1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Benjamin W. Pendleton Papers

 Farmer, Hopkinton, RI

 Family papers, 1812-1924; bulk 1852-1896

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1086

 Processed by: Karen Eberhart, January 2002

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Benjamin W. Pendleton and his family lived in the village of Hope Valley, in Hopkinton, R.I. He was the son of Captain Joshua and Hannah Larkin Pendleton, was born in Hopkinton on March 27, 1833 and died on April 13, 1889. He married Harriet Slocum (1827-1897), daughter of John and Sarah Whitehorn Slocum, on November 12, 1854. They had at least one son, Benjamin E. Pendleton (1866-1954).

            One of the main correspondents represented in the collection is Henry Aldrich Pendleton, brother of Benjamin. Henry was born in Hopkinton on January 17, 1831. Henry served in the Civil War with the Fourteenth Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteers. He was shot in the arm at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland on Sept. 17, 1862. The injury healed but not well enough for him to continue serving and he was discharged later that year. Henry's first wife was Ruth Ann Arnold but the marriage did not last. His second wife was Lydia Whitehorn Slocum whom he married on November 29, 1866. Henry and Lydia had two daughters and a son. The daughters were Mrs. A.A. Noble and Mrs. W.C. Barber.

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists primarily of letters written to Benjamin W. Pendleton from family and friends. Of note are the letters received during the Civil War (1861-1865) many of which are from soldiers in the field who were friends or relatives of Benjamin. The remainder of the letters are from family and friends discussing daily activities. The financial materials are receipts received primarily by Benjamin W. Pendleton. They show what he bought and sold to various individuals. Benjamin's account ledger book details the accounts he had with a wide variety of individuals from late 1887 to early 1889. The poems are often short pieces, and many were written in connection with the delivery of a May basket. Most of the poems are not signed but it appears from the handwriting that many are by Harriet Slocum Pendleton for her husband Benjamin. Of particular note is an anonymous poem entitled "The Slave a Song" which is about a slave dreaming of his freedom.

            Included with this inventory is a chronological listing of most of the letters which was prepared by the donors of the collection. In that list the city or town is the location of the writer of the letter.

            The letters written by soldiers during the war are often very informative regarding the daily activities and opinions held by the men. Below are excerpts from several letters which stood out, many of them related to the issue of slavery.

Letter from Jason P. Rathbone to Benjamin Pendleton

Sept. 9, 1861

"... for the slaves out here what I have seen I think they are better off than [unreadable] the white folks they appear to take comfort and there masters talk with them more freer than they do with the white people I don't know as I can say that I think they would be any better off if they was free that I think the most of the soldiers would say"

Letter from Charles P. Nye to Benjamin Pendleton

Oct. 8, 1862

"I have had some good time since I have been out here we was camped in Fredrick City about a week ago and there was a lot of perty girls I tell you we did not drill any for two days and I crused around the city and see the girls"

Letter from Henry A Pendleton to Benjamin Pendleton describing the Battle of Antietam

October 10, 1862 description of the Battle of Antietam

"I got shot in the arm on the 17 of Sept the ball pased through my arm above my elbow . . .after the battle you ought to go over the field and see the Rebels in some places they lay five deep and it was a sad sight to be hold some without hads and other had there arms of and they lefet there dead on the field for we drove them like shepe"

Letter from Charles P. Nye to Benjamin Pendleton

Oct. 12, 1862

"Give my best respects to the girls and tell Sarah A Card that I have got off now where she can not break any [pips?] fore me now and where I can see no girls to hug Black or White . . "

Letter from Charles P. Nye to Benjamin Pendleton

Aug. 25, 1863

"We are now back in Old Kentucky once more where the people are not afraid of us and run when they hear that the yankees are coming and tell their Negroes that we will kill them if do not keep out of our way."

Letter from Henry Pendleton in Hilton Head, SC to Benjamin Pendleton

Feb. 22, 1864

"Tell Josiphen that I am a going to send her a little nigger boy to play with if she does not want it write by return mail and let me know"

Letter from Benjamin E. Wells to Benjamin Pendleton

March 5, 1863

"I have found out what they are fighting for they are fighting for negrows nothing els . . "

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            The Benjamin W. Pendleton Papers were donated by James A. and Alice W. Houston in 2001. The Houstons had purchased the papers circa 1974 from descendants of the Pendleton family who were selling their ancestral family farm in Hopkinton.

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Processing note:

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Box 1, folder 1. Calling cards, undated

Box 1, folder 2. Correspondence, 1852-1859

Box 1, folder 3. Correspondence, 1860-1865

Box 1, folder 4. Correspondence, 1867-1924

Box 1, folder 5. Correspondence, undated

Box 1, folder 6. Deed - Nathaniel Harris to William A. Morgans, 1812

Box 1, folder 7. Financial records and receipts, 1851-1896, 1904

Box 1, folder 8. Ledger book of Benjamin W. Pendleton, 1887-1889

Box 1, folder 9. Poems, 1851-1852, undated

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Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862

Barber, Clarinda P. Burdick (1832-1895)

Barber, John N. (1833-1897)

First Regiment, Rhode Island Light Artillery

Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

Hopkinton, R.I. - Social life and customs

Larkin, Henry

Nye, Charles P.

Pendleton, Benjamin E. (1866-1954)

Pendleton, Harriet (Slocum) (1827-1897)

Pendleton, Henry Aldrich (1831-1910)

Pendleton, Ruth Ann (Arnold)


Rathbone, Jason P.

Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteers

Seventh Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteers

United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865

Webster, John O.

Wells, Benjamin E.

Wood, Silas W.

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