Beckwith family papers, 1767-1972
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Brief Description:

The Beckwith family papers (1988-01-0) consist of correspondence, financial records, legal documents, military records, diaries, photographs, and other records. A small group of papers predates those of the Beckwith family. At present, only materials created prior to 1840, a limited selection of post-1840 materials, and those that relate to Josiah Beckwith (1803-1871) have been processed. They are arranged in three series.

Series 1, Papers (1767-1892), contains a collection of primarily legal and financial records which appear to have no direct connection to the Beckwith family.

Series 2, Beckwith family papers (1825-1871), primarily contains papers relating to Dr. Beckwith. Of note is his correspondence with his brother George in which he discusses business dealings and events of the day, his account books documenting the certificates of exemption he granted during the Civil War in 1862, records relating to business affairs, and his medical and drugstore ledgers. Also included in Series 2 are early records related to the Alsop (Allsopp) family.

Series 3, Seymour family papers (1814-1886), contains a small group of materials that relate to Jane Seymour Beckwith, her mother, Mabel Strong Seymour; her father, Moses Seymour Jr.; and her sister Delia Seymour.

A collection of bills, circa 1870-1920, directed to the Beckwith family arranged alphabetically by sender documents the types of goods and services offered by Litchfield county businesses and institutions and the consumption habits of the Beckwiths.

The unprocessed portion of the collection consists of about 15 linear feet. Generally, it includes correspondence, account and ledger books, diaries and notebooks, photographs, architectural drawings and records related to the Beckwith Block, and other materials. The papers primarily document the second Dr. Beckwith, including his ledgers and account books, Ann Alsop Beckwith, Charlotte Coopernail Beckwith, Sutherland Beckwith, J. Gale Beckwith, and Margaret Beckwith (1885-1972, born in Litchfield, and who enjoyed a long career as a teacher). Other papers, to a lesser extent, relate to other Beckwith family members. There is also material that relates to members of the Seymour family, including George Seymour and Henry Seymour.

The collection also contains extensive genealogical information and family papers compiled by Dr. George Coopernail. A prominent physician in Bedford, N.Y., Coopernail was Sutherland Beckwith's father-in-law. After retiring, he moved to Litchfield and died there in 1964. He took an active interest in both his and the Beckwith lines. Among his papers are a series of albums containing family photographs.

Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Created by: Beckwith, Sutherland (1892-1986), Beckwith, Josiah (1803-1871), Beckwith, Josiah (II) (1838-1911), Coopernail, George (1876-1964)
Volume: 17.6 Linear Feet
Acquired: 01/01/1988.

Materials created prior to 1840, a limited selection of post-1840 materials, and those that relate to Josiah Beckwith (1803-1871) have been processed and are arranged in 3 series:


1. Papers (1767-1892)

2. Beckwith family papers (1825-1871)

3. Seymour family papers (1814-1886)


The remainder of the collection, about 15 cubic feet, has not been processed.

Biographical Note for Beckwith, Sutherland (1892-1986) : Sutherland Alsop Beckwith was born in Litchfield on Dec. 16, 1890, the son of Josiah Beckwith (1838-1911) and Ann Alsop. He graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University in 1915. A veteran of WWI and WWII, he fought in the 1916 Mexican border conflict. His military career spanned 35 years and he retired as a colonel. During the 1920s, he was involved in a lumber business operating under the name of Hubbard & Beckwith. Beckwith was a state adjutant general, a sheriff of Litchfield County, and a local director of the Works Progress Administration. For 10 years he served as Litchfield postmaster. He married first Helen Cahill on July 23, 1925. She died Feb. 2, 1929. He married second Charlotte Louise Coopernail, daughter of George Coopernail, on July 30, 1932. They had three children. Beckwith died on Nov. 19, 1986.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.  One folder of materials pertaining to Margaret Elizabeth Beckwith Parsons (1936- ) is restricted.
Subject Index
Alsop family
Beckwith family
Drugstores - Connecticut - Litchfield
Granniss family
Litchfield (Conn.)
Merchants - Connecticut - Litchfield
Physicians - Connecticut - Litchfield
Reeve, Tapping, 1744-1823
Seymour family
Genres/Forms of Material
Account books
Business records
Estate inventories
Financial records
Legal documents
Military records
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of copyright holders. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright holders. Responsibility for any use rests with the user.
Acquisition Notes: George Beckwith, Michael Rybach, Arthur Shaw  Gift
Related Materials:

Seymour family papers, 1777-1923

Litchfield Historical Society photograph collection

PreferredCitation: Beckwith family papers (1988-01-1), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759.
Finding Aid Revisions: Initial finding aid completed 12/21/2009. Folder listings revised 8/24/2010.