Guide to the Elinor A. Leonberger collection of Redwood, Ellery, and other related families, 1746-1895

(bulk 1789-1809)


Redwood Library and Athenaeum
50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: (401) 847-0292
Fax: (401) 841-5680
email: redwood@redwoodlibrary.org

Published in 2013

Collection Overview

Title: Elinor A. Leonberger collection of Redwood, Ellery, and other related families
Date range: 1746-1895, (bulk 1789-1809)
Creator: Leonberger, Elinor A., 1908-1984
Extent: 0.21 linear feet (1 half document case)
Abstract: This collection consists of letters, family papers, and newspaper clippings regarding the Redwood, Ellery, and related families such as the Weissenfels and Andersons from the 1746 through 1895. All of the represented families are lineal descendants of Abraham Redwood (1709-1788), the founder of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Language of materials: English, French
Repository: Redwood Library and Athenaeum
Collection number: RLC.Ms.026

Scope & content

This collection consists of letters, family papers, and newspaper clippings regarding the Redwood, Ellery, and related families such as the Weissenfels and Andersons from the 1746 through 1895. All of the represented families are in one way lineal descendants of Abraham Redwood (1709-1788), the founder of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.

Correspondence consists of letters either sent to or received by Abraham Redwood Ellery, Sarah Weissenfels Ellery, Elbert Jefferson Anderson, and Martha Maria Anderson from 1894 through 1875. Letters written by Abraham Redwood Ellery were mostly addressed to his sister, Martha Redwood Champlin, and her husband, Christopher Grant Champlin. In these letters, Ellery recounts his travels during the Army to Antigua, his social life in New York City and the courting of his wife, and later the voyage he and his young wife made to New Orleans. Ellery also received letters from his father, Benjamin Ellery, and his uncle, William Ellery. Sarah Charlotte Weissenfels Ellery received a letter from her grandfather, Frederick von Weissenfels.

Letters sent by Elbert Jefferson Anderson were addressed to his brother, Henry J. Anderson (1799-1875), in New York describing his travels throughout France and Italy. Martha Maria Ellery Anderson received letters from Charles C. Beaman in North Scituate, Rhode Island, regarding her family genealogy, as well as one from her younger sister, Charlotte Weissenfels (Ellery) Panon (1807-1872). Letters addressed to both Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were received from various acquaintances in Newport, including Julia Ward Howe, sending their congratulations and well wishes for the golden anniversary.

Family papers are comprised mostly of handwritten genealogies with the birth, death, and marriage dates for various members of the Redwood, Ellery, Weissenfels, and Anderson families. Also included within these family papers are parts of legal documents such as deeds and wills, many of which are either copies or are incomplete. The Redwood family papers include a printed family history by Sarah Redwood Fisher (1759-1847), the niece of Abraham Redwood (1709-1788), entitled “Memoir of the Redwood family.” Also found is a brief history of the ownership of the Redwood Farm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, dated September 1, 1849.

The Ellery family papers include handwritten genealogies of the Ellery and Redwood families as well as partial deeds and wills concerning Abraham Redwood Ellery’s father, Benjamin Ellery (1725-1797), and grandfather, William Ellery (1701-1764). The Weissenfels family papers contain a commission dated May 3, 1787, for Charles F. Weissenfels as captain for a company within the New York Militia.

Newspaper clippings are undated, but are most likely from unidentified newspapers published throughout the 1790s-1950s. These clippings include obituaries and marriage announcements for various Redwood, Ellery, Weissenfels, and Anderson family members. Many of these clippings were pasted, in no discernible order, onto sheets of paper and are in fragile condition.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series:
  • Series 1. Correspondence, 1789-1875
  • Series 2. Family papers, 1746-1895 and undated
  • Series 3. Newspaper clippings, undated
Items within series are arranged in chronological order.

Biographical note

Elinor A. Leonberger (1908-1984) was born July 17, 1908, and lived in Baltimore, Maryland, before settling in Florida with her husband, Walter Leonberger (1894-1968). She died in October 1984.

Elinor and her sister, Mrs. Boker Bond of Baltimore, Maryland, were descendants of the Redwood, Ellery, and Anderson families, described below:

Abraham Redwood Ellery (1773-1820), grandson of Abraham Redwood (1709-1788) – the founder of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum - was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on May 24, 1773. He was the son of Mehetable Redwood (1731-1794) and Benjamin Ellery (1725-1797). His father was the older brother of William Ellery (1727-1820), the Rhode Island signer of the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Redwood Ellery attended Harvard and later studied law under Theophilus Parsons of Newbury, Massachusetts. After completing his education, Ellery joined the Army and rose to the rank of Assistant Adjutant General in 1799. Ellery retired from the Army in 1803 and went on to pursue a successful career as a lawyer in New Orleans, Louisiana. He married Sarah Charlotte Weissenfels (1784-1837) of New York on July 24, 1802, and had the following children: Martha Maria (1803-1880), Charlotte Weissenfels (1807-1872), Abraham Redwood (1809-1822), Orleana (1810-1899), and Charles Frederic (1812-1819). The Ellerys moved from New York down south to New Orleans in 1803 and at times lived close to the city in Second Creek, Mississippi. Abraham Redwood Ellery died from yellow fever on November 1, 1820.

Abraham Redwood Ellery’s older sister was Martha Redwood (Ellery) Champlin (1772-1847). She married Christopher Grant Champlin (1768-1840) of Newport, Rhode Island, on April 14, 1793. The couple had no children and continued to live in Newport while Champlin served in the United States Congress as state Representative from 1797 to 1807 and Senator from 1809-1811. Martha died on February 28, 1847.

Abraham Redwood Ellery’s wife, Sarah Charlotte Weissenfells (1784-1837), was the daughter of Rhoda Salter (1760-1805) and Charles F. Weissenfels (1760-1795). Her grandfather, Frederick von Weissenfels (1738-1806), came to New York from Prussia in 1756. Both her father and her grandfather fought in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Sarah died on December 23, 1837, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Abraham Redwood and Sarah Charlotte Weissenfels Ellery’s oldest daughter, Martha Maria Ellery (1803-1880), married Elbert Jefferson Anderson (1800-1888), a merchant from New York City, on October 3, 1825, in Newport, Rhode Island. The couple had the following children: Sarah Charlotte (b. 1826), Elbert (b. 1827), Martha Maria (b. 1829), Orleana Redwood Ellery (b. 1831), Redwood Ellery (1835-1841), and Rosalie Redwood (b. 1837). Martha Maria (Ellery) Anderson inherited the Redwood family farm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, due to the early deaths of her brothers. She and her husband eventually made the farm their permanent residence after having all of their children in New York and spending some years travelling throughout Europe. The Andersons had a large circle of friends in Newport, many of whom they invited to their golden wedding anniversary in October 1875. Martha Maria died in Newport on April 22, 1880, and was later followed by Elbert on February 13, 1888. Both were buried in the Island Cemetery in Newport.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: Access is open to members and researchers at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Use of the materials: This collection is owned by the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Special Collections Librarian of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Preferred citation: Elinor A. Leonberger collection of Redwood, Ellery, and other related families, RLC.Ms.026, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Contact information: Redwood Library and Athenaeum
50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: (401) 847-0292
Fax: (401) 841-5680
email: redwood@redwoodlibrary.org

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION  
Acquisition: Gift of Elinor A. Leonberger, 1953 July 9 A.
Processing information: When this collection was initially received by the Library, the contents were placed within seven archival quality envelopes and housed in a specially made red slipcase entitled, “Redwood family letters.” During the November 2013 processing of this collection, these materials were arranged and housed into an archival document case and folders.
ABOUT THE FINDING AID  
Author: Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Delmage.
Encoding: Finding aid encoded by Elizabeth Delmage 2013 November 20
Descriptive rules: Finding aid based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Sponsor: Funding for processing and cataloging this collection was provided by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

Additional Information

Related material:
  • The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New (Abraham Redwood family bible), BS 185 1690 .L5, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
  • Abraham Redwood family bible, l315 +1769, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
  • William Redwood family bible, l315 +1693, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
  • Birckhead collection of Redwood family papers, RLC.Ms.025, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
  • Collection of Redwood family papers, RLC.Ms.029, Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
Bibliography:
  • Lippincott, Bertram, III. Genealogy of the Redwood family. Newport, RI: Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 1993.
  • Inventory


    Series 1. Correspondence

    Box 1, Folder 1 Abraham Redwood Ellery letters sent
    1789 Oct 26, 1799 Jan 4-1803 Apr 3
    Box 1, Folder 2 Abraham Redwood Ellery letters sent
    1803 Aug 12-1804 Aug 26, 1809 Jan 15
    Box 1, Folder 3 Sarah Charlotte Weissenfels Ellery letter received
    1803 Oct 8
    Box 1, Folder 4 Abraham Redwood Ellery letters received
    1789 Mar 2-1811 Nov 20
    Box 1, Folder 5 Elbert Jefferson Anderson letters sent
    1836 Sep 30-1837 Jun 22
    Box 1, Folder 6 Martha Maria Ellery Anderson letters received
    1840 Oct 30-1857 Apr 10
    Box 1, Folder 7 Elbert Jefferson and Martha Maria Anderson letters received
    1875 Sep 28-Oct 4

    Series 2. Family papers

    Box 1, Folder 8 Redwood family papers
    1746-1877
    Box 1, Folder 9 Ellery family papers
    1769-1859 and undated
    Box 1, Folder 10 Weissenfels family papers
    1787 and undated
    Box 1, Folder 11 Anderson family papers
    1871-1895 and undated

    Series 3. Newspaper clippings

    Box 1, Folder 12 Newspaper clippings
    undated