Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Philleo-Norton Family Papers, 1830-1872

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, October 1992

Summary Information
Title: Philleo-Norton family papers
Creator: Philleo family and Norton family
Inclusive dates: 1830-1872
Extent: 145 items
Abstract:
The Philleo-Norton papers contain the letters of Calvin W. Philleo, a a lawyer, author, and Free Soil Democrat; documents of pension claims for the widows and children of Revolutionary War veterans; legal documents entered in the suit of Sheldon et al. v. the Second School Society, Suffield; and the letters of Elizabeth Philleo as a young woman during the Civil War.
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:

1991. M-2662a11.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Philleo-Norton Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Baptist minister Calvin Philleo married Prudence Crandall shortly after her attempt in 1833 to introduce a multiracial school for girls to Canterbury, Conn. After Crandall's plans had been ruined by a combination of legal challenges brought by members of the community and violent mob action, the Philleos abandoned the school and state, settling successively in Providence, R.I., New York State, Illinois, and, finally, Kansas.

Calvin Philleo's son by a previous marriage, Calvin W. Philleo, left college at 19 and went to sea where he experienced "much more of adventure and all sorts of life than is usual." By age 25, he had settled in Suffield, Conn., where he studied law with C. F. Cleveland (Democratic Gov. of Connecticut in 1842-43 and later congressman) and George S. Catlin (another congressman). Philleo became an ardent Free Soil Democrat, though he noted that he loved his "profession and its practice far better than . . .politics and partizan strife," and he worked closely with the party during the state elections of 1848 through 1852, at one point acting as a Democratic elector and member of the state Democratic Committee. In November, 1849, Philleo married Elizabeth P. Norton, daughter of Daniel W. Norton of Suffield, Conn. The match was a good one for an aspiring politician and lawyer, as his father-in-law was prominent and active in local affairs. Norton's interests included banking, insurance, and textile mills, and he served the community of Suffield variously as Justice of the Peace and as board Member of the Second School Society.

Philleo's literary career was gaining momentum when he died prematurely at 36. He had already published a well-received novel, Twice Married (N.Y.: Dix & Edwards, 1855), and had had stories accepted at Graham's, Putnam's Monthly, the Atlantic Monthly, and other important literary magazines. His legal practice, too, prospered in the early 1850's, as he specialized in representing the claims of descendants of Revolutionary War veterans under the revised pension acts of 1838 and 1855. Philleo's practice was distinguished by his unusual method of accepting a fee based upon the percentage of the claim recovered, admitting no fee if the application were unsuccessful.

Following Calvin W. Philleo's death in 1858, his widow, Elizabeth, appears to have spent time traveling between the homes of relatives in Ohio, Boston, and Illinois. She may have moved permanently to Dayton, Ohio, during or immediately following the Civil War.


Collection Scope and Content Note

There are four main areas of interest in the Philleo-Norton papers. First are the letters of Calvin W. Philleo, written during the time that he was establishing his law practice in Suffield, launching into a successful literary career, and as he was involved with Free Soil state politics. Philleo's personal and political letters suggest that his interests ran well beyond the dull confines of his life as an attorney. His letters from 1848-1850 provide interesting commentary on Connecticut and national politics, and particularly on the Free Soil faction of the Democratic Party. The letters of C. F. Cleveland (who complains of the power of slave-interests in Connecticut), and congressmen Niles, Burnham, and Catlin provide insight into antebellum electoral politics in the state. Philleo's correspondence with editors at Graham's and Harper's reveals another side to his personality, the literary side, and provides a brief, curious look into the attitudes of an aspiring writer forced to deal with the realities of life as an attorney. Also of interest, Philleo wrote a curious, humorous letter to his brother-in-law, John, who had just gained employment on the railroad in Canada, comparing the "free" life of a railroad worker with the drudgery of law.

Secondly, Philleo's legal work preparing and representing pension claims for the widows and children of Revolutionary War veterans is well represented in the collection. The successful pension applications of the children of Nathaniel Pomroy and Jehiel Spencer are present and are apparently nearly complete (in copy). Further, there are printed items and miscellaneous correspondence, mostly with Commissioner of Pensions, L. P. Waldo, relating to pension applications, and including instruction sheets for completing applications, a pamphlet containing rules for applying for bounty land, and a sheet indicating materials required for submission to limit fraudulent applications. Photocopies of the Pomroy and Spencer applications as submitted to the Pension Office are included.

Thirdly, the legal documents entered in the suit of Sheldon et al. v. the Second School Society, Suffield, are an intriguing record of a local tax revolt in 1852. Hezekiah Sheldon and his co-petitioners to the court objected strenuously to the School Society's plans to build a new school building using tax money collected locally.

Finally, the letters of Elizabeth Philleo and her sisters contain occasional comments of general interest regarding the lives of young women during the Civil War. Lucy Norton's reactions to the defeat at Bull Run in 1861, and the news that Elizabeth relays of a family friend serving as an officer in the 55th Massachusetts (Colored) Regiment are particularly noteworthy, but it is also interesting to reconstruct the series of lectures, panoramas, and social gatherings Elizabeth attended in Connecticut and Boston during the war. There are two letters of Calvin Philleo, Sr., and Prudence Crandall Philleo, one of which, written in 1870, contains some brief reflections on the power of religious conviction in Calvin's life, from the time he was involved in revivals in New York State through his move to Illinois.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Attorneys.
    • Authors.
    • Connecticut.
    • Democratic Party (Conn.)
    • Military pensions --United States Revolution, 1775-1783.
    • Philleo, Calvin W., (Calvin Wheeler), 1822-1858.
    • Suffield School (Suffield, Conn.)
    Genre Terms:
    • Legal documents.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Boxes   1-2  
    Philleo-Norton family papers,  1830 September 20-1872 September 10
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Attorneys--Connecticut
    • 1847 July 16
    • 1850 February 22
    • 1851 April 28
    • 1853 November 26
    • 1856 August 13
    Authors--Connecticut
    • 1843 September 13
    • 1847 June 14
    • 1853 September
    • 1853 December 18
    • 1856 October 19
    Baldwin, Roger Sherman, 1793-1863
    • 1850
    Betrothal--Law and legislation
    • 1846 October 29
    Bicentennial Celebration (Suffield, Conn.), 1870
    • 1869 October 11
    • 1870 September 12, October 12
    • 1870 October 12
    Brown, Ashley
    • 1861 July 24
    Brown, George
    • 1850 February 6
    Brush, George Jarvis, 1831-1912
    • 1867 August 3
    Bull Run, 1st Battle of, Va., 1861
    • 1861 July 24
    Burbank, Julia, d. 1861--Death and burial
    • 1861 April 1
    Burlington (Vt.)
    • 1862 November 19
    Cancer
    • 1864 November 4
    • 1864 December 21
    Catholics--Connecticut
    • 1859 September
    Catholics--Ohio
    • 1868 January 20
    Chaplin, Martha
    • 1853 July 26
    Christmas
    • 1864 December 29
    Churches--Connecticut--Suffield
    • ca.1855
    Clergy--Appointment, call, and election
    • 1870 October 1
    Cleveland, Chauncey Fitch, 1799-1887
    • 1850 May 22-23
    Cobb, Howell, 1815-1868
    • 1850
    Conduct of life
    • 1859 September
    Connecticut. Militia
    • 1853 July 30
    Connecticut--Politics and government--1845-1849
    • 1846 June 6
    • 1846 October 29
    • 1847 December 14
    • 1849 February 17
    Connecticut--Politics and government--1849-1853
    • 1850 May 22-23
    Cysts
    • 1864 November 4
    Davis, Matilda
    • 1853 February 17
    • 1853 February 28
    • 1853 November 26
    Dayton (Ohio)
    • 1867 December 30
    • 1868 January 20
    Death
    • 1858 June 13-19
    • 1858 July 14
    • 1858 July 14
    • 1867 December 30
    Debt collection
    • 1850 August 25
    Debt, personal
    • 1850 December 30
    Democratic Party--Connecticut
    • 1846 October 29
    • 1846 November 20
    • 1847 December 14
    • 1848 September 25
    • 1849 February 17
    • 1850 February 6
    • 1850 May 22-23
    Elections--Connecticut--1848
    • 1847 December 14
    Elections--Connecticut--1850
    • 1850 May 22-23
    • 1850?
    Emancipation Proclamation
    • 1862 November 21
    • 1864 December 29
    Estates (Law)--Connecticut
    • 1848 December 6
    Faith
    • 1870 October 1
    Flowers
    • 1859 June 5
    Fraud
    • 1853 June 1
    Free Soil Party
    • 1850
    Free Soil Party--Connecticut
    • 1849 February 17
    • 1850 May 22-23
    • 1850?
    Funeral rites and ceremonies
    • 1862 November 21
    Great Awakening
    • 1870 April 20
    Hatheway, Henrietta
    • 1853 July 26
    Hawley, Joseph Roswell, 1826-1905
    • 1850
    Higgins, Alvin
    • 1858 March 1
    Horses
    • 1858 March 1
    • 1858 March 13
    Hunt, Harriot Kezia, 1805-1875
    • 1864 November 4
    Jews
    • 1870 October 1
    Kellogg, Samuel
    • 1850 February 6
    King, Albert
    • ca.1853 August 1
    King, Thaddeus
    • 1853 August 1
    Lawyers--Connecticut
    • 1847 November 16¬1857
    Lincoln, Abraham 1809-1865--Inauguration , 1865
    • 1865 January 25
    Loomis, Parkes
    • 1850 September 10
    Mallory v. Higgins
    • 1858 March 1
    Mallory, William J.
    • 1858 March 1
    McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885
    • 1862 November 21
    McKitterick, James
    • 1858 March 13
    McKitterick v. Thurston
    • 1858 March 13
    Merchants--Connecticut--Suffield
    • 1850 September 7
    • 1852 September 8
    Mines and mining--Canada
    • 1867 August 3
    Mortgages
    • 1846 July 26
    • 1846 October 20
    • 1850 September 10
    Muster rolls--Revolution, 1775-1783
    • 1853 July 30
    Niles, John Milton, 1787-1856
    • 1849 February 17
    • 1850 May 22-23
    Northam, Hanford M.
    • 1850 August 25
    Norton, Augusta F.
    • 1864 December 21
    Norton, Daniel W.
    • 1850 December 30
    • 1853 August 1
    • 1858 March 1
    • 1869 October 11
    • 1872 November 18
    Norton, Emily L.
    • 1862 November 19
    • 1862 November 21
    Norton Family
    • 1859 January 30
    Norton, Leverett, d. 1867--Death
    • 1867 December 30
    Nuns--Pennsylvania
    • 1859 September
    Oil industry--Pennsylvania
    • 1860 August 15
    Panoramas
    • 1862 December 26
    Pearce, James Alfred, 1804-1862
    • 1850
    Pensions, Military--United States--Revolution, 1775-1783
    • 1838 July 17
    • 1849 March 30
    • 1850 December 19
    • 1852 June 11
    • 1853 February 2
    • 1853 February 17
    • 1853 February 28
    • 1853 March 22
    • 1853 March 25
    • 1853 April 26
    • 1853 May 14
    • 1853 May 16
    • 1853 June 1
    • 1853 July 26 (7)
    • 1853 July 30
    • 1853 August 1
    • ca.1853 August 1
    • 1853 August 6
    • 1853 August 8
    • 1853 August 24
    • 1853 November 26
    • 1854 January 18
    • 1855 February 9
    • 1855 April 30
    • 1855 May 14 (2)
    • 1855 (3)
    • 1856 August 13
    • 1856 August 24
    • 1856
    • 1857 June 4
    Petroleum--Prospecting--Connecticut
    • 1861 April 1
    Philleo, Calvin, ca.1786-1876
    • 1846 October 20
    • 1850 September 10
    Philleo, Calvin W., 1822-1858
    • ca.1855 October 2
    • 1855 October 2
    • 1858 March 1
    • 1858 March 13
    • 1858 July 14
    • 1858 July 14
    Philleo, Calvin W., 1822-1858. Cruize of the Gentile
    • 1843 September 13
    • 1847 June 14
    Philleo, Calvin W., 1822-1858. Twice Married
    • 1855
    • 1856 October 19
    Pomroy, Martha, d. 1840
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1855 February 9
    • 1857 June 4
    Pomroy, Nathaniel, d. 1831
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1853 August 1
    • ca.1853 August 1
    • 1855 February 9
    • 1855?
    • 1855?
    • 1857 June 4
    Pomroy, Nathaniel, d. 1848
    • 1855?
    Preachers--Connecticut
    • 1870 August 7
    Presidents--United States--Election--1848
    • 1849 February 17
    Prisoners of War
    • 1861 July 24
    Revivals--Connecticut
    • 1870 October 1
    Revivals--Massachusetts
    • 1862 April 21
    Revivals--Rhode Island
    • 1870 October 1
    Riley, Ransom
    • 1850 February 6
    Rising, Justus
    • 1848 December 6
    Rising, Ransom V.
    • 1848 December 6
    Risley, Seth
    • 1850 February 6
    Schools--Connecticut
    • 1856 July 10
    Schools--Connecticut--Suffield
    • 1830 September 28-1854 October 4
    • 1831 April 23
    • 1841 December 9
    • 1851 March 29
    • 1855 July 19
    • 1855 August 6
    • ca.1855 October 2
    • 1855 October 2
    • n.d.
    Sheldon et al. v. Center School District
    • 1855 July 19
    • 1855 August 6
    • ca.1855 October 2
    • 1855 October 2
    • 1856 September 16
    Sikes, Lucy
    • 1853 May 14
    Sikes, Mercy
    • 1853 August 24
    Slander
    • 1848 April 27
    Slavery
    • 1849 February 17
    • 1850
    Slavery--United States--Extension to the territories
    • 1849 February 17
    Soldiers--Death and burial
    • 1862 November 21
    Spencer, Jehiel, d. 1804
    • 1853 July 26
    • 1853 July 26
    Spencer, Naomi
    • 1854 January 18
    Suffield (Conn.)--History
    • 1870 October 1
    Taxation--Connecticut
    • 1855 July 19
    • 1855 August 6
    • 1855 October 2
    Taylor, Zachary, 1784-1850
    • 1849 February 17
    Teachers--Connecticut
    • 1843 October 30
    Textile mills--Massachusetts
    • 1846 December 18
    Thurston, Charles C.
    • 1858 March 13
    Tobacco--Connecticut
    • 1850 July 25
    Toucey, Isaac, 1792-1869
    • 1850 May 22-23
    Troy (N.Y.)--Description
    • 1862 December 26
    United States. Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (Colored), 55th
    • 1864 December 29
    United States. Congress. House of Representatives
    • 1850
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons
    • 1865 January 25
    United States--History--War of 1812--Pensions
    • 1856 March 1
    United States--Politics and government--1849-1853
    • 1850
    Waldo, Loren Pinckney, 1802-1881
    • 1850
    Warner, Meral
    • 1853 August 8
    Water-power--Massachusetts
    • 1846 December 18
    Welles, Gideon, 1802-1878
    • 1849 February 17
    West Springfield (Mass.)
    • 1846 December 18
    Whig Party--Connecticut
    • 1849 February 17
    • 1850 May 22-23
    Whitefield, George, 1714-1770
    • 1870 April 20
    Women--Education
    • 1862 November 19
    • 1862 December 12