Nicholas Reddish Papers, 1806-1941; bulk 1840-1863

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Gift; Joseph G. Kenny, September 2019
Processed By: Jill Tominosky, Student Assistant, Manuscripts and Special Collections, October, 2019


Biographical Note:

Nicholas E. Reddish, born at Salisbury, Somerset County, Maryland, in 1781, was the son of Nicholas Reddish (1738-1796) and Nancy Ann Fitzgerald (1755-1794). Nicholas E. Reddish was considered a pioneer of Orangeville, Wyoming County, New York. In 1811, he was one of seven constituent members of the First Church of Orangeville (Baptist) and in 1812, he was elected commissioner of highways. He married Mary Mullen, who was born in 1774 in Somerset County, Maryland. They had four children: James H. Reddish (1812-1833), Sarah H. (Reddish) Kenny (1810-1891), Elizabeth Ann (Reddish) Collins, and Mary H. Reddish. Nicholas E. Reddish died August 22, 1868, in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York; his wife died December 23, 1838. Many family members are buried in the Warsaw Pioneer Cemetery.

Scope and Content Note:

Series I includes the original indenture (sale agreement) for the Reddish land in Genesee County, now Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, dated 1815, and receipts for purchases made by the Reddish family, as well as promissory notes, and a doctor’s note, dated November 21, 1814, saying Nicholas was “not able to perform a campaign of a soldier.” Series III contains poems and letters of unknown origin.

Series II, the largest series of the collection, consists chiefly of personal correspondence among family members including Mary (Mullen) Reddish, Nicholas Reddish, and their son and daughters, James H. Reddish, Sarah H. (Reddish) Kenny, Elizabeth Ann (Reddish) Collins, and Mary H. Reddish. There also are a few letters from Nicholas’s brother, John Reddish, and from his nephew[s]. As the Reddish daughters grew up and married, they kept up a flow of correspondence with one another. Other letters are from Samuel Lymon (S.L.) Kenny; his son, James Kenny; and cousin Kate R. (Keeney [sic]) Hill, as well as some other cousins – George, Mary H., and Sanford Reddish. Letters update Nicholas on the lives of relatives and describe activities, experiences, and endeavors of the letter-writers. Although the letters span the time from 1806 to 1865, the bulk of the correspondence in this collection was generated between 1840 and 1863. The letters to Nicholas in Genesee (later Wyoming) County in New York, and generally from Springfield and New Paris, Ohio; and Salisbury, Maryland, mentioning family scattered throughout the midwestern states, illustrate the westward movement of people in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Of particular note is the letter from B.B. Reddish, who closes the letter to Nicholas and family in March 1844 (Folder 14) by writing that he/she "will send you a [news]paper once in a while and write in the [w]rapper with sallaeatus watter [saleratus water] [-] we take a small lump of sallaeatus as big as a pea dissolved in watter – you can tell by holding it to the fire it will show almost as plain as ink. I think that there is no hurt in cheating Uncle Sam a little bit. My love to you all".

An 1859 letter mentions the tradition connecting the coming of spring to whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow on February 2 (Folder 37). Another noteworthy letter is that of November 3, 1864, from Captain George McGinley of the 7th Maine Volunteers to "Miss Jennie Marsh" (Folder 42), which consists mainly of his negative comments on George McClellan's leadership ability.

Box and Folder List:






Series I: Financial Papers



Indenture regarding the sale of land by Uryal I. Merryfield to Nicholas Reddish; witnessed by Harrison Curtiss and David [?] Bush; dated 1815. Verso: Record of sale, Genesee County, dated May 9, 1816; signed by Elizur Webster. (fragment; needs conservation)



Reddish Receipts, dated 1814-1846

  1. Doctor’s note for Nicholas Reddish – "not able to perform a campaign of a soldier"; signed by B. Potter, surgeons mate; dated November 21, 1814; approval signed by William Parg[?], lieutenant colonel, commander of the 99th Regiment, New York Militia.
  2. "Received of Nicholas Reddish, one horse, two cowes [sic], one calf … to the amount of one hundred and fifty dollars in full of all demands against him"; signed Nathan G. Case; dated Warsaw, July 8, 1819.
  3. Promissory note – from Nicholas Reddish to Isaac Boardman in the amount of $100; dated Warsaw, May 22, 1820.
  4. Receipt of Goods – Nicholas Reddish in the amount of $2.47; signed by E. Parmele [?]; dated January 3, 1824.
  5. Accounting – Fabric purchases by Elizabeth Reddish; dated May 28- July 1, 1831.
  6. Receipt – Nicholas Reddish "one dollar and fifty cents paid in full of all demands"; signed R. Gould; dated Wyoming [County], December 25, 1832.
  7. Receipt – Norton & Sheldon "one dollar thirty six cents to ballance [sic] their account, also one dollar fifty five cents to settle Sheldons account"; signed Norton & Sheldon; dated Warsaw, August 25, 1833.
  8. Receipt – "Nicholas Raddish [Reddish] Daughter," fabric purchase on October 31, 1837; signed A. & E.F. Hubbard; dated June 25, 1838
  9. Promissory Note – Nicholas Reddish to pay Lydia Merryfield "fore [four] dollars sixty days from date"; dated Warsaw, January 20, 1844 Wyoming County.
  10. Receipt – Nicholas Reddish paid fifty cents for J.W. Kellogg; signed E.L. Carpenter; dated February 2, 1846.
  11. Receipt – Nicholas Reddish paid one dollar and sixty two cents; signed George Hollister; n.d.
  12. Accounting – Fabric purchases, no name, n.d.



Two agreements

  1. Agreement between Nicholas Reddish and Jesse T. Watkins for Watkins to build a barn; signed Nicholas Reddish and witnessed by A.C. Knight; dated July 24, 1828. Detailed description of materials to be used on the 28-foot x 38-foot barn.
  2. Agreement between Nicolas Redish [Nicholas Reddish] and William Knapp in which Reddish agrees to let Knapp "have about four acres of land to sow to winter wheat"; Knapp "agrees to do all the work of putting in the crop"; dated June 30, 186[7?]



Kenny Records, dated 1855, 1883, [1941?]

  1. Receipt – S.L. Keeney [Kenny] as Commissioner of Highways paid eleven dollars and fourteen cents, account of Plank and Commissioner of Highways, including some had by John S. Chase of Gates & Garretsee [hardware store] in 1853; signed Breck & Gates; dated Warsaw, January 10, 1855.
  2. Receipt (Business) – Kenny & Browning [clothing/fabric store] bought merchandise from Mrs. S. Vaughn & Co. [millinery shop], $1653.50 paid half in cash and half in notes; signed Mrs. S. Vaughn & Co.; dated LeRoy, New York, April 9, 1883.
  3. K.E. Kenny – List of positions he held with an unidentified church since he was "united with [the] church on July 24, 1894"; includes terms he served as a deacon between 1899 and 1941 (2 pieces)



Series II: Correspondence



Correspondence, 1806, 1809.

  1. Letter from [Aunt?] Lydia Maddux to Nicholas Reddish, near Scipio, Cayuga County, New York, November 9, 1806
  2. Letter from Lydia Maddux to Mrs Mary Reddish, Scipio, Cayuga County (in care of Mr. Fleming), April 1, 1809



Correspondence, 1806, 1820, 1821

  1. Letter from Thomas and Nancy Reddish, Salisbury, Maryland, June 3, 1806, to his brother, Nicholas Radish [Reddish], Scipio, Onondaga County, [i.e., Cayuga County], New York
  2. Letter from Thomas Reddish and William Reddish, Somerset County, Maryland, December 26, 1820, to their brother and uncle, respectively, Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, Genesee County, New York. William mentions Nicholas’s sisters: Charlotte and Nancy.
  3. Letter from Thomas and Nancy Reddish, Salisbury, Maryland, February 18, 1821, to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, Genesee County, New York.



Letter to "My Dear Friend" from Leah B. Hay and to "My Dear Mary" from Hetty D. Williss; dated Somerset County, Maryland, May 5, 1809 [1807?]; addressed to Nicholas Reddish, near Scipio, Cayuga County, New York (for Mrs. Mary Reddish). Both letters are written on the same piece of paper.



Letters to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, New York, from Thomas Byrd. Salutation on both letters: “D[ea]r acquaintance”

  1. March 4, 1809
  2. February 16, 1813



Letters to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, New York. Salutation on three of the letters: “Dear Brother”

  1. September 30, 1820 (partial letter), signed "yore [sic] Brother, " Nathan Reddish
  2. October 20, 1822, Springfield, [Ohio], signed Nathan Reddish
  3. May 17, 1823, Springfield, Ohio, James Reddish and Nathan Reddish; addressed to Messers John H. and Nicholas Reddish
  4. August 23, 1824, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio; addressed to Messers Nicholas and John Reddish



Letter to Nicholas Reddish and John Reddish, Warsaw, New York, from James Reddish, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, June 11, 1826



Letter to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, New York, from Elizabeth J. Jones, Lisle, Broome County, New York, May 29, 1830



Character-reference letter for Nicholas Reddish from the Baptist Church of Orangeville, [Wyoming County], New York, June 12, 1841



Letters to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, Genesee County, New York (written by two different hands)

  1. Letter to "Most Respected Uncle"; dated: New Paris, [Ohio?], July 28, 1841; signed: "Your Respect[ed] Nephew, N.A. [W.A.?] Reddish" (partial letter)
  2. Letter to "Respect [sic] Uncle," from "oldest son of James Reddish, " New Paris, [Ohio?], 1842; addressed to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, Genesee County, New York.



Letters to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, from B.B. and Sanford Reddish, Skaneateles, Onondaga County, New York

  1. March 16, 1844. Salutations: "Dear Friends" (signed B.B. Reddish) and "Dear Father and sisters" (signed Sanford N. Reddish)
  2. June 10, 1844. Salutation: "Dear Fr[i]ends"; signed Sanford N. Reddish



Letter to Uncle Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, from nephew [John Reddish?], Springfield, Ohio, December 23, 1847.



Letter to Nicholas Reddish, Warsaw, New York, from Nicolus [sic] Reddish, Chili, Monroe County, New York, May 13, 1849. Salutation: "Respected friends." Asks that Nicholas direct his response to Sanford Reddish at Chili. Lower right-hand corner of page 1 is missing.



Letter to Nicholas Reddish: Signed by Samuel Kenny, William Adair, and Henry Adair; dated: Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, November 21, 1857 [?] (three letters on two sides of one sheet of paper; one letter is unsigned). The salutation of the letter from Adair is "Dear uncle and cousin Mary."



Poem composed by Mary Reddish, n.d. Also on sheet is "Nicholas Reddish his hand and pen"



Letter to Nicholas and Ann H. Reddish, Warsaw, New York, from James Reddish, Springfield, Ohio, n.d. Salutation: "Dear Brother"



Letter to James Reddish, Pembroke, Genesee County, New York, from his brother, Nathan Reddish, Springfield, Ohio, September 2[?], 1822



James H. Kenny’s band. See also Folder 39.

  1. Letter to James H. Kenny from Capt. John G. Sauvan, Morrisania [Bronx], New York, September 20, 1861
  2. Letter to Capt. John Sauvan from James H. Kenny, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, September 27, 1861
  3. Document: "We the undersigned do hereby agree to enlist in the United States Service as soon as called for as members of the band now being organized for the Seventeenth Regiment of New York State Volunteers," n.d. Signed by James Kenny and three others; instrument each played is listed for three of the names



Letter to Samuel L. Kenny, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, from L. Dayton, [collector], Utica, Oneida County, New York, July 3, 1844



Letter to Samuel L. Kenny, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, from Talcott Kenny, n.d. Salutation: "Dear Brother & Sister." Mutilated letter; pieces missing.



Letter to Lyman Kenny, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, from [?], New Brunswick, [New Jersey?], June 11, 1848. Salutation: "Dear Brother and Sister."



Letters to "Sister" from Mary H. Reddish

  1. February 2, 1850
  2. December 24, 1851, Portville, [Cattaraugus County, New York]



Letter to M.H.R., from S.N., Cuba, [Allegheny County, New York], June 10, 1851. Salutation: "Respected Sister." Closes letter with "I will not sine my name to this onley you ma[y] know that it is for you but red [sic] it and burn it up."



Letter to "Dear Nephew" from Mary [no last name], Warsaw, New York, October 18, 1853



Letters from Elizabeth A. (Reddish) Collins (4 items)

  1. No salutation; no signature, January 1, 1854
  2. From E.A.C.; salutation: "Dear Sis." February 26, 1854
  3. From Elizabeth Collins; addressed to Mary Reddish, Warsaw, [Wyoming County, New York]. Salutation of second part of letter: "Dear Father"; "… we send Brother Henry and sis Sarah and James our best love …"; n.d.
  4. Salutation: "Dear Father"; signed "E.A. and Dewey Collins"; n.d.



Letter to "My very dear Cousin [Mary]" from Elizabeth, January 3, 1855



Letter to "My dear Mary" from friend, Helen, Skaneateles, [Onondaga County, New York], February 18, [no year]. Includes a description of President William Henry Harrison's tomb in North Bend, [Ohio]



Letter to "George" from [?], n.d.



Letter to "Dear Sister Sarah" from George Kenny, Perry Center, [Wyoming County, New York], April 13, 1863. Attached note, in another hand and a much later date: "George was Samuel Lyman's brother – writing about Sophie [i.e., Sophia] dying"



Letter to John H. Reddish, Warsaw, Genesee County, New York, from Ann H. Reddish, Sumersett [i.e., Somerset] County, Maryland, June 16, 1822. Salutation: "Dear and honoured Brother." Asks "to be remembered to brother nicholas and sister mary and to brother james and his wife."



Letter to Nathan and Rebecca Reddish, Clarke [i.e., Clark] County, [Ohio], from Ann H. Reddish, Warsaw, [Wyoming County, New York], February 8, 1834. Salutation: "Dear Brother." Second letter on same paper: Salutation: "Beloved Cousin;" signed: "To Miss Rebecca Reddish from E.A. Reddish"



Letters from Elizabeth (Reddish) Collins "in my 50th year" (2 items)

  1. To "Beloved sisters" and "Dear Father" June 28, July 4, July 11, July 25, and August 9, 1858 (8 pages). Notes her father is "past his three score years and ten"
  2. To "Very dear sister" and "Dear Father and Sisters," August 23, August 24, and a few subsequent days, 1863



Letter to "My Dear Aunt" from Annie E. Collins, Enfield, North Carolina, March 1, 1860 [?]



Letters sent from Springfield, Ohio (4 items)

  1. To "Cousin James," February 28, 1853 [?]; signed John Reddish; asks to be remembered to Uncle Nicholas and Cousin Mary
  2. To "Respected Friend," December 2, 1853
  3. To "Mr. James Kenny,” February 2, 1859; signed John Reddish. Notes: "I think the Groundhog did not see his shadow in this region today so we may expect soft weather from here out."
  4. To "Mr. J. Kenny," May 29, 1859; signed "John Reddish"



Letter to nephew, James Kenny, from Elizabeth (Reddish) Collins, LeRoy, Genesee County, New York, March 30, 1862. Seems to be several drafts on one piece of paper of a letter she planned to send to James.



Correspondence 1862-1863. Some of the letters mention "the Band"; see also Folder 21.

  1. Letters to parents from James [Kenny], LeRoy, New York, June 1862-October 1863 (7 items)
  2. Letters of parents S.L. Kenny and Sarah (Reddish) Kenny, Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, to son, James Kenny, LeRoy, Genesee County, New York, August 1862-October 1863 (4 items)
  3. Letter to "Dear Brother," George, from James [Kenny], Le Roy, New York, October 1, 1863



Letters to cousin James Kenny from Kate R. Keeney [sic] Hill (6 letters plus 1 envelope addressed to Mrs. I.B. Van Husen, 908 Seventh St., Buffalo, N.Y.); letters written in  Perry, [New York?]; Lapeer, Lapeer County, Michigan; Oakwood, Oakland County, Michigan; Utica, Macomb County, Michigan, and Vassar, Michigan, 1862, 1864 (2), 1865 (2), 1893



Letters to James Kenny from friends

  1. Letter from "your friend" F.A. Covel [?], Fabius, New York, August [no day], 1847. Second letter on same sheet addressed to "My Dear Mr. & Mrs. Kenny"
  2. Letter from Laura L. Thorpe, Oread Institute, [Worcester, Massachusetts], April 3, 1860
  3. Letter from Laura [L. Thorpe], Joliet, [Illinois?], July 9, 1864



SERIES III: Miscellaneous



Letter to "Miss Jennie Marsh" from Captain George McGinley, 7th Maine Volunteers, camp near Strasburg, Virginia, November 3, 1864



Miscellaneous Papers

  1. Poem written to/by or called "Mother", n.d.
  2. Poem titled "Lines composed by Red [?]", n.d.
  3. Letter to "Dear Brother Watts" from H.K. Hinson, Livonia, Livingston County, New York, September 28, 1839
  4. Letter to "Dear Brother" (refers to him as James in the letter but indicates the letter is to be sent to "S. Byron, New York") from "your loving Brother, Stub," July 27, 1868
  5. Page of letter to "Brother," from Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, n.d. Writer of the letter mentions that he has received a letter from James Reddish.

Last Updated: May 21, 2021