The Silas Cheney family papers consist of documents primarily related to Silas Cheney (1821-1874), a Litchfield, Conn., broker and also several members of his immediate family, including his brother Edward Porter Cheney (1815-1904); his sisters Mary Young Cheney Greeley (1811-1872), wife of Horace Greeley, and Charlotte M. Cheney (1812-1886); and his mother Mary Young Cheney ( -1874). The collection consists of correspondence, business and legal papers, leases, and deeds.
Litchfield furniture maker Silas Ely Cheney (1778-1821) and Mary Young Cheney ( -1874) of Waterbury, Conn., had four children, all born in Litchfield: Charlotte M. Cheney, Mary Young Cheney Greeley, Edward Porter Cheney, and Silas E. Cheney. In 1834, Mary married Horace Greeley, founder and editor of The New York Tribune and an 1872 presidential candidate, and there are three letters written by her, one before her marriage, one from 1837, and one from 1841. They offer a glimpse into the early years of her life with Greeley. In the 1840s, Silas operated a store and the collection includes his account book. In the 1850s, both Edward and Silas went west as young men and became associated with Greeley’s brother Nathan Barnes Greeley in Clymer, N.Y., where the Greeley family had a farm. Letters written by Edward and Silas describe their activities there. Later that decade, both Edward and Silas worked for Horace Greeley. There are two Greeley letters: one from Barnes Greeley detailing a farm for sale and a note from Horace Greeley about a transaction involving some papers.
The relationship of Edward and Silas with the Greeleys did not last. In the 1860s, they both returned to Litchfield and the family homestead, where their mother lived. Charlotte, who had gone to Owego, N.Y., also returned to Litchfield. Mary Young Cheney Greeley remained in New York with her husband. Silas worked as a farmer and a broker. Correspondence from the 1860s through 1880s relates to his real estate and financial dealings, some involving stock of The New York Tribune. Edward was a marshal and farmer. Their papers include correspondence, receipts, promissory notes, orders, tax collector documents, banking papers, and lists.
Also of note are several letters written by Charlotte Cheney, Mary Young Cheney, and Silas E. Cheney’s (1776-1821) sister, Hannah Cheney Gregory Sherwood (1772- ).