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Evarts family papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 200

Scope and Contents

The papers of Jeremiah Evarts are composed of correspondence, manuscripts of published articles, reports, memoranda, and legal and financial records. The material is divided into "Correspondence," "Subject File," and "Personal, Legal and Financial Papers."

The correspondence in these papers includes correspondence of Jeremiah Evarts with his family. There are more than fifty letters from Evarts to his wife, Mehetabel, which were written, for the most part, when he was traveling on behalf of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. A letter from Evarts to his father, James Evarts, gives a detailed account of a difficult sea voyage from Boston to Savannah, Georgia, in the winter of 1818. John Jay Evarts, writing to his father, Jeremiah Evarts, from Yale College, describes the sophomore class rebellion of 1830.

Scattered throughout the correspondence are letters to Jeremiah Evarts from fellow members of the Class of 1802 at Yale: David Dudley Field, Eleazer Foster, Sherman Johnson, William Maxwell (for whom Jeremiah Evarts named his second son), Pelatiah Perit, David Austin Sherman, and Roswell R. Swann. Other correspondence related to Yale includes two letters each to Jeremiah Evarts from Timothy Dwight (about the publication of some of the latter's writings), James Luce Kingsley, and Jeremiah Day. Letters from John Hough and Samuel Hubbard, also classmates of Evarts at Yale, appear in the correspondence. Hough was a professor at Middlebury College from 1812 to 1839. Jeremiah Evarts and Samuel Hubbard, a Boston lawyer, banker, and judge, were fellow members of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the Park Street Church in Boston. Hubbard and Evarts shared other religious and educational interests; Hubbard was a trustee of Andover Theological Seminary, a president of the American Education Society, and vice president of the American Home Missionary Society.

Letters on the subject of a religious revival movement in 1830 may be found in Evarts' correspondence with Josiah Bissell and David Austin Sherman. There is also correspondence between Jeremiah Evarts and Simeon Baldwin, both of whom were married to daughters of Roger Sherman. Within the papers are a letter from John Jay and one from John Randolph to Jeremiah Evarts in response to letters which he sent in 1812, presumably about the work of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

Other correspondents of Jeremiah Evarts include men who were associated with Andover Theological Seminary in its early years: Leonard Woods, Moses Stuart, Samuel Farrar, Ebenezer Porter, and Justin Edwards. Letters from John Todd to Evarts give a student's impressions of Andover in 1822 and 1823.

Many of the correspondents were associates of Jeremiah Evarts on the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; Leonard Woods, Samuel Worcester, Jedidiah Morse, Samuel Hubbard, Rufus Anderson, Warren Fay, and Benjamin B. Wisner were, like Evarts, members of the Board's Prudential Committee. Evarts corresponded with missionaries such as Hiram and Sybil Bingham in Hawaii and Gordon Hall in India. (Additional missionary correspondence may be found in the Subject File, under "A. B. C. F. M.")

A significant topic in the Jeremiah Evarts papers is the controversy over Cherokee and Choctaw lands in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Correspondence on the subject dates from August, 1829, to February, 1831. Letters related to the dispute may be found in Evarts' correspondence with Eleazer Lord, Asa Mead, George B. Cheever, and the North American Review. There is a letter from Henry Clay indicative of his position on the Cherokee question in August, 1830. Members of the 21st Congress who corresponded with Evarts about the bill to remove the Indians from their lands were Theodore Frelinghuysen, Senator from New Jersey, Isaac Chapman Bates, Representative from Massachusetts and a Yale classmate of Jeremiah Evarts, Edward Everett, Representative from Massachusetts, and Ambrose Spencer, Representative from New York. There are two letters from John Ross, head of the Coosa Cherokee Nation, one written before and one after the passage of the Indian bill on May 26, 1830. Another letter, written by William S. Coodey, a Cherokee, describes the activities of the Cherokee delegation in Washington, D.C., in December, 1830.

The "Subject File" consists of papers related to several important concerns in the life of Jeremiah Evarts from 1810 to 1831. There are contracts signed and letters received by Evarts as editor of the Panoplist. Among the papers pertaining to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions are letters from missionaries, reports, financial statements, memoranda, and notes. There are copies of articles intended for publication (apparently in the Missionary Herald), and thirteen copies of the magazine, three of which were edited by Jeremiah Evarts. These papers, however, represent only a portion of Evarts' files for the A. B. C. F. M. and the Missionary Herald. Most of his records, including travel journals and correspondence on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M., are with the files of the Board in the Houghton Library of Harvard University.

Jeremiah Evarts supported the movement to stop Sunday postal service in the United States. Among his papers are several pamphlets describing citizens' efforts in New York and Boston and a memorial to the Congress of the United States on the subject.

The papers of Jeremiah Evarts also contain manuscript copies and proofs of his articles on behalf of Indian rights, first published in the National Intelligencer under the pseudonym, "William Penn." Appearing in 1829 in the midst of the controversy over the removal of the Cherokees from their land in Georgia, the William Penn essays sought to increase popular support for the Indian cause.

The "Personal, Legal, and Financial Papers" of Jeremiah Evarts consist of student compositions, portions of a journal, notes, memoranda, pamphlets, bulletins, certificates, legal documents, and financial records. There are two compositions written while Evarts was an undergraduate at Yale College, "A Dissertation on Amor Patriae" (1800) and "Are the abilities of females inferior to those of males?" (1801), in which Evarts took the position that the abilities of women are equal to those of men. There are several segments of a journal kept by Jeremiah Evarts. The first segment (1801 Sep 27 - 1802 Jan 2) records his thoughts and activities as a member of the senior class at Yale College. Some of the entries reflect the influence of President Dwight on the lives of the students. Another portion of the journal (1803 May 22 - Sep 12) was written during the period when Evarts was principal of the Caledonia County Grammar School in Peacham, Vermont. A third (1824 Jan 1 - May 29) was written during a visit to the Cherokee and Choctaw missions as an agent of the A. B. C. F. M. Among the personal papers of Evarts are memoranda and prayers written by others and a handful of pamphlets, bulletins, and circulars descriptive of New England events, and institutions in the 1820's. The legal papers include certificates of membership in the bar associations of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, as well as documents entrusted to Evarts by clients. The financial papers contain estimates of property and records of expenditures and receipts. The property estimates include inventories of Evarts' library and furniture. In addition, there are bills and receipts from 1810 to 1831 pertaining principally to family finances but occasionally to Evarts' account with the A. B. C. F. M. (Statements of balances of the Board prepared by Evarts as treasurer are in the Subject File.)

For additional writings by or about Jeremiah Evarts, see the entries in the public catalog of Sterling Memorial Library. Correspondence and journals of Jeremiah Evarts on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M. are located in the Houghton Library of Harvard University. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, contain the following papers related to this collection: Baldwin Family Papers, Vaill Collection.

The papers of William Maxwell Evarts, Series II, are comprised of correspondence, legal papers, congressional papers, memorabilia, and financial records.

The correspondence of William Maxwell Evarts is composed of personal and family correspondence, as well as correspondence related to Evarts' New York law practice and public service. Most of the letters were received by, rather than written by, Evarts. With the exception of family members, there are in most instances no more than two or three letters received from each of his correspondents.

There is legal correspondence with clients and colleagues involving international, commercial, probate, corporation, and, infrequently, criminal law. There are both professional and personal elements in the correspondence of William Maxwell Evarts with Allen W. Evarts, Sherman Evarts (sons of William M. Evarts), Charles C. Beaman, Charles H. Tweed (sons-in-law), and J. Evarts Tracy (nephew). All were lawyers, and all but Sherman Evarts were members of the firm of Evarts, Southmayd and Choate. Letters to William M. Evarts from Joseph H. Choate are related to New York politics, political appointments, and personal matters, rather than to the law firm. Among the many lawyers who wrote to Evarts on professional matters are Charles O'Conor, A. A. Redfield, Francis M. Bangs, William H. H. Hart, and Thomas H. Hubbard.

One segment of correspondence dates from William Maxwell Evarts' diplomatic mission to London and Paris in 1863-1864. There is a letter to Evarts (1864 Jan) from the American Consul-general in Paris, John Bigelow, on the Rappahannock and treaty obligations of neutral countries, and a letter to Evarts (1864 Feb) in London from William H. Seward. Although most of the letters from English dignitaries and officials are in the form of social invitations, there are a handful of letters on political matters from Richard Cobden, Robert Lush, and Henry C. Rothery.

Another segment of correspondence dates from 1877 to 1881 when William Maxwell Evarts was Secretary of State in the Hayes Administration. Most of the letters are related to political patronage or appointments to the military academies. Many of the letters reflect Republican party politics in New York, Evarts' home state, since he was often asked to exert his influence in the filling of vacancies by the Administration on state and local levels. One such occasion was the appointment of a new collector of internal revenue for Brooklyn in 1879. (For a list of New York businessmen, lawyers, journalists, politicians, and others who wrote to Evarts on the subject - among them Henry Ward Beecher - see Series II, box 17.) Other correspondents involved in New York State politics, although not necessarily in the years 1877 to 1881, are Thurlow Weed, Edwin A. Merritt, Seth Low, and John M. Scribner, who wrote to Evarts on behalf of the New York Bar Association.

Evarts' personal correspondence from his years in the State Department contains unofficial communications from men in the diplomatic and consular service. There are three letters from James B. Angell, appointed minister to China, as he made preparations to leave the United States, and a letter written in Shanghai on his way to Peking in 1880. Others writing from abroad include John A. Kasson in Vienna, Edwin W. Stoughton in St. Petersburg, and W. H. Trescot in Japan. There are nine letters to Evarts from John Hay, informing Evarts of State Department business during the latter's absence in the summer of 1880. The correspondence for these years also includes a letter from Bismarck (thanking Evarts for a replica of Jefferson's desk) and a handful of letters from foreign diplomats, among them Victor Drummond, Kurd von Schlözer, and Sir Edward Thornton.

There are papers and correspondence related to the International Monetary Conference held in Paris in 1881, to which William M. Evarts was a delegate. They include general instructions to the United States delegation on behalf of President Garfield from James G. Blaine, copies of telegrams and dispatches, as well as letters from James Russell Lowell, J. Dana Horton, Alexander H. Stephens, and others.

As a United States Senator from 1885 to 1891, William Maxwell Evarts received letters on proposed legislation, applications for government positions, and requests for assistance. For example, there are letters in 1886 calling Evarts' attention to circumstances surrounding the issuance of licenses to trade with Indian tribes, and from Ward McAllister seeking to have his son, Ward McAllister, Jr., re-instated in an Alaskan judgeship. Copies of letters from William Maxwell Evarts to President Harrison, cabinet members, fellow Congressmen, and constituents were recorded in a letterbook with entries from December 1889, to March, 1891.

From 1867 until his death in 1901, Evarts was a member of the Peabody Education fund. References to the administration of the Fund may be found in letters from J. L. M. Curry, Hamilton Fish, Melville W. Fuller, B. G. Northrop, George W. Riggs, Samuel Wetmore, and Robert C. Winthrop.

The correspondence of William Maxwell Evarts includes letters from Chester A. Arthur, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Theodore Roosevelt. Cyrus W. Field wrote to Evarts in 1867 about the trans-Atlantic cable and about the feasibility of a trans-Pacific cable in 1880. There are five letters to Evarts from William Tecumseh Sherman on personal matters, principally the latter's daughter Rachel. In addition, there are two letters from another close friend, Richard Henry Dana.

Relatively few original letters written by William Maxwell Evarts appear in these papers. (The Edwards Pierrepont Papers, Yale University Library, contain approximately seventy letters written by Evarts.) Notable exceptions are Evarts' letters to his wife, Helen, four letters to Noah Porter, and two to Allen W. Owen. Written in 1848 and 1858, the letters to Owen contain reflections on Evarts' professional career and political aspirations.

There are eighteen boxes of legal papers, containing briefs, transcripts, memoranda, and notes. There are approximately twenty-five opinions in manuscript form written by William Maxwell Evarts from 1865 to 1884, as well as one folder of opinions and memoranda of Charles O'Conor, Charles C. Beaman, and others.

Since Evarts did not specialize in any one type of law, there are a wide variety of cases represented in his papers. A number of them dealt with probate law, such as the Parrish, Phelps, and Stanley will cases, and the Gardiner-Tyler suit, which involved John Tyler's widow, Julia. There are revenue, taxation, insurance, and contract cases, as well as patent cases associated with such disparate products as Goodyear rubber, typesetting machines (Wescott), horseshoes ( Burden v. Corning et al), fatty acids and glycerine ( Mitchell v. Tilghman), and organs ( Burdette v. Estey). Among the legal papers are copies of Evarts argument before the Supreme Court in the Cotton Tax Case ( Farrington v. Saunders), and printed case material from the national bank tax cases and the Virginia coupon cases.

As one might expect, many of the cases in these papers are related to New York City, among them the Metropolitan Police Case, the West Washington Market Case, and the Brooklyn Bridge Case. The Bell Barnard Case is one of several in Evarts' papers involving the New York Customs House.

Railroad litigation held a prominent place in Evarts' practice in the 1870's and 1880's, and some of the case material in these papers reflects this aspect of his work. Evarts was involved in the early development of rapid transit in New York City as a result of his work for the New York Cable Railway Company and others. In the area of national railroad development, there is an opinion of William Maxwell Evarts on a Union Pacific bond issue, and material related to Evarts' work for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in the matter of the Texas Pacific land grant.

Some of Evarts' most celebrated cases are not represented in these papers. There is no case material on the defense of Andrew Johnson or the Tilton-Beecher trial. There are papers pertaining to the United States Government's attempted prosecution of Jefferson Davis for treason, but they are principally copies of Davis' correspondence during the Civil War. With the exception of a printed argument, there are no papers from the Hayes-Tilden Electoral Commission of 1877.

There is one box of Congressional papers containing copies of bills and reports from the 49th, 50th, and 51st Congresses, and two docket books of applicants for positions in government service. The latter, dating from 1889-1891, when William Maxwell Evarts was a United States Senator, records the favor or position sought, the disposition of the request, and remarks on each candidate.

Among the papers of William Maxwell Evarts are three boxes of memorabilia, consisting of invitations, notices, calling cards, programs, souvenirs, and clippings. There are memorial tributes to Evarts and others, memorabilia of the Class of 1837 at Yale, and reminiscences of Evarts. In addition, there are speeches and notes of William Maxwell Evarts, including his speech at the International Monetary Conference in 1881. Of interest are "Memorandum notes of my visit to Europe, 1863,"which describe the circumstances in which Evarts was asked to undertake a diplomatic mission for the State Department. After a description of the trans-Atlantic passage, the entries end. There is no account of subsequent events in England.

The four boxes of Evarts' financial records contain accounts, bills, receipts, tax and insurance records, and cancelled checks.

Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, contain the following papers related to William Maxwell Evarts: Edwards Pierrepont Papers.

Series III, "Evarts Family," is made up of correspondence, memorabilia, legal papers and financial records of three generations of Evarts.

The correspondence, which dates primarily from 1800 to 1928, contains letters to and from members of the Evarts, Sherman, Baldwin, Hoar, Tracy, and Wardner families. For the period 1800-1835, the correspondence is principally that of Jeremiah Evarts' wife, Mehetabel Sherman Barnes Evarts, a daughter of Roger Sherman. There are letters from her son by a previous marriage, Daniel Barnes, and her sister, Elizabeth Baldwin, wife of Simeon Baldwin. Other correspondents are her son, John Jay Evarts, who attended Yale College from 1828 to 1832, and her daughters, Mary Evarts Greene and Marthan Evarts Tracy.

Included in the correspondence of the 1830's are several letters to Jeremiah Evarts' son-in-law, Ebenezer C. Tracy. There is a letter (1833 Oct 26) to the editor of the Boston Recorder on the subject of slavery, sent by Josiah D. Crosby. Other correspondents of E. C. Tracy are Joseph Tracy, clergyman, editor, and author (ALS 1836 Nov 3 to his brother re: editorial work on the Boston Recorder), Stephen Tracy (ALS 1836 Dec 14 describing a voyage from Batavia to Singapore) and David Greene, a member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ALS 1837 Aug 4).

For the period from 1835 to 1902, the correspondence is largely (though by no means entirely) that of Helen Minerva Wardner Evarts, wife of William Maxwell Evarts. The principal correspondents are her father, Allen Wardner, and eleven Evarts children. However, there are also letters to Helen M. W. Evarts from friends in New York, Windsor, and Washington, many of whose names appear in the correspondence of William Maxwell Evarts as well.

Evarts family memorabilia contains articles, notes, verses, photographs, printed matter, recipes, and school lessons. There are two copies of a genealogy of the Evarts family. A travel journal, written by Charles Butler Evarts in 1867, describes Cumberland, Maryland, and the foundry and mines of Mount Savage and Frostburg. "An Education in Funerals" (typescript; possibly written by Prescott Evarts) describes childhood in a New England town during the Civil War.

The legal and financial papers in Series III are for the most part those of William Maxwell Evarts' daughter, Mary Evarts, and pertain to the family estate at Windsor, Vermont. There are also several legal documents from the eighteenth century and certificates of military service.

Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, contain the following papers related to the Evarts family: Roger Sherman Papers, Baldwin Family Papers.

Dates

  • 1753-1960
  • Majority of material found within 1798 - 1901

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown, though much of the material in this collection is likely in the public domain. 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

Gift of Effingham Evarts, 1961-1966, and Mrs. R. DeWitt Mallary, 1977. Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, 1992.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series and three additions: I. Jeremiah Evarts Papers. II. William Maxwell Evarts Papers. III. Evarts Family Papers. Addition 1977 December. Addition 1982 April.

Extent

24.25 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.0200

Overview

The papers consist of correspondence, writings, legal and financial material, congressional papers, family memorabilia, and other papers of various members of the Evarts family of Vermont, Boston, and New York. The principal figures, however, are Jeremiah Evarts (1781-1831), author, editor, lawyer, and philanthropist, and his son, William Maxwell Evarts (1818-1901), lawyer and statesman. The papers of Jeremiah Evarts relate to his work and writings on Congregational orthodoxy, his travels for the American Board of Foreign Missions, and his efforts on behalf of American Indians. His correspondents include family members, fellow members of the Yale Class of 1802, and many well-known clergymen, lawyers, statesmen, and missionaries.

Biographical / Historical

Jeremiah Evarts, son of James and Sarah Todd Evarts, was born February 3, 1781, in Sunderland, Vermont. The family moved to Georgia, Vermont, six years later. In January, 1798, Jeremiah Evarts went to East Guilford, Connecticut, where he studied with the Rev. John Elliot. In September of the same year, he entered Yale College.

Evarts attended Yale during the presidency of Timothy Dwight at a period when religious revival was beginning at the college. In his senior year, Evarts experienced a religious conversion which led him to join the Church in the spring of 1802.

After graduation, Evarts returned to his home in Vermont for a period of time before accepting the position of principal of the Caledonia County Grammar School in Peacham, Vermont, in April, 1803. One year later, Evarts, having decided to study law, entered the New Haven law office of Judge Charles Chauncey. Jeremiah Evarts was admitted to the Connecticut Bar Association in July, 1806, and practiced law in New Haven until 1810.

In 1804 Jeremiah Evarts married Mehetabel Sherman Barnes, daughter of Roger Sherman and widow of Daniel Barnes, who had one son, Daniel, by her previous marriage. Jeremiah and Mehetabel Evarts had five children: Mary, Martha, John Jay, Sarah, and William Maxwell.

While living in New Haven, Jeremiah Evarts contributed articles to the Panoplist, first published in 1805 in Massachusetts. Edited and written by Jedidiah Morse, Leonard Woods, and others, the magazine represented the views of orthodox Congregationalism. During the years 1805 to 1809, the Panoplist actively encouraged the union of Congregational churches in a General Association and the founding of Andover Theological Seminary.

In January, 1810, Jeremiah Evarts abandoned the practice of law to become the editor of the Panoplist. He left New Haven and settled with his family in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Six years later, he moved to Boston, where he resided until his death in 1831.

Jeremiah Evarts edited the Panoplist from 1810 until 1820, when he was forced to discontinue its publication because of other commitments. As editor, he wrote on issues of social reform, such as slavery and the temperance movement, reviewed works on religious subjects, and defended the doctrines of Calvinism. He viewed with alarm the growing Unitarian movement within the Congregational Church., since he believed it to be incompatible with orthodox Congregationalism. This issue was heatedly contested by both sides, and the controversy was mirrored in the pages of the Panoplist.

The early years of the nineteenth century in New England saw the formation of charitable and educational organizations, the founding of societies for the dissemination of Bibles and religious tracts, as well as increasingly widespread domestic and foreign missionary endeavors. An important function of the Panoplist was to keep the Christian public informed of the existence and progress of such ventures.

While editor of the Panoplist, Jeremiah Evarts was active in the organization of the Massachusetts Bible Society and served as manager of the American Bible Society. He was also a vice-president of the American Education Society and an active member of the Park Street Congregational Church in Boston.

Jeremiah Evarts had been a strong advocate and an early member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, founded in 1810. Evarts was elected treasurer of the Board in 1811 and a member of the Prudential Committee in 1812. As treasurer, he worked closely with Samuel Worcester, who was corresponding secretary during the same period. When Worcester's health forced him to leave Boston for a warmer climate in January, 1821 (he died in June of that year), Evarts assumed the duties of corresponding secretary as well. He continued to hold both offices until 1822. At the annual meeting of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in September of that year, Henry Hill was elected treasurer and Jeremiah Evarts was elected corresponding secretary, a position which he held until his death in 1831. Evarts' duites also included the editorship of the Missionary Herald, published by the A. B. C. F. M. to record its proceedings and activities.

As treasurer, corresponding secretary, and a member of the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Evarts was influential in shaping the policies and direction of American missionary enterprises at home and abroad. As a special agent of the A. B. C. F. M., he personally visited, on several occasions between 1818 and 1830, missions to the Cherokee and Choctaw nations in the South. (A chronology of the journeys undertaken by Evarts on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M. follows this biographical sketch.)

Visits to mission stations increased Evarts' fears for the physical survival, as well as the moral and spiritual well-being, of the Southern tribes. In 1827 and 1828, the Georgia state legislature asserted the claim that it could take possession, at will, of Cherokee lands within the chartered limits of the state. Alabama and Mississippi adopted similar laws respecting Indians within their boundaries. Removal of the Indians to territory west of the Mississippi, Evarts believed, would decimate their numbers and offer no assurance that the same action would not be taken against them in the future.

Sympathetic to the Cherokees' efforts to seek justice through the courts and the Congress, and convinced that the United States government was morally bound to honor its treaty obligations, Jeremiah Evarts actively espoused the Indian cause. In an attempt to place the merits of the Indians' case before the American people, Evarts wrote a series of essays defending the legal rights of the Cherokees to their land. Published in the National Intelligencer, from August to December, 1829, under the pseudonym, "William Penn," the essays were reproduced in the newspapers and circulated in a pamphlet edition.

Since a bill on the removal of the Indians was to be introduced in the first session of the 21st Congress (December 7, 1829 - May 31, 1830), Evarts encouraged public meetings of concerned citizens, drafted petitions to the Congress which were endorsed by leading citizens in New York and Boston, and wrote a memorial to Congress on behalf of the Cherokees from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

When a bill authorizing the President to remove the Indians was passed by Congress in the spring of 1830, Evarts was discouraged by the outcome. Nevertheless, he continued his efforts, editing a pamphlet of speeches on the Indian bill, and writing articles for the Missionary Herald, the New York Observer, and the North American Review. In November, 1830, he contributed two additional essays by "William Penn" to the National Intelligencer, and in January, 1831, drafted a second memorial to Congress from the A. B. C. F. M. on the state of the Indians.

Evarts had to abandon plans to go to Washington on behalf of the Cherokees in the early part of 1831. As his health progressively worsened, he was advised in February of that year to leave Boston for a milder climate. He arrived at Havana, Cuba, early in March. After a six-week stay, Evarts mistakenly believed his condition had greatly improved and sailed to Savannah. After a brief visit, he proceeded to the home of friends in Charleston, where he died on May 10, 1831.

Chronology of Journeys Made by Jeremiah Evarts on Behalf of the A. B. C. F. M.

1816 Jun
Jeremiah Evarts visited Quebec and western New York
1818 Jan
Was advised to spend time in a milder climate because of failing health. Received a commission as agent of the A. B. C. F. M. Sailed for Savannah, Georgia; arrived after difficult passage. Visited Charleston, Augusta. Spent three weeks at the Cherokee mission at Chickamauga (later called Brainerd). Returned northward through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania; reached Philadelphia late in July, 1818.
1822 Mar
Poor health again forced Evarts to leave Boston. Sailed to Savannah, visited Indian missions in Georgia, returned through eastern Tennessee and Virginia. Arrived in Boston in August, 1822.
1823 Jul-Aug
Visited western Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M.
1823 Dec
Began extensive tour as agent of the A. B. C. F. M. Traveled to New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, and Washington. Continued southward through Virginia and Tennessee. Made third visit to the missions among the Cherokees, spent several weeks visiting the various stations, Brainerd in particular. Also visited Choctaw missions in Mississippi. From Natchez, continued to New Orleans, then sailed to New York, arriving in June, 1824.
1825 Mar
Weakened by consumption. Sailed for Charleston, South Carolina. Traveled to Augusta and Savannah. Returned to Boston in May, 1825, where his daughter Sarah had died in his absence.
1826 Jan
In poor health, sailed for Charleston. Traveled to Augusta. Visited Indian missions in Georgia and mission stations along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Returned to Memphis in May. Sailed up Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Pittsburgh. Returned to Boston in June, 1826.
1826 Nov-Dec
Spent several weeks in New York City on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M.
1827 Feb
Journeyed to Washington, D. C., by way of New York and Philadelphia. Engaged in organizing missionary societies, attending meetings in behalf of mission work. Closely followed debate in Congress on the Cherokee question. Visited several cities in Virginia, also Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Princeton. Returned to Boston in April, 1827.
1827 Jun
Visited missionary societies in New Hampshire and Maine on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M.
1828 Mar
Journeyed to Washington, D. C. Followed debate in Congress on the Cherokee question and sought government protection for the Sandwich Islands mission from crews of American naval vessels. Returned to Boston in April.
1828 late Jun-early July
Visited Vermont missionary societies on behalf of the A. B. C. F. M.
1829 Feb
Arrived in Washington to present memorials to Congress urging the discontinuance of Sunday postal service and to oppose the removal of the Cherokees from their land. Returned to Boston in April, 1829.
1830 Apr
Arrived in Washington to lend his support to the Cherokee delegation on the question of Indian rights. Followed the debate on the Indian bill in the Senate and the House, deplored the passage of the bill. Returned to Boston in June.
1831 Feb
Failure of health forced Evarts to leave Boston for Havana; arrived Mar 2. Sailed for Savannah, Apr 18. Journeyed to Charleston, where he died, May 10.

Chronology of the Life of William Maxwell Evarts

1818 Feb 6
William Maxwell Evarts was born in Boston.
1833-1837
William Maxwell Evarts attended Yale College. Fellow members of the Class of 1837 included Edwards Pierrepont, Benjamin Silliman, Jr., Samuel J. Tilden, and Morrison R. Waite.
1837-1839
William Maxwell Evarts studied law under Horace Everett in Windsor, Vermont, then attended the Dane Law School of Harvard University.
1840-1841
William Maxwell Evarts entered the office of Daniel Lord in New York City. Joined the Column Club.
1841 Jul 16
William Maxwell Evarts was admitted to the New York Bar.
1841 Oct 1
William Maxwell Evarts opened his own law office at 60 Wall St. The following year he formed a partnership with Charles E. Butler.
1843 Aug 30
William Maxwell Evarts married Helen Minerva Wardner of Windsor, Vermont.
1849-1853
William Maxwell Evarts served as assistant district attorney under J. Prescott Hall, attorney for the southern district of New York.
1850 Oct 30
Castle Garden speech of William Maxwell Evarts defending the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law.
1852 Jan 1
Charles F. Southmayd became a third partner in the law firm of Butler and Evarts.
1857
William Maxwell Evarts represented the State of New York in the Metropolitan Police Case.
1858
Charles E. Butler retired from the firm.
1859 Jun 1
The firm of Evarts, Southmayd, and Choate was formed with the addition of Joseph Choate. (The firm retained this title for twenty-five years.)
1860
In the Lemmon Slave Case in the Court of Appeals, William Maxwell Evarts, Joseph Blunt and Chester A. Arthur successfully represented New York State. Charles O'Conor and Henry D. Lapaugh appeared for the State of Virginia.
1860
William Maxwell Evarts was chairman of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention. The delegation was pledged to William H. Seward.
1861
William Maxwell Evarts was defeated in a bid for the United States Senate seat vacated by Seward in New York.
1861
William Maxwell Evarts appeared as a government counsel in the SavannahPrivateers Case.
1863
William Maxwell Evarts represented the United States government in the Prize Cases (Confederate blocade runners).
1863 Apr-Jul
Diplomatic mission to England as a special agent of the State Department.
1863 Dec-1864 Jun
Second diplomatic mission to London and Paris in reout fitting of vessels for the use of the Confederacy.
1867 Jun
Delegate to the New York Constitutional Convention.
1867
William Maxwell Evarts employed by the government in the prosecution of Jefferson Davis.
1868
William Maxwell Evarts employed as a counsel for the defense in the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson.
1868 Jul-1869 Mar
United States Attorney General in Johnson's cabinet.
1868-1870
William Maxwell Evarts argued the Bank Tax, Legal Tender, and Cotton Tax Cases before the Supreme Court.
1870
William Maxwell Evarts elected the first president of the New York City Bar Association. Opposed the "Tweed Ring."
1871-1872
William Maxwell Evarts served as a counsel for the United States at the Geneva arbitration of the Alabamaclaims.
1873 Aug
William Maxwell Evarts represented the British claimants in the Springbok Case before the Mixed Commission on British and American claims.
1874
Charles H. Tweed, Prescott Hall Butler, and Allen W. Evarts became members of Evarts, Southmayd, and Choate. (Charles C. Beaman joined five years later.)
1875
William Maxwell Evarts appeared for the defense in the case of Theodore Tilton v. Henry Ward Beecher.
1876
Chief Counsel for the Republican Party in the Hayes-Tilden presidential election dispute.
1877-1881
Secretary of State in the Hayes Cabinet.
1881
United States delegate to the International Monetary Conference in Paris.
1882
In Story v. The New York Elevated Railway Company, William Maxwell Evarts argued for the rights of owners whose property abutted on streets in which elevated railways were constructed.
1883
Treadwell Cleveland became a member of Evarts, Southmayd, and Choate. The following year Charles F. Southmayd retired.
1885-1891
William Maxwell Evarts served one term in the United States Senate as Senator from New York.
1889
Because of his failing eyesight, William Maxwell Evarts traveled to Europe to consult medical specialists, who were unable to help.
1893 Aug 30
William Maxwell Evarts and Helen M. W. Evarts celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at Windsor, Vermont.
1901 Feb 28
William Maxwell Evarts died in New York City at the age of 83.
Title
Guide to the Evarts Family Papers
Author
compiled by Katharine Morton
Date
November 1973
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • October 2009: Finding aid revision description not supplied.

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