Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
David Baldwin Papers, 1754-1870

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, August 2009

Summary Information
Title: David Baldwin papers
Creator: Baldwin, David, 1758-1811
Inclusive dates: 1754-1870
Bulk dates: 1790-1868
Extent: 212 items (0.5 linear feet)
Abstract:
This collection documents the activities of David Baldwin, a prominent Connecticut merchant, free mason, and Revolutionary War militia general, and his heirs, from 1790 to 1870. Included are legal documents relating to land sales, associated correspondence, and a short diary accounting a trip from Milwaukie to Chicago in 1836. Many of the later documents are letters and deeds related to his son, David Van Brooks Baldwin.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1990. M-2557.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

David Baldwin papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

This collection is organized in seven series:

  • Correspondence
  • Documents
  • Financial Records
  • Financial Reports
  • Diary
  • Envelopes
  • Miscellaneous


Biography

David Baldwin (1758-1811) was a prominent merchant who was active in Masonic circles and served as the militia general for Connecticut's 8th brigade during the Revolutionary War. He lived his life in Newton, Connecticut, and was known locally as "General." His parents were Caleb Baldwin and Naomi (Naomy) Hard. He married Hannah Brooks (1758-1826) on February 12, 1778, and they had four children: Laura (b. 1780), Flora (b. 1783), Boyle Van Brooks (b. 1784), and David Van Brooks (b. 1784).


Collection Scope and Content Note

The David Baldwin papers contains correspondence, legal documents, financial records, and a diary, with the bulk of the material dating from just after the Revolutionary War through the 1820s.

The Correspondence series (26 items) contains four lengthy letters from Flora Jewett, David Baldwin's newly married daughter, from Galway New York (1807-1811). Topics range from furniture and housekeeping to details the loss of a child (April 14, 1808); consolation to Baldwin, who is seriously ill (February 1811); and business matters (Jan 3, 1812).

The bulk of the correspondence after Baldwin's death are business letters to Baldwin's son, David Van Brooks Baldwin, that deal with the sale of land and collections of debts.

The Document series consists largely of items documenting transfers of land and contracts for merchandizing, buying, selling, and vending. Included are a land deed transfer from Philo Norton to David Baldwin, 1794, and deeds of land purchased in Kentucky (1795) and Virginia in (1796); and a deed of gift for land in Connecticut to his son (1809). This series also contains official signed documents appointing Baldwin to Surveyor of Revenue and Assessors for Newton and Brookfield. Most post-1812 documents are deeds from Connecticut and New York concerning David Van Brooks Baldwin.

The Financial Records series contains items documenting payments of debts to David Baldwin and his descendants. Many of these items are brief (half a page or less) and some have descriptions of the loan.

The Financial Reports series holds records of the transactions of David Van Brooks Baldwin. Also included are receipts for purchased items such as hot air heaters, wood, coal, water, and local taxes.

The Diary series contains a 24-page notebook, that recounts a trip from Milwaukie to Chicago and the points in-between. Written by a descendent of David Baldwin in 1836 (possible David V. Baldwin), the journal mentions the Indians at Prarie-du-Chien:

" out of some 5000 Indians there are left only some 3 or 400, 200 remains lie unburied, the smallpox occasioned the mortality among them- the Indians steam the patient & plunge him into cold water... "

The Miscellaneous series holds a 1855 pay book and a 1856 exchange account book belonging to David Van Brooks Baldwin, a ticket to a Banquet for the Utica Continentals, various notes, and a folder of empty envelopes separated from the Correspondence series.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Cities and towns--Connecticut--History.
    • Connecticut--History--1775-1865.
    • Newtown (Conn.)
    Contributors:
    • Baldwin, David Van Brooks, 1784-?.
    Genre Terms:
    • Deeds.
    • Diaries.
    • Financial records.
    • Legal documents.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Correspondence [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   1
      April 19, 1807-January 3, 1812 (5 items)
    Box   1 Folder   2
      January 14, 1812-April 24, 1855 (6 items)
    Box   1 Folder   3
      January 7, 1857-December 11, 1862 (7 items)
    Box   1 Folder   4
      January 5, 1863-September 25, 1869 (6 items)
    Box   1 Folder   5
     Undated (2 items)
     
    Documents [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   6
     December 31, 1754-December 1795 (9 items)
    Box   1 Folder   7
    April 15-December 10  1796 (8 items)
    Box   1 Folder   8
      March 14, 1797-September 13, 1799 (6 items)
    Box   1 Folder   9
      May 1805-August 13, 1811 (7 items)
    Box   1 Folder   10
      September 1, 1811-August 27, 1816 (6 items)
    Box   1 Folder   11
      June 1, 1827-August 10, 1839 (7 items)
    Box   1 Folder   12
      August 17, 1840-November 29, 1848 (6 items)
    Box   1 Folder   13
      September 15, 1853-June 16, 1860 (5 items)
    Box   1 Folder   14
      September 27, 1861-May 20, 1865 (6 items)
     
    Financial Records [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   15
      March 11, 1799-March 1, 1809 (10 items)
    Box   1 Folder   16
      March 3, 1809-May 4, 1811 (6 items)
    Box   1 Folder   17
      May 18, 1811-December 19, 1855 (10 items)
    Box   1 Folder   18
      January 8, 1858-January 24, 1864 (8 items)
    Box   1 Folder   19
      June 15, 1864-September 5, 1865 (11 items)
     
    Financial Reports [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   20
      December 12, 1865-February 8, 1867 (10 items)
    Box   1 Folder   21
    April 1-December 27,  1867 (10 items)
    Box   1 Folder   22
      January 3-August 25, 1868 (10 items)
    Box   1 Folder   23
      September 10, 1868-July 1, 1869 (12 items)
    Box   1 Folder   24
      July 3, 1869-July 1, 1870 (10 items)
    Box   1 Folder   25
     Undated (14 items)
     
    Diary [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   26
    Diary,  1836
     
    Envelopes [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   27
    Envelopes (5 items)
     
    Miscellaneous [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   28
    Miscellaneous (10 items)
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Johnson, Jane Eliza. Newton's History and Historian Ezra Levan Johnson. Newtown, Conn., 1917.