The Caton family papers consist of 112 letters, 5 financial and legal papers, and 1 item with genealogical content.
In a series of letters to their parents and sister, William Edward (Ed) and Albert Robert (Bob) Caton describe efforts to establish themselves economically in Chicago, Iowa, the Dakota Territory, and Colorado. The letters from Edward describe his business activities in Iowa and the Dakota Territory, and discuss in detail his speculation in land sales and leasing.
Bob Caton, whose letters cover the years 1876-1882, writes of his time in the Dakota Territory, and later describes working as a miner and living in Colorado. His letters contain more details on living conditions and daily activities than his brother's business-oriented correspondence does.
The Financial and Legal Papers series holds five items: William P. Canton's Cook County mortgage from 1849, a building receipt enclosing a two cent bank check stamp, and three records of loans. The Miscellaneous Papers series holds an index card with information on W.P. Caton, copied from the Will County Pioneers' Register.