Dixon-Welling family Letters: accession number MS 46829


Dixon-Welling family Letters: accession number MS 46829


Philanthropic gifts -- Welling family


In 1939 Miss Elizabeth Dixon Welling donated these letters to the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT. The letters were catalogued under accession record in MS:46829. The collection includes:

Joel Abbot Letter, 24 October 1850, Warren, Rhode Island, to James Dixon, Hartford, Conn
Discusses the willingness of Joel Abbot to go on an exploration trip on the principal rivers in Africa under the flag of the United States; suggests that a colony of free blacks introduced there could create a demand for the manufactured products of this country.

John J. Audubon Letter, 27 October 1821, New Orleans, LA, to F. Rozier, St. Genevieve, Missouri. The endorsement indicates that this letter was given to Mrs. James Dixon by Lucy Audubon on July 15th, 1869. Audubon asks Rozier to borrow and send to him Audubon’s drawing of the male prairiegrouse which he sold to a French gentleman because he needs it to complete his collection of drawings of the birds of America. See File #209

Autograph of William Cullen Bryant with a letter of presentation by Wm. D. Shipman, dated 15 September 1867.
The autograph of Bryant is cut from a leaf in a book and the letter from Judge William D. Shipman guarantees that it is genuine. It was presented to Mrs. Dixon on 15 September 1867.

Senator John Clayton letter to James Dixon, dated 7 April 1847.
In a personal letter to James Dixon, John Clayton expresses his wishes to visit the “glorious old State of Connecticutt [sic]” but declines Dixon's invitation for the visit citing business in Washington, D.C. which prevents him from traveling. Clayton also the upcoming Connecticut election as well as his support of President Zachary Taylor.

Letter from Rufus Choate to James Dixon, dated 14 July 1848.
A typed transcription is included. Rufus Choate, a famed orator and lawyer, inquires about a book of patents written by Henry L. Ellsworth, the brother of James Dixon's business partner William W. Ellsworth.

Collection of James Fenimore Cooper material (circa 1834) including a letter from Wm. D. Shipman dated 10 October 1867 presented to Mrs. James Dixon.

This small collection contains an incomplete holograph draft of James Fenimore Cooper's story “The Headsman,” a check endorsed by Cooper (dated 22 October 1834), photographs showing Cooper in life as well as his place of burial and a letter from Judge Wm. D. Shipman (dated 10 October 1867) which explains how he acquired the materials originally.

Photograph and letter from Judge B.R. Curtis (dated 22 April 1868).
Judge Benjamin R. Curtis wrote a letter on behalf of D.N.C. Clarke, Esq. (who received Mrs. Dixon's request for the photograph of Curtis). Judge Curtis gladly provided a photograph for Mrs. Dixon.

Letters (dated 16 August 1862 and 15 June 1869) from George William Curtis.
Famed orator, educational reformer, and author George William Curtis wrote to Mrs. James Dixon in 1862 and discussed praise of Abraham Lincoln's "...faith and... purpose" as well as his belief that the Civil War was a "tremendous education for the nation..." The later letter in the collection is written to a Mr. Robert Browning, Esq. of London (likely of poetic fame) discussing the Dixon family. Curtis introduces the family to Browning and tells him of their travel plans to the area and hopes Browning will warmly welcome them.

Millard Fillmore letter, 5 April 1858, Albany, New York, to N.K. Hall
The letter discusses the convenience for Mrs. Fillmore to have John as a coachman because he knows persons and localities; the eendorsement indicates that John’s current employer wishes to keep him. Fillmore wrote this not long after the death of his first wife, Abigail Powers, and remarriage to Caroline McIntosh only a short two months prior to when this letter was written.

Letter from General Gordon Granger, not dated.
This letter is written to "Mrs. Senator Dixon" and is an invitation to a Cavalry party at the request of Gordon Granger as well as Col. Owen.

Collection of seven Horace Greeley letters
The Greeley letters span a time period from 1863 through 1866 and contain discussion of pressing issues of the time including the Civil War and the institution of slavery in the United States. An avid abolitionist, Greeley surmises in one of his letters (dated 14 August 1863) that slavery must be abolished and he also mentions the possibility that there be compensation for emancipation.

Fitz-Greene Halleck Collection
The papers of Fitz-Greene Halleck comprise an invitation to dinner at the White House on behalf of President Martin Van Buren, two letters written to the Dixon family and a handwritten copy of Halleck's poem entitled "Marco Bozzaris."

James A. Hamilton Letters, fragment of Alexander Hamilton manuscript.
This small collection contains two letters (dated 5 January and 14 January 1863) from the son of Alexander Hamilton, James A. Hamilton which discuss the troubles he went through to acquire the autographs. There is also a piece of a document dated 25 July 1795 on which is written the signatures of Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King as well as the autograph of a man whose hand cannot be deciphered.

Undated note regarding Mrs. Dixon's White House invitation on March 1.
The note written by Henry, the nephew of President James Buchanan, expresses the acceptance that both he and Mrs. Dixon will be present at the Executive Mansion on March 1.

Washington Irving Letter, 1852 December 27, Sunnyside, New York, to George P. Putnam.
Washington Irving thanks Putnam for the confidence he had in the continued vitality of his writings when others had almost persuaded him they were defunct and rejoices in their shared success.

Thomas Jefferson note, 22 November 1802, to John Mason
Thomas Jefferson sends a gift to John Mason of three “paccan” [pecan] trees as well as the note that is included in the collection.
See Item #237

Andrew Johnson letter, 24 March 1864, to James Dixon
Dixon’s counsel is needed and Johnson is gratified on hearing that he is recovering; inquires whether his endorsement on Cleveland’s resignation meets with Dixon’s approval. E. S. Cleveland was Hartford Postmaster at this time.

Bill of Sale from John B. Johnson to John Marshall regarding the sale of a slave family dated 3 July 1787. John B. Johnson sells an African-American woman, named Dicey, and her child; on verso John Marshall writes bill of sale for this mother and child to Jaqueline Ambler. John Marshall of Virginia married Mary Ambler in 1783. The 1790 census shows Jaqueline Ambler, Esquire, as a resident of Virginia.
See File #215 and File #216

Lydia King papers (These have not been found yet)

Telegram, invitation, note and envelope written by Abraham Lincoln to Senator James Dixon.
This small collection of Lincoln material contains a telegram from 15 August 1862 to Senator Dixon stating "Come here. A. Lincoln" as well as an invitation from the President and Mrs. Lincoln for dinner on "Monday Feb 13th at 7 o'clock." There is also a handwritten note with the names of four Connecticut men and stating that Lincoln did not wish to come in conflict with Dixon if he had nominated another man. The collection also contains an envelope in Lincoln's hand addressed to Senator Dixon.

Mary Todd Lincoln letter, 27 January [no year], to Mrs. Dixon.
The letter describes a gift of bouquets that Mrs. Lincoln sent to Mrs. Dixon as well as the hardships faced by the Lincoln family with the sickness of one of their sons. Mrs. Lincoln also writes that she is ready to attend Mrs. Dixon to area hospitals “when it is pleasant.”

Letters from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Mrs. Dixon.
On 23 October 1856, Longfellow discussed that he will carefully preserve the relic of the Charter Oak Mrs. Dixon sent him and will assume that Captain Wadsworth was an ancestor until proved otherwise. Years later on 9 November 1865 writes how he has been very busy as of late and would be “most happy to subscribe to the monument in honor of Mrs. [Lydia] Sigourney.

James Monroe Letter, 30 September 1822, to John Mason, Georgetown, D. C.
Monroe asks Mason to confer further with him on the subject of the letter Mason received from Peter Du Ponceau

Franklin Pierce letter, 27 April 1866, Concord, New Hampshire, to James Dixon, Washington, D. C. Pierce saw the intellectual force, power and truth in Dixon’s speech as reported and was glad to receive the complete text. Dixon’s reply of May 1, 1866, is available in the Library of Congress and indicates that the speech was given on February 27, 1866. The title was “Peace and re-union.”

John Randolph letter, 28 February 1806, Georgetown, D.C., to Edward Carrington
Randolph writes that he will readily testify in the suit between Nelson and the heirs of the late N. Burwell, but feels that William Burwell of Franklin is the person best acquainted with the value of that estate

Henry Sherman letter, 22 April 1867, Washington City, D.C., to James Dixon.
In this letter, Henry Sherman discusses that he knows Senator Dixon's affiliation with the American Party to be correct. Sherman also tells Dixon that he knows the popular statements of some senators that Dixon belongs to the “Know Nothing Lodge” to be false.

Bayard Taylor letter, 8 October 1854, New York, New York, to Chicago.
Sent to an unknown recipient in Chicago, this letter dated 8 October 1854, discusses the upcoming lectures on topics such as “India,” “Discovery in Central Africa” and “The Philosophy of Travel” of the famed poet, travel writer and literary critic Bayard Taylor.

Tin-type found after the battle of Monocacy
This aged tin-type depicting a mother and child was found on the battlefield after the Battle of Monocacy on 9 July 1864. It has a note glued to the back which states: “This picture was found upon the battlefield of “Monocacy.” There seems to be quite an expression of sadness in the face of the mother. Oh! How dreadful are the realities of War.” It was given to Mrs. Dixon by Capt. Horace K. Thatcher.

Julia Gardiner Tyler letter, 6 August 1869, Staten Island, New York to Elizabeth Dixon
Tyler recalls her disappointment at seeing King Louis Philippe in a soiled court dress and droll looking wig accidentally on one side. All her letters were destroyed in the burning of Richmond, Virginia, but she sends an autograph to Mrs.Dixon as requested from her remaining treasures

George Washington letter, 7 October 1799, Mount Vernon, to William Thornton, Federal City.
George Washington asks Thornton to take Colonel Thomas Walker and grandson-in-law, William Cabell Rives sightseeing around Washington, D. C. and to show them the canals and falls in the Potomac River.

Daniel Webster letter, 17 May 1845, New York, New York, to James Dixon, Hartford, Conn.
Daniel Webster accepts Dixon’s invitation and plans to spend a day in Hartford, Conn. on his way from Boston to New York. The collection also contains two notes asking people to join Webster at his house.

Nathaniel Parker Willis letter, 24 December 1852, Cornwall, New York, to James Dixon
Willis is gratified by Dixon’s favorable comments on Webster’s article on Clay and thanks for commendations of his invalid tour.

Harriet Malvina Wilson letter, 7 August 1869, Natick, to Mrs. Dixon.
Harriet Wilson, the wife of vice-president Henry Wilson, wrote to Mrs. Dixon to discuss her request about the Jones’ case and her daughter’s happiness as well as present sickness Wilson was having.


Caroline Welling Van Deusen, Project Archivist




Collection of manuscripts and papers, subjects include
Joel Abbot
John J. Audubon
William Cullen Bryant
Senator John Clayton
Rufus Choate
James Fenimore Cooper
Judge B.R. Curtis
George William Curtis
General Gordon Granger
Horace Greeley
Invitation to Buchanan White House
Invitation to Lincoln White House
Fitz-Greene Halleck
Alexander Hamilton
Rufus King
Washington Irving
Thomas Jefferson
Andrew Johnson
John Marshall
Abraham Lincoln
Mary Todd Lincoln
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Franklin Pierce
John Randolph
Henry Sherman
Bayard Taylor
Julia Gardiner Tyler
George Washington
Daniel Webster
Nathaniel Parker Willis
Mrs. Henry (Harriet Malvina) Wilson

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Date Added
January 25, 2013
Item Type
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Caroline Welling Van Deusen, Project Archivist, “Dixon-Welling family Letters: accession number MS 46829,” E - A r c h i V e s , accessed November 26, 2022, https://citizenarchivist.omeka.net/items/show/620.