1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Winsor Family Papers

 Family of Johnston, Smithfield and Glocester, R.I.

 Papers, 1686-1904.

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 86

 Processed by: Cindy Bendroth, October 1988

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The Winsors were one of the first families to settle in Rhode Island. Joshua Winsor arrived in Boston from England in 1637, following Roger Williams to Providence soon after. he had four children. The youngest, Samuel (1644-1705), married Mercy, the youngest daughter of Roger Williams. They had three children: Samuel 2nd, Hannah and Joshua. Samuel the 2nd (1677-1758) later became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Providence. He married Mercy Harding and had nine children: Joseph, Samuel the 3rd, Martha, Mary, Mercy, Hannah, Lydia, Deborah and Freelove.

            Samuel the 3rd (1722-1803) was also a pastor at the First Baptist Church. However, in 1770 and 1771, a controversy within the church caused him to form a new Baptist church in Johnston, Rhode Island. He married Lydia Olney, and upon her death Anne Winsor, a distant cousin. He had several daughters and sons, including Olney Winsor (1753-1837), Lucy (b.1745), Hannah (m. Nehemiah Hawkins), and Benjamin (1766-1827). Olney married Hope Thurber and had several children, one being his daughter Susan (1789-1879). Lucy Winsor married Joseph Spears. Benjamin married first Zelota Angell, and second Lydia Hawkins (1767-1856) of Smithfield, and had several children, including Serril Winsor (1798-1871).


Flagg, Elizabeth M.W. Andrew and Lydia Winsor of Smithfield, Rhode Island (1980)

Moore, Kay Karlin. Descendants of Roger Williams: The Winsor Line (1987)

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

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Scope and content:

            The Winsor family papers span from 1686 to 1904, with the bulk of the material dating from 1780 to 1840. Much of the collection contains information on families from Johnston, Smithfield and Glocester, Rhode Island. Some of the material pertains to other families probably related to the Winsors. Included in this collection are letters, marriage certificates, a marriage and death book, deeds, receipts, bills, wills, tax records and inventories. Subjects include the opening of the Johnston public schools; marriages performed by Elder Samuel Winsor; transaction of lands in Smithfield, Johnston and Glocester; James M. Ballou's peddling with Barnum's Traveling Museum and Menagerie in 1852; Lydia Winsor's 1802 purchase of a fashionable saddle; Olney Winsor's advice to his daughter while she was away at boarding school in Hartford; and Olney Winsor's advice on treatment for diabetes in 1826.

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            The bulk of these papers were purchased from Richard Hanson Jr. of Glocester, Rhode Island in 1988. He had purchased them from antique dealer Eugene Bruce of Stoughton, Massachusetts in 1986. A similar collection of Samuel Winsor 2nd papers was purchased by Brown University's John Hay Library in 1994.

            These papers could conceivably have been combined from several different sources by a dealer. At least one item, the 1808-1846 marriage and death register, has previously been cited in print. In 1912, it was abstracted in the Vital Records of Abington, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Volume II (New England Historical and Genealogical Society); the bibliography describes the source as a "private record, from a list of Marriages and Deaths in the Union Calvinistick Society, now in the possession of Mrs. Lucia A. Ryan of Whitman."

            One additional item, the 1826 letter by Olney Winsor to his nephew Serril, was purchased in 1998 from dealer Robert F. Lucas. Another item, the 1802 letter to Lydia Winsor, was purchased from Richard Bazelow in 2002.

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Processing note:

            Paper clips were removed; papers were unfolded to fit in legal-sized archival folders.

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f.1       Ballou Family (Slatersville), 1850-1853. Mostly James M. to mother Lucy Ballou.

f.2       Marsh Family (Slatersville), 1845-1856. Letters from Cyrus, James and Mary Marsh.

f.3       Olney Winsor to daughter Susan at boarding school, 4/14 - 7/24/1806.

f.4       Olney Winsor to nephew Serril Winsor, 7/20/1826, re diabetes treatment.

f.5       Miscellaneous, 1714-1893.

                        Samuel Winsor to Prov. Proprietors re compensation for highway, March 31 1714

                        Ruth Angell to cousin Lydia (Hawkins) Winsor re saddle purchase, 7/5/1802

                        D.M. Farnum to Dr. Metcalf Marsh, 9/20/1832

                        G. Bradford to Ira Marsh, 12/19/1846

                        John A. Fiske circular re Grafton Mills Four, 5/24/1851

                        Seth Arnold to unknown re W. Mowry land, 9/29/1875

                        Thomas R. Wheeland to Gov. Ames re Shanghai dogs, 12/28/1893

                        Undated and unsigned fragments of correspondence and poetry.


f.6       to Bakers (Nathaniel, James and john), 1759-1919

f.7       to Hawkins (Rufus, Nehemiah, Alpheus), 1799-1820

f.8       to Benjamin Winsor, 1790-1814

f.9       to Emeline T. Winsor, 1867-1884

f.10     to Samuel Winsor (three generations), 1686-1841

f.11     to Serril Winsor, 1820-1827

f.12     to various Winsors, 1772-1857

f.13     to miscellaneous, 1786-1832

f.14     Education - Johnston school district #10, 1828-1852

f.15     Legal records - Miscellaneous, 1769-1848

f.16     Marriages and deaths - Lists and certificates, 1754-1837

Includes list of marriages and deaths in the "Union Clavinistick Society", Abington, Mass., 1808-1846 (already abstracted in Vital Records of Abington).

Receipts and bills:

f.17     Benjamin Winsor, 1790-1803

f.18     Benjamin Winsor, 1804-1829

f.19     Samuel Winsor, 1753-1795

f.20     Miscellaneous, 1768-1904

f.21     Taxes - Johnston, 1801-1803 (Benjamin Winsor for district of highways)

f.22     Will and estate - Joseph Spear (b. 1745, m. Lucy Winsor), 1773-1777.

f.23     Will and estate - Samuel Winsor (1722-1803), 1803.

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*Angell, Ruth

Baker, James

Baker, John

Baker, Nathaniel

*Ballou, James M.

Ballou, Lucy (b.1819?)

*Barnum, Phineas T. (1810-1891)


Deeds - Rhode Island - Glocester

Deeds - Rhode Island - Johnston

Deeds - Rhode Island - Providence

Deeds - Rhode Island - Smithfield


Education - Rhode Island - Johnston

Hawkins, Alpheus

Hawkins, Nehemiah

Hawkins, Rufus

Johnston, R.I. - Schools

Marsh, Cyrus

Marsh, James

Marsh, Mary

*Marsh, Metcalf

*Saddlery - Rhode Island

Spear, Joseph

Taxation - Rhode Island - Johnston

*Vital records - Rhode Island

Winsor, Benjamin (1765-1827)

Winsor, Emeline (b.1824?)

*Winsor, Lydia (Hawkins) (1767-1856)

Winsor, Olney (1753-1837)

Winsor, Samuel (1677-1758)

Winsor, Samuel (1722-1803)

Winsor, Serril (1798-1871)

Winsor, Susan (1789-1879)

* new entries in 1998 and 2002

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