Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Stephen Atwood Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Stephen Atwood (1784-c. 1865) was a sheep trader in Watertown, Connecticut, during the first half of the 19th century. In 1805, he worked with Young L. Cutler, presumably learning the sheep farming business. In 1813, Atwood began to trade sheep of his own accord by purchasing his first stock of Merino sheep from Colonel David Humphreys, former minister to Spain, and he eventually became somewhat prosperous in the business. He married Ruth Bronson around the year 1815, and the couple had several children.
The Stephen Atwood papers contain correspondence and accounts regarding Atwood's sheep trading activities in Connecticut during the first half of the 19th century. Atwood wrote the collection's two copied letters after he established himself locally, and in his letters provided detailed accounts of the pedigree and history of the Merino sheep he sold. In both cases, Atwood recalled originally purchasing the sheep from Colonel David Humphreys, a former minister to Spain.
The collection's five sale books cover much of the first half of the 19th century.
The first begins with an account of property belonging to Stephen Atwood. The rest of the books concern financial transactions made with area merchants and include accounts for wood, stone, and feed for Atwood's sheep. Additionally, the sale books record the number and quality of different sheep traded by Atwood to other sheep farmers. The final volume, dated 1843-1845, provides the addresses of several people with whom Atwood traded, as well as the number of sheep sold to that trader.