COLLECTION GUIDES

1754-1932

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection consists of the papers of the interrelated Wolcott, Prescott, Huntington, and Hickling families, primarily genealogical materials, as well as family and business papers of Joshua H. Wolcott, a partner in the Boston merchant firm of A. & A. Lawrence.

Biographical Sketch

Wolcott family

Frederick Wolcott (1767-1837) of Litchfield, Conn. graduated first in his class from Yale in 1786. He was Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas and of the Superior Court, Judge of Probate for Litchfield County for 41 years, a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and the Senate, and on the Corporation of Yale College. He was also the founder of what is believed to be one of the first temperance organizaions in the country. He was the grandson of Roger Wolcott (1679-1767), Governor and public official of Connecticut and second in command to Sir William Pepperell at the 1745 Expedition to Cape Breton resulting in the capture of Louisbourg; the son of Oliver Wolcott (1726-1797), signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress and Governor of Connecticut; and brother of Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1760-1833) who followed Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury in George Washington's cabinet and Governor of Connecticut.

Frederick married Elizabeth (Betsey) Huntington (1774-1812) in 1800. His second wife was Sally Worthington Goodrich Cooke (1785-1842) whom he married in 1815.

Joshua Huntington Wolcott (1804-1891), son of Frederick and Betsey, brother of Frederick Henry Wolcott (b.1808) and half-brother of Charles Mosley Wolcott (b.1816) was a Boston merchant and partner in the textile commission house of A. & A. Lawrence until its dissolution in 1865 and director of many mills, including the York Manufacturing Company of Saco, Maine. He was also very involved in charitable and benevolent institutions. He married Cornelia Frothingham (1824-1850) in 1844 and following her death, he married his wife's sister Harriet "Hatty" Frothingham in 1851.

Huntington Frothingham Wolcott (1846-1865), son of J.H. and Cornelia, was a member of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry during the final year of the Civil War and died of fever after returning home to Boston in 1865.

Roger Wolcott (1847-1900), also the son of J.H. and Cornelia and brother of Huntington F., graduated from Harvard in 1870 and from Harvard Law School in 1874. He was a justice of the peace from 1875-1900, a member of the Massachusetts legislature from 1881-1884, Lt. Governor of Massachusetts from 1892-1896. He advanced to the Governor's chair in 1896 as a result of the death of Frederick T. Greenhalge and served in that position until 1900. He was also largely involved in business activities, including the Boston and Albany Railroad and the New England Trust Company, and in philanthropic organizations as a member of the Boston Provident Association and as a trustee of the Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Mass. General Hospital. He was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and an overseer of Harvard College. He married Edith Prescott (b.1853) in 1874.

Roger Wolcott (1877-1965) of Milton, Mass. was the son of Roger and Edith. He graduated from Harvard in 1899 and received his law degree in 1902. He was Counsel for the Boston Elevated Railroad, a representative to the Mass. General Court, and a member of the Governor's staff from 1905-1907. His military career includes service as a private in the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery, U.S. Volunteers during the Spanish-American War, in charge of the Selective Draft in Massachusetts during World War I, and in many positions with the Mass. National Guard. He was a member of the council and corresponding secretary of the Mass. Historical Society, a trustee of the Boston Athenaeum, a member of several veterans organizations, and an Overseer of Harvard College.

Prescott and Hickling families

Colonel William Prescott (1726-1795), like Roger Wolcott (1679-1767) was a member of Sir William Pepperell's staff during the Louisbourg Expedition in 1745 and colonel of a group of minute men, reporting to Cambridge after news of the Battle of Lexington. He was one of the co-commanders at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 16, 1775, took part in the Battle of Long Island in 1776, and served as a volunteer under Gates in 1777 in the campaign that resulted in the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga. His son, Judge William Prescott (1762-1844) and his wife Catherine Greene Hickling (1767-1852), were the great-grandparents of Edith Prescott (later Wolcott, see above). Catherine Hickling was the daughter of Thomas Hickling (1745-1834), a Boston merchant and Consul on the island of St. Michael in the Azores, and was known for her philanthropic exercises.

Collection Description

The Wolcott family papers contain correspondence and other papers, genealogical notes, family trees, biographical sketches, clippings, photographs, and printed materials of the inter-related Wolcott, Prescott, Frothingham, Huntington, and Hickling families.

The majority of the collection is comprised of Wolcott family materials, including extensive family correspondence, in particular that of Joshua Huntington Wolcott (J.H.) with his brothers, Frederick Henry and Charles Mosley and with his son Roger (later Governor of Massachusetts). Business papers of J.H. include letters from his partners in the Boston merchant firm of A. & A. Lawrence, Amos and Abbott Lawrence and copies of J.H's partnership agreements with the Lawrences and with Jonas E. Stone. Other correspondents of J.H. include Samuel Chapman Armstrong, William M. Reid, and Henry Cabot Lodge.

Additional family correspondence includes Cornelia Frothingham Wolcott's (wife of J.H.) letterbook of her letters to her family, in particular to sister Harriet (Ratty) Frothingham, later the second wife of J.H. following her sister's death; Huntington Frothingham Wolcott's letters to his parents during his service with the 2nd Massachusetts Calvary during the Civil War; letters from Governor Roger to Roger Wolcott, Jr., while the latter was away at summer camps; and letters and a letterbook from Governor Roger to his parents while travelling abroad with his new wife, Edith Prescott Wolcott.

Other Wolcott papers of note include correspondence between J.H. and his father and step-mother, Frederick and Sally W. Wolcott; a book of poetry copied by Harriet F. Wolcott; Gov. Roger Wolcott's plan of his father's land at Blue Hill; a letter from J.H. to his fiancee Elizabeth Flint in Nashville, Tenn. (the engagement was later broken); a letter from Oliver Wolcott, Jr. to Captain Ebenezer Barnard; and papers related to funds at Harvard University in the names of Huntington F. and J.H. Wolcott.

The collection contains very few papers related to Roger Wolcott's official business as Governor of Massachusetts, 1896-1899, however there are two letters from John D. Long regarding Wolcott's rejection of a Federal position with the Commission on the Philippines and correspondence with many important historical figures on personal matters, club memberships, and invitations. The correspondents include Frederick Greenhalge, Phillips Brooks, T.W. Higginson, and Henry W. Beecher.

Other families are primarily represented by genealogical materials, but there are also a typescript of the diary of Catherine G. Hickling (later Prescott); a phrenological study of Mr. [?] Huntington; sermons, including several by Rev. Phillips Payson of Chelsea, Mass.; Civil War letters from Thomas G. and Robert H. Stevenson to their sister Hannah (Stevenson?]; a typescript of Thomas Hickling's visit to England and France; and a number of cut-slip autographs.

In addition, there are genealogical notes for the Greene, Amory, Lombard, and Coffin families.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Wolcott family, through Samuel Wolcott, June, 1989.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Wolcott family

A. Family history materials

Arranged topically and by type of material.

Genealogical materials on the Wolcott family, including family trees and biographical sketches, many done or commissioned to be done by Governor Roger Wolcott, obituaries and other newspaper clippings. Also, coats of arms; a copy of the sermon of Rev. Joseph Perry after the death of Roger (1679-1767); a list of the articles of property to be divided among the children of Frederick Wolcott; Joshua Huntington (J.H.) Wolcott materials, including his commission as Justice of the Peace (1854), an official letter to his son Roger regarding a change in his previous will (1873), and Roger's plan of his father's estate at Blue Hill (ca.1875).

Box 1Folder 1-4
Genealogical materials
Box 4Vol. 1
Ancestral chart (incomplete)
Box 1Folder 5
Coat of arms
Box 1Folder 6
Clippings
Box 1Folder 7
Frederick Wolcott
Box 1Folder 8
Joshua Huntington Wolcott
Box 1Folder 9
Roger Wolcott, Governor of Massachusetts

B. Family papers

Arranged chronologically within series of papers

Box 1Folder 10
Early family papers

Early family papers include a copy of a deed from Joseph Allyn to Fred and Grey Wolcott for land in Torrington, Conn. (1813); a letter from Oliver Wolcott, Jr. to Capt. Ebenezer Barnard regarding the former's renting of a house in New York (1785); a copy of a letter from George Washington to Oliver Wolcott (1797); a facsimile and typescript of a letter from Roger Wolcott (1754); and copies of letters of Oliver Wolcott (1777).

General correspondence

General correspondence primarily contains the correspondence of J.H. Wolcott, including extensive series of letters from his brothers, Frederick Henry and Charles Mosley; with his parents, Frederick and Betsey (Huntington) Wolcott; and from his step-mother, Sally W. Wolcott. Also included is a letter from J.H. to his fiancee in Nashville, Tenn., Elizabeth Flint (the engagement was later broken); correspondence between Roger and his father and step-mother, J.H. and Harriet (Frothingham) Wolcott; other misc. letters to Roger, including one from Henry Cabot Lodge (1876); and additional family correspondence. Additional correspondents of J.H. include Joseph P. Cooke, Samuel C. Armstrong, and William Reid, the latter two being from the Hampton Institute.

Box 1Folder 11-14
1812-1836
Box 1Folder 15
J.H. Wolcott to Elizabeth Flint, 1836
Box 1Folder 16-21
1837-1888
Box 2Folder 1-2
J.H. Wolcott business papers, 1825-1836

J.H. Wolcott business papers relate to his partnerships in the merchant firms in Boston with Amos and Abbott Lawrence, Jonas Emery Stone, and others. The papers include a copy of the partnership agreement between Wolcott and J.E. Stone (1825); promissory notes of J.H. with A. and A. Lawrence; copies of partnership agreements and dissolutions among A. and A. Lawrence, J.W. Edwards, and J.H. Wolcott (1830-1837); and correspondence between Wolcott and Amos Lawrence, Abbott Lawrence, and J.W. Edwards. Along with business interests, the correspondence of Abbott Lawrence during his term in the U.S. House of Representatives also relates to the revoking of various bank charters and the money situation in the country at that time.

Box 4Vol. 2
Cornelia Frothingham Wolcott letterbook, 1838-1850

Cornelia Frothingham Wolcott letterbook (1838-1850) contains letters from her to her sisters Harriet (Hatty, later J.H.'s second wife), Eliza Robbins, Louisa Jackson; her brother Theodore Frothingham; and other family members. The letters span from before her marriage to J.H. Wolcott until three years after their marriage, also the year of her death. Most of the letters were copied by Cornelia and later by Harriet.

Huntington F. Wolcott Civil War Papers

Huntington F. Wolcott Civil War papers contain letters from H.F. Wolcott to his father and step-mother, J.H. and Harriet Wolcott from his positions in the field as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, from March May, 1865. Also included are his commission (1864); a muster roll (March 28, 1865); and a few of his orders.

Box 2Folder 3-4
1864-1865
Box 2Folder 5-6
Copies of letters
Box 2Folder 7
Clippings

Roger Wolcott letters from abroad

Roger Wolcott letters from abroad include a few loose letters to his parents and a letterbook containing copies of his letters to Harriet Wolcott while he and his new bride Edith Prescott Wolcott were travelling abroad, 1874-1876.

Box 2Folder 8
Loose letters, 1874-1876
Box 4Vol. 3
Letterbook
Box 2Folder 9-10
Roger Wolcott to Roger Wolcott, Jr., 1889-1898

Roger Wolcott letters to Roger Wolcott, Jr. written while the latter was away at summer camps, 1889-1898, with some gaps in the years.

Box 2Folder 11-13
Governor Roger Wolcott papers, 1895-1900

Governor Roger Wolcott papers contain correspondence, invitations to, and responses to invitations from Wolcott while he was Lt. Governor and Governor of Massachusetts and Chief Marshall for the Commencement at Harvard University in 1895. Also, two letters from John D. Long to Wolcott regarding Wolcott's rejection of an offer to be a member of a federal commission sent to the Philippines. With the exception of these two letters, these are the only official papers related to Wolcott's governorship, the rest of the correspondence related to his membership in clubs and other items of a personal nature. Additional correspondents include Frederick Greenhalge, J.B. Frothingham, Alexander H. Rice, Phillips Brooks, T.W. Higginson, Henry W. Beecher, and M.A. Field.

Box 4Vol. 4
Book of poetry

Book of poetry mostly copied by Harriet Wolcott with some later additions by Governor Roger Wolcott.

Box 2Folder 14
Wolcott Memorial, 1881-1886

Wolcott memorial papers contain clippings and a list of the distribution by Miss Wolcott of Longmeadow, Mass. of a memorial book done in 1881 by the sons of Frederick Wolcott and given to the Wolcott Library in Litchfield, Conn, and privately distributed by the family in 1886.

Box 2Folder 15
H. F. and J.H. Wolcott Funds at Harvard University, 1891-1900

H.F. and J.H. Wolcott Funds at Harvard University, funds donated by Roger Wolcott in the names of the late Huntington F. and Joshua Huntington Wolcott, the former to be used by the trustees of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and the latter for the purchase of books for the University Library. These materials include a copy of the gift in 1891 and letters (1892-1900) from F.W. Putnam of the Peabody Museum informing Roger Wolcott of the use of the funds.

II. Prescott family

Arranged by type of material

A. Family history materials

Included are genealogical materials; family trees; biographical sketches of members of the Prescott family, including Col. William Prescott; and clippings.

Box 2Folder 16-17
Genealogical materials
Box 4Vol. 5-6
Family trees, vols. 1 and 2
Box 2Folder 18
Biographical sketches
Box 2Folder 19
Clippings

B. Family papers

Miscellaneous family letters including a facsimile of a letter from William Hickling Prescott and one from Catherine Greene Hickling Prescott (with typescript); and a typescript copy of the 1786-1789 diary of Catherine Greene Hickling (later Prescott) written on the island of St. Michael, the Azores, while her father, Thomas Hickling, was Consul there.

Box 2Folder 20
Catherine Greene Hickling diary, 1786-1789(typescript)
Box 2Folder 21
Misc. family letters, 1840-1856

III. Frothingham family

Genealogical materials and family trees.

Box 2Folder 22-23

IV. Huntington family

Arranged by type of material

Genealogical materials and a document on the "Phrenological character of Mr. [?] Huntington (1838).

See also the Chester-Huntington genealogy in the Chester family series.

Box 3Folder 1-2
Genealogical materials
Box 3Folder 3
Phrenological character of Mr. Huntington, 1838

V. Hickling family

Genealogical materials, including some biographical sketches of members of the Hickling family and a typescript of Thomas Hickling's diary of a 1796 trip to England and France.

Box 3Folder 4-5

VI. Amory family

Genealogical materials.

Box 3Folder 6

VII. Chester family

Genealogical materials, including a Chester-Huntington family sketch.

See also the Huntington family series for more information on this family.

Box 3Folder 7

VIII. Coffin family

Genealogical materials.

Box 3Folder 8

IX. Greene family

Genealogical materials.

Box 3Folder 9

X. Lombard family

Genealogical materials.

Box 3Folder 10

XI. Other genealogical materials

Arranged alphabetically by family name

Genealogical materials, including notes, sketches, clippings, and family trees on the Atkins, Austin, Blanchard, Collicot, Collins, Gager, Hale, Hall, Hayden, Holyoke, Hutchinson, Kibbell, Leete, Linzee, Miller, Paine, Peabody, Phipps, Pickering, Putnam, Pynchon, Rainsford, Rand, Smith, Sunderland, Talcott, Townsend, Upham, Whittemore, and Williams families. Many of the notes are those of Governor Roger Wolcott.

Box 3Folder 11-17

XII. Miscellaneous

Arranged by type of material

These materials include a set of sermons (1746-1811), most of which are by Rev. Phillips Payson (1736-1801), minister at Chelsea, Mass., including the funeral sermon of Capt. John Sale in 1763; a series of letters (1859-1865) written to Hannah (Stevenson?], mostly from her brothers Robert H. and Thomas G. Stevenson from the field during the Civil War, the former being a member of the 24th Mass. Volunteers and the latter a Brigadier General with the U.S. Volunteers; a set of cut-slip autographs of politicians and other historically significant persons; and unidentified genealogical notes and other items.

Box 3Folder 18-19
Sermons, 1746-1811
Box 3Folder 20-21
Letters to Hannah [Stevenson?], 1859-1865
Box 3Folder 22
Misc. autographs
Box 3Folder 23
Misc. and unidentified

Photographs Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection were removed to theWolcott family Civil War carte de visite album, ca. 1860-1866. Photo. Coll. 70.

Preferred Citation

Wolcott family papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Persons:

Hickling family.
Huntington family.
Prescott family.

Organizations:

United States. Army. Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment, 2nd (1862-1865).
United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 24th (1861-1866).
Massachusetts. Governor (1896-1900 : Wolcott).