correspondents is C. S. Brainard, a former classmate, with who he exchanges thoughts about science and philosophy.
Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Mixed within the letters are deeds and land surveys, accounts, court documents, military exemptions, probate records, bills of sale, and political memorabilia. One particular document from 1840 predicts the results of the upcoming elections. A detailed item by item description of these mixed folders is available with the collection.
Following the correspondence and mixed documents is a series of land deeds. These are followed by assorted documents arranged by individual. Captain David Baldwin’s papers include correspondence, land and financial records. Elijah Baldwin Jr. is represented by numerous essays, one about the benefits of the study of biography, and two draft letters to the President on the topics of temperance and the "party spirit." Elijah asserts both are essential for a strong republic. Esther, Festus, Hannah, Hannah Burnham Baldwin and Henry are all represented by undated correspondence and assorted financial records such as bills, notes, accounts and receipts.
Of particular interest among the papers are two folders of documents related to the town of Canterbury. These include assorted tax documents, records of caring for the poor, land documents, and financial records.
The next largest portion of the collection consists of bills, receipts, accounts, and notes arranged by person and then chronologically by month. The financial records of Elijah Sr. and Elijah Jr. may be intermingled since they overlapped in their professions and residence from 1841-1855. Among Elijah Jr.’s records and bills and accounts for building a house.
There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Use of the material requires compliance with the Connecticut Historical Society's Research Center regulations.
Baldwin, Amy, 1816-1842.
Baldwin, David, 1742-1826.
Baldwin, Elijah, 1783-1867.
Baldwin, Elijah, 1820-1888.
Baldwin, Esther, 1814-1844.
Baldwin, Festus, 1777-1857.
Baldwin, Hannah Burnham, 1855-1917.
Baldwin, Hannah, 1812-1833.
Baldwin, Henry, 1850-1918.
Baldwin, Sarah Harris Mathewson, 1826-1905.
Hadley, Sarah Baldwin, b. 1846.
Taxation -- Connecticut -- Canterbury.
Deeds -- Connecticut -- Canterbury.
Family networks -- Connecticut -- Canterbury.
Physicians -- Connecticut -- Canterbury.
Physicians -- Connecticut -- Plainfield.
Canterbury (Conn.) -- History -- Sources.
Item, Collection Title, Collection number (Box #, Folder #). Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut.
Collection was processed by Raquel Tominson and Barbara Austen in 2008.
EAD Finding Aid created March 2011.