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Sheldon family papers


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Sheldon family papers, 1768-1897 | Litchfield Historical Society

By Leith Johnson

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Collection Overview

Title: Sheldon family papers, 1768-1897Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Sheldon family

Other Creators: Beach, Lucy Sheldon (1788-1889), Sheldon, Daniel (1726-1772), Sheldon, Daniel (1780-1828), Sheldon, Daniel (1750-1840), Sheldon, Frederick (1827-1907)

Extent: 0.42 Linear Feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1939. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848, Bard, Samuel, 1742-1821, Litchfield (Conn.), Medicine - Formulae, receipts, prescriptions, Physicians - Connecticut - Litchfield, Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813, Sheldon, Henry, 1790-1868?, Sheldon, Lucretia Gross, 1724-1772, Sheldon, William, 1802-1826, Sheldon family, Silliman, Gold Selleck, 1777-1868, Stone, Joel 1749-1833, United States - Relations - France, Wadsworth, Daniel, 1771-1848, Webster, Noah, 1758-1843

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Notes, Prescriptions

Languages: English, French

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Sheldon family papers primarily relate to Daniel Sheldon (1726-1772) and Lucretia Gross Sheldon (1724-1772), their son Dr. Daniel Sheldon (1750-1840), their grandchildren Daniel Sheldon Jr. (1780-1828), Lucy Sheldon Beach (1788-1889), Henry Sheldon (1790-1868?) and William Sheldon (1802-1826), and their great grandson Frederick Sheldon (1827-1907). The papers consist of correspondence, memoranda, school papers, and other items.

Dr. Daniel Sheldon was a son of Danel and Lucretia Gross (sometimes referred to as LaGross or LaGrosse) Sheldon of Hartford, Conn. He undertook the study of medicine with Dr. Seth Bird of Litchfield and eventually established a practice there in 1781. The papers include letters sent to him by his parents while he was studying. Before coming to Litchfield, Dr. Sheldon lived in Washington, Conn., where he married Charlotte Judson, who died in 1784. They had two children: Charlotte (1780-1840) and Daniel Jr. Dr. Sheldon's second wife was Huldah Stone (1759-1817). They had four children, Frederick (1785-1859), Lucy, Henry, and William.

Dr. Sheldon was a widely respected physician and his advice was sought within and beyond Connecticut's borders as evidenced by a number of letters seeking counsel sent by prominent doctors and individuals, including Dr. Benjamin Rush, Dr. Nathan Smith, Dr. Samuel Bard, Gold Selleck Silliman, and Daniel Wadsworth. Most of these letters have vivid descriptions of the infirmities of concern to the writer. Not all of Dr. Sheldon's correspondence dealt with medical matters; his brother-in-law Joel Stone, who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution, wrote him about a financial matter just before he set out for Canada in 1791. When Noah Webster was planning a trip to Europe to finish and publish his dictionary, he wrote to Dr. Sheldon in 1824 asking for a letter of introduction to his son, which Dr. Sheldon was happy to provide.

Daniel Sheldon Jr. attended the Litchfield Law School in 1796, and upon completion, was a clerk in the United States Dept. of the Treasury. In 1815, he went to Paris with Albert Gallatin, where Sheldon Jr. served as Secretary of Legation until his death in 1828. He was also appointed Chargé d'Affaires twice during this period. The papers contain several documents relating to his service, including detailed financial analyses of foreign currencies, and lists detailing living expenses. The highlight of Sheldon Jr.'s papers is an 1823 letter from Secretary of State John Qunicy Adams outlining the government's position on the rights of neutrals and belligerents during wartime and other matters.

Sheldon Jr. was not the only son of Dr. Sheldon's to go to France. Henry Sheldon was there at least until 1830. There is a letter to him perhaps written by an aide to the Marquis de Lafayette indicating the Frenchman will meet with him and a letter Henry wrote in 1830 that provides an eye-witness account of the 1830 July Revolution. William Sheldon, also in France, wrote his sister Lucy a letter written in French. Lucy Sheldon Beach traveled, too, but in Connecticut and New York. The papers contain two detailed letters written in the 1820s in which she describes her journeys by stage coach and canal boat to such places as Niagara Falls.

The papers also contain letters written by Frederick Sheldon, who lived in New York City and Newport, R.I. Several of the letters are to his aunt Lucy Sheldon Beach written in 1868 and relate to the death of her brother (his uncle Henry) and also discuss his wish that she amend her will so that he will receive the Sheldon house and its contents in Litchfield. There are also letters written in the 1890s to Elizabeth Prince Child, who had lived in the Sheldon house with Lucy Sheldon Beach. Elizabeth was Lucy's first cousin once removed and Frederick's second cousin. The letters relate to Elizabeth's finances and the Litchfield house and family papers.

Finally, the papers contain items related to the Sheldon family and their various activities: school papers of Daniel and Lucretia Sheldon's sons, documents related to the First Eccleastical Society of Litchfield, a clipping about Dr. Sheldon, and other items. Please see the detailed description for a complete listing.

Subject/Index Terms

Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848
Bard, Samuel, 1742-1821
Litchfield (Conn.)
Medicine - Formulae, receipts, prescriptions
Physicians - Connecticut - Litchfield
Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813
Sheldon, Henry, 1790-1868?
Sheldon, Lucretia Gross, 1724-1772
Sheldon, William, 1802-1826
Sheldon family
Silliman, Gold Selleck, 1777-1868
Stone, Joel 1749-1833
United States - Relations - France
Wadsworth, Daniel, 1771-1848
Webster, Noah, 1758-1843

Administrative Information

Repository: Litchfield Historical Society

Accruals: Most of the papers were collected by Frederick Sheldon (1827-1907) and Elizabeth Prince Child, who was a long-time resident of the Sheldon house on North Street. After remaining in the Sheldon family, the house was eventually acquired by Edgar Beach Van Winkle.  William Mitchell Van Winkle and Edgar Beach Van Winkle Jr. made several gifts starting in the late 1930s. Gift of Daniel Shelton estate in Feb. 1988 by Mrs. Mariam Greenberg (acc. # 1988-89). Sheldon family papers found in the collection have also been included.

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 box

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Acquisition Source: William Mitchell Van Winkle, Edgar Beach Van Winkle, unknown donors

Acquisition Method: Gift, found in collection.

Related Materials:

The Litchfield Law School collection has Daniel Sheldon Jr.'s law notebook.

The Litchfield Female Academy collection has papers relating to Lucy Sheldon Beach.

Preferred Citation: Sheldon family papers (1955-34-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759

Other Note: This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Papers, 1768-1897],
[Series 2: Accruals],

Series 1: Papers, 1768-1897Add to your cart.
Arranged alphabetically, then chronologically.
Folder 1: Adams, John Quincy to Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., 1823 Aug 10Add to your cart.
Secretary of State Adams writes from Washington, D.C., to Sheldon he Paris that he received Sheldon's two dispatches; encloses copies of correspondence from Count de Menon; the president received with great satisfaction the testimonial of Viscount de Chateaubriand to the ability with which Mr. Gallatin has performed the duties of his office in France; discusses claims of U.S. citizens against France and France's claim to special privileges in the ports of Louisiana; a proposal to Great Britain of a convention for regulating neutral and belligerent rights in time war, but not for the consideration of Great Britain alone, but to other nations, including Russia and France, the proposal being that in the event of war, no privateering should be allowed , nor any hostilities against private persons or property upon the ocean; such an agreement has been concluded with Prussia, but other nations were not then prepred for its adoption, and the present is believed to be a more favorable moment for its success.
Folder 2: Adams, John Quincy to Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., 1823 Aug 10Add to your cart.
Photostat copies.
Folder 3: Bard, Dr. Samuel to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1807 Oct 7Add to your cart.
Dr. Bard writes from Hyde Park for information regarding Dr. Sheldon's treatment of a woman with an inverted uterus for a work in which he is engaged. Dr. Bard relates his understanding of what Dr. Sheldon's treatment consisted of.
Folder 4: Beach, Lucy Sheldon to Beach, Huldah Stone, 1810 Nov 2Add to your cart.
Lucy Sheldon in New York writes to her mother Huldah Stone Sheldon (Mrs. Daniel) in Litchfield about her trip by coach to New Haven and then by packet boat to New York. She gives her impressions of life in the city.
Folder 5: Beach, Lucy Sheldon to Sheldon, Henry, 1826 Aug 7Add to your cart.
Very detailed letter written from Litchfield to her brother Henry in which she described a trip to Niagara Falls taken with her father Dr. Daniel Sheldon and Miss Mary Pierce via stage coach and the Erie Canal; fellow passengers and acquaintences they met along the way; towns visited; a carriage ride driven by Dr. Sheldon; the grandeur of the Falls; visits to an old British fort, Queenstown, Tuscararora Indian Village, and Quaker Village; her missing her dear departed brother; and the beauty of Litchfield. The letter is to Henry, but directed to her brother Frederick in New York City, with instructions to forward it to Henry in Paris. Frederick adds a short message to his brother that he is much pleased to learn by this how much pleasure Father and Lucy secured by this journey.
Folder 6: Beach, Lucy Sheldon, lines found in an old pocket book of my father's, undatedAdd to your cart.
Copy of lines written by Henry George Tucker of Virginia on being requested to know why he had ceased to covet the poetic muse.
Folder 7: Brown, James to Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., 1828 Mar 27Add to your cart.
Brown writes from Paris that he received Sheldon's letter and hopes Sheldon will recover in the warm weather; the Henry and Henry 4th have arrived at Havre and he expects his letters and dispatches tomorrow and if they contain any important intelligence, he will communicate it Sheldon; discusses Gen. Jackson and Mr. Adams; Mrs. Brown's health; encourages Sheldon to throw away all his cares and concerns and attend only to the improvement of his health.
Folder 8: Copy book, A New and Elegant Sett of Copies In German Text, 1797-1818Add to your cart.
Inscribed by Daniel Sheldon Jr., William Sheldon, Henry Sheldon, and Frederick Sheldon. Book is undated and printed by R. Sayer at the Golden Buck in Fleet Street.
Folder 9: Clipping, "Remarkable cure of consumption", circa late 1860sAdd to your cart.
A report taken from the Transactions of the Connecticut State Medical Society which describes the Dr. Daniel Sheldon's successful of Rev. Jeremiah Day's pulmonary disease.
Folder 10: First Eccleastical Society in Litchfield, 1860, 1872Add to your cart.
Two resolutions of the Society acknowledging and thanking Lucy Sheldon Beach and others for their finanical contributions.
Folder 11: Gould, James obituary of Daniel Sheldon Jr., undatedAdd to your cart.
Probably copied by Lucy Beach Sheldon.
Folder 12: Hopkins, Dr. Lemuel, family prayer, circa late 1700sAdd to your cart.
Accompanied by an explanatory note written by Elizabeth Prince Child, grandniece of Dr. Hopkins, Sep 19, 1896.
Folder 13: Lafayette, Marquis de, aide to Sheldon, Henry, [?] Feb 4Add to your cart.
Written by an unidentified aide: Col. La Fayette's best compliments to Mr. Sheldon, and will have the honor to wait upon him on the 15th inst.
Folder 14: Monson, Dr. Eneas, Jr. to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1821 Mar 15Add to your cart.
Dr. Eneas Monson Jr. writes from New Haven, Conn., that he is on the edge of the Eternal World; he had been taking Dr. Hopkins's pills, but since Dr. Hopkins's death, he has been unable to obtain the proper formula; he does not wish Dr. Sheldon to do anything dishonorable, but asks if Dr. Sheldon can, without injury to Dr. Sheldon's feelings or any others, gratify him with a formula.
Folder 15: Rush, Dr. Benjamin to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 179[?] Feb 7Add to your cart.
Dr. Rush writes from Philadelphia that the remedies Dr. Sheldon has prescribed are such as he would have recommended under the same circumstances, and he can only add electricity and a change of air by means of a long journey; discusses additional treatment for scrophula.
Folder 16: Sheldon, Daniel to Sheldon, Daniel, 1768 Aug 25Add to your cart.
Sheldon reproaches his son for not writing; news of family and friends; mentions his son's study with Dr. Bird.
Folder 17: Sheldon, Daniel and Sheldon, Lucretia Gross to Sheldon, Daniel, 1769 Sep 11Add to your cart.
Lucretia Gross Sheldon complains about her son not writing; reports on clothing she has sent him; an excellent sermon on Sunday; news of family and friends. Referring to the sermon, Daniel Sheldon writes about how he wished his son to be a preacher, describes the preacher's qualities, and advises his son to make these qualities his business, it is consistent eventually to every profession.
Folder 18: Sheldon, Daniel to Sheldon, Daniel, 1769 Nov 2Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to his son that they entirely approve of his studies and encourage him with great cheerfulness and alacrity; his son's coming home must coincide with Dr. Bird's notion and business; Mrs. Sheldon has some winter clothes for her son.
Folder 19: Sheldon, Daniel and Sheldon, Lucretia Gross to Sheldon, Daniel, 1770 Sep 7Add to your cart.
Lucretia Gross Sheldon has received her son's few lines; she has sent a handkerchief; reports on health of family and friends; some recently deceased. Daniel Sheldon adds a brief note of greeting and writes that the time his son comes to see them this fall must coincide with Dr. Bird's business.
Folder 20: Sheldon, Dr. Daniel to unknown, 1823 Apr 26Add to your cart.
Dr. Sheldon provides a statement of facts in response to a letter sent by an unknown person: description of the mumps, whooping cough, and measles all prevalent in Litchfield in 1807; children of Rev. Dan Huntington had these diseases; Dr. Sheldon's treatment. Emendations indicate that this is a draft version.
Folder 21: Sheldon, Dr. Daniel to Webster, Noah, 1824 May 22Add to your cart.
Dr. Sheldon complies with Webster's request and provides a letter of introduction to his son in Paris, a copy of which is written on the letter, and wishes Webster success on his contemplated undertaking.
Folder 22: Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, prescription, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, recipe for the cure of a cancer, undatedAdd to your cart.
A detailed description of the treatment of an illness. "Recipe for the cure of a cancer by Doct. Sheldon" on reverse.
Folder 24: Sheldon, Lucretia Gross to Sheldon, Daniel, 1770 May 21Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to her son that she hopes that he is well and that she misses him; offers him advice, generally of a religious nature.
Folder 25: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr. notebook, 1789-1792Add to your cart.
Notebook in which the weather is recorded in both symbols and text. Also included is a note, "Manuscript of Hon. Daniel Sheldon, Jr. Charge d'Affaires to France. Presented by Theron Beach."
Folder 26: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr. to Sheldon, Daniel, 1816 Jul 15Add to your cart.
Sheldon Jr. writes from Havre to his father that he has arrived safely after 20 days travel; description of Havre and its environs; the weather; prices of goods.
Folder 27: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., cérémonial pour les audiences publique d'un envoyé extraordinaire et ministre plenipotentiaire, undatedAdd to your cart.
In French.
Folder 28: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., estimate of family expenses, annually, undatedAdd to your cart.
Listing of expenses, in francs, for items such as house, rent; carriage; servants; food costs, entertainments; and others.
Folder 29: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., estimated expenses of a family, at first setting out, undatedAdd to your cart.
Listing of expenses, in dollars, including such items as house, rent; furniture; servants' wages; groceries; fuel; and other items.
Folder 30: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., memorandum, comparative view of English Troy weight and the Paris weight by which gold and silver were weighed before the introduction of the new French weights and measures, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 31: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., memorandum regarding United States commerce, undatedAdd to your cart.
In French.
Folder 32: Sheldon, Daniel, Jr., memorandum respecting the English, French and American coins and their respective value, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 33: Sheldon, Frederick to Beach, Lucy Sheldon, [1868] Aug 15Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to his Aunt Lucy that her brother Henry Sheldon has died.
Folder 34: Sheldon, Frederick to Beach, Lucy Sheldon, [1868] Nov 13Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to his Aunt Lucy about dismantling a house again; asks Aunt Lucy to leave it and its contents to him; discusses a transfer of $9,500 to her.
Folder 35: Sheldon, Frederick to Beach, Lucy Sheldon, [1868] Dec 26Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to his Aunt Lucy about Uncle Henry's contributions to the Colonization Society; discusses his belief that the Society is no longer entitled to one cent of Henry's money; his and Henry's feelings about the aims of the Colonization Society; the Society has no case; he is sorry to differ from his aunt; he agrees with what she says about Brace and his labors and believes his is engaged in a really useful charity; will have to determine what he can contribute; there was no legacy Mr. B. or the Children's Aid in Henry's will.
Folder 36: Sheldon, Frederick to Beach, Lucy Sheldon, [1868] Dec 2Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to his Aunt Lucy that the $9,000 are ready and at her disposal; instructs her on how to add a codicil to her will so that he will take the homestead and its contents.
Folder 37: Sheldon, Frederick to Child, Elizabeth Prince, 1890-1897, undatedAdd to your cart.
Five letters from Sheldon to his second cousin Elizabeth Price Child, then residing in the Sheldon house in Litchfield. Items discussed include disposition of papers and books of the Daniel Sheldon Jr.; her remaining in the Sheldon house; the Van Winkle ladies; and other matters.
Folder 38: Sheldon, Henry to Sheldon, Frederick, 1830 Jul 31Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes from Paris to his brother and provides a first-person account of the three-day July Revolution which led to the July Monarchy in France.
Folder 39: Sheldon, Henry to Beach, Lucy Sheldon, 1865 Jan 27Add to your cart.
Sheldon writes to his sister regarding a financial matter; his feeling that she should contribute less to foreign missions and more for the instruction and improvement of people at home; Miss Child is quite right in taking her daily walk; describes a health regimen of his own that included a long walk.
Folder 40: Sheldon, William to Beach, Lucy Sheldon, circa mid-1820sAdd to your cart.
Mentions M. Tallmadge. In French.
Folder 41: Silliman, Gold S. to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1812 Aug 17Add to your cart.
Silliman, a layer, writes a detailed letter from New York regarding the very satisfactory treatments Dr. Sheldon has provided to some of friends, including Mr. Wadsworth, and his brother, and asks for Dr. Sheldon's attention to his own case; describes in detail his condition and a long succession of maladies. Includes a note written by Silliman's brother Benjamin.
Folder 42: Smith, Dr. Nathan to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1823 Apr 20Add to your cart.
Dr. Smith writes from Brunswick, Me., to ask for the facts of an unusal case Dr. Sheldon treated for a book he is writing.
Folder 43: Stone, Joel to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1791 May 14Add to your cart.
Stone writes from Hartford to his brother-in-law regarding a mistake Stone made respecting the collection of the money involving Bacon and Stone his father supplied him when he was in prison; discusses the details of this matter; he has now obtained a settlement of his father's affairs with Bacon; Stone has spoken to Tracy about all this, but Stone wishes Dr. Seldon would remind Tracy for silence in this business; Tracy will take steps to recover all costs from Bacon without multiplying words or agravating Bacon; Stone sets out tomorrow morning for Canada.
Folder 44: Temperance Association, Litchfield, Conn., undatedAdd to your cart.
Copy of a 1789 document describing a temperance association; signed by Litchfield citizens, including Daniel Sheldon.
Folder 45: Unknown, documentAdd to your cart.
Found among the papers of Daniel Sheldon Jr. In French.
Folder 46: Unknown, note regarding the gravestone of Daniel Sheldon Jr., 1828Add to your cart.
Found among the papers of Daniel Sheldon Jr. In French.
Folder 47: Wadsworth, Daniel to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1811 Apr 24Add to your cart.
Wadsworth writes from Philadelphia that because Dr. Sheldon has rendered him real services and showed a kind interest in his health, he is convinced Dr. Sheldon will be pleased to hear of his present situation; describes his pains, health condition, and treatments during his trip to and stay in Philadelphia; he has no interest in hearing the advice of the medical men of this place, but would be extremely obliged to Dr. Sheldon if he would give his.
Folder 48: Webster, Noah to Sheldon, Dr. Daniel, 1824 May 19Add to your cart.
Webster writes from New Haven that he is expecting to embark for Europe shortly for the purpose of completing and publishing his dictionary and would appreciate a letter of introduction to Dr. Sheldon's son in Paris.
Series 2: AccrualsAdd to your cart.
Documents added to the collection after it had been processed.
Folder 1: Shelton, Daniel estate distribution, 1746/47Add to your cart.
Distribution of the estate of Daniel Shelton [Sheldon] by the probate court Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut. His widow Elizabeth was also deceased by the date of the distribution. Their sons -Thadeus, Joseph, Daniel, Samuel, James, and Josiah - inherited the personal and real estate including two "Negro" men and a woman. Daniel Shelton died in 1728.

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