Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan
Finding aid for Farley Family Papers, 1761-1902
Finding aid created by Philip Heslip, October 2009
Title: Farley family papers Creator: Farley family Inclusive dates: 1761-1902 Bulk dates: 1781-1856 Extent: 0.5 linear feet Abstract:
The Farley family papers contain the letters and legal documents of a well-educated Boston family during the first half of the 19th century. Among the family letters are items from Henry Wise Farley, living in Louisiana and Texas, that provide an interesting case of a northerner from a family with anti-slavery slavery sentiments becoming increasingly supportive of the southern slave labor system. The few letters from the period of the War of 1812 reflect the family's Federalist, anti-war sympathies.
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
1992-1997. M-2813, M-2871, M-3359.11.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.
Farley Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
This collection is organized into three series:
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Documents
Series III: Miscellaneous.
The series are ordered chronologically with undated material at the end.
During the first half of the 19th century, the well-educated Farley family lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts, where they had ties to the shipping trade.
Major General Michael Farley held several public offices: he was active in the Massachusetts General Court; he served as a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts (1774-1775); he was the sheriff of Essex; and he was a member of the State House of Representatives. During the Revolutionary War, Farley fought for the Continental Army and was appointed to major general of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1777. He died on June 20, 1789, at age 70.
Michael Farley's son, Jabez Farley (c.1755-1836), lived in Ipswich and had two wives and nineteen children. His first wife Lucy Rogers, daughter of Nathaniel Rogers, died in childbirth in 1788. His second wife was Susanna Swasey (c.1768-1843), daughter of Major Joseph Swasey (d. 1817). Jabez fought with the minutemen in the Revolutionary War.
Henry Wise Farley was born in 1795 to Jabez and Susanna Farley. He studied medicine at Harvard and graduated in 1815. Shortly thereafter, Henry moved west, settling successively in Ohio, Arkansas, and Louisiana. He eventually gave up his medical practice, having found a surplus of physicians in the west. Between the mid-1820s and 1830s, he ran a sugar plantation in Louisiana, originally using only free labor, in keeping with the anti-slavery sentiments of his family. As time went on, however, he became an increasingly vehement defender of slavery. He migrated to the Republic of Texas, where he briefly served as surgeon to the Republican army. He died in 1892.
Henry's sister, Susan Charlotte (1809-1858), remained in Boston until 1834, when she, too, migrated to the west, settling in Michigan. Susan Farley was an observant, highly literate woman, who commented extensively on both political and family matters. Among the 19 Farley siblings were Jabez Farley Jr., Amy Farley (who lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts), and Lucy Mary Farley (who was living in Boston by 1821). Also mentioned in the letters are James A. Farley, who was a nephew of Henry, and Tacy Anna Bevan Stacey (1774-1831), sister-in-law of Susanna Swasey Farley. Many members of the Farley family were buried in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Farley family papers contain the letters and legal documents of a well-educated Boston family during the first half of the 19th century. The collection consists of 153 letters, 128 legal documents, and 3 miscellaneous items. Though the collection contains a few documents relating to Jabez and Susanna Farley, the focus of the collection, particularly the letters, are their children Susan and Henry.
The earliest items in the Correspondence series are addressed to "Sukey" (Susanna) Swasey and her brother Joseph Swasey from several people: their uncle George Stacey living in Newbury Park, Massachusetts; their sister-in-law Mrs. Tacy Anna (Bevan) Stacey, who was living in Chester, Pennsylvania; and from friend Judith Foster.
Henry's earliest letter is from 1810; it was written to his father Jabez Farley, while Henry was living away from his family and working for a Mr. Safford. He mentioned having Thanksgiving on November 22, 1810 (Tuesday). The bulk of Henry's letters, however, are addressed to his brother Jabez. Henry Farley's letters include a small number concerning his medical practice in the west, and are a fine resource for the study of a northern migrant to the Deep South. His letters from both Louisiana and Texas provide information of the social life and economy of the South, and document an interesting case of a northerner from a family with anti-slavery slavery sentiments becoming increasingly wedded to the slave labor system. Susan Farley's letters provide a literate and occasionally witty commentary on politics, social life, and family life in Boston. The few letters from the period of the War of 1812 reflect the family's Federalist, anti-war sympathies.
The Documents series (1761-1902) contains 128 legal documents, including a large number of Ipswich deed transfers. The items between 1761 and 1782 primarily involve General Michael Farley's land transactions. The 1782-1808 items record the transactions of Joseph Swasey and Jabez Farley. A contract from 1813 verifies an agreement for mill work between Jabez Farley and Joel Smith. Many of the early 19th century documents concern Jabez Farley's role as justice of the peace and assistant assessor for the district of Ipswich, and his various appointments, including that of notary public. The documents from 1829-1834 are primarily shipping inventories and receipts of the Brig Quill and the Schooner Eagle , created by Master of Accounts Thomas Farley.
The Miscellaneous series includes a family record for the Kilton family (c.1850), a typed record for Lucas Kelton from the Revolutionary rolls in the War Department, and an undated document from Sylvanus Butten describing the faults of Benjamin W. Ford.
Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs.
Justices of the peace--Massachusetts.
Louisiana --Social life and customs--19th. century.
Slavery--Economic aspects--Southern States.
Southern States--Economic conditions.
Southern States--Social life and customs.
Texas--Social life and customs--19th. century.
United States--History--War of 1812.
Farley, Henry Wise, 1795-1892.
Farley, Susan Charlotte, 1809-1858.
Stacy, Tacy Anna Bevan.
Container / Location
May 17, 1781-May 2, 1792
October 29, 1792-July 4, 1798
November 7, 1800-April 17, 1802
January 15, 1809-May 2, 1812
November 12, 1813-December 2, 1814
September 29, 1815-December 29, 1817
March 3, 1818-May 23, 1821
October 4, 1821-November 24, 1822
January 4, 1823-November 15, 1824
February 16-December 11, 1825
February 26-December 28, 1826
April 4, 1827-August 18, 1829
April 21, 1830-November 24, 1831
January 7, 1832-August 16, 1833
August 26-December 31, 1833
January 16-March 20, 1834
May 13-September 13, 1834
November 1, 1834-December 10, 1835
May 6, 1836-May 3, 1838
January 20-November 26, 1839
June 26, 1840-September 3, 1841
February 19, 1842-May 23, 1843
January 26, 1844-June 23, 1848
December 2, 1854-August 7, 1856
July 4, 1761-March 8, 1779
August 18, 1780-October 29, 1792
[February 27, 1796]-
December 29, 1809-September 3, 1814
August 28, 1815-June 1, 1819
June 28, 1821-June 10, 1826
April 30, 1829-February 28, 1831
March 29-May 23, 1831
August 12, 1831-September 28, 1832
October 2-November 13, 1832
November 13, 1832-April 24, 1833
June 21, 1833-April 18, 1834
April 21, 1834-January 1, 1841
February 21, 1854-1902
Additional Descriptive Data
The following map is housed in the Clements Library Map Division: