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Judson Canfield papers


Identifier: 1985-24-0

Scope and Contents

The papers of Judson Canfield (1759-1840), consisting primarily of legal documents, including agreements, deeds, executions, receipts, statements, and correspondence and include a small collection of correspondence and writings relating to Walter Ferriss, whose daughter married Canfield's son. The papers are arranged in two series. Series 1, Judson Canfield papers, primarily consists of documents related to Canfield's law practice. Most involve matters in and around Sharon, Conn., but there are several documents pertaining to land sales in Ohio. There is an interesting letter from Canfield's niece to her mother in which she describes a party she attended, what she and others wore; and news of her relatives in New York and Nyack, including the Bostwick, Flewwelling, Mackay, Ruggles, and Tallmadge families. Series 2, Walter Ferriss papers, includes two documents relating to his affections for his future wife and letters concerning his religious activities, including a letter he wrote to Universalist minister James Babbitt to explain why Ferriss is unable to comply with Babbitt's pressing invitation to him to go to Essex, Vt.


  • created: 1760-1856
  • Other: Date acquired: 05/10/1987


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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.

Biographical or Historical Information

Judson Canfield was born in New Milford, Connecticut, January 23, 1759. He was a son of Col. Samuel Canfield (1725-1799), an officer in the Revolutionary army and a member of the Connecticut state legislature, and Elizabeth Judson. Judson Canfield was educated at Yale College, graduating in 1782. His uncle, John Canfield, the first lawyer in Sharon, Conn., died in 1786, and Judson then moved to Sharon and established a successful law practice. Many of his clients conducted business or resided in Dutchess County, New York. In 1796, Canfield purchased land in the Western Reserve (later Ohio) from the Connecticut Land Co. His holdings would eventually total thousands of acres, including property in present-day Bainbridge, Canfield (which was named for him in 1800), Cleveland, Medina, Newton, and Newton Falls. Canfield was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly from 1802 to 1809 and elected a State Senator from 1810 to 1815. From 1808 to 1815, he was also an associate judge of the county court for the county of Litchfield. In 1815, he moved to Ohio, devoting himself mainly to farming and disposing of his properties. He died February 5, 1840 in New York City. In 1786, he married Mabel Ruggles (1761-1844). Their children were Henry Judson, Julia Elvira, Elizabeth Hannah, and Caroline Emma. Henry J. Canfield (1789-1856), graduated from Yale College in 1806, studied at the Litchfield Law School in 1808, and was admitted to the bar in 1810. He moved to Canfield, where he practiced law, farmed, raised sheep, and managed his father's land holdings. In 1825, he married Sally Ruth Ferris ( -1881), the daughter of Walter Ferriss (1768-1806) and Sarah (Sally) Morgan Ferriss (1772-1850). They had two children, Julia Elvira Canfield Ruggles (1826-1857) and Judson Walter Canfield. Walter Ferriss, from Oblong, Dutchess County, N.Y., moved to Charlotte, Vt., in 1792. At first, he concentrated on farming, but in the later 1790s he became a Universalist minister and organized several societies in the vicinity. He was appointed to the Committee of the General Convention in Strafford, Vermont, in 1802. In 1803, Ferris attended the Winchester Convention in New Hampshire as a representative from Hinesburg, Vermont. All three of Judson and Mabel Ruggles Canfield's daughters attended the Litchfield Female Academy. Julia Elvira (1791-1868) married Samuel Flewwelling of New York City, a prominent banker who purchased land in Ohio from Judson Canfield, members of his family, and others. Elizabeth Hannah (1793-1878) married Frederick Augustus Tallmadge (1784-1869) of Litchfield, son of Col. Benjamin Tallmadge. Frederick was a prominent lawyer in New York City and held elective office. Caroline Emma (1798-1872) married William Mackay of New York City, a New York City commission merchant. William Mackay and Julia Canfield Flewwelling were executors of Judson Canfield's will. Herman Canfield, brother of Judson Canfield, married Fetia Bostwick. In October, 1805, they settled in Canfield, Ohio.

Note written by


0.21 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The papers are arranged in two series: 1. Judson Canfield papers 2. Walter Ferriss papers

Source of Acquisition

Richard J. Hughes

Method of Acquisition


Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Judson Canfield notebook, court docket, 1798-1800, 1846 Samuel Flewwelling Papers (1799-1868) John Wright Collection (1715-1853)

Other Descriptive Information

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

Judson Canfield papers
Leith Johnson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)