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Huntington Family Papers

Identifier: mss-146

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence. Most letters were written to James while he was attending Harvard, and later, to he and his wife Hannah, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The letters from his mother, Sarah (Sally), recount happenings in St. Albans, Vermont, between the years of 1840 and 1871, where she and her husband, Jonathan, lived once most of their children moved away. Several of the children remained in Vermont. Alfred Henry, Collins Hickox, Charlotte Bennett, and Simon lived in the St. Albans area. There are several letters from James's brothers and sisters who moved throughout the country. Charles Andrew married and moved to Illinois, where he and his wife raised a family while operating a nursery and store. Lucy also married and moved to Ohio, where she and her husband owned a farm and a boarding house. Following the depression and stock market crash of 1859, several members of the Huntington family faced hard times. Charles Andrew, after borrowing money from friends and family, was still not able to support himself and his family. He declared bankruptcy, left his family and moved to Olympia, Washington to become the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Lucy was also hit by the depression of 1859. She asked to be, and possibly was, taken in by James and Hannah in Cambridge, MA. The later correspondence overlaps the Civil War, but it does not seem to factor into the minds or hearts of the authors. There are a few references to the Civil War, but no real mention of it. The correspondence from the mother, Sally, to James talks of church and community happenings and family matters. Sally was more religious than the rest of her family, and it is evident in her writing. Many children born to the members of the Huntington family died young, and Sally proclaimed that this was due to Divine Providence. She felt that humans have no business trying to understand the ways of God.

James's brother Samuel was the owner of a stationery store in Burlington. In letters to his brother in Cambridge, Samuel inquired about interesting papers and prints that could be purchased in Boston, and sent to Burlington to be sold in Samuel's store. Samuel requested that an engraver in Boston create a plate based on a letterhead that Samuel had received. James complied and eventually, paper was produced with the view of Burlington's waterfront as the letterhead. The paper was sent to Samuel in Burlington, where it was selling well.

The correspondence is arranged by date. There are four folders at the end of the collection of correspondence with no definite date. Three of these folders have been grouped into time periods that seem plausible. One is labeled "Between 1853 and 1857 or 1858", determined by the references in the correspondence made to James's wife, to whom he was married in 1853, and first son, who was born in January of 1854, and died in October of 1856. The second is labeled "Pre-1856", designated as such by the references in the correspondence to Jonathan, the father, who died in February of 1856. This correspondence, on occasion, includes reference to Hannah, but no pattern has developed. Aside from the designation made by the presence of reference made to the father, no other definite designation can be made. The third is labeled "Post-1856", due to the lack of references in the correspondence made by the author, usually Sally, the matriarch of the family, to her husband, Jonathan, who had died recently. The individual letters in these folders have been placed in order according to the month. It should not be assumed that this is the correct chronological order for this correspondence.

The collection may be useful to researchers looking for evidence of Vermonters who moved out West. Correspondence from Charles Andrew, signed C.A. Huntington, or C.A.H., to his brother James, with the town of Rockford in the place/date line, would be useful in this type of research. It may also be useful to those in search of information on business activity in Burlington and activities in St. Albans.


  • 1840-1901



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 Note

The Huntington Family came to America from England, and one branch of the family settled in Vermont. Jonathan Huntington and Sarah Hickox were married in 1804, and lived in Vermont, where they raised their ten children: Joseph Lyman, Alfred Henry, Collins Hickox, Charlotte Bennett, Charles Andrew, Samuel, Sarah, Lucy, James, and Simon. The bulk of the correspondence is from Sally Huntington to her son (For all the particulars on the birth, marriage, and death dates for the various individuals of the family, see Huntington, Rev. E.B., "A Genealogical Memoir of the Huntington Family in this Country: Embracing all the Known Descendants of Simon and Margaret Huntington who have Retained the Family Name, and the First Generation of the Descendants of Other Names." Stanford: Stedman, 1863).


0.2 Linear Feet (One box)

Language of Materials



The Huntington Family Papers document the lives of its geographically scattered members in the form of correspondence, mostly with their mother Sarah (Sally) in Saint Albans, Vermont.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Huntington Family Papers
2018 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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)