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Bissell family collection


Identifier: 1949-24-0

Scope and Contents

The papers of the Bissell and Bissell-Baldwin families, including family members, friends, and business associates. The collection consists of correspondence, business records, account books, and other records. Isaac Bissell (1682-1744) moved to Litchfield in 1723, where he owned a 60th share, approximately 700 acres. He was the father of ten children, including Benjamin (1717-1747) and Zebulon (1724-1777). The Bissells were farmers, although there is little material in the Society's manuscript collections that records their agricultural activities. Assorted Bissell family members are parties to documents found in various collections. As a family of property, most of the available documents describe land transactions. The Bissell Family Collection, received from several sources, brings together documents of many Bissell family members. In bulk, the business papers of William Bissell (1810-1902) and his son Warren (1836-1913) comprise the greater portion. They resided in Milton. William owned the David Welch house from 1860 to 1902. This significant house of 18th century construction is listed in "Historic American Building Survey" (1941) and is the subject of Edward A. Raymond's pamphlet, "History of the David Welch House, 1756-1956." The activities of William Bissell as a captain in the Civil War, as an industrious house painter, and as a farmer are documented. He served in Company A, 19th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers from Sep. 11, 1861 to July 21, 1863. Subsequent to active duty he recruited in the Litchfield area. The papers include recruitment records with names and bounty accounts and supply and inventory documents for his term of active duty. His activities as a house and furniture painter are detailed in 33 small account books (1825-1890) in which his labor and supply costs for each specific job site are recorded. Another account book provides additional information. A facet of Warren Bissell's economic interests are revealed in a collection of business letters and documents (1906-1926) pertaining to speculative investments in western mines and land companies. Other business documents include bills and receipts for paint supplies, wall paper, and transportation. Other papers include property deeds. A small collection of deeds and letters relate to the members of the family of Zebulon Bissell (1724-1771). One subject is a family misunderstanding concerning the lease of a farm in Chanango County, N.Y. to a nephew Harry Smith. The Bissell-Baldwin Collection of 11 items relates to the family of Julia Bissell Smith who was a great great grandmother of donor George Baldwin. A letter by Julia Smith from Tuscumbria, Ala., June 6, 1836, describes to her mother the thoroughly unfamiliar southern way of life. The Baldwin descendants Margaret, Dorothy, and George, all donors to the Society, are related to the Bissell and Joseph Adams families. Ella Kezia Adams, who married Charles Baldwin, was the daughter of Charles Adams and the granddaughter of Joseph Adams. See also the Adams Family Collection.


  • created: 1760-1926
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1949


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 of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


4.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Henry Swanson

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

Henry Swanson gave a trunk containing papers of William Bissell in 1949 (1949-36-0) which comprises the bulk of the collection. Additional smaller gifts came from Mrs. Jerome Bissell in 1942 (1942-03-0), Mrs. Chudleigh Hicks in 1954 (1954-04-0) and 1966 (1966-06-0), Mrs. Philip Plumb in 1955 (1955-34-0), Mrs. Stanley Coe in 1959 (1959-01-0), Mr. and Mrs. James Doyle (1965-24-0), and found in collection (2010-109-0). An accrual to the collection, 2006-19-0 from Bob Fischer.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Adams family collection, Litchfield Historical Society

Separated Materials

Series 1: Items 1,2,3 - John Bissell Military Commissions - are currently stored in aisle 18B Box 2. (Oversize)

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).

Bissell family collection
Stephen Powell and Leith Johnson and Benjamin Bradley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

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