Jacob Stinchfield was born in Phillips, Maine, in 1805 or 1806. He married Maria Hersey Hammond (1818-1917) in 1837 and they had four children: Ira, George, Charles, and Mary. Jacob became an established landowner, lumberman, and town official after settling in Lincoln, Maine. When his family moved to Michigan in 1864, Jacob Stinchfield continued in the lumber business, buying and selling timberlands in the vicinities of Midland and Saginaw, and adjacent to the Tobacco, Tittabawassee, and Grand rivers.
Two of Jacob’s children, Ira (1838-1868) and George Stinchfield (1840-1877), served in the Civil War. Ira enlisted in the 7th Maine Volunteer Regiment, Company C, in August, 1861. While taking part in the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia, he contracted chronic diarrhea and transferred to the 9th Regiment of Veterans Reserve Corps. He received his discharge August 20, 1864. Plagued with continued ill health, Ira was under a doctor’s care from 1866 until 1868. He married Abba S. Wolton of Enfield, Maine, shortly before his death in 1868.
George Stinchfield enlisted in the 1st Maine Cavalry, Company E, in 1862. He was a prisoner of war in the Belle Isle prison camp near Richmond, Virginia, from May until September 1862. He was hospitalized following his release, and eventually received his discharge from the army in November 1863. He worked as a clerk in the adjutant-general’s office from 1864 to 1867. George then traveled west in an attempt to improve his health; his lung complaints had been exacerbated by his time in prison. He tried many occupations: working a lathe, starting a grocery store, and staking gold claims (with little success). While on a trip to Michigan, he married Sarah Olmstead in Lansing. George Stinchfield died of tuberculosis in Boulder, Colorado, in June 1877.
Mary Stinchfield (1849-1884) married Willis Cole and had two children: Charles and Willis, Jr. Mary's brother, Charles, helped raise the children after Willis Cole abandoned his family and after Mary's death (several years after Cole's departure).
Jacob Stinchfield died in 1873 and Charles Stinchfield (1847-1918) took over his father's lumber business. He continued an existing partnership with David Whitney, Jr., and expanded into railroads and mineral mines. Charles Stinchfield married three times (Mary Fish; Minnie Belle Thayer; Anne Tillson) and had three children: Louise Stinchfield Van Dyke (b. 1880), Charles Stinchfield, Jr. (1882-1957), and Marian Stinchfield Hopkins (b. 1885). The collection includes materials from the families of all three of Charles Stinchfield’s children, but the bulk relates to Charles Whitney Stinchfield, Jr. He tried his hand at several aspects of his father's business, including a stint with David Whitney’s logging company in Oregon, before settling down to manage the family concerns in Detroit and raise a family in Grosse Pointe.
Charles Stinchfield, Jr., married Emily Wickersham in 1916, and they had three children: Charles Stinchfield III (1918-1933), Robert Stinchfield (b. 1919) and Diane Stinchfield Klingenstein (b. 1925).
Annie Tillson Stinchfield gave the University of Michigan a gift of $10,000 for the purchase of 320 acres of land in 1925, as a memorial to Charles and Jacob W. Stinchfield, her husband and father-in-law, respectively. The University subsequently expanded Stinchfield Woods to 770 acres. The land is a field research area for the demonstration of forest management and sustainable ecosystem management, and is a legacy of the Stinchfield family’s role in the history of Michigan.