Barlow-Olmstead Family
Papers, 1782-1958; bulk, 1850-1900

SC23187

Quantity: 2 boxes (0.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase: Charles Apfelbaum Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Archives, January 2010
Processed By: Abigail Stambach, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, October 2010

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Biographical Note:

Much of the biographic information about the Barlow-Olmstead Family was gathered through various family genealogies as well as information found in the collection. However, biographic information on Joel Barlow is plentiful since he was an American author, diplomat, and politician. Joel Barlow was born March 27, 1745, to Samuel and Esther (Hull) Barlow in Redding, Connecticut. After a brief period of study at Dartmouth College, he went to Yale and received his degree in 1778. Soon after college, he enlisted for service in the Continental Army as a chaplain and served until the conclusion of the American Revolution. Following the war, he married Ruth Baldwin, the sister of one of his Yale classmates, and they settled in Hartford, Connecticut, where he pursued a career as an editor and writer. He formed “The Hartford Wits” with Richard Alsop, John Trumbull, Timothy Dwight IV, Theodore Dwight, David Humphreys and Lemuel Hopkins. The group published The Anarchiad, The Political Greenhouse and The Echo. Joel also wrote the poem “Hasty Pudding” and the epic The Vision of Columbus (later re-titled The Columbiad).

Joel Barlow studied law while in Hartford and was admitted to the bar in 1786. However, when his law career stalled, he became involved with the Scioto Land Company, which was engaged in land speculation in the area that is now the southern part of Ohio. Efforts to promote land sales ultimately led Barlow to Paris, France, in 1788 in order to seek out investors and immigrants but the company failed disastrously in 1790.

Living in France during the beginning of the French Revolution made him sympathetic towards the French reformers. He was granted honorary citizenship of the new Republic of France in 1792, an honor shared with a number of other notable Americans.

Eventually, Barlow was given a diplomatic post in the American legation at Paris. In 1796, George Washington called on Barlow to assist with the freeing of the captured American seamen in Algiers and he was instrumental in the implementation of the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797. He returned to the United States in 1805 only to return to Europe six years later when President James Madison appointed him Minister to France. Joel died of pneumonia on December 24, 1812, in Poland after trying to meet with Napoleon.

Colonel Aaron Barlow (1750-1800) was the second child of Samuel and Esther Barlow. Like his brother, Joel, he was born in Redding, Connecticut, and he married Rebecca Sanford (1748-1839) in 1772. Aaron and Rebecca had eleven children. Shortly before his marriage, Aaron joined the military and served in the 5th Connecticut Regiment and in the 4th Connecticut Militia. Aaron died from yellow fever in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 12, 1800.

Thomas Barlow (1793-1859), a son of Aaron and Rebecca, was born on October 12, 1793. He studied law and served as the private secretary to his uncle, Joel Barlow, when he was Minister to France. Thomas met his wife, Frances Anica Preble (1796-1876), while in France and they were married in 1817 in Paris. Thomas and Frances returned to the United States soon after their marriage, settling near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Thomas and Frances had five children including a daughter, Anica Barlow Chambers (1821-1911). Thomas established a law practice in the Pittsburgh area and lived in the area until his death in 1859.

Rebecca Barlow, a daughter of Aaron and Rebecca, was born on October 12, 1788. She married Zalmon Olmstead (1783-1853) on November 24, 1805. Zalmon was the son of Lemuel and Silence (Weed) Olmstead, originally of Danbury, Connecticut. The family removed to Malta, Saratoga County, New York, around 1786. After Zalmon and Rebecca married, they settled on a farm located on the west bank of the Hudson River in the town of Moreau. They had thirteen children. Zalmon died in 1853 while Rebecca died in 1861.

Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, the oldest son of Rebecca and Zalmon, was born on July 5, 1808. He was educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, receiving a degree in engineering and naturalism in 1830. Thereafter he took a position as lecturer at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania in chemistry and mineralogy. In 1834 he entered the seminary at Princeton, but later transferred to Western Seminary in Allegheny (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania. While in the seminary, he met his wife, Sarah Humphreys Marvin and they were married on December 20, 1838. They had one daughter, Sarah Lucy, who was born in 1840. Although he was an ordained minister, he pursued a career in teaching, holding positions in a number of schools over a period of many years. Eventually, he settled on the family farm in Moreau, New York, where he died on March 18, 1880.

Aaron Barlow Olmstead (1812-?), the second eldest son of Zalmon and Rebecca, was born on February 12, 1812, in Malta, New York. Like his brother Lemuel, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and studied civil engineering. From 1837 to 1839, he was the principal of North Fairfield Academy in Fairfield County, Connecticut. He decided to pursue a career in law and attended Yale Law School from 1840 to 1841. After completing his studies he was admitted to the bar in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 1849, he married Caroline Clement, a granddaughter of Gideon Putnam, the founder of the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs. Aaron and Caroline had two daughters, Marie Clement and Kate Putnam. The exact date of Aaron’s death is unknown, but the collection holds pieces of his correspondence that dates to 1888.

Scope and Content Note:

The Barlow-Olmstead collection includes letters, notes, genealogies, and financial documents. Much of the collection was compiled in an effort to trace the ancestry and descendants of Joel Barlow (1754-1812), an American author and statesman. It appears that most of the genealogical material in the collection was accumulated by Lemuel Gregory Olmstead and Aaron Barlow Olmstead, who were great-nephews of Joel Barlow. The collection contains the Olmstead brothers’ correspondence and notes regarding their genealogical research, genealogical charts, and notebooks containing information on the family’s lineage.

The collection also contains an assortment of documents not directly related to Lemuel and Aaron’s genealogical research; however, these documents supplement the genealogical material either giving biographic information or portraying the family’s dynamics. These documents include letters, notes, newspaper clippings and financial documents, such as receipts and checks.

Most of the collection dates to the nineteenth century with the bulk of the material dating between 1850 and 1900.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 0 Finding aid and genealogical information
1 1 Notes: comments from the Diary of President Stiles of Yale (2 items)
1 2 Notebook (tablet) – Calendar of Letters of Joel Barlow, September 2, 1795-February 17, 1803
1 3 A.N.S. – Concerns a portrait of Joel Barlow
1 4 Sundry handwritten notes – Joel Barlow’s early political treatises, etc.
1 5 A list of names of subscribers to Joel Barlow’s works (possible)
1 6 A.L.S. (copy) – Joel Barlow to Lady Hamilton, September 21, 1801
1 7 “Joel Barlow’s Miscellanies” – Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, February 2, 1855 (2 items)
1 8 List of Books belonging to Joel Barlow, n.d.
1 9 Aaron Barlow – Autograph Documents – Redding, Connecticut 1786, 1796, 1800 (3 items)
1 10 A.L.S. Nathan Bennett to Aaron Barlow, n.d.
1 11 Receipt, Nathan Barlow to Aaron Barlow, July 15, 1782
1 12 A.L.S. Aaron Barlow to Rebecca Sanford Barlow, August 27, 1806
1 13 A.L.S. Samuel Barlow to [?], July 18, 1800
1 14 A.L.S. Nathan Bennett to Daniel Barlow, November 11, 1805
1 15 A.L.S. Stephen Barlow to Daniel Barlow, October 15, 1813
1 16 Letters: Zalmon Barlow to Daniel Barlow, 1808-1830 (6 items)
  1. March 16, 1808
  2. November 6, 1809
  3. April 8, 1812
  4. April 22, 1815
  5. March 5, 1816
  6. December 13, 1830
1 17 A.L.S. Daniel Barlow to Zalmon Olmsted, March 17, 1814
1 18 A.L.S. Mallelt Sealey to Zalmon Olmsted, March 1, 1839
1 19 A.L.S. Lemuel Gregory Olmstead to Peter G. Cooper, December 24, 1837
1 20 A.L.S. Lemuel Gregory Olmstead to Francis E. Cutting, ca.1855
1 21 A.L.S. Harry Criswell to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, March 10, 1855
1 22 A.L.S. J.B. Gore to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, March 18, 1855
1 23 A.L.S. S.M. Worcester to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, April 18, 1855
1 24 A.L.S. Nicholas Olmstead to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, February 28, 1856
1 25 A.L.S. Sylvester Judd to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, March 31, 1856
1 26 A.L.S. Stephen D. Barlow to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, March 11, 1874
1 27 Letters, ca. late 1860s (5 items)
  1. Letter: [A.S. Rosen?] to Lemuel G. Olmstead, April 11, 1867
  2. Letter: C.S. Swain to [Aaron B.] Olmstead, May 28, [18-?]
  3. Letter: Lottie [?] to [Aaron B.] Olmstead, May 29, [18-?]
  4. A.E. Wayland to Aaron B. Olmstead, [n.d.]
1 28 Genealogical Notes by Henry K. Olmstead and Lemuel Gregory Olmstead ca.1876-1880 (5 items)
1 29 Letter: General Lafayette to Mrs. Frances Preble, January 14 (photostat copy)
1 30 Barlow-Preble family letters, 1863-1888 (6 items)
  1. Letter: [Anica Barlow] to [Aaron B. Olmstead?], July 18, 1863
  2. Letter: Anica Chambers to [Aaron B. Olmstead], December 21, 1876 with genealogical notes attached
  3. Letter: Aaron Barlow Olmstead to Anica B. Chambers, July 2, 1888
  4. Letter: [June 7, 18-?]
  5. Letter: James [?] to Anica [Chambers?], November 14, [18-?]
  6. Letter: Fanny [?] to Anica Preble, [ca. 1810s]
1 31 Clipping of newspaper article on the Barlow-Chambers House, Washington, Pennsylvania (August 15, 1958)
1 32 Obituaries (2 items)
  1. Anica Barlow Chambers, August 22, 1911
  2. Clara Wilson Baird, ca. 1935
1 33 A.L.S. Bradley Barlow to Aaron Barlow Olmstead with copy of letter of A.B. Olmstead to Bradley Barlow, April 16, 1887
1 34 A.L.S. James Russell Bennett to Aaron Barlow Olmstead, August 17, 1888
1 35 A.L.S. Esther Bennett to Aaron Barlow Olmstead, October 1, 1888
1 36 Aaron Barlow Olmstead, genealogical notebook, number 1
1 37 Aaron Barlow Olmstead, genealogical notebook, number 2
1 38 Aaron Barlow Olmstead, Records of the descendants of Samuel Barlow of Redding, Connecticut (notebook)
1 39 Aaron Barlow Olmstead, Genealogical charts and notes (3 items)
1 40 Aaron Barlow Olmstead, Genealogical notes – supplement to Barlow descendants re: Joel, son of Daniel (2 items)
1 41 Caroline C. Olmstead, canceled checks, 1896-1899 (19 items)
1 42 Checkbook of Caroline C. Olmstead with canceled checks, 1870-1900
1 43 Caroline C. Olmstead, financial documents, 1865-1900 (17 items); includes notes and receipts
1 44 Personal Narratives and Recollections (5 items)
1 45 Notes written on a series of small cards (12 items)
1 46 Handwritten copy of Psalm CXXXVII [137]
1 47 “Hail Columbia” by Joseph Hopkinson, 1798
1 48 A resolution from the Colony of Connecticut’s Assembly from 1774 (later copy,  done mid 19th century)
1 49 Newspaper clippings of poems (5 items)
1 50 Copy of gravestone inscription of Theodora Baldwin, wife of Michael Baldwin
1 51 Letters and poem (3 items)
  1. Early 19th century letter written in French by E. Clement
  2. Draft of a letter
  3. Copy of a poem, February 20, 1857
1 52 Orders of the L.H. Classes?
1 53 Drafts of letters and miscellaneous notes (14 items)
1 54 Postal Covers (3 items)
1 55 Latin course notes (2 items)
1 56 List of advertising agents, subscription agencies, etc (2 items)
2 1 Scrapbook; inscription: “Kalorama, August 15, 1832, to Henry Baldwin Bomford from his friend George W. Erving”
2 2 Scrapbook with information about the Baldwin family; content indicates it could have been compiled from ca. 1810-1855
2 3 Genealogical Charts (4 items)
  1. Chart I – descendants of John Barlow
  2. Chart II – descendants of Frances Emma Barlow
2 4 Notes, lists pertaining to Barlow family Genealogy, n.d. (14 items)
2 5 Deed, William Miller and Ephraim Miller to Joel Clement, May 20, 1819
2 6 Receipt of Joel Clement, August 10, 1824
2 7 Letter to Madam Emma la Boudonvilla from Annica?, May 11, 1825 (in French)
2 8 Documents in French (3 items)
  1. Copy Convention Agreement with note in German, n.d.
  2. Expense account, 1794-1805 (copy)
  3. Note, [n.d.]
2 9 Promissory note to James Green, September 16, 1816
2 10 Mortgage, Ashbel Andrews to Isaac Taylor and Joel Clement, January 16, 1823; land situated in Saratoga County
2 11 Henry Preble, United States Consul to Sicily, document, December 1, 1820
2 12 Statement relative to financial account, Job Tyler and John van Pelt, executors of Cornelius Longstreet’s will, November 9, 1821
2 13 Humphrey Notes, n.d. (6 items)
2 14 Letters, 1817, 1823 (2 items)
  1. Letter: T. Preble  to Mrs. Thomas [Frances Preble] Barlow (Barlow), April 24, 1817 (in French)
  2. Letter: H.E.[Dwight] to James Dwight, December 31, 1823
2 15 Works of the Bard by the Lake, 1828
2 16 Letters, 1816-late 1840 (3 items)
  1. Letter to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead from Zalmon Olmstead, September 26, 1831
  2. Letter to Caroline Clement, January 16, 1816
  3. Letter to Caroline and Fanny Clement from M.E. Clement and Aaron Barlow Olmstead , n.d. [late 1840?]
2 17 Genealogical notes, letters and other documents, 1834-1880s (12 items)
  1. Erie County, Pennsylvania, Geological Society Meeting Minutes, February 20, 1843
  2. License of Aaron Barlow Olmstead as solicitor in New York State Chancery Court of November 17, 1843; A.D.S. Reuben Hyde Walworth
  3. Printed circular: Letter of the wardens and vestry of St. Peter’s Church, Peekskill, New York, September 21, 1846, with statement of William Barlow, Rector
  4. Deed, Alexander Weed to John Bryan, March 24, 1834 (Saratoga County, N.Y.)
  5. Drawing: “Yellow house at Erie, Pa. and as the First Presbyterian Church.  Drawn in company with Francis Spencer I, October 1857.” Lemuel G. Olmstead
  6. Design and elevation of a headstone, ca. 1840s
  7. Letter (part), to brother and sister, April 24, [1880s?]
  8. Letter: T. Dwight to [L.G. Olmsted?], [undated ca. 1870s?]
  9. Plan and elevation of bookcase, A.B. Olmstead, ca. 1850s
  10. Notes (3 items)
2 18 Notes, ca.  1870s (5 items)
2 19 Letters, Notes and Lists 1857-1879 (12 items); letters were probably addressed to Aaron Barlow Olmstead
  1. Letter from R.B. Morris, March 20, 1857
  2. Letter from A.H. Marvin, June 26, 1857
  3. List of Pictures at Norton’s, 765 Broadway, [Saratoga Springs?], May 20, 1857
  4. Members of the 35th Congress, December 4, 1857
  5. Letter from Elizabeth B. Gregory, January 14, 1858
  6. Letter from Theodore Martin (in German), July 19, 1859
  7. Letter from Mary A. Thompson, June 13, 1861
  8. Draft of the last will and testament of Rebecca Olmstead, September 7, 1861
  9. Letter: [Lemuel G. Olmstead] to [Aaron B. Olmstead], January 25, 1867
  10. Draft of a letter or essay by Lemuel G. Olmstead,  March 6, 1874
  11. Lists of burials at Stillwater Burial Ground, March 11, 1874
  12. Postal card: E.F. Bullard to Aaron Barlow Olmstead, December 4, 1879
2 20 Letters, 1851, 1860 (2 items)
  1. Letter: Susan R. Barton to Harriet Preble, April 7, 1851
  2. Letter: [Anica] Barlow to [?], July 22, 1860
2 21 Letters to Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, 1857-1874 (10 items)
  1. Letter from Rev. S.J.M. Eaton, March 16,1857
  2. Letter from Rev. S.J.M. Eaton, March 24, 1857
  3. Letter from [A.S. Rosen?], April 10, 1857
  4. Letter from A.H. Marvin, June 6, 1857
  5. Letter from Sarah Lucy Olmstead, June 20, 1857
  6. Letter from Aaron Barlow Olmstead, July 8, 1857
  7. Letter from G.A. [Lugar?], December 1, 1857
  8. Letter from Sarah Lucy Olmstead, December 8, 1857
  9. Letter from W.S.[Olmstead], May 15, 1874
  10. Letter from Sarah Lucy Olmstead, April 8 (no year)
2 22 Letters from Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, 1854-1878 (7 items)
  1. Letter to [?], October 28, 1854
  2. Letter to [Sarah L. Olmstead], December 7, 1854 (in French)
  3. Letter to Rev. S.A. Corey, May 28, 1857
  4. Letter to Editor, December 19, 1857 (copy)
  5. Agreement: John [Danon?] with Joel Clement, December 14, 1858
  6. Letter to John M. Newton, January 28, 1878 (copy)
  7. Letter to brother, [Aaron Barlow Olmstead?], [undated, ca. late 1870s]
2 23 Lemuel Gregory Olmstead, Receipts (2 items)
  1. Money paid to Olmstead by George Caffery, May 14, 1854
  2. Promissory note to Aaron Barlow Olmstead, November 20, 1857
2 24 Affidavit: Zebuon [Zalmon] and Rebecca Olmstead re: estate of Stephen Barlow, March 13, 1847 (copy)
2 25 Letters:  B.F. Slocum to Father (2 items)
  1. October 28, 1869
  2. December 22, 1869
2 26 Letters to Aaron Barlow Olmstead from Caroline C. Olmstead 1858-1859 (6 items)
  1. Letter, September 13, 1858
  2. Letter, September 16, 1858
  3. May 6, 1859
  4. August 29/30, 1859
  5. Thursday, [? 1858-1859]
  6. Undated, [ca. 1858-1859]
2 27 Letters to Caroline C. Olmstead c.a. 1889 (2 items)
  1. April 12, 1889
  2. [n.d.]
2 28 Record of Larry Bennett’s Family, 1888

 

Last Updated: April 6, 2011