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Josiah S. Studdiford Family Correspondence


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

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Overview and metadata sections

Studdiford, Josiah Simpson, 1837-1862

Josiah Simpson Studdiford (1837-1862) served with the 4th New Jersey Infantry beginning in August 1861 as an adjutant lieutenant to his uncle, Colonel James Hervey Simpson (1813-1883), during the U.S. Civil War. He was captured at the Battle of Gaines' Mill (Va.) in June 1862 and spent six weeks at Libby Prison in Virginia until he was released as part of a prisoner exchange. Studdiford immediately rejoined his regiment and subsequently fought in the Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas (August 28-30, 1862) and the Battle of Chantilly (September 1-3, 1862). Studdiford was killed on September 14, 1862 while leading a charge at Crampton's Pass during the Battle of South Mountain (Md.).

A graduate of Princeton University (1858), Josiah S. Studifford was one of several children born to Peter Ogilvie Studdiford, DD (1779-1866) and Ellen Wilson Simpson. Peter O. Studdiford served as the first pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Lambertville, New Jersey, from its founding in 1821 until his death. Studdiford's son Peter Augustus Studdiford, DD, born in 1828 and also a graduate of Princeton University (1849), took his father's place as pastor until his death in 1886.

Josiah S. Studdiford's maternal grandfather, John Neely Simpson (1770-1832), was the son of William Simpson (1732-1825) and Isabella Wilson Simpson (1749-1848) of Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A Princeton University graduate earning a bachelor's and master's degrees (1794 and 1798), Simpson was a merchant, banker, distiller, transportation entrepreneur, and public official who lived Princeton; Basking Ridge, Bernard Township, Somerset County; and New Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey. It was in New Brunswick where Simpson was most active in a wide range of commercial activities, the Presbyterian Church, and in many aspects of public life, serving as a judge, assemblyman, and activist for improved education and transportation. He was involved in the lobbying campaign of 1828 which resulted in the Common School Act of 1829, and was also very involved in efforts to build a canal linking the Delaware and Raritan Rivers.

John Neely Simpson married Mary Wiggins Brunson, the daughter of John Brunson of Princeton, with whom he had several children, including James Hervey Simpson (1813-1883), U.S. Army surgeon Josiah Simpson (1815-1874), and Eleanor Wilson Simpson Studdiford.

James Hervey Simpson, a U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduate (1832) and brigadier general in the U.S. Army, made significant contributions as an explorer and engineer with the United States Topographical Engineers. Most notably, in 1858 Simpson detailed the so-called Central Route from Salt Lake City, Utah, to California, which played a vital role in the transportation of mail, freight, and passengers between the established eastern states and California. The Pony Express followed its course, as did the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861 and Wells Fargo & Company. Following the Civil War, Simpson served as the chief engineer of the Department of the Interior where his responsibilities included overseeing the activities of the Union Pacific Railroad and the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

This collection consists of the personal correspondence of Josiah S. Studdiford (1837-162), documenting in detail his service with the 4th New Jersey Infantry during the U.S. Civil War, including battles in which he was involved; his capture and time as a prisoner of war at Libby Prison (Va.) in the summer of 1862; and his death during the Battle of South Mountain (Md.) on September 14, 1862.

Also included is the correspondence of several of Josiah S. Studdiford's relatives, including his grandfather, John Neely Simpson (1770-1832), his brother, Peter Augustus Studdiford (1828-1886), and his uncles, James Hervey Simpson (1813-1883) and Josiah Simpson (1815-1874). A few other family members, including Josiah's parents, Peter O. Studdiford (1779-1866) and Ellen Wilson Simpson, are also represented.

Most of the correspondence is personal in nature and relates to family matters, though some relates to professional matters.

Looney, J. Jefferson. Princetonians, 1791-1794 : a biographical dictionary Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1991.

Gifts of James S. Studdiford, MD ('65) in 2014 (AM 2015-52) and 2015 (AM 2015-83).

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This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2014. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2014.

Finding aid updated by Faith Charlton in May 2015.

No materials were separated during 2014 and 2015 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

Studdiford, Josiah S., 1859 February. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Most of the letters are from Studdiford to his family. Two letters are photocopies, including one dated July 5, 1862 from Chaplain Camp to Peter O. Studdiford regarding his son's capture, and one from Major General John E. Wool granting permission for Studdiford's brothers to bring his remains back to New Jersey (September 19, 1862).

Also included is a photocopy of Josiah's official casualty sheet as well as photocopies of some biographical research materials.

Physical Description

1 folder

Simpson, John N., -1832, Letters to Peter O. Studdiford, 1824-1830. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes letters about the two men's affiliation with the Presbyterian Church; Princeton University, including Simpson's documentation of his efforts to help rebuild the college after the 1802 fire; family affairs, particularly Simpson's efforts to get his son James Hervey Simpson into West Point; and political matters, such as the Canal Bill relating to the construction of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

Physical Description

1 folder

Simpson, John N., -1832, Letters to James Wilson, 1807-1811. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes letters to James Wilson of Elizabethtown, PA, regarding merchant business concerns.

Physical Description

1 folder

Studdiford, Peter Augustus, ‎1828-1886, 1846-1850. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes 1 outgoing letter as well as 2 letters from Peter's father, Peter O. Studdiford, and 1 letter from his brother, James Hervey Studdiford, that date from Peter's time as a student at Princeton University.

Physical Description

1 folder

Simpson, Josiah, and Peter Augustus Studdiford, 1836-1848. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes 2 co-written outgoing letters to Peter's grandmother and Josiah's mother, Mary Simpson; and 1 letter from Josiah to his sister, Ellen Wilson Simpson.

Physical Description

1 folder

Simpson, J. H. (James Hervey), 1813-1883, circa 1839-1860. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Includes 2 letters to his nephew, Peter Augustus Studdiford, and his sister, Ellen Simpson Studdiford written from Buffalo, NY and Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin; and 1 unidentified letter about Simpson. In one of the letters to his nephew (March 4, 1839), Simpson describes Native American attacks that occurred in and around Tallahassee while Simpson was overseeing coastal surveys and road construction in Florida.

Also included is a photocopy of the Army's record of Simpson's military service provided by the Commissioner of Pensions (1884).

Physical Description

1 folder

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