1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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 Durfee Family Papers

 Tiverton, R.I.

 Family papers, 1771-1902

 Size: 0.5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 151

 Processed by: Cindy Bendroth, June 1993

 Revised by Rick Stattler, September 2000

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The Durfee family settled in Tiverton. Thomas Durfee (1759-1829) was the son of John Durfee (1736-1812) and Phebe Gray. He fought in the Revolutionary War, held a seat in the General Assembly, was on the committee to adopt the constitution and served as Town Clerk. He married Mary Lowden (1753?-1842). Their children included Job (1790-1847), and Charles (1793-1849), who was Surveyor of Customs for the port of Tiverton, Justice of the Peace, Town Clerk and an amateur painter.

            Job Durfee served as U.S. Representative and Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, and married Judith Borden (1796-1884). She was the daughter of Simeon Borden (1759-1811) and Amy Briggs. Her siblings included Ann (Borden) Chace (1790-); Simeon Borden (1798-), Nathaniel Borden; and Sarah (Borden) Seabury (1803-). Judith and Job's children were as follows:

1) Lucy Durfee (1821-1890), unmarried

2) Amy Durfee (1824-1902), unmarried

3) Thomas Durfee (1826-1901), m. Sarah J. Slater, had son Samuel S. Durfee (1858-1916)

4) Mary Durfee (1827-1921), m. Samuel West (a doctor in New Bedford)

5) Simeon Borden Durfee (1829-1858), trained as a minister, unmarried.

6) Sarah A. Durfee (1831-1912), unmarried

7) Julia M. Durfee (1834-1845), unmarried


Reed, William F. Descendants of Thomas Durfee of Portsmouth, 54-55, 281, 495. Washington, D.C.: Gibson Brothers, 1905.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

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Scope and content:

            This collection dates from 1771 to 1902. About half of the collection relates to Judith (Borden) Durfee. Judith's material contains correspondence, primarily 1829 to 1854 from her sister Sarah Seabury; and 1822 to 1824 from her husband Job, who was in Washington at the time. There is also a letter from her brother-in-law Charles Durfee dated May 11 1833 which discusses the famous Ephraim Avery trial. The bulk of her papers consist of farm accounts kept after the death of her husband.

            Simeon's file contains exercise books from Fruit Hill Classical Institute, letters concerning his attendance and dismissal at the Andover Theological School. Materials in Thomas Durfee's file is mixed. Some are legal fee accounts, some account on Simeon Borden's estate and account for weaving and spinning and investors in a "clothing mill." Also is an account book for boarders and the Tiverton Town Council. Miscellaneous Durfee materials include poetry, verse and writings by or copied by a Durfee family member.

            Researchers should also look at the Job Durfee Papers, Mss 150.

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            These papers were apparently donated along with the Job Durfee Papers in 1927, by Eliza B. (Weeden) Durfee, the widow of Samuel S. Durfee. A single letter from Job to Judith Durfee was purchased in 1971 from Paul Richards.

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Processing note:

            The Durfee papers donated in 1927 were broken up circa 1980 and sorted by individual. These papers were then interfiled with unrelated Durfee papers. In 1993 all Durfee papers were gathered together and cataloged as a family collection. In 2000, two of the loose volumes were foldered and boxed with the collection. At this time, the Hercules Gifford ledger was also identified, additional catalog entries were made, and this inventory was expanded.

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Judith Durfee (wife of Job)

Folder 1. Correspondence, 1817-1832

Folder 2. Correspondence, 1833-1863, undated

Folder 3. Receipts, 1840-1849, and undated, account book, 1855-1866

Folder 4. Receipts, 1850-1869

Folder 5. Running accounts, 1848-1868, deeds, 1851-1867

Folder 6. Needlework designs, undated

Folder 7. Farm labor account book, 1837-1864. Also farm labor accounts, 1900-1902.

Lucy and Mary Durfee (daughters of Job and Judith)

Folder 8. Letter, 1831, receipts, 1843-1901

Simeon B. Durfee (son of Job and Judith)

Folder 9. Correspondence, certificates, 1845-1858

Thomas Durfee (father of Job)

Folder 10. Accounts, 1805-1815

Folder 11. Account book, 1781-1788

Oversized volume 1. Durfee [Thomas?]-account book, 1771-1798, 1816-1822

Durfee family, unidentified.

Folder 12. Miscellaneous, undated. Mostly unsigned poetry and extracts.

Hercules Gifford (relationship unknown)

Folder 13. Blacksmith ledger, 1774-1796 (previously identified as Gideon Durfee ledger, and filed as part of Durfee Papers)

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Account books - Rhode Island - Tiverton

Agriculture - Rhode Island - Tiverton

* Avery, Ephraim (-1869)

Blacksmiths - Rhode Island - Tiverton

Borden Family

* Durfee, Charles (1793-1849)

* Durfee, Job (1790-1847)

* Durfee, Judith (Borden) (1796-1884)

* Durfee, Simeon B. (1829-1858)

* Durfee, Thomas (1759-1829)

* Gifford, Hercules

Judges - Rhode Island - Newport County

Municipal officials and employees - Rhode Island - Tiverton

Needlework - Rhode Island - Tiverton

* Seabury, Sarah B. (1803-)

Seminarians - Massachusetts - Cambridge

Tiverton, R.I. - Politics and government

*added in 2000

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