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WINSL0W PAPERS 1776-1826

Spring housecleaning seemed to be causing a lot of arguing in the household. Mum had been to town and brought home a sample wallpaper book. After days of turning the pages carefully plus asking the opinion of all who came to visit, she decided on the ivy pattern for the kitchen but Dad was against it, as he wanted the pattern with pots of red geraniums.

Next Dad wanted to put some red trim when he painted the kitchen chairs white but Mum was not in agreement.

Things really boiled to a head when Dad headed upstairs to clean the storage area over the kitchen. Down he came with a tea box that had been filled with old letters and papers and announced he was going to burn them. To him this old stuff was just clutter.

Fortunately Francis E. Winslow of Chatham, who was the keeper of many letters and papers of  Edward Winslow and the family, invited the Rev. W. O. Raymond to examine them with a view to their preservation in some permanent form.  Rev. Raymond found himself overwhelmed with the extent and variety of the materials available for historical purposes and the greater part of his leisure time during two years was devoted to the task of digesting and arranging them for publication in 1901 by the New Brunswick Historical Society as the “Winslow Papers 1776 - 1826" of more than 700 pages which includes letters and documents loaned by other family members.

Some idea of the variety of topics is the fact that it contains about six hundred and fifty letters and documents written by about one hundred and seventy different persons and covering a period of nearly fifty years. More than one hundred and fifty of Edward Winslow's letters are printed. He enjoyed the friendship and esteem of some of the foremost men of his generation, many of whose letters will be found.

Detailed in the following examples are some of the letters that interested me:

Edward Winslow wrote from New York on 23 Jan. 1781 to Major DeLancey. “ I have in the province of Massachusetts an infirm father, upwards of seventy years old, to whom I am indebted for the best education this country could afford, and for innumerable other favors. He has a wife and two daughters with him (my mother & sisters.) This family habituated to affluence have now no possible resource from which they can obtain even the necessaries of life without my assistance . . . .”

George Leonard’s letter from Brooklyn to Major DeLancey, on 15 April, 1783 states, “The enormous expense I am of necessity put to in removing my family to Nova Scotia, the asylum pointed out for the King's friends, compels me to request his Excellency the Commander in Chief to grant me 6 months advance of my annual allowance. . . . My family goes on board Thursday next consisting of 15 including servants.”

Penelope Winslow to Ward Chipman - Halifax, November 28th, 1784.
“Dear Chippy . . . .The last Assembly was amazingly brilliant, the Ladies Dress superb beyond what the New Englanders had seen before. Mrs. Wentworth stood first in fashion & magnificence. Her Gown & Petticoat of sylvan tissue trimmed with Italian Flowers & the finest blond Lace, a train of four yards long, her hair and wrist ornamented with real Diamonds. Miss Duncan was elegant in a fawn coloured satin covered with crepe, black velvet waiste, pearl sprigs in her hair, no feathers or flowers. She was much admired as was Kitty Taylor in unadorned White. Miss Parr looked vastly well in cream coloured satin with sable fur. Lady D & Miss Bayley figured in a profusion of waveing Plumes & flowers . . .

Sir John Wentworth to Edward Winslow. Halifax, 12th January 1785.
Footnote - Mrs. Wentworth was a remarkably clever woman, and the story of her life Is a very romantic one. Her maiden name was Frances Deering . . .She was a cousin of Theodore Atkinson, jr., and also of Sir John Wentworth. Her earliest attachment was for Wentworth, but while he was absent in England she married Atkinson. The latter was secretary of the province of New Hampshire and a member of the council. He died at Portsmouth on Saturday, October 28, 1769, at the age of 33 years, and was accorded a state funeral. Just two weeks later his young widow was married in the same chapel, beneath which the first husband was buried, to Governor John Wentworth. . .. Lady Wentworth went to England in 1798 and was presented at court, where she was greatly admired by Queen Charlotte for her elegance and manners, and received the appointment of a lady-in-waiting, with permission to reside abroad and receive £500 a year salary.

Major Gilfred Studholme to William Hazen. Studville, 20th April, 1790.
Dear Sir—Some time since I had the pleasure of receiving your favor and have watched anxiously in hopes of finding a Purchaser for this Place. Doctor Agnew has promised to come and view it this Spring and if he likes the situation (which I have little doubt about) I think he will be the purchaser; whenever that event takes place, I shall with many thanks and great pleasure pay you and Mr. White the sum I owe you. By the very ill success of my Saw-Mills, and my recent misfortune in failing to bring the cultivation of Hemp to perfection, I have been very
hard drove for money, but hope by the sale of my Lands to get out of Debt. . . . I have been very ill for some time past but hope the opening of Summer and riding exercise will recruit me.

Ward Chipman to President Edward Winslow from St. John, 9 March, 1808.
“By the January Packet there are accounts from E. Hazen that (Judge Joshua) Upham is again worse, and his surgeon has declared that unless the immense discharge from his head, with which he is afflicted and upon which an operation has been performed, can be resisted and a speedy and favourable alteration takes place, he cannot recover—my own persuasion is that he cannot recover.

The Introduction contains detailed genealogical information on the Winslow Family.

The 1901 book, “Winslow Papers 1776-1826" is available for viewing at libraries and research institutions.

Also, the book has been placed on CD and can be purchased from Archive CD Books Canada Inc., PO Box 11, Manotick, Ontario, Canada, K4M 1A2. Telephone (613) 692-2667. E-Mail- Visit their website at

The original Winslow Family Papers of over 3600 items and 11,000 pages covering the period from 1695 to 1866 are housed in the Archives & Special Collections Department, Harriet Irving Library, UNB, Fredericton. The entire collection has been imaged and linked to a searchable database at:

The Winslow letters within the Atlantic Canada Virtual Archives contain letters and  transcriptions to and from Edward Winslow for the period 1783-1785.  These can be
found at:

The "Winslow Papers" will be found to shed much light upon the attitude of the Loyalists in the American Revolution and the circumstances that attended their settlement in the maritime provinces at the close of the war.

The Landing of the Loyalists will be remembered in Saint John tomorrow, May 18, 2005 at 10:30 a.m. at the City Hall Plaza. Re-enactors, politicians, cadets and school children will be in attendance for the flag raising, demonstrations, and placing of geraniums in Loyalist Plaza.
New and Used Genealogical and Historical books of
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Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have information to share with you. Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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