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Sheldon family papers


Identifier: 1955-34-0

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Created: 1768-1897
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1938


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.


0.42 Linear Feet

1 box other_unmapped

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

William Mitchell Van Winkle, Edgar Beach Van Winkle, unknown donors

Method of Acquisition

Gift, found in collection.

Accruals and Additions

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.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

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.

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).

Sheldon family 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)