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Chadwick Family
Papers, 1843-1919


Quantity: 5 boxes (1.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research, except for Box 4, which contains a number of items too fragile for regular use
Acquisition: Purchase, John R. Scopes & Co., New York, N.Y., August 1957; accretion by transfer of BD11376, BD11377, and BD11378 to collection, ca 1994-1995; see provenance note for more information
Administrative Note: A number of documents in this collection appear to be missing. The inventory list reflects those documents, marked with an asterisk (*), that were recovered in 2008 by the Office of the New York State Attorney General.
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts & Special Collections, June 2009

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Biographical Note:

William Chadwick, who was prominent in the industrial development of Cohoes, New York, was born June 4, 1799, in New York City, the son of Joseph and Hannah Marshall Chadwick. Raised and educated in New York, William pursued a career in business beginning with a position at the overseas trading company of Peter Remsen and Company of New York City, and later, becoming a senior member of Chadwick, Carrington, & Company in New York. Chadwick sold his interest in the latter firm in 1843 and moved to Cohoes, New York, to enter into the burgeoning textile manufacturing business there. For a number of years he served as president of the Harmony Cotton Mills. After he left Harmony (about 1862), he and George Warhurst purchased from Samuel N. Baldwin the knitting mills that were situated at the northeast corner of Ontario and Remsen streets. Chadwick bought out Warhurst's interest in 1867, and formed Chadwick & Company. This firm re-organized in 1885 and was re-named the Ontario Knitting Company. William married Lucretia Tooker in 1823 and they had three children who lived to adulthood. Their lives are detailed below. William Chadwick died April 19, 1880. 

Joseph Chadwick, the eldest son of William and Lucretia Chadwick, was born circa 1828. He served in the United States Navy during the Civil War. His letters reveal that he served on the U.S.S. Wyandank, a vessel acquired by the Union Navy to be used primarily as a store (supply) ship for the Potomac River flotilla. After the war, it appears that Joseph became involved in the management of his father's manufacturing interests.  Genealogical notes found in the collection indicate he never married.

Peter Remsen Chadwick, the second son of William and Lucretia, was born June 12, 1831, in Brooklyn, New York. Letters and papers in the collection indicate he went by the name Remsen. He married Anna (Annie) Pearce Congdon, the daughter of Samuel and Mary Pearce Congdon, on December 4, 1856. Annie P. Congdon was born October 29, 1833, in Providence, Rhode Island. Remsen and Annie had five children, first of whom was Robert Remsen Chadwick, born September 27, 1857. They lived in the Congdon family home in Brooklyn, New York, from 1856 to 1861, while Remsen was pursuing a career in banking and finance. Soon after the Civil War began in 1861, he returned to Cohoes and joined the Army.

Remsen Chadwick served in the 100th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and saw action at the Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines) in Virginia in 1862. The following year, the 100th Regiment was engaged in the campaigns along the coast and harbors of South Carolina. The regiment returned to Virginia in 1864 where troops were engaged primarily in operations against Petersburg.  Military service records show that Remsen Chadwick enrolled March 10, 1861, and mustered into service as a first lieutenant. He was promoted and commissioned as a captain, December 23, 1862, and mustered out of service April 2, 1864.

After mustering out, Remsen Chadwick and his family settled in Cohoes, where he had become a partner in the management of Chadwick & Company. Records indicate that Remsen Chadwick died March 26, 1891. Annie Chadwick lived in Cohoes until her death on August 29, 1920.  Robert Remsen Chadwick, their eldest son, became a civil engineer and lived in the family home on Grand Street in Cohoes most of his life.

Anna Chadwick, the daughter of William and Lucretia, was born July 15, 1834. She attended a boarding school under the tutelage of Mrs. Charles (Adele) Canda in New York City from 1853 to 1857. She apparently was popular and intelligent, with musical talent and creative writing skills. She married Robert Weir, who was manager of the Ontario Knitting Company in Cohoes, and, according to the 1880 census, the couple had at least two daughters.

Scope and Content Note:

These papers consist of letters, diaries, personal narratives, and printed memorabilia of the family of William and Lucretia Chadwick of Cohoes, New York, and their descendants. Most of the papers were created by Remsen, Joseph, and Anna Chadwick.

The papers of Peter Remsen Chadwick include correspondence, diaries, and reminiscences of the Civil War. Much of his correspondence was with his sister Anna while he was living in Brooklyn in the late 1850s. These letters concern mostly personal and family matters. There is also a draft of the letter regarding his engagement to Annie Pearce Congdon, and two letters written to his father regarding his experiences of military service during the Civil War.

The diaries of Remsen Chadwick provide a detailed chronology of daily activities and experiences for much of his life from 1846 to 1886. Entries generally include remarks about the day's weather conditions followed by details of specific events and tasks, often mentioning names of people he encountered and places he visited. His political preferences are apparent too, particularly on Election Day when he reveals the candidates and the party ticket for which he had cast his vote. The Civil War period entries are quite detailed, particularly the description of the Battle of Fair Oaks. It was during this battle that Remsen lost the diary he had begun on July 1, 1858, and had carried with him through May 29, 1862, when he was making a hasty retreat from camp. The diary was found by Captain William G. Woods of the 3rd North Carolina Infantry; it was returned to the Chadwick family in 1891. Details of this story are found in an accompanying letter from the son of Captain Woods. Remsen was from military service in April 1864 and his post-war diaries chronicle his career as well as his personal and family life. Information about births, deaths, and marriages also can be found in the diaries.

Peter Remsen Chadwick's reminiscences of the Civil War comprise a series of writing tablets titled "My history of the Civil War," which details his personal experiences and activities from April 1861 through November 1863. They include recollections of the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, and the other battles and skirmishes of the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, as well as the battles at Folly Island and Morris Island, near Charleston, South Carolina, in 1863. Life in an army camp and other routine activities such as drill and marching are also mentioned. These manuscripts were written entirely in pencil over a period of approximately three years, from 1888 to 1891. It is quite evident that he was not able to complete the story before he passed away. On the front cover of each tablet is a summary of the principal events detailed within. The tablets are composed on paper that, over the years, has become extremely brittle and too fragile for regular research use.

The papers of Joseph Chadwick consist chiefly of letters detailing his experiences serving aboard the U.S.S. Wyandank from October to December 1861. These letters, which were addressed to either to his father or his sister, Anna, provide a vivid picture of life on board the ship and the operations of the Potomac River flotilla. Names of other vessels in the flotilla were mentioned in the letters along with comments and observations about people and places he encountered. Other papers of Joseph Chadwick include a book of conundrums and personal letters with friends and family written before or after his time in the service.

Anna Chadwick's papers consist chiefly of correspondence with her immediate family regarding personal and family matters. She also received many letters from friends, relatives, and perhaps a suitor or two that offer insights into the social life and customs of the mid-nineteenth century.  One notable item is a rebus letter that appears to have been sent to her circa 1856 from Lon Miller.  She received several letters, 1853-1855, written in French from a friend identified as Caro Rogers. Her papers also include a book of verse, poetry, prose and riddles that appears to have been related to her social life and studies while at boarding school.

The papers also include a diary and correspondence of Annie Chadwick, the wife of Remsen Chadwick. The diary details of her life in Brooklyn and Cohoes, and contains news about family members including births, deaths, and marriages. Her correspondence includes several letters, circa 1859, to her sister-in-law, Anna, regarding personal and family matters. Later correspondence relates primarily to genealogy and family history.

Provenance Note:

The bulk of this collection appears to have been purchased in August 1957 from John R. Scopes & Company of New York City. Information in the accession file and the annual report of the Manuscripts and History Unit for 1957-1958, indicates that at the time of purchase the collection consisted of 18 volumes and 13 letters. However, it appears that the collection may not have been officially accessioned and catalogued until December 1976, at which time it was reported to have comprised two boxes.  When the first finding aid was created in 1984, it was reported the collection consisted of 129 items in two boxes being well preserved, yet somewhat unorganized with the exception of materials related to the Civil War. In the mid-1990s an accretion was made to the collection with the transfer of three bound manuscripts that were previously accessioned separately: BD11376, BD11377 and BD11378.  The collection was re-housed and partially reorganized in June 2009.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
1 0 Guide / Historical and Genealogical Information
    Chadwick Family Correspondence, 1843-1919
1 1 Civil War letters and papers of Peter Remsen Chadwick, 1862-1864 (5 items)
  1. Letter to father, near Bottom's Bridge, Va., June 11, 1862
  2. Letter to father, South Fork of St. Mary's River, Fla., February 13, 1864
  3. Letter from Col. N.B. Barton of 48th N.Y.S.V., H.Q. Barton's Brigade, Jacksonville, Fla., March 6, 1864; concerns request for furlough of Private L. W. Burr (Recovered document*)
  4. General Order No. 1, H.Q. District of Florida, Dept. of South, Jacksonville, Fla., February 16, 1864
  5. Photograph: John [Low?], drummer boy, 100th N.Y.S.V.
1 2 Joseph Chadwick, letters to family written aboard U.S.S. Wyandank, October-December 1861 (12 items)
  1. To father, October 15, 1861
  2. To sister, October 17, 1861
  3. To father, October 19, 1861
  4. To sister, October 24, 1861
  5. To sister, November 1, 1861
  6. To sister, November 6, 1861
  7. To sister, November 10, 1861
  8. To sister, November 16, 1861
  9. To sister, November 17, 1861
  10. To sister, November 30, 1861
  11. To sister, December 8, 1861
  12. To sister, December 16, 1861
1 3 Remsen and Annie Chadwick, letters to family, 1853-1859; most letters sent from Brooklyn, N.Y. (14 items)
  1. Remsen Chadwick to his mother, April 29, 1853
  2. Remsen Chadwick to [Samuel Congdon], ca. 1856 (draft)
  3. Annie Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, November 5, 1857
  4. Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, March 8, 1858
  5. Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, February 6, [1859]
  6. Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, March 27, 1859
  7. Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, March 28, [1859]
  8. Annie and Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, April 26 and 27, 1859
  9. Annie and Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, May 11, 1859
  10. Annie Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, June 6. 1859
  11. Annie Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, October 18, 1859
  12. Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, October 19, 1859
  13. Annie and Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, January 10 and 11, 1860
  14. Remsen Chadwick, April 2, 1860
  15. Annie and Remsen Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, undated (2 items)
1 4 Anna Chadwick, correspondence with family, 1853-1858, most written at Cohoes or New York City (10 items)
  1. William Chadwick (father) to Anna Chadwick, February 23, 1853
  2. Anna Chadwick to father, May 21, 1853
  3. Joseph Chadwick and William Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, September 20, 1853
  4. Anna Chadwick to Joseph Chadwick, January 10, [1854]
  5. Joseph Chadwick and others to Anna Chadwick, October 27, 1855; postscripts from parents, Anna Johnson, and cousin Joe
  6. William Chadwick and others to Anna Chadwick, October 29, 1855; postscripts from S. Babcock, Anna Johnson W.A. Johnson, and cousin Joe
  7. Joseph Chadwick to Anna Chadwick, December 27, 1857; includes postscript from her mother
  8. Anna Chadwick to father, September 7, 1858
  9. Anna Chadwick to mother, October 22, 1858
  10. Anna Chadwick to father, November 18, 1858
1 5 Anna Chadwick, letters from relatives, 1843-1863 (13 items)
  1. Mary Byron Dominick, New York, August 8, 1843
  2. E.L. Johnson, September 15, 1852
  3. Anna Johnson, [New York], February 6, [1857]; April 11, [1857]; July 19, [1857]; September 7, 1857; and March 28, 1858
  4. W.A. Johnson, New York, February 5, 1856; February 21, 1857; April 11, 1857; and September 3, 1857
  5. Jane Ann Sabbaton, Albany, [N.Y.], August 8, 1854 and January 26, 1863
1 6 Anna Chadwick, letters from friends, ca. 1854-1858 (11 items)
  1. Rebus letter from Lon Miller, undated [ca. mid-1850s] (1 item)
  2. Letters from Lon Miller, undated ca. 1854-1958 (2 items)
  3. Letters from Hattie [?], [New York], April 3, [1858]; April 28, [1858]; May 27, 1858; June 1, [1858]; and 3 undated, [probably 1858] (7 items)
  4. Letter from Ima Howland, Walpole, September 18, [1858?] (1 item)
1 7 Anna Chadwick, letters from Caro Rogers, 1854-1856 (11 items) – all written in French except last item listed below
  1. New York, June 17, 1854
  2. New York, July 1, 1854
  3. New York, August 5, 1854
  4. Lake Mahopac, [N.Y.], September 1854
  5. New York, October 5, 1854
  6. Charleston, [ca. January 1855]
  7. Charleston, January 23, 1855
  8. Charleston, March 6, 1855
  9. Charleston, October 7, 1855
  10. Charleston, March 30, 1856
  11. Charleston, June 29, 1856
  12. Bagnères-de-Luchon, [France], August 7, [185-?] (in English)
1 8 Joseph Chadwick and other family correspondence, 1847-1872 (6 items)
  1. Joseph Chadwick to [Florence] White, Cohoes, [N.Y.], October 9, 1847
  2. Vincent Cone Bruce, Ravens Point, S.C., May 14, 1867
  3. Anna A Schuyler to Joseph Chadwick, Cayuga Lake, [N.Y.], November 4 and 29, 1871
  4. [Jane Ann Sabbaton] to Joseph Chadwick, Essex, Conn., September 1, 1872
  5. W.A. Johnson to William N. Chadwick, New York, December 30, 1870
1 9 Remsen Chadwick family correspondence, ca. 1870-1919 (9 items)
  1. Letter, [Joseph] Chadwick to Remsen Chadwick, Holmes Hole, Martha's Vineyard, [Mass.], August 28, 1872
  2. Letter, [Anna Chadwick?] to Remsen Chadwick, Williamsville, July 15, [187-?]
  3. Letter, Mrs. P.N. Dodge to [Remsen] Chadwick, Philadelphia, July 5, [187?]
  4. Letter, Joseph H. Tooker to Cousin Annie [Chadwick], New York, October 30, 1871
  5. Letter, J.F. Johnson to Anna Chadwick, New York, October 30, 1890
  6. Letter, J.F. Johnson to Anna Chadwick, New York, November 3, 1890
  7. Letter, J.F. Johnson to Anna Chadwick, New York, November 9, 1891
  8. Letter, William [?] to Annie Chadwick, Cape Neddick, Me., July 13, 1917
  9. Letter, Ara A. Curtis to Annie Chadwick, September 12, 1919
1 10 Genealogy, school records, etc.
  1. Obituary of William Chadwick (newspaper clipping, ca. April 19, 1880)
  2. Note relative to ancestry of Peter Remsen Chadwick and his descendents
  3. Certified statement from Joseph H. Price of St. Stephen's Church, New York, concerning the baptism of Anna Chadwick, February 12, 1848
  4. Collegiate School tuition receipt, 1849
  5. Anna Chadwick account with Mrs. Charles (Adele) Canda, September 18, 1854 (tuition and music lessons)
  6. List of  studies [classes] at Mrs. Canda's School, ca. 1854
  7. Invoice from La Pierre Hotel, Philadelphia, December 9, 1856 (P. Remsen and Annie Chadwick)
  8. Manuscript note to Anna Chadwick, ca. 1858
1 11 Miscellaneous
  1. Calling cards (5 items)
  2. Invitation to Robert Remsen Chadwick, 1918
  3. Broadside: Cullerton's Heraldric Library, 25 Cranbourne St., Leicester S2, London, W.C. [n.d.] (1 item)
  4. Newspaper clippings and scraps (3 items)
    Diaries of P. Remsen Chadwick, 1846-1886
2 1 Diary no. 1: July 1, 1846-June 25, 1848 (ca. 200 p., 17 cm.)
2 2 Diary no. 2: July 1, 1848-June 20, 1851 (220 p., 17 cm.)
2 3 Diary no. 3: ca. June 21, 1851-June 30, 1855 (missing, May 1984)
2 4 Diary no. 4: July 1, 1855-June 30, 1858 (260 p. 20 cm.)
2 5 Diary no. 5: July 1, 1858-May 29, 1862 (331 p., 20 cm.)
Accompanied by letter of W.G. Woods Jr., Wilkesboro, N.C., to [Robert Remsen] Chadwick, Cohoes, N.Y., April 16, 1891
3 1 Diary no. 6: May 30, 1862- July 31, 1866 (ca. 250 p., 20 cm.)
3 2 Diary no. 7: August 1, 1866-August 31, 1876 (ca. 400 p., 21 cm.)
3 3 Diary no. 8: September 1, 1876-December 31, 1886 (ca. 300 p., 20 cm.)
4 -- Civil War reminiscences of P. Remsen Chadwick – series of writing tablets titled "My History of the War", compiled 1888-1891 (Descriptive information concerning the content was excerpted from author's notes found on cover of each tablet);  These items (folders 1-8) are closed to regular research use due to the brittleness and fragility of the paper
4 -- Book no. 1 (not available; cataloging done ca. 1976 indicates only 8 of  9 notebooks present at the time)
4 1 Book no. 2 (p. 8-81). Contents include: march of 7th Regiment to Washington, April 1861; discussion Lieut. Cole's statement, 1862
4 2 Book no. 3 (p. 82-153). Contents include: continuation of discussion of Lieut. Cole's statement and from other officers; the departure of 100th regiment from Alexandria, Va., 1862
4 3 Book no. 4 (p. 154-228). Contents include: departure of 100th regiment from Alexandria, Va.; camp at Newport News; march of the Peninsula; Yorktown, Williamsburg, and skirmishes to description of battlefield of Williamsburg, 1862
4 4 Book no. 5 (p.229-297); Contents include: scenes on the battlefield of Williamsburg; marching resumed into the Peninsula; camp scenes; military life; crossing the Chickohomany; reconnaissance to Battle of Fair Oaks, 1862
4 5 Book no. 6 (p. 300-368). Contents include: after the battle of Fair Oaks; our division retreats; visit to our camp and battlefield two days after; I was sick [with] typhoid fever; death of Lieut. Smith; horrible condition of the roads; Harrison's Landing; sent to Fortress Monroe, 1862
4 6 Book no. 7 (p. 369-440). Contents include: end of my journey home; in hospital at Philadelphia; at home convalescing; [offered and accepts promotion]; receives commission, Feb. 28, 1863; sails for Port Royal; description of Hilton Head; bombardment of Fort Sumter by the navy; June 25, 1863
4 7 Book no. 8 (p. 441-511). Contents include: sailing again to Port Royal; troops occupy Folly Island; battles of Folly and Morris Islands, [1863]
4 8 Book no. 9 (p. 512-558). Contents include: return from Beaufort to Morris Island; camp life; fire on Sumter [1863]
    Printed materials
4 9 Official Army Register for 1863 Published by Order of the Secretary of War, in Compliance with the Resolution of the Senate, of December 13, 1815, and Resolutions of the House of Representatives, Dated February 1, 1830, and August 30, 1842 / United States. Adjutant General's Office (Washington, D.C.: Adjutant General's Office, 1863); 151 p.; 21 cm.
4 10 Official Report of Tenth Brigade, Third Division, N.G.S.N.Y.: Services of the Brigade During Certain Riotous Proceedings by Railroad Employees and Others, July 23d-28th, 1877 (Troy, N.Y.: Troy Daily Press Book and Job Printing House, 1877); 30 p.; 23 cm.
4 11 Official Register of the National Guard, State of New York, 1883 / New York State Adjutant General's Office (Albany ?, 1883)
    Bound Manuscripts
5 1 Anna Chadwick, book of verse, poetry, prose, riddles, etc. ca.1853-1858; 1 volume; includes a list of books for reading; names of young ladies at Madame Canda's Spring and September sessions, 1853; specimens of plants (acc.#11376).
5 2 Annie P. Chadwick, diary, 1861-1897; 1 volume; contains news about family members, including births, deaths, and marriages; discussion of the special memorial services for Abraham Lincoln held in New York City, 1865; journey to Niagara Falls; details of her life in Brooklyn and Cohoes; after 1867, information was recorded sporadically (acc.#11377). 
5 3 Joseph Chadwick, book of Conundrums, 1868; 1 volume; contains trivia, riddles, puns, and questions with conjectural answers;  also includes list of clergymen who will be at consecration of Dr. Brown, Saint John's Church, Cohoes, December 15, 1875 (acc.# 11378).

*Document recovered in January 2008 by the Office of the New York State Attorney General and placed in this collection as the probable source of the document.

Last Updated: January 25, 2022