Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

Elinor A. Leonberger collection of Redwood, Ellery, and other related families (RLC.Ms.026)

Redwood Library and Athenaeum

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

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.