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.
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.