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

 Joshua Winsor Family Papers

 Family of Smithfield, R.I.

 Family papers, 1713-1913

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1033

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, June 1999

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Seven generations of the Winsor family are represented in this collection, ranging from the Rev. Joshua Winsor, a grandson of Roger Williams born in 1682, through Nicholas Steere Winsor II, a banker who left deeds dating through 1912. All of them resided in Smithfield, in what eventually became the village of Greenville. Their relationships are described in the inventory section below. All of the information was found in Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago: Beers, 1908), 3:1582-1584, and in the Rhode Island Cemetery Database.

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Scope and content:

            The most interesting portion of this collection is the series of letters from Sarah Pratt to Emily Winsor, dated 1837 to 1845. Pratt and Winsor had apparently attended normal school together, and had a mutual interest in abolitionism. Pratt's letters from 1837 discuss the inner machinations of the Providence Ladies Anti-Slavery Society and her efforts to lecture in the south. Pratt's efforts to secure a teaching position are also discussed in detail. Although Pratt moves from Providence to New York late in 1838, she continues to discuss friends and family in Rhode Island. Only one reference to the Dorr Rebellion was noted, in a 10/9/1842 letter: "The military spirit that pervades Rhode Island is very unfavorable to piety, and I regret exceedingly to see women taking so active a part... I do not object to a woman's laboring in public when she can do it without any infringement of domestic duty, but I think there can be better ways devised to promote her usefulness than lending her influence to warlike preparations."

            Also of potential interest is a "commonplace" book kept by William Winsor as a student at the Providence Academy and at Brown University from 1805 to 1810. Unlike most commonplace books, this one contains more original work of Winsor than extracted quotations. There are two essays on the evolutionary theories of Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles Darwin); a family tree tracing descent to the immigrant Joshua Winsor; a history of Baptist Church in Smithfield, covering 1706 to 1807; a detailed academic journal describing Winsor's studies from 1808 to 1810; and a copy of a letter from Olney Winsor seeking genealogical information.

            Other items of potential interest to the historian are a 1913 agreement with the Rhode Island Company regarding rail lines in Smithfield; and three documents regarding schools in Smithfield in 1796 and 1797 listing parents of students. The collection also contains many documents which will be primarily of interest to family members, including deeds dating from 1713 to 1912.

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            These papers were all the property of Nicholas S. Winsor II upon his death in 1928. They were inherited by his second wife Mary Louise (Bailey) (Spink) Winsor, who passed them on to her son William Spink. Upon William Spink's death, they were passed on to his nephew Mark Spink. He donated them to the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1999 via his sister Carolyn M. Granlund, and they were brought in by Greenville historian Stanley Lemons.

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Processing note:

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Generation 3: Rev. Joshua Winsor (1682-1752). Son of Samuel, and grandson of Roger Williams. Pastor of the Baptist Church of Smithfield.

Folder 1. Deeds:

            1713 from Hope Corpe of Providence

            1726 from Samuel Wescot of Providence

            1728 from brother Samuel Winsor

            1744 from brother Samuel Winsor

Oversized storage:

            1750 deed from brother Samuel Winsor

            1750 deed from Solomon Drowne

Generation 4: Samuel Winsor (1712-1800). Son of Joshua.

Folder 2. Deeds and other land records, 1751-1797

Oversized folder: Deeds and other land records, 1738-1791, including 1738 deed from father


Generation 6: Nicholas Winsor (1767-1797). Son of William, grandson of Samuel.

Folder 3. Deed from Vinton Lewis, 1788.

Generation 6: Duty Winsor (1762-1837). Also son of William, grandson of Samuel.

Folder 4. Account for rum, 1791.


Generation 7: William Winsor (1786-1815). Son of Duty; never married. Graduate of Brown University, 1811.

Folder 5. Commonplace book, 1805-1810. Contains extracts from published sources, as well as original poems in Latin and English signed by Winsor.Of particular interest:

Pages 4-5. Original essay on "Creation", discussing evolutionary theories of Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin.

            Page 22. Family tree tracing descent to the immigrant Joshua Winsor.

            Page 23. History of Baptist Church in Smithfield, covering 1706 to 1807.

            Page 58. Another essay addressing Dr. Darwin, re celestial evolution.

Page 68-70. "Review of the year 1808 on Jan 1 1809, Providence Academy, Boarding with N. Brown." Detailed summary of studies at Providence Academy and Brown University.

            Page 72. Academic journal, January 3 - 30, 1809.

            Page 75. Journal, February 23 - May 31, 1809. Describes vacation in Smithfield.

            Pages 78-81. Academic journal, June 1 1809 - October 1 1810.

            Page 85. School expenses, 1805-1807.

Page 86. Copy of letter from Olney Winsor to Duty Winsor, March 19 1808, seeking genealogical information.


Generation 7: Nicholas Steere Winsor (1797-1885). Son of Duty. Cashier of Smithfield Exchange Bank, 1822-1845; in New York, 1845-1881; returned to Greenville, 1881-1885.

Folder 6. Deed from father Duty Winsor, 1808; bank account, 1829.

Oversized storage: Deed from Smithfield Exchange Bank, 1850

Generation 8: Josephine E. Winsor (1837-1904). Daughter of Nicholas S.; never married.

Folder 7. Letter received, 1893. Mundane financial content.

Generation 7: Asa Winsor (1788-1870). Son of Duty; farmer, civil engineer, justice of peace.

Folder 8. Justice of the Peace papers, 1823-1827 (Smithfield writs and executions)

Folder 9. Justice of the Peace papers, 1850-1852 (Smithfield writs and executions)

Oversized folder: Penmanship demonstration, 1844

Generation 8: Emily A.F. Winsor (1816-1849). Daughter of Asa; never married.

Folder 10. Letters received, 1837-1838.

                        All from Sarah Pratt of Providence (relocated to N.Y. in December 1838)

                        Except one from abolitionist N. Southard of New York, 6/15/1838.

Folder 11. Letters received, 1839. All from Sarah Pratt of N.Y., except:

                        From H.V.R. Lord, schoolteacher of Hornellsville, N.Y., 4/9/1839

                        From C.C. Taylor of N.Y., 4/12/1839

Folder 12. Letters received, 1840. All from Sarah Pratt of N.Y., except:

                        From Horace Pratt of Providence, 9/8/1840.

Folder 13. Letters received, 1841-1845. All from Sarah Pratt of N.Y., except:

                        From Horace Pratt of Providence, 6/20/1842 and 8/4/1842.

Folder 14. Letters received, undated. From J. Orville Taylor, Sarah Pratt and Horace Pratt.

Generation 8: Ethelbert Winsor (1821-1899). Son of Asa; never married.

Folder 15. Letter from sister Emily, 6/11/1838; letter from unknown, 1842; deed, 1850; mundane accounts, 1856, 1870.


Generation 8: William Winsor (1819-1904). Son of Asa. Cashier of Smithfield Exchange Bank, 1845-1895.

Folder 16. Deed, 1850.


Generation 9: Nicholas Steere Winsor II (1865-1928). Son of William. Became cashier of Smithfield National Exchange Bank, 1895.

Folder 17. Letters received, 1889, 1896

Folder 18. Deeds, 1896-1912.

Non-Winsor papers - relationship uncertain:

Folder 20. Deeds and land records, misc., 1723-1847 and undated

Folder 21. Greene Academy - Lottery ticket, 1813; indenture, 1841

Folder 22. Rhode Island Company - Agreement re rail lines in Smithfield, 1913

Folder 23. Smithfield schools - Subscriptions, 1796, 1797; account, 1797

Folder 24. Miscellaneous, unidentified:

                        Recipe for currant punch

                        Advertisement for Quaker Bitters, sold at Tobey's in Greenville

                        Household account, 1842

                        Paper flowers

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Abolitionists - Rhode Island - Providence

Baptist Church of Smithfield

Brown University

Corpe, Hope

Darwin, Erasmus (1731-1802)

Diaries - 1808-1810

Greene Academy (Smithfield, R.I.)

Justices of the peace - Rhode Island - Smithfield

Pratt, Horace (b.1815)

Pratt, Sarah

Providence Academy

Rhode Island Company

Smithfield, R.I. - Social life and customs

Winsor, Asa (1788-1870)

Winsor, Emily A.F. (1816-1849)

Winsor, Joshua (1682-1752)

Winsor, Nicholas Steere II (1865-1928)

Winsor, Olney (1753-1837)

Winsor, Samuel (b.1677)

Winsor, Samuel (1712-1800)

Winsor, William (1786-1815)

Women abolitionists - Rhode Island - Providence

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