1774-1973; bulk: 1820-1900

Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the papers of the Isaac Shepard Winslow family of Foxboro, South Boston, and Somerville, Mass., primarily those of Isaac Shepard Winslow; his wife, Jane Parks Winslow; and his uncle Joseph Winslow. Papers of the Pickering, Gilmore, Jones, and Winter families are also represented. Included is family correspondence; legal and financial papers; diaries and day books; genealogical papers; and printed material.

Biographical Sketch

Isaac Shepard Winslow (1830-1908) was born in Foxboro, Mass. to Isaac Winslow (1790-1871) and Leonora Jones Winslow (1791-1884). After apprenticing in the machine shop of his uncle, Jesse Winslow, Isaac moved to California in the early 1850s. By 1857, he held a claim near Mission Station in the Kansas territory, and became an officer in the Kansas militia during the anti-slavery uprisings in Lawrence. Returning to Massachusetts by 1859, he married Jane “Jennie” Parks (1832-1909), daughter of Asa and Mary Pickering Parks. The couple moved to South Boston where Isaac worked as a marine engineer installing machinery in steamships at Loring Shipyards. In December 1861, Winslow became the chief engineer of the three-masted steamship transport Mississippi, transporting New England troops that served under Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler from Boston to Fort Monroe in Virginia and to the Gulf coast. After the war, Winslow worked as chief engineer for a steamship line operating between Boston, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia in the summer, and Boston and Savannah in the winter. He also served as chief engineer on the steamer Ontario during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-1871, conveying arms and ammunition from New York to Havre, France. He worked at sea until 1882, when he moved with his family to Somerville and became an engineer in the rolling mill of American Tube Works. Isaac and Jane were the parents of eight children: Mary Jane Winslow (1859-1938); Edward Hilton Winslow (1862-1910); Augusta Shepard Winslow (1862-1918); Isabel Gilmore Winslow (1865-1955); Francis Parks Winslow (1867-1943); George Robbins Winslow (1871-1953); Caroline Winslow Winter (1873-1940); and Martha Edith Winslow Pettingell (1876-1968).

Collection Description

The Isaac Shepard Winslow family papers date from 1774 to 1973 and are divided into five series: correspondence; legal, financial, and military papers, genealogical papers; printed material; and volumes. The collection centers around Isaac Shepard Winslow, his wife Jane (Jennie) Parks Winslow, his father Isaac Winslow, his uncle Joseph Winslow, and his daughters Mary Jane Winslow and Caroline Winslow Winter. Although the collection contains a few business and personal letters, the bulk of the correspondence was written between members of the Winslow family. Among Isaac Shepard Winslow’s correspondence is an 1857 letter to his uncle Joseph describing the unrest in Lawrence, Kansas, and an 1862 series of letters to his wife describing his service as chief engineer on the U.S. transport steamer Mississippi that ferried the troops of Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler during the Gulf campaign of the Civil War.

Genealogical papers include charts and lists of vital records pertaining to the Winslow, Gilmore, and Jones family, as well as a family genealogy of the ancestors and descendants of Isaac Shepard and Jane Parks Winslow, compiled in 1973. Printed material includes a small set of Boston newspapers, circulars, almanacs, and newspaper clippings. Volumes include the diaries and memorandum books of Joseph Winslow. Although Joseph's diary entries are fairly sparse, they sporadically record local activities, weather, and family events in Foxboro, Mass. from 1837-1878. The day books of Isaac Shepard Winslow record his expenses, hours, wages, and occasional work notes while he served as chief engineer on various commercial steamers during the 1870s, as chief engineer in a rolling mill in Somerville, Mass. in the 1880s, and during his later years. Jane Parks Winslow’s diaries contain entries related to daily life and family activities in Somerville, Mass., particularly for 1882. Other volumes include an 18th century notebook of Pickering family genealogy, a Rock Hill Cemetery (Foxboro, Mass.) record book, and the 1900 diary of Isaac Shepard Winslow’s son-in-law, Charles Frederick Winter.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Naomi K. Rauff, June 2012, in honor of the descendants of Shadrach Winslow, M.D. and in recognition of the First Resistance Chapter of the DAR, and the contributions this ancestor made to the Revolutionary War.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Correspondence, 1820-1921

Primary correspondents in this series include Isaac Shepard Winslow, his father Isaac Winslow (1790-1871), his wife Jane "Jennie" Parks Winslow (1832-1909) and their daughters Mary Jane Winslow (1859-1938) and Caroline Winslow Winter (1873-1940). Additional correspondence consists of letters written to Joseph Winslow (1807-1879) from various members of the Winslow family, letters from Winslow cousin John Gilmore Jones (1811-1879), and miscellaneous family correspondence. Of note is a July 1857 letter from Isaac Shepard Winslow to his uncle Joseph Winslow from Mission Creek, Kansas describing the political unrest within the territory, the activities of U.S. troops in Lawrence, Kansas, and Isaac’s plans to join the territory militia.

Also in this series are nine letters written between Isaac Shepard Winslow and his wife, Jennie, during Isaac’s military service as chief engineer of the U.S. transport steamer Mississippi. Isaac’s letters discuss activity at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, operations at Ship Island, off the Mississippi Gulf coast; working with Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, military activity before and after the capture of New Orleans in April 1862, and transporting troops including the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, known as the “Irish regiment,” from South Carolina to Virginia in July 1862.

Box 1Folders 1-4
Box 1Folders 5-6
Isaac Shepard Winslow - Jane Parks Winslow correspondence, 1861-1862

II. Legal, financial, and military papers, 1815-1905

Arranged chronologically.

Documents in this series include deeds, leases, indentures, an 1870 copy of the will of Isaac Winslow, and 1862 military orders issued to Isaac Shepard Winslow from Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler at Ship Island.

Box 1Folders 7-8

III. Genealogical papers, ca. 1800-1973

Arranged chronologically.

Papers in this series largely relate to the Gilmore and Jones families, who were the ancestors of Leonora Jones Winslow (1791-1880), the mother of Isaac Shepard Winslow. They include genealogical charts, and lists of family births, marriages, and deaths. Also here are copies of the death certificates of Isaac Shepard Winslow and Jane Parks Winslow.

“The Winslow-Winthrop Family Record, 1498-1973,” compiled by Theodore Gommi in 1973, contains a genealogical chart of the ancestors of Isaac Shepard Winslow and his wife, Jane Parks Winslow as well as the descendants of the couple, and collateral Winslow descendants

See also Pickering family genealogical records in Subseries V.D. - Miscellaneous Volumes.

Box 1Folder 9
Undated, [ca. 1800-ca. 1920]
Box 1Folders 10-13
"The Winslow-Winthrop Family Record," 1973

IV. Printed materials, 1774-1967

Arranged chronologically.

Included in this series is a 23 May 1774 supplement to the Boston Evening-Post, a 3 June 1820 issue of the Boston Recorder, an 1843 circular from the New England Anti-Slavery Convention, as well as several almanacs, newspaper clippings, articles, and obituaries.

Box 1Folders 14-17

V. Volumes, 1776-1908

A. Joseph Winslow volumes, 1837-1878

The diaries of Joseph Winslow (1807-1879) cover the years 1837, 1838, 1852, 1858-1862, 1864-1865, and 1868-1878 in 11 volumes. The 1837, 1838, and 1852 volumes are recorded in Boston Almanacs, but entries are fairly sparse. Later diaries contain entries related to daily life in Foxboro, Mass., family genealogy, expenses, weather, deaths, visits with family and friends, local election results, and local events such as fires and accidents.

Also in this subseries are two memorandum books. The first, dating from 1839 to 1845, contains an 1839 phrenology report, lists of pew holders in the Baptist Church of Mansfield, Mass. in 1842 and 1844, a physician’s evaluation of Joseph Winslow’s personality, and a 1845 copy of the will of Eleazer Robbins. The second book dates from 1850 to 1857 and contains accounts, copies of letters, and riddles, written in several different hands.

Box 2Folders 1-9
Diaries, 1837-1878
Box 2Folders 10-11
Memorandum books, 1839-1857

B. Isaac Shepard Winslow day books, 1868-1908

Arranged chronologically.

Winslow used these pocket diaries primarily to record daily expenses, and as a work log for his positions as chief engineer on the S.S. Ontario, the S.S. Seminole, and the S.S. Worcester during the 1870s. The volumes record his hours worked, wages, payroll, members of his crew, a few details of his daily work, and occasional details of his sailing schedule, whether at sea or in port. Day books in the 1880s record Isaac’s expenses and occasional work notes related to his position as an engineer in the rolling mill of American Tube Works in Somerville, Mass. Later volumes include entries concerning the weather, family births and deaths, planting notes, household chores and projects during his retirement years. No day books exist for 1869, from 1873 to 1877, or for 1881.

Box 3
Box 4

C. Jane Parks Winslow diaries, 1882-1884

The diaries of Jane Parks Winslow (1832-1909) consist of 3 volumes written in Somerville, Mass. The 1882 volume includes entries related to daily activities, family life and travel, social events, weather, household chores, and Boston outings. The 1883 and 1884 volumes contain very few entries.

Box 5Folders 1-3

D. Miscellaneous volumes, 1776-1900

Box 5Folder 4
Pickering family genealogical records, 1776-1843

This small volume contains 18th century notations related to the birth, marriage, and death records of the Pickering family of Newmarket, New Hampshire. Jane Parks Winslow, wife of Isaac Shepard Winslow, was the granddaughter of Anthony and Lovey Hilton Pickering.

Box 5Folder 5
Foxborough (Rock Hill) Cemetery record book, 1853-1893

Inscribed by Joseph Winslow, this volume contains the 1853 by-laws of Rock Hill Cemetery in Foxboro, Mass., and a list of payments for cemetery plots including those of Isaac Winslow and his son Isaac Shepard Winslow. An 1893 newspaper clipping about the cemetery is also pasted into the book.

Box 5Folder 6
Charles Frederick Winter diary, 1900

The 1900 diary of Charles Frederick Winter (1874-1929) of Mansfield, Mass. records daily life, activities, his business travel across New England, and his courtship of Isaac Shepard Winslow’s daughter Caroline the year before their marriage in 1901.

Preferred Citation

Isaac Shepard Winslow family papers, 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.


Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893.
Jones, John Gilmore, 1811-1879.
Winslow, Isaac, 1790-1871.
Winslow, Isaac Shepard, 1830-1908.
Winslow, Jane Parks, 1832-1909.
Winslow, Joseph, 1807-1879.
Winter, Charles Frederick, 1874-1929.
Gilmore family.
Jones family.
Pickering family.
Winslow family.
Winter family.


American Tube Works (Somerville, Mass.)
Mississippi (Steam frigate).
Ontario (Steamship).
Foxborough Cemetery (Foxboro, Mass.)
Seminole (Steamship).
United States--Army--Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 28th (1861-1865).
Worcester (Steamship).


Family history--1800-1850.
Family history--1850-1900.
Fort Monroe (Va.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Foxboro (Mass.)--Social life and customs.
New Orleans (La.)--History--Capture, 1862.
Somerville (Mass.)--Social life and customs.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories--Massachusetts Infantry, 28th volunteers.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Transportation.
Women's diaries.