1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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 Israel Angell Papers

 Soldier and merchant, of Johnston, R.I.

 Papers, 1775-1822

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 980

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, February 1997

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Israel Angell (1740-1832) was a colonel in the Second Rhode Island Regiment during the Revolution.

            Before the war, Angell served as captain of the Johnston militia company. At the outset of hostilities in May of 1775, he was appointed major of the Providence County Regiment of the Army of Observation, and participated in the siege of Boston. When the Second Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Army was formed in October 1776, Angell was appointed lieutenant colonel by Gen. Washington. Upon the death of Colonel Daniel Hitchcock in 1777, Angell took command of the regiment as colonel. He led the regiment ably at the battles of Brandywine, Red Bank, Rhode Island and Springfield. Col. Angell retired from service in March of 1781, after the two Rhode Island regiments were consolidated.

            Angell married three times, and had seventeen children. After the war, he was a farmer, tavern-keeper and merchant, and eventually moved from Johnston to Smithfield, R.I., where he died in 1832.


Brown, Robert P. [Address at the Dedication of the Monument to Col. Israel Angell at North Burial Ground, May 9, 1918], R.I.H.S. Manuscripts Collection

Concise Dictionary of American Biography, 1964

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Scope and content:

            This collection includes nine diaries, three Revolutionary War orderly books and other miscellaneous papers. The six diaries from the Revolutionary period have been published as Diary of Colonel Israel Angell Commanding the Second Rhode Island Continental Regiment During the American Revolution, 1778-1781, Edward Field, ed. (Providence: Preston & Rounds, 1899).

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            The bulk of these papers were donated by Harry I. Angell, a great-great-grandson of Col. Angell circa 1938, and by Edward Winsor in 1951 and 1952. The postwar letters from Angell's children, and eight receipts, were a 1949 gift by a donor who wished to remain anonymous. The 1779 pay order was donated in 1992 by Erik Thorp. The 1775 letter to Hope Angell arrived as a gift from Stephen Randall in 1873. Randall also donated a similar letter dated November 9, 1776, which can no longer be located in the collection. Both letters were published in Proceedings of the Rhode Island Historical Society in 1873-1874, page 44-47.

            The specific provenance of the diaries is complicated but fairly clear. Volumes 1 through 6 were transcribed and published in 1899 while still in possession of the original owners. Volumes 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were in the possession of Malcolm H. Angell at that time. They were in the possession of his son Harry I. Angell in 1938 when he described them in a letter to Howard Chapin and described his intention to donate them to the R.I.H.S. Though Harry I. Angell later did donate three orderly books in 1944, no accession record could be found for the five diaries. It is safe to assume that they were donated by him. Diaries number 2, 7 and 8 were in the hands of "a descendant of Colonel Angell's in Providence" in 1899, and are probably identical with what are described as a diary and two account books donated by Edward Winsor in 1950 and 1951. Diary number 9 is not mentioned in the 1899 book, but bears a notation signed by M.H. Angell, and thus can be assumed to have arrived from Harry I. Angell with his other five diaries.

            The preface to the 1899 published diary mentions that the bulk of Col. Angell's papers had been collected by a descendant named Anson Burlingame, who took them overseas. Upon Burlingame's death, the papers were supposedly lost. We can imagine that this lost collection presumably included correspondence files, account books and the missing diaries.

            A gold medal presented to Angell by Lafayette was donated to the R.I.H.S. museum collection in 1938 by Harry I. Angell.

            Harry I. Angell also donated three orderly books dated July 1779 to June 1780. Although these were cataloged for many years as part of Israel Angell's papers, they appear to be orders for the entire brigade, which contained several regiments in addition to Angell's. They were removed circa 1980 to MSS 673, the Rhode Island Military Papers, where they are presently boxed with other Revolutionary orderly books.

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Folder contents:

1. Diary, August 20 1778 to September 22 1778

            Discusses Battle of Rhode Island.

2. Diary, December 12 1778 to February 1 1779

3. Diary, June 18 1779 to August 14 1779

4. Diary, October 3 1779 to December 13 1779

            Begins in Barber Heights, North Kingstown

            Ends in Morristown, N.Y.

5. Diary, August 10 1780 to September 30 1780

            Discusses chiefs of Oneida nation, and sentencing of Maj. Andre.

6. Diary, February 14 1781 to April 3 1781

            Stationed in New York; visit to Rhode Island.

7. Diary, August 3 1788 to October 9 1788 (trip to Ohio Territory)

            Also miscellaneous accounts, 1795-1796.

8. Diary, May 18 1792 to June 23 1792 (trip to Philadelphia)

9. Diary, October 8 1805 to November 5 1805 (trip to "Mohawak River")

            Also family record book.

10. Correspondence:

            December 1 1775 to brother Hope Angell, dated Prospect Hill.

"Let us unite all as one in America, if we don't but fall at varance among our selves, of all Gods creation we shall be the most miserablest."

November 9 1776 to brother Hope Angell, dated "Phillips Borrough". Discusses Battle of White Plains. Published transcription; original not located.

July 7 1780 from Gov. William Greene to "Col. Angell and the other officers and men of his regiment", sending praise and partial pay.

            September 13 1813 from son Abner Angell in New Berlin N.Y.

            February 7 1816 from son Abner Angell in New Berlin N.Y.

            December 2 1817 from son Israel Angell in New Berlin N.Y.

            April 21 1821 from son Asa Angell in Lancaster, N.Y.

            March 9 1822 from daughter Martha Lewis et al?, Lancaster N.Y.

            January 16, 1832 circular letter re pension claims

11. Revolutionary War papers:

            Payroll of field and staff officers, R.I. Battalion of Foot, November 1778

            Order to pay Angell, June 2 1779

Petition to R.I. General Assembly requesting pay for troops, November 2, 1782

            With pencil draft of same, 1782

12. Bond to Clark & Nightingale pledging 215 acres of farm, pending failure to pay court judgement, November 30, 1785

13. Bills, receipts and notes, 1781 and 1799-1832.

14. Fragments of commission as Justice of the Peace, 1787

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Angell, Hope

Diaries - 1778-1805

Ohio - Travel and Description - Eighteenth century

Second Regiment, Rhode Island (Revolutionary War)

United States - History - Revolution, 1775-1783

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