Leavenworth Family papers, 1733-1927 and undated

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Leavenworth family
Family originally from Connecticut; later settled in Petersburg, Virginia. Correspondence, journals, memorandum books, sermons, an autograph album (1822), and other papers of Abner Johnson Leavenworth and of his son, Frederick P. Leavenworth. Sermons comprise about half of the manuscript collection. Includes pre-Civil War letters from theological students in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York; a tuition ledger for the Van Buren, Arkansas Female Seminary (1860-1862); and genealogical information on the Leavenworth family. Correspondents include Calvin Colton, Harrison Gray, Otis Dwight, Jeremiah Evarts, Samuel Lee, Benjamin Palmer, and Noah Porter.
20 Linear Feet
2838 Items
Material in English and Latin
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The Leavenworth Family Papers cover 1733 to 1927 with the bulk of the manuscripts from the 1820s to the 1880s. The collection predominately consists of the sermons of Abner Johnson Leavenworth (1803-1869) as well as both his correspondence and that of his son, Frederick Peabody Leavenworth (1833-). Sermons date from as early as 1826 and extend through the Civil War period.

The correspondence of Abner Johnson Leavenworth deals largely with religious and missionary topics. Additional topics covered in both Abner and Frederick's correspondence include Civil War and Reconstruction in Petersburg, V.A.

The diaries of Frederick Leavenworth begin in 1857 with comments on the Minnesota Territory. Leavenworth was in St. Peter, Nicolett County, and visited St. Paul. He illustrated the diary with sketches of the Falls of Minnehaha; Mendota, Minnesota; the Indian Warrior, Iron Elk; and Fort Snelling. In 1860, Leavenworth went to Van Buren, Arkansas, and opened a school. He illustrates with a sketch of Van Buren and with a sketch of the C.S.S.Ponchartrain (p. 23). The diary has no entries between 1860 and February, 1862, when the Civil War reached Van Buren (p. 36) and refugees from Missouri were passing through Van Buren. Leavenworth refers to the Confederate officers, troops, and wounded in a general way. He became involved in the Quartermaster Corps and arrived at Fort Smith (p. 51) on March 26, 1862. Here he makes quarterly reports, has corn shelled, and refers to Confederate troop movements. He goes to Arkadelphia in June, 1862 (p. 66). Finally on August 1, 1862, he is commissioned Captain of Artillery and Ordnance, takes charge of the foundry at Shreveport, Louisiana, and establishes another at Jefferson, Texas. He describes briefly (pp. 108-109) the effect of the surrender of General Taylor as the Confederate forces disintegrate Confederate supplies are distributed. Captain Leavenworth turns over his Confederate property to the agent of the U.S. Treasury. By September, 1865, he is engaged to work as engineer in charge of inspection of materials for the Marshall Railroad.

Additional materials include an extensive geneaology of the Leavenworth family; a copy of Civil War letters to Mrs. E. A. Skelton; a letter dated July 13, 1864 concerning the death of James Addison Porter before Atlanta, Georgia, and the fighting near Atlanta; a few religious pamphlets entitled "Reasons to Not Be a Baptist" and "Condition and Character of Females in Pagan and Mohammedan Countries;" and a scrapbook, 1835-1868, compiled by Abner Johnson Leavenworth.

Biographical / historical:

Abner Johnson Leavenworth was the second son born to Frederick Leavenworth (1766-1840) and Fanny Johnson (1776-1852) on July 12, 1803 in Waterbury, Connecticut. Leavenworth taught theological studies in Andover, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut and ministered in Waterbury and Bristol, Connecticut; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Warrentown and Petersburg, Virginia. Later he was connected with girls' schools in North Carolina and Virginia. He died on February 12, 1869 at the age of 65.

Chronology List of Abner Johnson Leavenworth
Date Event
1803 Jul. 12
Born in Waterbury, C.T.
Graduated from Amhearst College
1828 Apr. 22
Graduated from Andover Seminary
1829 Dec. 16
Ordained as pastor at Congregational church in Bristol, C.T.
1831 Jun. 14
Married Elizabeth Manning Peabody of Salem, M.A.
Moved to Charlotte, N.C.
1833 Jun. 13
Son, Frederick P. Leavenworth, was born
Moved to Warrinton, V.A. and established school
Moved to Peterburg, V.A.; pastor of High Street Church
Wife, Elizabeth, died
1869 Feb. 12
Died at the age of 65 in Petersburg, V.A.

Frederick Peabody Leavenworth (born 1833) was a railroad engineer of Petersburg, Va., and Shreveport, La. He was put in charge of inspection of materials for the Marshall Railroad. He also served as treasurer to the Blue Ridge Springs Co. of Petersburg. Just prior to the start of the Civil War, Frederick traveled through the Midwest United States, exploring Minnesota, Arkansas, and Missouri.

Acquisition information:
The Leavenworth Family Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 1933-1970.
Processing information:

Processed by Rubenstein Library Staff, 1989

Encoded by Jane Metters, Meghan Lyon, and Carrie Mills, July 2011

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Leavenworth Family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.