Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Stephen Atwood Papers, 1803-1853

Finding aid created by
Lee Edwards, August 2001; Meg Hixon, July 2011

Summary Information
Title: Stephen Atwood papers
Creator: Atwood, Stephen, 1784-ca. 1865
Inclusive dates: 1803-1853
Extent: 7 items
The Stephen Atwood papers contain correspondence and accounts regarding Atwood's sheep trading activities in Connecticut during the first half of the 19th century.
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:

1998. M-3436.4.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

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.

Preferred Citation:

Stephen Atwood Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged into two series:

  • Series I. Correspondence
  • Series II. Sale Books

Each series is arranged chronologically.


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.

Collection Scope and Content Note

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.

These include:

  • 1: 1803-1807
  • 2: 1809-1831
  • 3: 1810-1814
  • 4: 1839-1865
  • 5: 1843-1845

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.

Subject Terms

    • Humphreys, David, 1752-1818.
    • Merino sheep--Breeding.
    • Sheep--United States.
    • Watertown (Conn.)
    Genre Terms:
    • Account books.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   7, Small Collections  
    Correspondence [series]
    Folder   19  
     March 1845
     February 8, 1853
    Sale books [series]
    Folder   20  
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Whitney Library at the New Haven Museum in New Haven, Connecticut, contains the David Humphreys papers, which include documentation about his importation of Merino sheep.