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Winter Family Papers

Identifier: mss-864

Scope and Contents

The collection contains Civil War correspondence. One letter from Wilson R. Winter to his wife Mary was written while he was in Virginia. Six letters were written by their friend Erastus Worthen from camps near Yorktown, [Falmouth], Culpepper, and Brandy Station, Virginia as well as two written from the King St. Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia where he was being treated for injuries related to a gunshot wound. Images (tintypes, daguerreotypes, and cartes-de-visite) are present but not labeled or dated. The subjects include portraits of Civil War soldiers.

Later correspondence from Eben Farnsworth to Belle Winter, before and during their marriage, comprises the most significant volume. A few of their bills are also present. Additional extended family members are represented through the correspondence, though to a lesser degree.

Note that the family’s last name is occasionally given as Winters, but Winter prevails on official forms and thus is used here.


  • 1862-1918

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Wilson R. Winter (about 1830-1897) served as a Private in Company H of the 14th Regiment of the Vermont Volunteers. He enlisted on September 10, 1862 and was mustered out on July 30, 1863. He married Mary S. Rugg (1837-1913) in 1854 and they had 8 children: Rollo (b. circa 1855), Emma (1858-1904), Myrtie (1863-1923), Jennie (b. circa 1865), Willie (b. circa 1867), Mary (b. circa 1869), Persis (b. circa 1869), and Isabel Lucy (1876-1937).

Erastus Worthen (1870) was a friend and correspondent of the couple. He served in Company B of the 2nd Vermont Regiment. He enlisted as a Private on May 8, 1861 and was promoted to Corporal. He reenlisted on December 21, 1863 then was wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864 via a minié ball to the thigh. He was taken to hospitals in Virginia and Vermont for treatment. He was discharged from the Army on June 23, 1865. In 1864, he married Emeline Pratt (1844-1930) and they had a son named Willard (b. 1866). Erastus died at age 31 as a result of his war injury. Emeline remarried Eugene Tucker in 1872. Pension applications for Erastus as an invalided soldier, Emeline as a widow, and a child with the last name of Pratt as dependent (for whom Worthen was guardian) are available via Ancestry.

Wilson and Mary’s youngest child, Lucy Isabel (also called Belle or "L.B.") married Ebenezer Farnsworth (who went by Eben) (b. 1880/1881, sources vary-1948) in 1908. They had 3 children: Persis Emma (1914-1984), George Wilson (1915-1942), and Grace H. (1917-1995). Eben’s father George Farnsworth (1843-1911) also served as a Private in Company D of the 9th Regiment of Vermont Volunteers. Eben’s mother was Olive May Rice (1844-1886) and while sources point to Eben having siblings, it is unclear how many children were in their family. George Farnsworth, a farmer, remarried in 1886 to Samantha Munson (1846-1910).


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Collection contains correspondence, including some Civil War letters, and a few photographs.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Winter Family Papers
2018 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)