1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects


    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Joseph J. Fenner Family Papers

 Stone carver and merchant, of Providence, R.I.

 Family papers, 1796-1855

 Size: 4 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 412

 Processed by: Harold E. Kemble, August 1986

Updated by Rick Stattler, January 2003


©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division

 


Historical note:


            Joseph J. Fenner (1781-1856) was a Providence stonecutter and merchant, son of Richard Fenner. He wed Harriet D. Manchester (c1790-1839) and they had several children, including:


Edmund Austin (1807-1824)

Harriet D. (c1810-1856), never married

Hepza (c1812-1856)

Albert (c1814-1834)

Caroline H. (1817-1841), married Nathan Truman (1813-1886) in 1839

Charles Otis (c1818-1877)

Maria Celia (1821-1893), married Nathan Truman (1813-1886) in 1851


At some time in approximately 1831, Fenner was confined on account of a mental disorder. Although his correspondence and accounts do continue, it is clear that his estate was managed by a succession of court-appointed trustees, while Fenner himself was put out to board with families in Providence and Jamestown.


Bibliography:

Cutter, William R. New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, 561. New York, 1915.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Rhode Island vital records


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Scope and content:


            These papers will be of particular interest to genealogists, as his records include accounts for sales of grave markers, inscriptions made on grave markers, and mention of a few burials. Also of interest are the accounts for such fixtures as mantles, door and window sills and window caps, hearthstones and other stone products that J.J. Fenner made.


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Provenance:


            The bulk of these papers were purchased from Associated Appraisers in 1970. They were acquired along with the related Nathan H. Truman Papers (MSS 762).

            Thirteen additional documents were donated by Jennifer Madden in 2002. She had purchased them circa 1998 at D.R. Nelson's antique shop in New Bedford, Mass. This latter gift consisted of ten Joseph J. Fenner letters dated: 5/20/1812, 8/5/1812, 6/20/1817, 11/17/1819, 12/8/1819, 12/16/1819, 1/10/1820, 1/24/1820, 3/4/1820, 10/14/1820; an undated contract re house construction; inscription of Thomas Mathewson gravestone, undated; and a letter to Charles Fenner, 9/27/1839.


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Processing note:



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Inventory:


JOSEPH J. FENNER


Correspondence. 1798-1855, 1 linear foot.

In addition to the several merchants with whom he dealt, Fenner's papers include letters received from (and a few copies of letters sent to) a variety of family members (see additional entries).

Box 1, folder 1. Undated and fragments

Box 1, folder 2. 1798-1799

Box 1, folder 3. 1800-1804

Box 1, folder 4. 1805-1806

Box 1, folder 5. 1807

Box 1, folder 6. 1808-1809

Box 1, folder 7. 1810

Box 1, folder 8. 1811

Box 1, folder 9. 1812

Box 1, folder 10. 1813

Box 1, folder 11. 1814

Box 1, folder 12. 1815

Box 1, folder 13. 1816

Box 1, folder 14. 1817

Box 1, folder 15. 1818

Box 1, folder 16. 1819

Box 1, folder 17. 1820

Box 1, folder 18. 1821

Box 1, folder 19. 1822

Box 1, folder 20. 1823

Box 1, folder 21. 1824

Box 1, folder 22. 1825

Box 1, folder 23. 1826

Box 1, folder 24. 1827

Box 1, folder 25. 1828

Box 1, folder 26. 1830-1837

Box 1, folder 27. 1844-1849

Box 1, folder 28. 1850-1855


Gravestone names and inscriptions, and sketches of mantles. 0.25 linear feet.

Box 2. Filed alphabetically by name on stone. See also the correspondence and the accounts.


Aldrich, Welcome

Allin, Shearjashub B.

Angell, Charles

Angell, Charles

Angell, Jabetha

Angell, Tabitha

Arnold, Philip

Aylmer, Ann

Barker, son of Hiram and Ruth

Barker, James S.

Barker, Ruth

Barton, Ann

Barton, James F.

Billings, Henry

Blake, Louisa Gray

Blashfield, Chester

Brown, Hannah

Brown, John

Brown, Lucretia

Brown, Nathaniel

Brown, Patrick H.

Brown, Zephaniah

Brownell, James F.

Burr, James

               (see Grinnell, Charles)

Bush, Thomas

Butler, Samuel

Butler, Samuel

Butler, Sarah

Carpenter, Nathaniel

Church, Samuel

Church, William

Clarke, Stephen H.

Clarke, Thomas

Coffin, Betsy

Cole, Virtue

Cooke, Mercy Ann

Cornel, Priscillah

Cory, Daniel

Curtis, Thomas D.

Curtis, Thomas D.

Danforth, Sarah

Davis, Israel

Dexter, Amey

Draper, Aaron

Easton, Norman

Fenner, Albert

Fenner, Eliza

Fenner, John

Field, James


Field, John

Field, John

Field, Nancy

Field, Phebe

Field, Sterling

Field, William

Fiske, Elizabeth

Gardiner, Edwin

Gladding, Ann

Graves, Ann

Graves, Hannah

Graves, Joanna

Graves, Matthew

Graves, Rev. John

Greene, Deborah

Grinnell, Charles

Grinnell, Deborah Elizabeth

Harris, [?]ceana

Hathaway, Harriet

Hopkins, Ruth

              (see Smith, Benjamin)

Hoppin, Levi

How, George

James, John

Jenckes, Sarah

Jones, John

Killey, Vinney [?]

Kimball, Dean

Kimball, Thankful

Knight, Nehemiah

Knowles, Anne

Knowles, Jonathan

Leonard, Samuel

Lippitt, Ann-Maria

Low, Almira

Luther, John

Manton, Daniel

Manton, Patience

Mason, Lydia

Mason, Noah

Mathewson, John

Mathewson, Thomas

Mauran, Joseph

Mitchell, Anna E.

Morgan, William

Nichols, Charles F.

Paine, Elizabeth L.

Paine, Lydia

Parker, Priscilla

Pearce, Jonathan E.


Perrin, Meliscent

Petty, Betsey

Potter, Meshack

Randall, Mercy

Rhodes, Fidelia

Rhodes, Mary P.

Rhodes, Waity [?]

Richmond, Alice A.

Richmond, Franklin

Richmond, Sarah

Richmond, Sophia

Roberts, Caroline

Rogers, John

Sheldon, William

Simmons, Capt. Sylvester

Simmons, Sylvester

Smith, Amey

Smith, Benjamin

Smith, Benjamin

Smith, Daniel

Smith, Hopkins

Smith, Lidia

Smith, Mary

Smith, Sarah

Smith, William

Sprague, Thomas

Stewart, Anstis

Stratton, Phebe

Taylor, Caroline F.

Taylor, John S.

Wardwell, Josiah F.

Waterman, Amey

Waterman, Nancy

Weeden, Samuel

Wheeler, Julia Ann

Whipple, William

Whitaker, infants of Arnold

Willard, Emmelina

Accounts

Box 3, folders 1-5. Stone cutter accounts, 1800-1836 and undated (receipts, bills for purchase of stone and for sales of cut stones)

Box 3, folders 6-19. Household accounts and accounts as a merchant, 1799-1837 and undated

Box 3, folder 20. Estate of James Crichton, 1823

Box 3, folder 21. Accounts with Peter D. Greene, 1823-1827

Box 3, folder 22. Accounts of the estate of Sullivan Lincoln, 1822-1826

Box 3, folder 23. Accounts of the firm Manchester & Fenner, 1800-1808, 1816

Volume 1. Journal of general store and stonecutting business, 1806-1812

Volume 2. Journal of general store and stonecutting business, 1812-1816

Volume 3. Journal of general store and stonecutting business, 1825-1837. Also estate of Joseph J. Fenner, 1849-1857

Volume 4. Pocket memo book, 1832-1833

Volume 5. Accounts, 1829. Includes inscription for stone of Abigail P. Fuller.

Volume 6. Accounts, 1823-1828

Volume 7. Accounts due and receivable, 1820-1824

Volume 8. Household accounts, 1823-

Volume 10. Accounts, 1807-1830

Volume 11. Accounts, 1821-1829


Miscellaneous

Box 3, folder 24. Apprenticeship agreement with William S. Manchester, 1818

Box 3, folder 25. Certificates of exemption from military duty due to poor health, 1807, 1809

Box 3, folder 26. Compositions, some apparently intended at editorial letters, undated

Box 3, folder 27. Contract with Luther & Smith for construction of house for J.J. Fenner, 1821

Box 3, folder 28. Diary re ocean voyage from Providence to Newport to Northampton, undated

Box 3, folder 29. Ephemera

Box 3, folder 30. Licences, 1821-1825

Box 3, folder 31. Property records (deeds, leases), 1813-1830

Box 3, folder 32. Shares in the Middlefield Free Stone Comapny, 1810

Volume 9. Composition book, undated


Estate of Joseph J. Fenner. Accounts as a ward, 1831-1854. 0.5 linear feet.

Box 4, folder 1. 1831-1839

Box 4, folder 2. 1840-1844

Box 4, folder 3. 1845-1849

Box 4, folder 4. 1850-1854

Volume 12. Ledger, 1828-1838


ALBERT FENNER (1814-1834). Son of Joseph J. Fenner

Box 4, folder 5. Miscellaneous papers, 1822-1835:

            Journal, 1828-1833

            Daybook, 1822-1829

            Poem titled "Tyranny," undated

            Three accounts and receipts, 1833-1834

 

CAROLINE H. (FENNER) TRUMAN (1817-1841). Daughter of Joseph J. Fenner. First wife of Nathan Truman (1813-1886).

Box 4, folder 6. Letters received, 1836-1839

Mostly from sister Harriet D. Fenner, mother Harriet D. (Manchester) Fenner, friend Julia --- of Philadelphia, and suitor James Ward Simmons.


CHARLES OTIS FENNER (c1818-1877). Son of Joseph J. Fenner.

Box 4, folder 7. Letters received, 1837-1849.

Mostly from sister Caroline, friend James Ward Simmons, and "brother" Nathan Truman.

Box 4, folder 8. Miscellaneous:

            Diary, February 11 to March 20 1841, addressed to sisters Harriet and Hepza.

            Receipts, 1837, 1842


HARRIET D. FENNER (c1810-1856). Daughter of Joseph J. Fenner.

Letters are mostly from cousin Eliza M. Fenner of Northampton, 1823-1849; friend Caroline Burrill (Potter) Farnum of Worcester, Westborough, and Philadelphia, 1824-1841; brother-in-law Nathan Truman in Matanzas, 1841; and brother Charles O. Fenner, 1841-1849. Of particular interst is a letter by her to Dr. Rufus Wyman re her father's condition, December 14 1832. A run of letters in 1836 are from sister Caroline Fenner, addressed to Miss Harriet, but mostly beginning "Dear Mother". They were apparently intended for family consumption.

Box 5, folder 1. Letters received, 1823-1825

Box 5, folder 2. Letters received, 1826-1827

Box 5, folder 3. Letters received, 1828-1829

Box 5, folder 4. Letters received, 1830-1831.

Box 5, folder 5. Letters received, 1832-1833

Box 5, folder 6. Letters received, 1834-1835

Box 5, folder 7. Letters received, 1836-1837

Box 5, folder 8. Letters received, 1838-1839

Box 5, folder 9. Letters received, 1840-1841

Box 5, folder 10. Letters received, 1842-1843

Box 5, folder 11. Letters received, 1844-1845

Box 5, folder 12. Letters received, 1846-1847

Box 5, folder 13. Letters received, 1849

Box 5, folder 14. Letters received, undated

Box 5, folder 15. Acrostic by Madeline M. Manchester, undated

Box 5, folder 16. Cash book, 1835-1847


HARRIET D. (MANCHESTER) FENNER (1790-1839). Wife of Joseph J. Fenner.

Box 4, folder 9. Letters received, 1801-1837.

            Mostly from sister Madeleine H. Manchester of Roxbury.


ISRAEL FENNER. Brother of Joseph J. Fenner.

Box 4, folder 10. Deed, 1823; two receipts, 1796 and undated

 

MARIA C. (FENNER) TRUMAN (1821-1893). Daughter of Joseph J. Fenner. Second wife of Nathan Truman (1813-1886), amrried in 1851.

Box 4, folder 11. Letters received, 1841-1852.

Mostly from brother Charles O. Fenner, sister Harriet D. Fenner, and father Joseph J. Fenner (1850-1852).


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Subjects:


This is a list of subjects and principal topics covered in the collection, but is not a full index.

Atwell, Samuel. Letter to Joseph J. Fenner, 1813.

Barstow, Nathaniel. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner, 1847-1849.

Bullock, Nathaniel, 1779-1867. Letter to Joseph J. Fenner, 1818.

Chaffee, Zachariah, 1785-1840. Letter to Joseph J. Fenner, 1821.

Crichton, James. Estate papers, 1823 Box 3, folder 20.

Diaries - Undated. Diary kept by Joseph J. Fenner re ocean voyage from Providence to Newport to Northampton, undated Box 3, folder 28.

Diaries - 1841. Travel diary of Charles O. Fenner, February 11 to March 20 1841, addressed to sisters Harriet and Hepza. Box 4, folder 8.

Farnum, Caroline B. (Potter). Frequent letters from Caroline Burrill (Potter) Farnum of Worcester and Philadelphia, to friend Harriet D. Fenner, 1823-1841. Box 5, folders 1-9.

Fenner, Albert, 1814-1834. Letter to father Joseph J. Fenner, 1834; journal, 1828-1833; daybook, 1822-1829; poem titled "Tyranny," undated; three accounts and receipts, 1833-1834 Box 1, folder 26; box 4, folder 5.

Fenner, Caroline H., 1817-1841. See: Truman, Caroline H. (Fenner), 1817-1841 .

Fenner, Charles Otis, c1818-1877. Folder of letters received, 1837-1849; diary, February 11 to March 20 1841, addressed to sisters Harriet and Hepza; receipts, 1837, 1842; letters to sister Harriet, 1841-1849. Box 4, folders 7-8; box 5, folders 9-13.

Fenner, Eliza M.. Letter to grandfather Joseph J. Fenner, 1837; frequent letters to cousion Harriet D. Fenner, 1823-1849 Box 1, folder 28; box 5, folders 1-13.

Fenner, Harriet D., c1810-1856. Letters received, 1823-1849, mostly from cousin Eliza M. Fenner of Northampton, and friend Caroline Burrill (Potter) Farnum. Also letters to father Joseph J. Fenner, 1851; Box 5 (her papers); Box 1, folder 28.

Fenner, Harriet D. (Manchester), 1790-1839. Letters received, 1801-1837, mostly from sister Madeleine H. Manchester of Roxbury . Box 4, folder 9.

Fenner, Israel. Letters to brother Joseph J. Fenner, 1798-1809; deed, 1823; two receipts, 1796 and undated. Box 1, folders 2-6; box 4, folder 10.

Fenner, Jeremiah . Letter to Joseph J. Fenner from brother Jeremiah of Cranston, 1821.

Fenner, Maria C., 1821-1893. See: Truman, Maria C. (Fenner), 1821-1893.

Fenner, Sion . Letters to brother Joseph J. Fenner, 1798-1809.

Fenner, Welcome. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner from brother Welcome, 1849-1850.

General stores - Rhode Island - Providence. Account books and loose financial papers of Providence stone carver and general store owner Joseph J. Fenner, 1799-1837.

Gibbs, Elijah. Letter to Joseph J. Fenner, 1824.

Jamestown, R.I. - Social life and customs. Personal papers of a Providence stone carver who was declared incompetent and sent out to board in Providence and Jamestown from 1837 to his death 1856.

Lincoln, Sullivan. Estate papers, 1822-1826 Box 3, folder 22.

Manchester, Alexander S. . Letters to cousin Joseph J. Fenner, 1802-1822 .

Manchester, Harriet D., 1790-1839 . See: Fenner, Harriet D. (Manchester), 1790-1839.

Manchester, Hepza, d. 1811. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner.

Manchester, Madeline H.. Letters from Madeline Manchester to sister Harriet Fenner, 1801-1837. Box 4, folder 9.

Manchester, William, d. 1813. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner.

Mental illness - Rhode Island. Personal papers of a Providence stone carver who was declared incompetent and sent out to board in Providence and Jamestown from 1837 to his death 1856.

Potter, Caroline B.. See: Farnum, Caroline B. (Potter), c1816-1888.

Potter, Elisha R., 1764-1835. Letter to Joseph J. Fenner, 1816.

Providence, R.I. - Commerce. Extensive business records and personal correspondence of a general store owner and prolific gravestone carver, active from 1799 to 1837. Also personal correspondence and other papers of his wife Harriet and several of their children.

Sampson, Charles. Letter to Joseph J. Fenner, 1812 .

Sampson, George . Letters to Joseph J. Fenner, 1813-1817.

Sampson, Stephen. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner, 1807-1810.

Sepulchral monuments - Rhode Island. Extensive business records and personal correspondence of a prolific gravestone carver, active from 1799 to 1837. Includes dozens of inscriptions (listed in inventory).

Stevens, James. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner from Newport gravestone carver James Stevens, 1819-1820 and possibly others Box 1, folder 16.

Stevenson, James. Letters to Joseph J. Fenner, 1820-1825.

Stone carvers - Rhode Island - Providence. Extensive business records and personal correspondence of a prolific gravestone carver, active from 1799 to 1837. Includes dozens of inscriptions (listed in inventory).

Truman, Caroline H. (Fenner), 1817-1841 . Letters received, 1836-1839. Letters sent to sister Harriet, 1836. Box 4, folder 6; box 5, folder 7.

Truman, Maria C. (Fenner), 1821-1893. Letters to father Joseph J. Fenner, 1850-1855; letters received, 1841-1852, mostly from brother Charles O. Fenner, sister Harriet D. Fenner, and father Joseph J. Fenner (1850-1852). Box 1, folder 28; box 4, folder 11.

Truman, Nathan, 1813-1886. Letters to sister-in-law Harriet Fenner, 1841. Also, papers of both of his wives, Caroline (Fenner) Truman and Maria (Fenner) Truman. Box 5, folder 9.


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RIHS1822