William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Mathewson Family Collection, 1796-1840
Kate Silbert, May 2012
Mathewson family collection
The collection consists of papers related to the Mathewson family of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, about their involvement in the early Shaker community of New Lebanon, New York, and the subsequent settlement in the early-19th century of brothers Philip Mathewson (1765-1828) and Jeremiah Angell Mathewson (1769-1841) in Hamilton and Pulaski, New York, respectively.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
1960, 1961. M-1154, M-1186.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
The 7 letters to Jeffrey Mathewson, dating from 1801 to 1822, were acquired in 1960. The remainder of the collection was acquired in 1961.
Mathewson Family Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
- Series I: Jeffrey Mathewson correspondence, 1801-1822
- Series II: Philip and Jeremiah Angell Mathewson papers, 1796-1840
Philip Mathewson (1736-1796) was born in Scituate, Rhode Island, and married Lydia Angell (1738 or 9-1825) on June 22, 1760. They had six children: Jeffrey (1761-1833), Anne (b. 1763), Philip (1765-1828), Jeremiah Angell (1769-1841), Mary (1772-1822), and Lydia (b. 1777). The papers of their three sons, Jeffrey, Philip, and Jeremiah Angell ("Angell") make up the bulk of the collection. Around 1786, Philip and most of his family joined the early Shaker community in New Lebanon, New York. According to the account of Jeremiah Angell Mathewson, he and his father were expelled from the community after a contract dispute regarding a farm in the neighboring town of Canaan that Philip leased in 1796 from Samuel Hand. Philip's wife and daughters stayed on with the New Lebanon Shakers after the expulsion of their male relatives.
Jeffrey Mathewson (1761-1833) was born in Scituate, Rhode Island, and apparently did not follow his father and siblings in joining the Shakers. In 1791, he married Almy Knight (1770-1846). Their children were Knight (1793-1795), Bucklin (1795-1882), and Robey (1800-1876). The family had moved to Lisbon, Connecticut, by 1801. Bucklin Mathewson spent his young adulthood as a merchant in Norwich, Connecticut, but eventually returned to manage the family farm in Lisbon. He married Cifuentes Battey (1802-1852) in November 1825, with whom he had three children.
Philip Mathewson (1765-1828) and Jeremiah Angell Mathewson (1769-1841) apparently journeyed with their father to the Shaker community in New Lebanon, New York. Both brothers had separated from the community and were living in Hamilton, New York, by 1801. Philip acquired a 100-acre plot of land that year, on which he and his family remained settled through the 1820s. Jeremiah married Electra Cross (1782-1863) in 1801 in Hamilton, New York, before eventually settling in Pulaski, Oswego County, New York around 1806. He died there in 1841.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of papers related to the Mathewson family of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, about their involvement in the early Shaker community of New Lebanon, New York, and the subsequent settlement in the early 19th century of brothers Philip Mathewson (1765-1828) and Jeremiah Angell Mathewson (1769-1841) in Hamilton and Pulaski, New York, respectively.
Series I: Jeffrey Mathewson correspondence, 1801-1822
This series contains 7 letters received by Jeffrey Mathewson (1761-1833), of Lisbon, Connecticut, between 1801 and 1822. The earliest letter is from his brother, Jeremiah Angell Mathewson (1769-1841) and 5 of the remaining ones are from his brother Philip (1765-1828). The remaining letter is from a family friend, Ashbel Cooley. Both Jeremiah and Philip were early settlers of western New York, and their letters include a mix of family news and commentary on the weather, crops, and local and state politics. Points of note include Jeremiah Angell's dispute with his mother and the Shaker community over gravestones (22 Aug.1801), as well as Philip's accounts of New York state politics, the War of 1812 in the western part of the state (19 Jan. 1814), and brief mentions of the Erie Canal's construction and the early days of the Tammany Hall political machine.
Series II: Philip (1737-1796) and Jeremiah Angell Mathewson papers, 1796-1840
The second series chiefly contains papers related to Philip Mathewson (1737-1796) and his son Jeremiah Angell Mathewson (1769-1841), particularly their experience in joining and separating from the early Shaker community in New Lebanon, New York, in the late 1780s and 1790s. Jeremiah's 56-page account contains details about the initial founding of the Shakers, including material related to the group's founders, Elder William Lee and Mother Ann Lee, as well as a lengthy narrative of the difficulty his father encountered with the community over a disputed contract.
Related to this document are the 4-page lease of Samuel Hand's farm in Canaan County, New York, to Philip Mathewson and Peter Wylie, out of which the Mathewson's disputes with the Shakers grew; a short narrative of the failed attempt to prohibit alcohol consumption among the New Lebanon Shakers, accompanied by Jeremiah A. Mathewson's overall judgment of the Shaker experiment; a 1-page note, dated 1840, in Jeremiah's hand about the origins of the family name; and a letter to Jeremiah Mathewson from his nephew Bucklin Mathewson, dated November 13, 1833, relating the death of Jeremiah's brother Jeffrey Mathewson.
Other papers in the series consist of 2 short, undated poems from an unknown author and a letter addressed to Miss Sally Porter of Camden, New York, from her sister, Mary Porter, and mother, Polly Porter, of Taunton, Massachusetts, dated May 16, 1837. The letter describes the effects of the Panic of 1837 in Taunton.
- Camden (N.Y.)
- Canaan (N.Y.)
- Cooley, Ashbel.
- Erie Canal (N.Y.)
- Hamilton (N.Y.)
- Hand, Samuel.
- Harlow, Calvin, 1754-1795.
- Hoinal, John, d. 1796.
- Lee, Ann, 1736-1784.
- Lee, William, 1740-1784.
- Lion, Stephen.
- Lisbon (Conn.)
- Mathewson family.
- Mathewson, Jeffrey, 1761-1833.
- Mathewson, Lydia Angell, 1738 or 9-1825.
- Mathewson, Philip, 1737-1796.
- Meacham, Joseph, 1742-1796.
- New Lebanon (N.Y.)
- Porter, Sally.
- Pulaski (N.Y.)
- Taunton (Mass.)
- United States--History--War of 1812.
- Walker, Jonathan.
- Whittaker, James, 1751-1787.
- Wylie, Peter.
- Cooley, Ashbel.
- Mathewson, Bucklin, 1795-1882.
- Mathewson, Jeremiah Angell, 1769-1841.
- Mathewson, Philip, 1765-1828.
- Porter, Polly.
- Porter, Mary.
- Letters (correspondence)
Additional Descriptive Data
"Mathewson Family." Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties, Connecticut: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens and of Many of the Early Settled Families. Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co., 1903. 444-445.