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Wheeler - Smith Family papers


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Samuel Smith was a city clerk in Worcester, Massachusetts. His son, Woodbury C. Smith, was Quartermaster in the Union Army, also Lieutenant, Captain and Judge. Helen Wheeler Smith was a war nurse and, according to the donor, came from a Quaker family in Potsdam or Canton, New York (though there is no evidence of Quaker connections in the papers). Also according to the donor, Helen Wheeler Smith and her daughter Harriet left $100 to the Spiritualist Society of Boston. The family lived in Worcester, Massachusetts until the mother and daughter moved to Brighton, Mass. Ward Raymond, the donor's father, was executor of Harriet's estate.

The collection consists primarily of letters to and from Woodbury C. Smith, his father, Samuel Smith, and his wife, Helen Wheeler Smith and principally relates to the Civil War, discussing issues such as war news, individuals who escaped slavery to Union territory during the war (who were referred to historically and in this collection as "contraband"), politics, both local to Massachusetts and national. There is a letter from Dorothea Dix as Superintendent of Women Nurses. There are slavery documents, field inspection and narrative reports from battle fronts in South Carolina and Florida, a map of Charleston Harbor, a photograph of the Raymonds and Helen Wheeler Smith, and a gold $1 coin from 1874.

Box I: Letters to Helen Wheeler Smith (1. A-R; 2. S-W) Letters from Samuel Smith (1. 1864; 2. 1865-66), Letters to Samuel Smith Box II: Letters from Woodbury C. Smith Letters to Woodbury and Woodbury and Helen Documents and Miscellaneous Envelopes (for titles and variant addresses of four Smith family members)

Though not all letters are listed individually, those that are highlighted are done so on the basis of content of the letter or historical importance of the letter writer.

Gift of Thoreau Raymond, February and December, 1992

The Wheeler-Smith Family papers were donated to Special Collections, Haverford College by Raymond Thoreau in 1992.

Original processing unknown. Revised by Allison Hall, May 2020.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17). Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the material.

Collection Inventory

Letters to Helen Wheeler Smith and Correspondence of Samuel Smith. 1 boxes.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

Letters to Helen Wheeler Smith

Baler, William. Washington, D.C., 1865. 1 item

Balser, Louise. June 29, 1865. 1 item

Barnes, Lucie. May 2, 1878-? 3 items

Dix, D[orothea] L... June 19. [n.d.] [allows her to go on the packet(ship) to Hilton Head as seamstress, but not to try to see her husband serving in Fla.]. 1 item

[Girds?], E[lizabeth], Del. Co. PA, Nov. 29 [186-]. [re Lieut. Gen. Dorothea Dix; women's hospital work]

Graham, Nathaniel. Coohaw...? Bridge, Dec. 18, 1864? [soldier's view of fighting in Savannah]

Grannis?, James H. Cosawhachy, Jan. 25, 1865. 1 item

Hardy, Edward G. Fort Schuyler, n.d. 1 item

Hine, P.E. Vienna, VA, June 2, 1866-Aug. 25, 1867. 2 items

Leggett, Frank. Rochester, Nov. 27 1864-July 7, 186-? 2 items

Northness?, Mary P. Canton, N.Y., Nov. 22, 1863. 1 item

Nye, Abbie. May 22, 1865. 1 item

Russell, Ruth. New Bedford Sept. 15, 1864. 1 item

Sanders, Charles, Worcester, Dec. 25, 1864-Jan. 15, 1866. 3 items

[Sanders], Lucy. Worcester, Aug. 26, 1855-Sept. 21, 1865.

Smith, Ada. Brooklyn, Oct. 23, 1863. 1 item.

Smith, Hattie. Buffalo, N.Y., Sept. 7, 1885. 1 item

Wales, Chester. Syracuse, Aug. 30, 1860. 1 item.

Wheeler, Carrie or Call. Potsdam, Mar. 8, 1862-Sept. 8, 1862. 2 items

Wheeler family, including parents & siblings. Oct. 6, 1856-Dec. 15, 1857. 4 items

Wheeler, T.J. (father) Exeter, Nebraska, Jan. 18, 1873. [re corn and wheat harvest] 1 item

Wheeler, Helen E. (aunt of Helen Smith) Feb. 8, 1857. 1 item

Letters from Samuel Smith (father of Woodbury) to Woodbury, unless otherwise noted.

Worcester, MA, April 7, 1863 - March 12, 1866. 42 items. Responses to war news; family news Apr. 18, 1864 [re Freedmen's Society, slavery issue, US Colored Troops, Civil War notables];

Nov. 11, 1864 [paid poll tax for Eben Hemenway to allow his son Woodbury, to vote "by proxy" for Lincoln. Hemenway a 2nd generation Black man from Worcester & delegate to 1864 Syracuse convention]; some political news;

July 13, 1865 [the no. of whites truly loyal through the war is small; Blacks do & should vote and should be educated to do so]; General Grant in Savannah & Charleston; Woodbury's regiment returns home;

Nov. 23, 1865 [advises Woodbury as judge to give the rebels justice", for although some of them may be truly loyal, others may only be pretending, and would again opt for secession]

Letters to Samuel Smith

Blackman, J.S. Leyden?, Nov. 21, 1842. 1 item

Filley, M.L. Lansingburgh, May 22, 1845. 1 item

Porter, Wm. E. Hartford, Feb-Apr, 1846. 1 item

Thayer, Samuel and Amelia. n.p., Apr. 4, 1848. 1 item

Williams, W. Andover. Mar. - May, 1846. 2 items

Physical Description

1 boxes

Correspondence of Woodbury and Helen Wheeler Smith, Documents and Miscellaneous. 1 boxes.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

Letters from Woodbury Smith

Letters to parents and wife while serving in the 35th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers near Alexandria, VA; Jacksonville, Fla & Georgetown, S.C. Sees many "contrabands"; sees Helen's brother from the 6th NY Regiment; notes visit of Lincoln (Oct. 24, 1862);

Description of the ravages of war; compares John C. Grement's fall from favor to that of Benedict Arnold's' reports that he will take the place of -- and become an A.A.A. General, thus losing his judgeship (Mar. 18, 1866);

seizure of liquor.

Letters to Woodbury Smith and to Woodbury & Helen Wheeler Smith and others

Conant?, S. (Capt. 3 US Colored Troops & Provost Marshal Genl's) Tallahassee, Fla., Aug. 21, 1865 to Woodbury. [re battle & personal]

Hine, P.E. Vienna, VA, Aug. 39, 1868 [Grant's election, constitutional convention]

Krebs, Harry. Apr. 1, 1866-July 14, 1879. 5 items. Charleston, S.C. [re getting army personnel paid; Company F; rations]; Arrival home to Schuylkill Co, PA, difficulty of resuming civilian life; theme of difficulty in "fitting in" recurs]

Sanders, C.W. Camp Cherry Creek, CO, Oct. 26, 1879. 1 item. Life as surveyor and engineer, with comment about "bad Indians"

Smith, Hattie. Worcester, MA, Nov. 15, 1865-Aug. 22 [n.y.] [ re local politics, etc.] 4 items

[Smith?], Sarah. (sister of Woodbury) New Haven, Apr. 19, 1865-? 2 items. [shock of Lincoln's assassination and many details]; [n.d.] city in which Woodbury is Prov. Marshal (Charleston) is under martial law


Photographs: The Raymonds and Helen W. Smith (cyanotype); 3 photos of Harriet F. Smith (daughter of Woodbury & Helen Smith) & her living room

Poems on the deaths of Woodbury Smith and Elisha Smith and Mrs. Capron


1814, 1847. Revenue collection (very fragile)

1826. Enslaved passengers on a ship from Georgetown to Charleston, S.C. (fragile)

1871. Woodbury Smith as executor of a will.

1852. Sale of an enslaved girl in Florida

[n.d.] Map, hand-colored, printed of Charleston Harbor during Civil War indicating gun emplacements S.C. and Fla., July 7 - May 1, 1866. Field reports and inspection reports (some of which included 35th US Colored Troops). 30 items

supplies, events, such as condition of troops and copies of reports of Maj. Anderson on "abandoning" Fort Moultrie and going to Fort Sumter on the charge for an explanation by J.B. Floyd, Sec'y of War (Dec. 27, 1860);

taking ship with prisoners; payments for various army needs, such as servants (Aug. 3, 1865);

four small documents, including a chit (printed) for 3 cents "Isaac T. Campbell" redeemable at bank and naming of enslaved Black people for "labor on the Coast" (July 20, 1863)

1936. Harriet Smith's estate schedule

Miscellaneous envelopes

Unattached envelopes giving variant titles and addresses of 4 Smith family members

Physical Description

1 boxes

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