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Strong Family Collection

Call Number: MS 1198

Scope and Contents

The Strong Family Collection consists of correspondence, legal and financial papers, diaries, writings, and other papers documenting the lives and activities of several generations of Strong family members and the related Fowler, Pond, and Huntington families of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The bulk of the collection concerns the extended family of Phinehas Strong of Northhampton, Massachusetts, particularly the career of his granddaughter Josephine Elizabeth Strong, a teacher of freedmen. Papers of the Connecticut Strong families relate primarily to the colonial era and Revolutionary War; Milford town history; and Chatham, Milford, and Norwich church history.

Series I is the larger and contains the papers of the Strong and related Fowler families of Hampshire and Hampden counties in Massachusetts, while Series II is composed of Connecticut Strong and related Pond and Huntington family papers. The Connecticut and Massachusetts families appear to be unrelated.

The bulk of Series I consists of correspondence and personal papers of Josephine Elizabeth Strong, although the series also contains personal papers of her father Noah Lyman Strong and her brother Henry Hastings Strong, as well as an extensive correspondence between her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins. Josephine Elizabeth Strong's own correspondents include all these relatives and school friends, fellow teachers, and former pupils. The papers were the gift of the estate of Henry Hastings Strong in 1930.

Josephine Elizabeth Strong's outgoing letters (folders 1-5) are far fewer than the incoming letters she saved (folders 7-70), and, therefore, the details of her life are less fully documented than the lives of her father and other relatives. The correspondence begins with her letters from school at Ipswich Female Seminary and the Williston Academy (Easthampton, Mass.) in the 1850s. Folder 6 includes her school compositions from this period. In 1857 and 1859 she visited her aunt Cynthia Fowler Hobart in Michigan, and her letters describe "life in a western parsonage" and her early experiences teaching school. During and immediately after the Civil War she journeyed to occupied Southern territory as a missionary teacher to black troops, contraband blacks, and freedmen around Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia. Her letters describe the conditions there. Letters from the late 1860s to 1877 are infrequent--a few describe her teaching duties at the Cooper Seminary in Dayton, Indiana. About 1877 Josephine Strong again went to teach blacks in the South, this time as a teacher for the American Missionary Society in New Orleans. Letters from this period describe her teaching duties and visits to the sugar plantation of her cousin Lewis Clark in St. Mary Parish.

The incoming correspondence as well as the general correspondence of other family members (folders 87-116) provides a fuller picture of the lives of several Strong and Fowler family members. The earliest letters are between Eunice Lyman Strong and her sister (1816) and discuss family matters. In 1829 Phinehas and Eunice Strong's daughter Eunice moved to Springfield, in Clark County, Ohio, to settle as a teacher. Her long letters describe her travels, teaching duties, and school. There are also letters of Noah Lyman Strong while a student at Williams College, and various letters relaying information about the illnesses and early deaths of several family members.

Letters from Cynthia Fowler in the 1840s and 1850s describe her teaching in the South and Midwest and eventual marriage to the Rev. L. Smith Hobart. Noah Lyman Strong's letters to his family during the 1840s and 1850s relay information concerning his service in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and give accounts of his political views, events taking place in Boston, and his business trips to the South and Kansas. Correspondence of Henry Clapp in the 1850s describes his student days at Amherst College.

Written during the Civil War, Noah Lyman Strong's letters to his daughters and other family members describe his duties in the Boston Custom House and his strong anti-slavery feelings. Family members were interested in the work of the New England Freedmen's Aid Society and letters to Josephine E. Strong concern arrangements for her to travel south to teach blacks for the American Missionary Society. The files also contain numerous letters written by black soldiers and other black students to their former teacher and letters from other teachers.

In the correspondence of the late 1870s and 1880s there are several letters from Lewis Clark, an Ohio cousin who had moved to Louisiana and had invested in a sugar plantation. His letters to Josephine and others describe the difficult circumstances of his situation, including the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, in which his brother Oliver died, and the severe flood of 1882. In the 1880s and 1890s there are frequent letters between Noah Lyman Strong and his cousin Joseph Lyman, which give details of family life in Westfield, Massachusetts; family history; Henry Hasting Strong's fledgling business interests; and Noah Strong's political views and temperance activities.

The correspondence also includes a large quantity of letters by Elizabeth Fowler Strong to her husband, daughters, parents, and sisters. Her letters are, for the most part, undated and are found in boxes 5-7 and 12.

In addition to correspondence, Series I also includes personal papers of Josephine Elizabeth, Henry Hastings, and Noah Lyman Strong. These include Josephine's diaries from the end of her life, which include records of her charitable donations; Henry's diary of an around the world voyage with a Yale classmate; wills and estate papers; legal and financial records concerning domestic accounts and investment property; and papers of Noah Lyman concerning attempts to secure claims against the government for the heirs of Revolutionary War officers.

The papers in Series II are organized in three sections by geographic area and then by individual family member. The papers of Chatham are those of Cyprian Strong and consist of his minister's account book with the First Society of Chatham from 1770-1799; manuscripts and sermons; and a few pieces of correspondence, including a lengthy discussion of religious topics by Jeremiah Day. The library purchased the Cyprian Strong materials in 1952 from Mrs. F.P. Lord.

cluding items from Catharine Beecher, Benjamin Butler, Jonathan Edwards, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Charles Sumner, and Jonathan Trumbull, as well as an account of the Boston Tea Party by Benoni Upson. All of the Milford materials were donated to the library by J. Lawrence Pond in 1952.

The Strong and related Huntington families are represented in the Norwich section of Series II. These materials include sermons, orations, and notebooks of Joseph Strong, a minister of First Church in Norwich, and legal notebooks and domestic accounts of his son Henry Strong. The Huntington material relates to Henry Strong's wife's family and includes diaries and correspondence of her mother and other female relatives. The library acquired the Norwich materials through a donation from Harry P. Keffer in 1939 and a purchase from Tyson in 1942.


  • 1667-1925


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Series I was a gift of the estate of Henry H. Strong in 1930.


Arranged in three series: I. Josephine E. Strong Papers, 1812-1925 II. Strong Family Papers, 1667-1884 III. Oversize.


6.75 Linear Feet (16 boxes, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of correspondence, legal and financial papers, diaries, writings, autographs, and other papers documenting the lives and activities of several generations of Strong family members and related Fowler, Pond, and Huntington families of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The bulk of the collection concerns the extended family of Phinehas Strong of Northampton, Massachusetts, and relates to the teaching and agriculture pursuits of family members in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, and Louisiana. The career of Josephine Strong, a teacher of freedmen, is highlighted. Papers of the Connecticut Strong families relate primarily to the colonial era and Revolutionary War; Milford town history; and Chatham, Milford, and Norwich church history.

Biographical / Historical

The Strong family includes representatives of the extended family of Phinehas Strong of Northampton, Massachusetts, and of Strong families in Chatham, Milford, and Norwich, Connecticut. Members of the Massachusetts Strong family include Noah Lyman Strong, an official of the Boston Custom House during the Civil War; his wife Elizabeth Fowler Strong; his daughter Josephine Elizabeth Strong, a teacher of freedmen during and after the Civil War; and his sister Eunice Strong, a teacher in Ohio in the 1830s. Connecticut individuals include Cyprian Strong, a minister in the First Society of Chatham (1770-1779); Ephraim Strong, a farmer in Milford, justice of the peace, and representative in the General Assembly (1754-1778); and Joseph and Henry Strong, of Norwich, a minister and lawyer, respectively.


Born July 24, 1860, in Southampton, Mass. Died April 13, 1928, in Miami, Fla.

Father, Noah Lyman Strong, Williams ex-'33, a farmer and miller in Southampton, who later moved to Westfield, Mass.; connected with Boston Custom House during and after the Civil War; state senator; son of Phineas and Eunice (Lyman) Strong; descendant of Elder John Strong, who came from England to Nantasket, Mass., in 1630, settled later in Dorchester, Hingham, and Taunton, Mass., and Windsor, Conn., and was one of the founders of Northampton, Mass., in 1659; descended also, in the eighth generation, from Richard Lyman, who came from High Ongar, Essex, England, to Boston in 1631 and was an original proprietor of Hartford, Conn., in 1636. Mother, Elizabeth (Fowler) Strong; daughter of Henry and Cynthia (Wright) Fowler; granddaughter of Roderick Wright, an officer in the Revolutionary War; descendant of Ambrose Fowler, who was in Windsor, Conn., in 1640 and was settled in Westfield, Mass., in 1671.

Westfield High School. Member '83 Baseball Nine, Consolidated Nine (manager Senior year), Yale Yacht Club (acting fleet captain), Linonia, Delta Kappa, and Delta Kappa Epsilon; honorary member Wolf's Head.

With Fairbanks Scales Company in New York City 1883-1887; in 1887 founded the Strong & Trowbridge Company, export commission merchants, in New York City and was member of firm until 1890; subsequently served as manager and treasurer of various commercial companies; in 1904 represented Portland Cement manufacturers of the United States at the St. Louis Exposition; retired from active business in 1905; during the war served as associate member of local examining board No. 164, New York City, and as member of committee of Bureau of Information, New York branch of American Defense Society; president of Western Massachusetts Yale Club 1910.

Married February 16, 1914, in Pittsfield, Mass., Anne Emlen McNeill Langford, daughter of Edwin and Emily A. (Dotterer) McNeill. No children.

Death, due to rupture of an artery, occurred at the Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami. Buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Westfield. Survived by wife and a stepdaughter, Miss Ruth E. Langford.

From: Yale Obituary Record, No. 87, 1928, pp. 94-95.

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CYPRIAN STRONG (1743-1815)

Cyprian Strong, the seventh child and youngest son of Captain Asahel Strong, a lawyer of Farmington, Connecticut, who died in 1751, and grandson of Asahel and Margaret (Hart) Strong, of Farmington, was born in that town on May 26, 1743. His mother was Ruth, sister of the Rev. John Hooker (Yale 1751).

He studied theology, and was licensed to preach on October 7, 1766.

The Rev. Moses Bartlett (Yale 1730), pastor of the Congregational Church in that part of Middletown which is now Portland, Connecticut, died just at the end of the year 1766; and Mr. Strong was recommended to the vacant parish in the early part of the following year by a commitee of the Hartford South Association of Ministers. He received a call to settle there, and was ordained as pastor on August 19, 1767. In the following October the new township of Chatham was incorporated, in which this parish was included.

During his ministry of over 44 years about 200 persons were added to the church. He was highly esteemed by his own people, and prominent and respected in the community. The honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by Yale in 1803. He was a warm adherent of the "New Divinity," and his strictness in regard to candidates for baptism led incidentally (in 1789) to the establishment of a strong Episcopal Society in Chatham.

He died in office on November 17, 1811, aged 68½ years.

Dr. Strong married, on November 9, 1768, Sarah, daughter of Jonathan Bull, of Farmington, who bore him five daughters and three sons, and died very suddenly on September 14, 1785, in her 38th year. He next marred, on May 4, 1786, Abigail, eldest surviving daughter of the Hon. Ebenezer and Ruth (Welles) White, of Chatham, who had four sons and one daughter. She died on May 2, 1796, at the age of 35; and he next married on August 4, 1797, Abigail, widow of Major Jonathan Heart (Yale 1768), of Kensington Parish, in Berlin, Connecticut, who died on February 15, 1815, in her 65th year, in North Haven, Connecticut.

The eldest son was graduated at Yale in 1796 and became distinguished as a lawyer.

The Rev. Dr. David D. Field was Dr. Strong's neighbor in the ministry, and thus testifies of him:

Dr. Strong was highly and deservedly esteemed for his good sense, his thorough acquaintance with theology, and his uniform and blameless conversation - Although as a preacher, he had not that fluency of address and brilliancy of imagination, which are requisite to catch the attention of the multitude for the moment, yet his prayers were distinguished for appropriateness and solemnity, and his sermons for clear reasoning and sound instruction.

From: F.B. Dexter, Yale Biographies and Annals, III, pp. 49-50.

* * * * *


Charles Hobby Pond, the elder son of Charles Pond, of Milford, Connecticut, a Captain in the Revolutionary army, and a grandson of Captain Peter and Mary (Hubbard) Pond, of Milford, was born on April 26, 1871. His mother was Martha, daughter of John and Martha (Smith) Miles, of Milford. His middle name was the family name of his grandmother Pond. An elder sister married Abraham V. H. DeWitt (Yale 1785). He was prepared for College by his pastor, the Rev. Azel Backus (Yale 1787), of Bethlehem. He was distinguished in College for great muscular strength, and for an uncommon vein of wit.

After graduation he studied law with the Hon. Roger M. Sherman (Yale 1792) of Fairfield, and was admitted to the bar in Fairfield County, but never practiced.

About this time his health was somewhat impaired, and he took a voyage to restore it. Having made this beginning, he followed the sea for several years, first as a supercargo in his father's vessels, and then as Captain.

After his retirement from the sea, he became prominent as a Jeffersonian Democrat.

He was for one year (1818-1819) an Associate Judge of the New Haven County Court, and Sheriff of the County from 1819 to 1834, when he voluntarily relinquished hs commission and again retired to his paternal estate in Milford. In 1836 and 1837, he was once more an Associate Justice of the County Court.

In April 1850 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of the State, and was twice re-elected, with an interval of one year (1851-1852). While holding this office he became acting Governor, in June 1853, by the appointment of Governor Thomas H. Seymour as Minister to Russia, and discharged this duty, like all other public and private duties, with fidelity and acceptance, until the expiration of his term in May 1854. The remainder of his days were spent in private life, though he was known to be in political sympathy with the pro-slavery Democrats. He died in Milford, in the house in which he was born, after an illness of several weeks, on April 28, 1861, at the age of 80.

In 1808, he married Catharine Dickinson, of Milford, who died on November 25, 1853, aged 68 years.

Their children were one son, who died near the end of his Sophomore year in College, in June 1828, and six daughters, of whom only the two youngest survived them.

A copy of Governor Pond's portrait (in the State House at Hartford) is given in Norton's Governors of Connecticut.

From: F.B. Dexter, Yale Biographies and Annals, V, pp. 531-532.

* * * * *

EPHRAIM STRONG (1713/1714-1802)

Ephraim Strong, eldest child of Ehpriam Strong, of Milford, Connecticut, and grandson of Thomas and Rachel (Holton) Strong, of Northampton, Massachusetts, was born in Milford, March 10, 1713-1714. His mother was Mary, daughter of Elder Daniel and Hannah (Fowler) Buckingham, of Milford.

He spent his life upon his farm in Milford. He was trusted by his fellow-townsmen with the duty of representing them in the General Assembly, some twenty times between 1754 and 1778. He died in Milford, May 12, 1802, at the age of 88. His estate was inventoried at $11,672.

He married, in the spring of 1746, Mary, daughter of John and Mary (Clark) Prudden, of Milford, who died before his will was made (August 1787). Of their four daughters and three sons, all but one son lived to maturity. One daughter married the Rev. Nathan Fenn (Y.C. 1775).

He was one of the leaders in the establishment in 1741 of the Presbyterian Church in Milford, over which his wife's brother, Job Prudden (Y.C. 1743) was settled in 1747.

From: F.B. Dexter, Yale Biographies and Annals, I, pp. 593-594.

* * * * *

HENRY STRONG (1788-1852)

Henry Strong, the younger son of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Strong (Yale 1772), of Norwich, Connecticut, was born on August 23, 1788. He was a first cousin of his classmates Jabez W. Huntington and John McCurdy Strong; and a third cousin of his classmate John Strong.

He was prepared for College by his father, and spent a portion of the first two years of the course at home. At graduation, he delivered an Oration on Distinctions in Society.

For two years after graduation, he conducted a small school for young ladies in Norwich, while studying law with James Stedman (Yale 1801). He then filled a tutorship at Yale for two years; and meanwhile completed his law studies with Judge Charles Chauncey.

He was admitted to the bar in New Haven in November 1810 but spent his life in the practice of his profession in his native city, attaining distinction and being regarded as the equal of any of his contemporaries in the State.

He uniformly declined all overtures of political preferment, and only reluctantly consented to serve as a State Senator in 1840 and 1841, and again in 1845 as a Representative in the Legislature. As Senator he was ex officio a member of the Yale Corporation in 1841-1842. He also declined to be considered as a candidate for a professorship in the Yale Law School.

The honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on him at Yale in 1848.

After suffering for many weeks in an almost helpless state from a paralytic affection, he died in Norwich on November 12, 1852, in his 65th year. A Discourse by the Rev. Hiram P. Arms on the occasion of his death was afterwards published.

An engraved portrait is given in the Strong Family Genealogy and in the History of Norwich.

His argument in defence of Miss Prudence Crandall, of Canterbury, for teaching colored persons not natives of Connecticut, is printed in the Report of the Trial. Brooklyn, 1833. 8°, pp. 14-18. [Y.C.]

He married on July 7, 1825, Eunice Edgerton, the second daughter of Joseph and Eunice (Carew) Huntington, of Norwich, who died in Norwich on June 19, 1865, in her 65th year.

Their only child surviving infancy was a daughter who married Dr. Daniel F. Gulliver (Yale 1848).

From: F.B. Dexter, Yale Biographies and Annals, VI, pp. 61-62.

* * * * *

JOSEPH STRONG (1753-1834)

Joseph Strong, the youngest son of the Rev. Nathan Strong (Yale 1742), of Coventry, Connecticut, and a brother of Nathan Strong (Yale 1769) was born in Coventry on September 21, 1753.

After graduation, he returned to College for further study. He subsequently studied theology, and was licensed to preach by the Windham (Connecticut) Association of Ministers on May 21, 1776. He was offered a tutorship in College in September 1775 and again in September 1777 but declined the position.

On March 18, 1778, he was ordained as colleague pastor with the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Lord (Yale 1714) over the First Church in Norwich, Connecticut. On this occasion the sermon was preached by his brother, and the charge given by their father; both were published. Dr. Lord died in 1784, and Mr. Strong (on whom the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred by Princeton College in 1807) remained sole pastor until 1829, when the Rev. Cornelius B. Everest (Williams Coll. 1811) was settled as a colleague.

Dr. Strong died in office on December 18, 1834, in his 82nd year. A funeral sermon by his colleague was published.

He married on October 18, 1780, Mary, third daughter of General Jabez Huntington (Yale 1741), of Norwich, who died on May 14, 1840, in her 81st year.

Their children were two sons and one daughter, the younger son being a graduate of this College in the class of 1806.

He was elected a fellow of the College in September 1808 and served until his resignation in September 1826.

The historian of Norwich says of Dr. Strong:

He was distinguished for the benevolence of his disposition, and the fervency and solemnity of his prayers. In social intercourse he exhibited the manners of the gentleman, and the character of the Christian.

In another place, Miss Caulkins says:

Dr. Strong in person was above the middle size and stature and he had a calm dignity of address which impressed every one with respect. This dignity, however, was blended with great kindness and courtesy, and his manners, far from inspiring awe, were gentle and attractive...His sermons were short, and copiously illustrated with quotations from Scripture, but wanting perhaps in vigorous argument.

A full-length silhouette of Dr. Strong is preserved in Miss Perkins's Old Houses of Norwich.

From: F.B. Dexter, Yale Biographies and Annals, III, pp. 457-458.

For charts outlining the genealogical relations of the Strong and Fowler families, please consult theGenealogical Charts.

Guide to the Strong Family Collection
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan, William E. Brown, Jr., and Paul Papali
March 1986
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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