Bouton Family
Papers, 1854-1913; bulk, 1899-1913

SC23288

Quantity: 5 boxes (1.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift; Nancy vom Steeg, Detroit, Michigan, February 2014
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts & Special Collections, February 2014

View catalog record

Biographical Note:

Hiram Meeker Bouton (1834-1928), teacher and farmer, lived in Prattsville, Greene County, New York, most of his life.  He was married to Adelaide P. Ball (1844-1906) in 1868, and they had four children: Jennie (1871-1952), Eugene Hiram (1873-1938), Eunice Cornelia (1873-1942), and Susan Adelaide (1881-1918).

Eunice C. Bouton was married on May 15, 1899, to Samuel R. Spriggs (1871-1952), a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church. Soon after their marriage they departed for Point Barrow, Alaska, where he served at the Presbyterian mission from 1899 to 1908. Eunice assisted in the ministry as a teacher in the mission school.

During the time of Spriggs’s tenure at the mission, located at the juncture of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, whaling vessels were still journeying north, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service vessels patrolled the coast, the Iñupiaq Eskimos of Point Barrow lived a subsistence lifestyle, and reindeer had only recently been introduced.

It appears they went on furlough from September 1902 to July 1903, spending much of the time with family in Prattsville. On March 5, 1903, Eunice gave birth to their only child, Harold. Their second stint in Alaska appears to have ended in late August 1907. Thereafter, Samuel Spriggs and family settled in Bethel, Sullivan County, New York, where he took up a pastorate.  By 1920, the family was living in Ocean, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and Samuel’s occupation in the 1920 census was listed as "farmer." Eunice Bouton Spriggs passed away April 1, 1942; Samuel Spriggs died in Clearwater, Florida, July 20, 1950.

Scope and Content Note:

The Bouton family papers consist chiefly of correspondence related to the experiences of Eunice Bouton Spriggs and her husband, Samuel Spriggs, while they were engaged in missionary work among the Inuit people near Point Barrow, Alaska, from 1899 to 1907. The letters were addressed primarily to her mother, Adalaide Bouton, and her sisters, Jennie and Susan. It also appears that many of the letters were copies of letters written by Eunice, as indicated by the multiple dates and the pagination. The letters detail Eunice and Samuel’s daily life and their work with the Inuit people in Point Barrow. Of particular interest are the earliest letters which provide an in-depth account of the couple’s journey across the country by land and water to Point Barrow, and the letters detailing Eunice’s experiences of teaching Inuit children in the mission school. Complementing the letters is a pair of diaries kept by Eunice from May 10, 1899, to December 31, 1902, which also detail her activities and experiences in mission work in Alaska. Of particular note is a section that provides statistical details of the number of Inuit children she taught. There is also a diary kept by Eunice from 1909 to 1913 that records the life of the Spriggses after they returned to New York.

The papers also include a series of letters Adelaide Bouton sent from Prattsville to her daughter in Alaska from January to September 1905, providing news about the family and the community. Enclosed with the letter of August 18, 1905, is a rough sketch of the floor plan of the Boutom family home. In addition to letters and diaries, the papers include an attendance record book for the school districts in Prattsville, New York, that was kept by Hiram M. Bouton from 1854 to 1861. A roster of names is given for each school term with marks and a tally of days of attendance. Tipped in the book are copies of teaching certificates issued to Hiram M. Bouton; articles of agreement; and miscellaneous writings and papers.

Additional Collections and Resources:

Photographic documentation of the Alaska mission work of Samuel and Eunice Spriggs is available at the Alaska State Library Historical Collections Section in Juneau.  The bulk of the collection relates to whaling and other activities associated with the hunt, such as preparation for the hunt, butchering, and celebration following the hunt. There is also a series of views showing the building of an umiaq [umiak], and another on dwellings and caches. Also included are views of the mission and the school, and numerous photographs of Inuit families.  An online finding aid to the Spriggs Photograph Collectionexternal link is available for further information.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
    Eunice Bouton Letters, 1897-1907
1 1 Letter: Eunice [Bouton] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Oneonta, [N.Y.], October 9, 1897. (9 p.)
1 2 Letter: Eunice [Bouton] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], [Oneonta, N.Y.], October 24, 1898 (4 p.)
1 3 Letter: Eunice [Bouton] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], [Oneonta, N.Y.], January 22, 1899 (6 p.)
1 4 Letter: Eunice [Bouton] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Oneonta, N.Y., March 6, 1899 (7 p.)
1 5 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Livingston Manor, N.Y., May 12, 1899 (4 leaves)
1 6 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Imperial Hotel, Niagara [Falls], N.Y., May 16, 1899 (5 p.)
1 7 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Hiram Bouton], Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad passing through Topeka, [Kansas], May 18, 1899 (10 p.)
1 8 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Barstow, California, May 20, 1899 (4 p.)
1 9 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to sister, Susie [Susan A. Bouton], Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California, May 21, 1899 (13 p.)
1 10 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], 135 Russ Hotel, San Francisco, California, May 24, 1899 (6 p.)
1 11 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Schooner Bonanza, Pacific Ocean, June 6, 1899; continued on June15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25, 1899 (36 p.)
1 12 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], June 25, 1899 (2 p.)
1 13 Letter: Eunice [Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Schooner Bonanza, Bering Sea, June 27, 1899, continuing daily through June 30, 1899, and from Port Clarence Alaska, July 1 and 2, 1899 (27 p.)
1 14 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to family, Port Clarence, Alaska, July 2, 1899 (2 p.)
1 15 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to "Dear Sister. Jennie [Bouton] and all at home," Port Clarence, Alaska, July 3, 1899 and continuing almost every day through July 12, 1899 (16 p.)
1 15a Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to sister, "Dear Sister Jennie [Bouton] and all at home," Port Clarence, Alaska, July 13, 1899 (2 p.)
1 16 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to "Dearest Papa [Hiram Bouton] and all at home," Port Clarence, Alaska, July 17, 1899, and continuing from Port Hope, [Alaska], July 16, 1899, and almost every day through August 15, 1899 (59 p.)
1 17 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to family, Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 17, 1899 (2 p.)
1 18 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Jennie [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 18, 1899 (9 p.)
1 19 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to brother, Eugene [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 20, 1899 (12 p.)
1 20 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 24, 1899, and continuing on August 27, 28, 1899 (31 p.)
1 21 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 3, 1899 (2 p.)
1 22 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 7, 1899 (10 p.)
1 23 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Jennie [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 10, 1899 (12 p.)
1 24 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Jennie [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 13, 1899 (25 p.)
1 25 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, October 2, 1899 (1 p.)
1 26 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, October 10, 1899, continued October 15, 22, 29, November 5, 1899 (24 p.; sheets numbered 1-12)
1 27 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], November 12, 1899, with continuing segments of November 19, 26, December 2, 1899 (22 p.; sheets numbered 13-23)
2 28 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, December 10, 1899, with continuing segments of December 16, 24, 25, 31, 1899 (24 p.; sheets numbered 24-35)
2 29 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Ootkeavik, Alaska, November 17, 1899, with continuing segments of December 21, 1899, January 18, March 3, April 20, May 20, 1900 (27 p.)
2 30 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Jennie [Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], January 6, 1900, with continuing segments of January 12, 29, 1900 (12 p.; sheets numbered 36-46)
2 31 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Hiram [Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], February 1, 1900, and continuing segments of February 9, 27, 1900 (25 p.; numbered sheets, 47-59)
2 32 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Neal and Solomon and "all at home," [Cape Smyth, Alaska], March 3, [1900], with continuing segments of March 10, 18, 29, [1900] (16 p.; sheets numbered 60-67)
2 33 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Eugene [Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], April 14, 1900, with continuing segments of April 22, 28, [1900] (18 p.; sheets numbered 68-76)
2 34 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Eugene [Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], May 10, 1900, with continuing segments of May 18, 26, June 1, 1900 (12 p.; sheets numbered 77-82)
2 34a Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Eugene [Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], June 6, 1900, with continuing segments of June 16, 30, July 17, 30, August 6, 1900 (15 p.; numbered 83-97)
2 35 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 15, 1900 (8 p. + cover)
2 36 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], [Cape Smyth, Alaska], August 17, 1900 (1 p.)
2 37 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 18, 1900 (13 p.)
2 38 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to sister and brother, Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 19, 1900 (5 p.)
2 39 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Eugene [Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, August 30, 1900 (11 p.)
2 40 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 2, 1900 (14 p.)
2 41 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Jennie and [William Edwin] Bruce, Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 7, 1900 (7 p.)
2 42 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], Cape Smyth, Alaska, September 26, 1900, with continuing segments of October 4, 13, 20 29, 1900 (22 p.; sheets numbered 1-11)
2 43 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Ootkeavik, Alaska, [Ootkeavik Presbyterian Church, Point Barrow, Alaska], November 3, 1900, with continuing segments November 9, 17, 24, 29, 1900 (14 p.; sheets numbered 12-18)
2 44 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Eugene [Bouton], [Point Barrow Alaska], December 8, 1900, with continuing segments of December 15, 21, 1900 (16 p.; numbered sheets 19-25)
3 45 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to sister, Jennie, and brother, [William Edwin] Bruce, [Point Barrow, Alaska], January 1, 1901, with continuing segments of January 4, 19, 26, 1901 (18 p.; numbered sheets 27-34)
3 46 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to "Dearest Papa [Hiram Bouton] and all at home," [Point Barrow, Alaska], February 1, 1901, with continuing segments of February 16, 23, 1901 (18 p.; numbered sheets 36-44)
3 47 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Neal and Solomon, [Point, Barrow, Alaska], March 1, 1901, with continuing segments of March 9, 16, 23, 30, 1901 (18 p.; numbered sheets 45-53)
3 48 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], [Point Barrow, Alaska], April 5, 1901, with continuing segments of April 12, 20, 27, May 3, 18, June 1, 1901 (24 p.; numbered sheets 54-66)
3 49 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to [Adelaide P. Bouton], [Point Barrow, Alaska], June 6, 1901, with continuing segments of June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 16, 20, 27, 30, August 3, 1901 (26 p.; numbered sheets 67-80)
3 50 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Point Barrow, Alaska, January 14, 1901, with continuing segments of January 25, February 14, 1901 (30 p.; numbered sheets 1-15); hand-drawn sketch of Alaska native enclosed
3 51 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Point Barrow, Alaska, February 23, 1901, with continuing segments of May 25, August 12, 1901 (22 p.; numbered sheets 16-26)
3 52 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to "Dearest Mamma [Adelaide Bouton] and all at home," Point Barrow, Alaska, August 29, 1901 (5 p.)
3 53 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to "Dearest Mamma [Adelaide Bouton] and all at home," Point Barrow, Alaska, August 30, 1901 (11 p.)
3 54 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to Susie [Bouton], Point Barrow, Alaska, September 4, 1901 (6 p.)
3 55 Letter: Eunice and Robert [Spriggs] to sister and brother, Point Barrow, Alaska, September 4, 1901 (4 p.)
3 56 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., July 20, 1902 (12 p.+ cover)
3 57 Letter: Susie [Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, [Prattsville, N.Y.], July 29, 1902 (6 p.)
3 58 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to [Adelaide Bouton], Seattle, Washington, July 6, 1903 (5 p. + cover)
3 59 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to [Adelaide Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, September 10, 1904 (14 p. + cover)
3 60 Letter: Eunice Bouton Spriggs to Adelaide Bouton, Barrow, Alaska, November 6, 1904, with continuing segments of November 12, December 3, 17, 24, 25, 1904 (27 p.)
4 61 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to [Hiram Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, January 5, 1905, with continuing segments of January 10, 14, 24, 25, February 4, 1905 (19 p.)
4 62 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to [Adelaide Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, February 14, 1905 (14 p. + cover)
4 63 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to [Adelaide Bouton], [Barrow, Alaska], April 29, 1905 (10 p. + cover)
4 64 Letter: Eunice [Spriggs] to [Adelaide Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, September 1, 1905, with continuing segments of September 6, 14, 23, October 2, 14, 21, 28, November 1, 1905 (43 p.)
4 65 Letter: Eunice Bouton Spriggs] to [Adelaide Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, November 14, 1905, with continuing segments of November 23, 27, December 9, 16, 1905, January 3, 13, 20, 29, February 3, 12, 14, 1906 (31 p.)
4 66 Letter: Eunice Spriggs to [Hiram Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, February 21, 1907, with continuing segments of March 8, 16, 23, April 7, 15, 24, 29, May 8, 18, 27, June 4, 10, 18, 29, July 6, 11, 26, August 1, 16, 1907 (72 p.)
4 67 Letter: Eunice Spriggs to [Hiram Bouton], Barrow, Alaska, August 24, 1907 (9 p. + cover)
    Adelaide Bouton Letters, 1905
4 68 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, [Prattsville, N.Y.], January 1, 1905 (10 p.)
4 69 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., January 29, 1905 (10 p.)
4 70 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., February 26, 1905 (6 p. + cover)
4 71 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., March 1905 (14 p.+ cover)
4 72 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., April 1905 (10 p. + cover)
4 73 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, [Prattsville, N.Y.], May 7, 1905 (26 p. + cover)
4 74 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., June 4, 1906 (28 p. + cover)
4 75 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., August 1, 1905 (4 p.)
4 76 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, [Prattsville, N.Y.], August 18, 1905, with enclosed sketch of the floorplan of the family farmhouse (4 p. + cover)
4 77 Letter: [Adelaide Bouton] to Eunice and Robert Spriggs, Prattsville, N.Y., September 12, 1905 (41 p.)
5 v. 1 Lists of students attending school in District No. 1, Town of Prattville, Greene County, N.Y., 1854-1861; record of student attendance kept by Hiram Bouton (101 p.; 19 cm.)
5 v. 2 Eunice Bouton Spriggs – Diary, May 10, 1899-May 10, 1901 (ca. 200 p.; 20 cm.)
Last Updated: September 27, 2017