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Ephraim Sleeper Family Papers

Identifier: mss-878

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, financial papers, and legal papers documenting the lives and activities of the Sleeper and Burnham families. Of special interest for the Sleeper family are the deed to a pew in the Vershire Methodist Church; an indenture record, binding a John Spear to the service of Ephraim Sleeper; and a paper documenting the lease of land and livestock to a Charles Spaulding.

The sisters' correspondence includes Emmeline Wood, Sophia Sleeper, Caroline Sleeper Burnham, and members of the next generation Ella Burnham and Julia Wood, as well as a few friends and other relations. Emmeline and Julia write from Massachusetts. Caroline, in her later years, lived with her daughter Ella in Windsor, Vermont. The letters detail wishes to hear from and see the others, as well as stories about children and grandchildren, reports of ill health or improving health, and some musings about age and death. Two locks of hair are included in the letters.

The Burnham material consists of receipts of Mr. and Mrs. John Burnham, poems by an unknown author, correspondence, and several paper embroidery patterns. Of special interest is a letter from Alfred Burnham to his sister-in-law Caroline Burnham. The letter was written from Finley Hospital in Washington, D.C. and was signed "Seargt. A. W. Burnham Co. K, 9th Regt., 2ncred Batt."


  • 1800-1894



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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

Biographical / Historical

Ephraim Sleeper (1776-1853) was married to Rachel (about 1774-1846) and had several children. Ephraim's family lived mainly in Hartland, Vermont as well as other sites in Orange County and Windsor County. Records point to the following children, though there may be others: Ezra (1800-1832, married to Deborah with sons Austin Dana (about 1826-1831) and Jacob), Loisa (b. 1802), Emmeline (about 1829-1885, later Wood, and had a daughter named Julia), Sophia (about 1810-1871), Caroline A. (1814-1891, see below), and Ephraim (d. 1819).

Jacob Sleeper, who appears to be Ephraim Sr.'s father, and Ezra Sleeper, possibly Jacob's brother, are both cited as early settlers of Corinth, Vermont. A relative (probably the brother of Ephraim Sr.) named Ezekiel (about 1770-1817) married Grace (about 1772-1854) and records are traceable for this family line. A politician from the Corinth area named George Sleeper (1794-1872) may also be an extended relative.

Caroline A. Sleeper (1814-1891) married John Burnham (1810-1858). His parents were John Burnham "Sr." (1785-1851), a Justice of the Peace and a farmer, and Betsy Hale (1788-1850). There were 10 children in the family and more information is available (see Bibliography). John (Jr.)'s brother Alfred (b. 1828) served in the Civil War as a Sergeant in Company K of the Ninth Regiment (according to a letter in the collection, and the Second Regiment of New Hampshire, according to the genealogy; see Bibliography). Another brother, Silas (1815-1867), also appears in the collection. John and Caroline appear to have had at least two children: Ella/Ellah (1842-1935, later Driver) and Rachel (b. about 1847).


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Collection contains correspondence, financial papers, and legal papers documenting the lives and activities of the Sleeper and Burnham families.


Library Research Annex; contact for access.


  • Burnham, Roderick H. Genealogical Records of Deacon John Burnham and His Descendants. Hartford, Connecticut. 1884.
Guide to the Ephraim Sleeper Family Papers
2018 August
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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)