Spalding Family Papers (microfilm), 1808-1910
Using These Materials
- The collection is open to research.
- Spalding family.
- Spalding-Sexton family of Connecticut, Alabama, and northern Michigan. Correspondence, reminiscences, and other materials of William P. Spalding, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan businessman; correspondence, 1887-1901, of Edward Spalding, dental student at University of Michigan, later Detroit, Michigan dentist; and other family papers relating to business affairs, and conditions in the South before and after the Civil War; and photographs.
- 7 microfilms (2 linear feet of original material)
- Call Number:
- 8622 Aa 2; mf-517-523
- Finding aid created by Kenneth P. Scheffel, 1971, 1979 and Ann Flowers, 2007
- Scope and Content:
The Spalding-Sexton Family collection consists of photocopies and microfilm of letters largely collected by Mrs. Miranda Sexton Spalding of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (also of Ellington, Connecticut, Eutah, Alabama, and Ruffin, North Carolina). The collection is arranged chronologically. In the detailed contents list below, description is generally at the folder level, however, some letters of notable content have been highlighted with additional description. Also included are photographs.
Scope and Content (by time period)
In the pre-Civil War era, materials on the Sexton (nee Bartlett) family predominate. Connecticut-born merchants, teachers, farmers, and preachers, the correspondence reflects their activities mainly in Connecticut, Alabama, Texas, Illinois, and New York. It is particularly good on the problems of merchants in Alabama and on life in Texas. It contains comparisons of their new locations with their native Connecticut.
Early Spalding (nee Paine) family material is concentrated around the death of Dr. Luther Spalding in 1825 and his estate. Thereafter, correspondence is sparse until about 1850, when Mary Spalding (Mrs. C.P. Chamberlain) becomes a regular correspondent. Her letters mainly concern family matters and life in New Lisbon, Ohio, and Canisteo, New York.
During the antebellum period, the Collection includes scattered letters from William P. Spalding on business developments and social life at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and his travels through northern Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula Michigan mining areas and to New York City. The letters of his wife, Miranda Sexton Spalding, mainly deal with her early life as a student in Connecticut and as a teacher in Alabama.
During the Civil War, the papers of William P. Spalding predominate. They concern the activities of the 27th Michigan Infantry and developments in Michigan, particularly at the Soo, in the Upper Peninsula mining areas, and in the Thumb. Included are the letters from William Spalding while in service, 1862-1864, and to him from his wife, children, business associates, and members and former members of the regiment (including William Childs letters on activities of the regiment, 1864-1865). Other Civil War soldier letters include those of Miranda Sexton Spalding's brothers: Edwin Sexton, a member of Company l, Delanos Calvary, 2nd Illinois Volunteers, 1861-1864, and John Sexton, a member of an Alabama regiment, Confederate States of America, 1863 (concerning his capture and incarceration by Union forces and the family in Alabama). There are also letters, 1860-1865), to Charles and Mary Sexton, the parents of Miranda Spalding, from friends and relatives in Connecticut about developments there.
From 1866 through 1886, the collection becomes less extensive. It includes correspondence from Miranda Spalding about her life trying to run a plantation in Ruffin, North Carolina, 1869-1874, and from members of the Sexton family on their experiences in Alabama, Texas, and Illinois during and after the war.
After 1886, the collection is almost totally dominated by the immediate family of William P. Spalding, particularly his son: Edward and his wife: Miranda. Edward's letters describe his life as a student at Michigan Normal College, 1887-1889, as a dental student at the University of Michigan, 1889-1892, and as a dentist in Detroit, 1892-1910. Miranda's epistles recount family affairs and life at the Soo. Scattered throughout the period is correspondence from another son, Eugene, on family matters and his medical practice in Luverne, Minnesota. After 1900, Adelle H. Spalding, second wife of son William, writes frequently concerning mining activities in Idaho and Alaska.
Scope and Content (by name of family member)
"Addison" (Joseph Addison) Sexton. (1810-1902). The collection includes letters he received, particularly during the period 1828-45. His own correspondence contains comments on family, education, religion, and the areas where he lived.
Alfred M. Sexton (1815-1895). His letters deal with family affairs and conditions in Alabama.
Charles Sexton, Jr. (1809-1842). His letters describe his marital and financial difficulties.
Charles Sexton, Sr. (-1864). Collection includes the letters he received from family and friends, particularly after he left Ellington in 1860. His correspondence reflects his deep interest in religion (a church deacon), family, farming, and temperance.
Edwin Sexton (1814-between 1895 and 1901). The collection includes his Civil War letters to his sister, comments on life in Illinois and family affairs.
Hannah Sexton (-1848). Her letters comment on her experiences in Alabama and Connecticut.
Henry M. Sexton (-1866). His letters, though few, describe his teaching experiences in New York, contrasting the areas with Connecticut, and comment on his religious convictions.
John M. Sexton (-1873). His letters contain good commentary on the problems of being a merchant in the Deep South and the difficulties of merchants who tried planting. The collection includes the letters he received during the period, 1839-45.
Lorenzo Sexton (1812-1892). His letters are few, but his wife wrote of family matters and of the problems faced by planters.
Mary B. Sexton Lively (1816-1891). Her letters contrast Alabama with Connecticut, describe the problems of settling in Texas, the impact of the Civil War there, and the subsequent re-location to Illinois. They contain some good comments on the problems of being a merchant in the Deep South and the consequences of slavery for the poor whites of Texas.
Otis Sexton (circa 1818-between 1895 and 1901). His letters describe family and conditions in Alabama, his congregations, and his religious beliefs.
Samuel Sexton (-1904). His letters, though few, mainly comment on family matters and farming.
Maria Paine Spalding (-1860). Her correspondence concerns her husband's death and estate and her family (the Paines) in Stow and New Lisbon, Ohio, and Madison, Indiana, as well as Connecticut.
Mary E. Spalding Chamberlain (1825- ). Correspondence mainly concerns family affairs (particularly the health of mother Spalding and her eventual commitment and care) and mutual friends (including Dr. Leonard Hanna of New Lisbon, Ohio, father of Mark Hanna). Some comments on her husband's medical practice.
John Spalding (1820-1887). His letters are few and scattered. They mainly concern business developments at the Soo, in Cleveland, and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan mines.
Miranda Sexton Spalding (1826-1910). Most of her correspondence deals with personalities and developments in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. There are also comments on life in Alabama, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Connecticut.
William P. Spalding (1822- ). His correspondence mainly consists of Civil War letters (both from and to him) and comments on mining prospects. During his service in the war, his associate, R.C. Kibby, sent him regular reports on business conditions at the Soo, and after his resignation, members of his old regiment kept him informed of their activities, both in the war and in civilian life. He was active in the G.A.R. and the Republican Party.
William Spalding, Jr. --"Willie" (1849- ). Her correspondence largely concerns mining in Florence, Idaho, a trip east in search of capital for a mining venture, the journey to Alaska in 1909, and life in the Alaska gold fields. His letters, though few, deal mainly with developments in mining and prospecting.
Alfred Eugene Spalding--"Genie" (1851-1920). Most of his letters concern his medical practice (surgical developments, patient problems, etc.) and family affairs.
Edward Bartlett Spalding (1868-1960). His letters deal with life at the Normal College, 1887-1889, and at the University of Michigan, 1889-1892 (courses, housing, vocal music---including the U. of M. Glee Club, Dental fraternity, and social activities), with establishing and expanding a dental practice in Detroit (financial problems, new techniques, etc.), and with Detroit social, vocal music, and church (Presbyterian, including comments on the Rev. Duffield) activities. There are scattered comments on politics, the Spanish-American War, and his role as a party-time instructor at the U. Of M. Dental School from 1904 through 1908.
- Biographical / Historical:
Three families are represented in this collection of letters and other family materials: the Family of Miranda Sexton Spalding which include Sexton and Bartlett family members; the Family of William P. Spalding which include Spalding and Paine family members; and the William P. and Miranda Sexton Spalding Family.
Family of Miranda Sexton Spalding
Sexton and Bartlett family biographical sketches
"Addison" (Joseph Addison) Sexton (1810-1902). Brother. Connecticut-born Presbyterian minister and teacher. Moved from Connecticut to New York in 1830, where he worked and attended college, graduating in 1835. He was at Yale Divinity School, 1836-39, and Andover Theological Seminary, 1841. He served pastorates in Manchester, New York, 1842, and Greenport, New York, 1843-45, before moving South to New River, Louisiana, 1846-50. In 1850, he returned North, where he served pastorates in Connecticut. In 1856, he married and spent most of the rest of his life teaching: first in Connecticut, 1856-63, and then in New York, mainly at Cooper Union. In 1902, he was killed by a robber.
Alfred M. Sexton (1815-1895). Brother. Connecticut-born Alabama merchant. Moved to Greene County, Alabama, in 1836, where he clerked in his brother-in-law's store. In 1838, he took over operation of a store in Newbern, Alabama, and in 1842, he married Henrietta Airey of Greene County, Alabama. When the store failed in 1855, he became head of the boarding department of a girls school in Summerfield, Alabama. During the war, he clerked in a Selma, Alabama, store, and after the war, tried cotton farming in 1870-71 without success. Then, he became head of the stewards and boarding department of a girls school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Charles Sexton, Jr. (1809-1842). Brother. Connecticut-born storekeeper and bookkeeper. He tried various business ventures in Amherst, Connecticut, Baltimore, Maryland, and Savannah, Georgia. He died in Georgia in 1842.
Charles Sexton, Sr. (-1864). Father. Connecticut farmer and store owner. Born in Somers, Connecticut, he spent most of his life in Ellington, Connecticut. In 1860, he and his wife, Mary Bartlett Sexton, moved to the home of his son, Addison, in Norwichtown, Connecticut, and in 1861, to the home of his daughter, Mary Sexton Spalding, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
Edwin Sexton (1814-between 1895 and 1901). Brother. Connecticut-born storekeeper and farmer who spent most of his life in Illinois and served in the Union army. He moved from Connecticut to Illinois in 1839 and lived most of his years in Augusta. Fervently pro-Union, he served in Col. L. Delanos Calvary, 2nd Illinois Volunteer, 1861-64.
Hannah Sexton (-1848). Cousin. School teacher in Alabama and Connecticut. Went to Greene County, Alabama, to teach from 1838 to 1841. Returned to Connecticut where she also taught school.
Henry M. Sexton (-1866). Brother. Connecticut-born itinerate Methodist preacher and Swedenborgian evangelist. He taught school in New York, 1843-46, and went South in 1849. Not liking the South, he returned north where he spent the rest of his life serving small congregations and distributing religious literature: in Ohio, 1850-55, and in Illinois, 1856-66.
John M. Sexton (-1873). Brother. Connecticut-born Alabama merchant and Confederate Army veteran. Moved to New York in 1839; taught school in Connecticut, 1840-41, and clerked in New York during 1842. In 1846, he moved to Alabama where he taught school and operated a colportage business. A bachelor, he served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. In 1863, he was captured and wrote letters to his family on his experiences. Subsequently, he was exchanged and lost a leg in the service of the Confederacy. After the war, he wrote of how the conflict had divided the family and of the lives of family members who remained in the South.
Lorenzo Sexton (1812-1892). Brother. Connecticut-born Alabama merchant and planter. Husband of Ann R. Gray Sexton, widow of an Alabama planter and mistress of Oakland plantation. From 1831-37, he was a musician (fiddler) and civil servant in Florida. In 1838, he moved to Greene County, Alabama, where he served as his brother-in-law's (Amos Lively) partner in a general store. The following year, he married Mrs. Ann R. Gray (1797- ) of Havanna, Alabama, the widow of a wealthy planter and close friend of his sister, Mrs. Mary Sexton Lively. He spent the rest of his life as a planter despite difficulties during the changing economic and racial situation of Reconstruction.
Mary B. Sexton Lively (1816-1891). Sister. Connecticut-born wife of Southern merchant in Alabama, Texas, and Illinois. Went to Alabama to teach school in 1835. Married Amos Lively of Havanna, Greene County, Alabama, in 1836. He ran a general store, first by himself and then with his brother-in-law, Lorenzo Sexton (Sexton and Lively). In 1839, the business failed, and in 1845, they moved to Mobile, Alabama, where he operated a boarding house. Still suffering from financial distress, they moved to Texas in 1852, where he worked for Chism in the cattle business and she taught school. During the war, they tried raising cotton, and in 1865, moved to Illinois. They lived in Illinois for four years, but returned to Texas in 1869. Their son Henry died on August 27, 1869. Other children were James and Alice. Mary left her husband in 1870 and came back to Illinois.
Mary Bartlett Sexton (1786-1865). Mother. Married Charles Sexton, Sr., in 1808 (see his sketch). Her family was originally from East Windsor, Connecticut.
Otis Sexton (circa 1818-between 1895 and 1901). Brother. Connecticut-born Methodist and Baptist minister. Moved to Havanna, Greene County, Alabama in 1838, where he worked for his brother-in-law as a clerk. He went North to New York about 1843 and married a Connecticut woman, but returned South in 1848 as a Methodist preacher. He was in Florida in 1851 and in Alabama in 1853. Returning North in 1854, he served small congregations in Connecticut and New York until 1869 and in Appleton, Wisconsin, thereafter. He was a Methodist minister for most of his career with the exception of 1864-81, when he filled Baptist pulpits.
Samuel Sexton (-1904). Brother. Youngest child of Charles and Mary Sexton. Until the 1850's, he stayed on the family farm in Ellington, Connecticut. Thereafter, he was a farmer and storekeeper in Connecticut.
Family of William P. Spalding
Spalding and Paine Family Biographical Sketches
Luther Spalding (-1825). Father. Doctor. Served in War of 1812 in Connecticut regiment. Graduated from Yale Medical School in 1822. Afterwards, practiced medicine in Stow, Portage County, Ohio, where he died during an epidemic. Married Maria Paine.
Maria Paine Spalding (-1860). Mother. Born in Connecticut and moved to Ohio with her husband. After his death, she returned to Connecticut. Later, she lived with her daughter, Mary, in New Lisbon, Ohio, at the Soo, and in Canisteo, New York. In 1856, she was committed to a mental institution. After her death, she was buried with her husband in Stowe, Ohio.
Mary E. Spalding Chamberlain (1825- ). Sister. Spent her early years in Connecticut, but returned to Ohio (New Lisbon), where her mother's family was concentrated. Cared for her mother. For awhile, stayed with the William Spalding family at the Soo. In 1856, she married a medical doctor, C.P. Chamberlain, d. 1886-7, and spent the rest of her life in Canisteo, New York.
John Spalding (1820-1887). Brother. Operated mercantile business based at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with brother, William Spalding. Shortly before the civil War, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, but he returned later to manage on the ship canals at the Soo. His wife was named Achsah. Their children were Ella, Charles, and another daughter.
The William P. and Miranda Sexton Spalding Family Biographical Sketches
Miranda Sexton Spalding (1826-1910). Wife of William P. Spalding. Born in Ellington, Holland County, Connecticut, and attended school in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1846, she went South to stay with her sister and brother-in-law and teach music at the Female Academy in Eutah, Greene County, Alabama. She returned to Connecticut, and in 1848, married William P. Spalding, a Connecticut native who had settled at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. She remained at the Soo for most of the rest of her life with the exception of brief stays in the Marquette Iron (1864-1865) and Keweenaw copper (1866-1868) regions of Michigan, in Ruffin, North Carolina (1864-1865) and Keweenaw copper (1866-1868) regions of Michigan, in Ruffin, North Carolina (1869-1874), and at her son's home in Luverne, Rock County, Minnesota (1908-1910).
William P. Spalding (1822- ). Store owner, mining prospector, Civil War veteran, and carpetbagger. Husband of Miranda Sexton Spalding. Born in Connecticut, he spent his first few years in Stow, Portage County, Ohio, but returned to Connecticut at an early age (following his father's death). There, he worked for Fox Brothers store in Hartford, but in 1846, he moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, where together with his brother John and Charles Bacon (later Charles C. Child was his partner), he operated a store which sold supplies to miners in the newly-opened mineral fields of Michigan. During the Civil War, he served as Quartermaster o the 27th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, 1862-1864. In 1864, he went to the Marquette Range as a mining supervisor, and after the war, he worked in the Copper Country of Michigan and tried running a plantation in Ruffin, North Carolina. He returned to the Soo and spent much of the rest of his life mineral prospecting.
William Spalding, Jr. --"Willie" (1849- ). Mining prospector. Son of Miranda and William. He attended Michigan Agricultural College and then worked for the federal government and a tobacco manufacturer in North Carolina. About 1880, he moved to Oregon and spent most of the rest of his life prospecting for minerals (largely gold) in Idaho and Alaska. He divorced his first wife by whom he had three children: Myra (from whom there is correspondence since her grandmother, Miranda Sexton Spalding, reared her), Charles (who lived with him for awhile), and Carrie. His second wife, Adelle H., whom he married in 1900, was a regular correspondent.
Alfred Eugene Spalding--"Genie" (1851-1920). Medical Doctor. Son of Miranda and William. Born in Michigan, his parents, in1869, sent him to Canisteo, New York, to attend school and learn medicine from his uncle (Dr. C.P. Chamberlain). He attended the University of Michigan Dental School in 1872-1873 and graduated from Jefferson Medical School in 1874. He practiced medicine in Luverne, Rock County, Minnesota.
Edward Bartlett Spalding (1868-1960). Dentist. Son of Miranda and William. Born at Eagle Harbor in the Copper Country of Michigan, he spent most of his early years at the Soo. He attended the Normal College at Ypsilanti from 1887 to June 1889 and graduated from Dental School at the University of Michigan in 1892. In 1892 he established his dental practice in Detroit. He was president of the Michigan Dental Society and a professional church vocalist. Unmarried until 1909, he was a regular correspondent of his mother.
- Acquisition Information:
- Mrs. Winston T. Ely (Barbara Spalding Ely) made the great bulk of the collection available for copying, 1969-1971 and 1979 (donor no. 4063 ). Dr. Edward P. Spalding (donor no. 3188 ) also allowed the library to copy family materials. In 2006, Gregg and Judi Hatcher, now custodians of the papers, donated most of the originals to replace the copies previously made.
- Processing information:
All of the papers in box 1-2 (originals or photocopies) were microfilmed in 2007, rolls 1-6. Roll 7, filmed in 1979 from borrowed material, includes some papers found in boxes 1-2 plus additional papers which the library does not hold.
In preparing digital material for long-term preservation and access, the Bentley Historical Library adheres to professional best practices and standards to ensure that content will retain its authenticity and integrity. For more information on procedures for the ingest and processing of digital materials, please see Bentley Historical Library Digital Processing Note. Access to digital material may be provided either as a direct link to an individual file or as a downloadable package of files bundled in a zip file.
- Location of Originals:
The originals of the Spalding papers are held by the Bentley Historical Library.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Dentists -- Michigan.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Dwellings -- Michigan -- Sault Sainte Marie.
Fishing -- Michigan.
Hunting -- Michigan.
Indians of North America -- Michigan -- Sault Sainte Marie.
Shipping -- Michigan -- Sault Sainte Marie.
University of Michigan. School of Dentistry.
University of Michigan -- Students -- Correspondence.
Spalding, Edward Bartlett, 1868-1960.
Spalding, William P., 1822-
Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.)
Sault Sainte Marie (Mich.) -- Dwellings.
Sault Sainte Marie Canal (Mich.)
Using These Materials
The collection is open to research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
- PREFERRED CITATION:
[item], folder, box, Spalding Family Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan