Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Huntington Family Papers, 1845-1886

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, December 2009

Summary Information
Title: Huntington family papers
Creator: Huntington family
Inclusive dates: 1845-1886
Extent: 88 Items
The Huntington family papers are a collection of letters from the children of Cyrus Huntington of Watertown, New York, between 1845 and 1886. The collection contains 7 Civil War era letters, written by Hiram Huntington of Co. G of the 94th New York Regiment, in which he discussed his experiences in Washington and Virginia and expressed his opinions on the state of the 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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1989. M-2491.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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

Preferred Citation:

Huntington Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized into two series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Newspaper clippings

The Correspondence series is ordered chronologically with undated items filed at the end.


This collection centers on Cyrus Thomas Huntington, his wife China Graves Huntington, and their children. Cyrus was born in Grantham, New Hampshire, in 1801 and was one of 8 children. He and his wife had five children, all born in Watertown, New York: Henry Graves (1825-1910), Charles S. (b. 1827), Eliza P. (b. 1829), Hiram Cyrus (1836-c.1862), and John W. (b.1844).

The letters are primarily from the children and document their adulthood. Hiram was a member of Co. G of the 94th New York Infantry Regiment, and likely died in the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. In 1862, the regiment also participated in the Battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9), and the battles of Groveton (August 29), Bull Run (August 30), Chantilly (September 1), and Antietam (September 16-17).

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Huntington family papers contain 83 letters, written between 1845 and 1886, mainly by the children of Cyrus Huntington, and 4 undated newspaper clippings. The earliest item is a document assigning Cyrus T. Huntington, the marshal of election in district no. 2 in Watertown, New York, the responsibility of taking the "census or enumeration of the inhabitants" of the town in 1845. The next six letters are from Charles S. Huntington in Lee Center, Illinois, addressed to his parents and sister Eliza. He writes of his health and his work on his family farm, and news of mutual family, friends, and acquaintances. Hiram's letters begin in 1855, when he left home to attend the Fairfield Seminary in Fairfield, New York. Hiram's 10 pre-war letters to family and friends largely concern family news and his life at school.

Several other pre-war letters are from Eliza to her brothers, and from John, who lives in Black River, New York, a small town close to Watertown, to his parents and friends. One notable item is a constitution of the Fairfield Union Guards, organized in May 11, 1861. No Huntington names, however, appear on the list.

The collection holds 7 Civil War era letters from Hiram, writing from Co. G of the 94th New York Regiment, including 2 undated letters. In these he described his war experiences in Washington and Virginia, and shared his opinions on the state of the war. On July 24, 1862, Hiram wrote "I think that placing Gen. Pope in his position was the very best thing that could be done, McDowell's imbecility or intended Backwardness has been a serious drawback upon the war." In his letter from November 14, 1862, he mentioned that General Tower was wounded at Bull Run and lamented that

"Gen McClellan took his leave of us. I think that if there had been any one to start the thing the whole corps would have lain down their arms. As it was the thing was Much talked of[.] little Mack as McClellan is called is the Man we want to fight under. & no one who has not been in on a battle can estimate the advantage of giving Men a leader in whom they can have confidence. In McL that Confidence was unbounded."

Hiram's final letter is dated November 22, 1862.

The remainder of the collection consists of letters written to family members still residing in Watertown, New York, between 1862 and 1886. These include 5 letters from John, who by 1878 is living in Mexico, New York; three letters addressed to John; three letters from Charles, who is living in Liverpool, New York; and one letter from brother Henry.

The collection also contains 4 undated newspaper clippings including a Watertown obituary for Dr. Isaac Munson and poems entitled "Come," "Railroad Matters," and Dash Down the Wine Cup."

The Huntington family papers have two items with illustrations: a letter from September 28, 1855, contains a large letterhead engraving depicting a pastoral view of Fairfield Seminary, and a letter from July 13, 1862, contains a patriotic letterhead in red and blue depicting an eagle raising a flag with the inscription "Not a Star Must Fall."

Subject Terms

    • Black River (N.Y.)
    • Boarding schools--New York (State)
    • Education, Secondary.
    • Fairfield, N.Y. Seminar.
    • Fairfield, N.Y. Seminary--Pictorial works.
    • Family life.
    • Huntington, Cyrus Thompson, b. 1801.
    • Lee Center (Ill.)
    • Liverpool (N.Y.)
    • McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
    • Mexico (N.Y.)
    • Soldiers--United States--Attitudes.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • United States. Army. New York Infantry Regiment, 94th (1862-1865)
    • Watertown (N.Y.)
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   44, Small Collections  
    Correspondence [series]
    Folder   21  
     July 3, 1845-September 28, 1855
    Folder   22  
     October 21, 1855-February 20, 1859
    Folder   23  
     February 5, 1860-July 24, 1862
    Folder   24  
     October 7, 1862-May 20, 1870
    Folder   25  
     January 10, 1875-June 15, 1876, and  undated items
    Folder   26  
    Box   44, Small Collections  
    Newspaper Clippings [series]
    Folder   27  
    Additional Descriptive Data

    Dutton, M. S. A Tribute to the Memory of Frank Noyes: Who was Born in the Year of Our Lord 1843, Enlisted in the 94th New York Regiment, Sept. 11, 1862, was Taken Prisoner Aug. 19, 1864, and Died in Salisbury Rebel Prison February 16, 1865. 1865.