Jones and Kilbourn families papers, 1747-1959
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Brief Description:

The Jones and Kilbourn families papers document several generations of two families who lived primarily in Litchfield, Conn., principally Eaton Jones (1729-1791), Eaton Jones (1762-1838), Charles Jones (1797-1891), George Eaton Jones (1849-1927), Mary M. Jones (1851-1930), and Eaton Jones (1897-1971). George Eaton Jones married Mary Braman (1864-1927), a granddaughter of Payne Kenyon Kilbourne (1815-1859). In addition, there are third-party papers that relate to the American Revolutionary War and 19th-century Litchfield in the late 1700s. The papers consist of correspondence, financial papers and deeds, genealogical materials, photographs, manuscripts, lists, and autographs and letters of noted individuals.

Eaton Jones (1729-1791) was the first member of the family to settle in Litchfield. Deeds in the papers document his land transactions. He served in the American Revolutionary War and was promoted to lieutenant. He married Elizabeth Catlin (1733- ). Among their children was Eaton Jones (1762-1838). He, too, served in the Revolution, later serving in the state militia and rising to the rank of captain. The collection contains his estate papers, receipts, and a pledge made with Charles Buell in 1821 regarding Jack Jacklin, an African-American. Jones married Mary McNeil (1770-1841). Among their children was Charles Jones (1797-1891), a farmer. He married Maria Buell (1815-1891). She descended from the Buell family of Litchfield. Her grandfather, Peter Buell (1739-1797) served in the American Revolutionary War and his son Jonathan (1776-1862) served in the militia. The collection contains their commissions, Peter's estate papers, and land deeds.

Charles Jones and Maria Buell Jones had two children, George Eaton Jones (1849-1927) and Maria M. Jones (1851-1930). He was a farmer, banker, and active in local business enterprises. He married Eva Freelon Colvocoresses (1853-1875), the daughter of Capt. George M. Colvocoresses, and they had one daughter, Eva C. Jones. Following the death of Eva Colvocorsses Jones, George Eaton Jones married Mary Braman (1864-1927). They had one son, Eaton Jones (1897-1971) and settled in Newport, N.H. Eva C. Jones moved to Pittsfield, Mass. The collection contains papers related to George, his second wife, and two children, and Mary, including items relating to a lawsuit between George and his daughter involving her guardianship.

The collection also consists of papers regarding the Kilbourn family. Most of the papers are the correspondence of  Payne Kenyon Kilbourne (1815-1859) and Elizabeth Cone Kilbourne (1816-1900); their daughters Lelia Kilbourne (1850-1861) and Julia Kilbourne Braman (1843-1892) and her husband William H. Braman (1831-1912); and Mary Braman Jones (1864-1927), daughter of Julia Kilbourne and William Braman. Payne Kenyon Kilbourne was a poet, newspaper publisher, and author of several books including a Kilbourn genealogy and histories of Litchfield. His papers contain his research into genealogical and Litchfield topics. Also of note are account pages of Payne Kenyon Kilbourn's grandfather Giles Kilborn (1728-1824), a joiner and carpenter who was involved in the construction of several Litchfield houses.

There is a noteworthy collection of papers regarding Aaron Kilborn (1798-1876), a machinist who was born in Killingworth, Conn., and spent most of his life in New Haven. At age 13, Kilborn began his career in the mechanical trades. He worked for a silversmith, clock manufacturer, woolen factory machinery manufacturer, and a pistol manufacturer. He worked for Eli Whitney making firearms, and after Whitney’s death in 1825, accepted a situation in a rifle factory in Middletown. In 1833, he started a business as a machinist in New Haven. He made a variety of engine lathes, boilers, steam-engines, and machines. For several years, he was employed by Yale College to make and maintain scientific apparatus. In 1840, Kilborn contracted to make machinery for the Georgia state penitentiary located in Milledgeville, which resulted in his going there to put it in operation. It consisted of a steam-engine of ten horsepower, with lathes, saws, tenon-machine, mortising-machine and iron-foundery. When he had completed this contract, and was about starting for the north, he was engaged to superintend the labor of the prisoners for a term of years. In 1841, he made his second trip to Georgia, and, with the aid of the prisoners, built and completed several passenger, freight and hand cars for the Western Atlantic Railroad. In 1842, the penitentiary was destroyed by fire. Kilborn was asked to rebuild it. Officials adopted his plan and placed over 100 prisoners under his immediate supervision. Besides completing this building and refitting the machinery, he erected a prison for the females. Kilborn continued to superintend the operations of the prison for five or six years—spending, however, the warm season of each year with his family in New Haven. While in Georgia, he was also engaged in finishing the insane hospital and in repairing or re-modeling the state house (Milledgeville was the capital of Georgia from 1811 to 1868); the arsenal; several churches, hotels and private houses; and building and putting into operation a cotton factory. In 1849, he resumed his former business as a machinist in New Haven, soon entering a partnership with his sons. He was married to Amira Richardson Kilborn (1798-1861) of Orange, Conn., and they had seven children. The collection contains his papers, which primarily includes extensive correspondence from 1840 to 1847 with his wife, his family members, and officials and others in Georgia and elsewhere.

Several items found in the collection relate to the American Revolutionary War and 18th-century Litchfield, such as lists of arms issued to soldiers and a list of real property and its values. Papers related disgraced Litchfield lawyer and judge Jedidiah Strong (1738-1801) illuminate his precarious final years. Also of interest are several items signed by noted individuals, including Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, Washington Irving, and Lydia H. Sigourney. One particularly tantalizing item is a poem fragment attributed to Jane Colman Turell in 1723. If authentic, it could possibly be the only extant example of her writing in her hand.

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] litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org
Created by: Jones family, Kilborn, Aaron, Kilbourn family, Kilbourne, Payne Kenyon (1815-1859), Kilburn family
Volume: 2.5 Linear Feet
Acquired: 08/15/1971.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Braman family
Buell family
Georgia Penitentiary
Jones family
Kilborn, Aaron
Kilbourne, Payne Kenyon, 1815-1859
Kilbourn family
Kilburn family
Litchfield (Conn.)
Litchfield (Conn.) - History
Milledgeville (Ga.)
Prisons - Georgia - Milledgeville
Strong, Jedediah, 1738-1802
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
Genres/Forms of Material
Business records
Correspondence
Deeds
Manuscripts
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Estate of Eaton Jones  Bequest
PreferredCitation: Jones family papers (1971-15-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759