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Bristol family papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 101

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, financial records, diaries, scrapbooks, account books and memorabilia of the Bristol family of New Haven and New London, Connecticut. The major figures in the collection are the descendants of Simeon Bristol (1739-1805); his son, William Bristol, and his grandsons, William Brooks Bristol, and Louis Bristol, all prominent lawyers, judges and members of the state legislature in Connecticut.Nearly a third of the papers is made up of land deeds for New Haven and New London counties (1765-1854). The voluminous correspondence (2,569 letters) extends over several generations from 1798 to 1879. Of particular interest are the fifty-one letters by Louis Bristol written from Paris to family members and to Timothy Dwight Edwards describing the Revolution of 1830. Between 1829 and 1857 William Brooks Bristol wrote 581 letters to his brother Louis, chiefly on the question of buying and selling railroad stocks. Additional papers of the brothers include records of their law practice, account books and business corrspondence. Also a diary (1834-1844) kept by Louis Bristol recording his life as a student at Yale College, his surveying experience and his courtship, together with twenty-nine compositions written while at Yale. Eugene Stuart Bristol, son of William Brooks Bristol, is represented by letter books and extensive financial records (1869-1873) documenting his mining operations at Bingham Canyon, Utah.

Dates

  • 1769-1877

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is 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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

The papers were purchased from Messrs. Todd, Whitlock, and Means and a portion were given by Maria T. Dana, ca. 1945.

Arrangement

Arranged in nine series: I. William Bristol Papers, 1799-1867, II. Louis Bristol Papers, 1843-1857, III. William Brooks Bristol Papers, 1828-1859, IV. Eugene Stuart Bristol Papers, 1868-1879, V. Legal Files, 1803-1872 , VI. Miscellaneous Papers, 1767-1874, VII. Family Papers, 1789-1929, VIII. Personal Papers, 1774-1865, and IX. Financial Records.

Extent

16.75 Linear Feet

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0101

Overview

Correspondence, financial records, diaries, scrapbooks, account books and memorabilia of the Bristol family of New Haven and New London, Connecticut. The major figures in the collection are the descendants of Simeon Bristol (1739-1805); his son, William Bristol, and his grandsons, William Brooks Bristol, and Louis Bristol, all prominent lawyers, judges and members of the state legislature in Connecticut.Nearly a third of the papers is made up of land deeds for New Haven and New London counties (1765-1854). The voluminous correspondence (2,569 letters) extends over several generations from 1798 to 1879. Of particular interest are the fifty-one letters by Louis Bristol written from Paris to family members and to Timothy Dwight Edwards describing the Revolution of 1830. Between 1829 and 1857 William Brooks Bristol wrote 581 letters to his brother Louis, chiefly on the question of buying and selling railroad stocks. Additional papers of the brothers include records of their law practice, account books and business corrspondence. Also a diary (1834-1844) kept by Louis Bristol recording his life as a student at Yale College, his surveying experience and his courtship, together with twenty-nine compositions written while at Yale. Eugene Stuart Bristol, son of William Brooks Bristol, is represented by letter books and extensive financial records (1869-1873) documenting his mining operations at Bingham Canyon, Utah.

Biographical / Historical

LOUIS BRISTOL, 1814-1882

LOUIS BRISTOL, son of Judge William Bristol (Y. C. 1798) and Sarah (Edwards) Bristol, was born in New Haven, Conn., December 18, 1814. He entered College in 1830, but left during the Freshman year, to resume his studies a year later.

He was occupied for five years after graduation as a civil engineer in the surveys for new railroads in Connecticut, New York, and Illinois. He then studied law in the Yale Law School, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and settled in New Haven. He married, May 29, 1844, Mary D., only daughter of William P. Cleaveland, Jr., (Y. C. 1816), of New London, Conn., by whom he had three sons and one daughter. In 1857 the failure of his health led him to give up his professional practice, and in 1859 he removed to Makanda, a small town in Southern Illinois, where he undertook farming and fruit raising thus securing the reestablishment of his health. In February, 1865, his wife obtained a divorce, and in January, 1866, he married Augusta, the daughter of Col. Otis Cooper, of Croydon, N. H., and formerly the wife of Gustavus F. Kimball, of East Canaan, N. H. They resided at first in Carbondale, Ill., and in 1872 removed to a farm in Vineland, N. J., where he died December 21, 1882, at the age of 68.

(Taken from the Yale Obituary Record)

WILLIAM BROOKS BRISTOL, 1806-1876

WILLIAM BROOKS BRISTOL, son of Wm. Bristol (of the class of 1798) and Sarah Edwards, and the grandson of Simeon Bristol (of the class of 1760), was born in New Haven, Conn., June, 1806, and died in that city after a long illness, October 10, 1876.

Upon his graduation, Mr. Bristol entered upon the study of law at the Law School in New Haven, and in the office of his father, Judge Bristol, and on the completion of his legal studies practiced law for one or two years in Painesville, Ohio. He then returned to his native place and resumed practice there, and continued it successfully with the general public esteem and the fullest confidence of those with whom he had relations of business in his integrity, judgment, and ability, nearly to the close of his life.

Mr. Bristol was twice married: first to Mary Bliss, of Springfield, Mass., Nov. 15, 1836, who died Feb. 15, 1849, by whom he had six children, of whom two sons survive him (both graduates of this college), and secondly, Nov. 11, 1850, to Caroline Bliss, of the same place, by whom he has had three children (one of them a member of the graduating class of this year), who with their mother are still living.

(Taken from the Yale Obituary Record.)

WILLIAM BRISTOL, 1779-1836

WILLIAM BRISTOL, the youngest son of Judge Simeon Bristol (Yale 1760), of Hamden, then part of New Haven, was born on June 2, 1779.

He studied law in the office of the Hon. David Daggett, and was admitted to the bar in New Haven County in November, 1800. In 1800-1802 his father built for him the handsome house on Elm Street, after the pattern of the adjacent mansion of Judge Daggett, which was torn down in 1908 to make room for the new Public Library.

He was Speaker of the House of Representatives of Connecticut in 1817. He represented New Haven in the Convention held in Hartford in 1818 which formed the present State constitution.

In 1818 and 1819 he was a member of the State Senate, and ( ex-officio) of the Corporation of the College.

In 1819, at the comparatively early age of forty, he was appointed Judge of the Superior Court and Supreme Court of Errors, which office he held until his resignation in 1826, having in that year been appointed Judge of the District Court of the United States for the District of Connecticut, in which latter office he continued until his death.

He was elected an alderman of the city in 1818, 1821, and 1826, and Mayor in June, 1827, holding the office for one year. In 1825 he was nominated by his political friends as candidate for Governor, but declined, preferring the quietude of the judicial station to the excitements attending a political canvass.

In 1830 he was joined with Judge Samuel Church (Yale 1803) in the report of a new and revised criminal code for the State.

He died suddenly, after a period of infirmity, in New Haven, on Monday evening, March 7, 1836, in his 57th year.

Judge Bristol was a man of superior mental powers, which he cultivated with untiring industry. His learning, ability, and integrity, united with a courteous urbanity, elicited the admiration of his professional brethren and won the confidence of the community. "As a judge he was the favorite of everyone, judges, jurors, witnesses, and counsel, all bore willing testimony to the ability and impartiality with which his official duty was invariably performed. Towards the younger members of the profession he was particularly kind, attentive, and encouraging; and no young man practicing before him could feel the slightest apprehension that the merits of his case would be overlooked in the decision, no matter how diffident he might be in presenting his views, or however powerful and experienced might be the counsel opposed to him. Such was the confidence placed in the decisions of Judge Bristol, that controversies involving large sums and intricate questions, were frequently referred to him by the parties, and were quietly disposed of in a short time in his office, which would otherwise have required months or years of expensive litigation." He lived universally respected, and his death was deeply lamented.

He was married, in New Haven, on January 6, 1805, by the Rev. Dr. Bela Hubbard, to Sarah (or Sally) Edwards, of New Haven, who died on December 24, 1866, aged 86 years. Three sons were graduates of Yale, in 1825, 1827, and 1835, and a daughter married John Murdoch (Yale 1834).

His only separate publication, over his own name, was the following:

An Address, intended to have been delivered (in substance) at the late Town Meeting, in New-Haven; in Reply to the reasons urged for requesting His Excellency the Governor to convene the General Assembly, to take into consideration the alarming situation of Public Affairs; but prevented from being delivered by causes herein explained. Together with a Short Account of that Extraordinary Meeting, by William Bristoll, Esq. New-Haven, 1809. 8°, pp. 19. [M. H. S. N. Y. H. S. Y. C.]

In defence of the Embargo. The Address seems to have been hooted down by the opposition.

He delivered the Fourth of July Oration in New Haven in 1800, but it does not seem to have been printed.

Authorities: Kilbourn, Litchfield County Bench and Bar, 77. N.H. City Year Book, 1863. 97-98. N.H. Daily Herald, March 8 and 9, 1836. Storer’s Amer. Hist. Magazine, 158.

(Taken from Annals of Yale Men by F.B. Dexter, vol. 4)
Title
Guide to the Bristol Family Papers
Author
compiled by William E. Brown, Jr.
Date
June 1985
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)