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Seymour family papers


Identifier: 1949-37-0

Scope and Contents

The papers of the Seymour family of Litchfield, Conn. Principal figures are Maj. Moses Seymour (1742-1826); two of his sons, Ozias Seymour (1776-1851), and Epaphroditus Seymour (1783-1854); and Ozias Seymour's son, Origen Storrs Seymour (1804-1881). A number of other members of the Seymour family and its relatives, in particular, members of the Storrs family of Mansfield, Conn., and Woodruff family of Litchfield, are also represented. The papers include correspondence, business records, deeds and real estate records, estate records, legal papers, news clippings, and other items. The papers are arranged in eight series: Series 1. Maj. Moses Seymour (1742-1826), 1778-1837 Series 2. Ozias Seymour (1776-1851), 1797-1853 Series 3. Epaproditus Seymour (1783-1854), 1806-1855 Series 4. Origen Storrs Seymour (1804-1881), 1788-1895 Series 5. Other Seymour family members, 1793-1923 Series 6. Third-party papers, 1781-1882 Series 7. Other papers, 1777-1888 Series 8. Oversize A description of each series and biographical information follows. Series 1. Maj. Moses Seymour (1742-1826), 1778-1837 Maj. Moses Seymour was born in Hartford, Conn. in 1742 and died in Litchfield, Conn., in 1826. Early in his life, he moved to Litchfield, later becoming captain of a troop of horse in the 17th Connecticut militia regiment. In 1776, he was given the same rank in the 5th cavalry with which he served in repelling Maj. Gen. William Tryon's raid on Danbury, Conn., and at the surrender of Gen. John Burgoyne in 1777. He also served as commissary of supplies at Litchfield, which was then a depot for military stores. In 1783, he retired with the rank of major. A Democrat-Republican, or Republican as they generally called themselves, he held the office of town clerk for 37 years from 1789 until his death, was elected annually to the legislature from 1795 to 1811, and was active in the affairs of theĀ  Episcopal church. He was greatly instrumental in developing the plan to use the proceeds of the sale of the Western Reserve for the promotion of public education. He was also involved in manufacturing hats with his brother, Samuel Seymour (1754-1837). Maj. Seymour, the son of Moses Seymour and Rachel Goodwin Seymour, was married to Molly Marsh Seymour (1752-1826), the daughter of Ebenezer Marsh and Deborah Buell Marsh. They had six children, Clarissa Seymour Truman (1772-1865), Moses Seymour, Jr. (1774-1826), Ozias Seymour (1776-1851), Horatio Seymour (1780-1857), Henry Seymour (1780-1837) and Epaphroditus (more commonly, Epaphro) Seymour (1783-1854). Several of Maj. Seymour's sons and grandsons achieved political prominence. His son Horatio was elected to the United States Senate from Vermont, serving two terms from 1821 until 1833. Another son, Henry, settled as a merchant in Pompey, New York, accumulated a fortune, and later moved to Utica. He was active in New York state politics and served as an Erie Canal commissioner. Henry's son Horatio served two terms as governor of New York. Maj. Seymour's grandson Origen Storrs Seymour was speaker of the house in the Connecticut legislature and later a judge of the state superior court and the state supreme court, ultimately becoming chief justice. Most of the papers in this series is correspondence. Many of the letters discuss business, including matters related to land in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and the Western Reserve in Ohio; the manufacture of hats; and various financial dealings. Of note are two letters written during the American Revolutionary War, one by Peter Colt (1779) and one by Simeon Newell (undated), relating to Maj. Seymour's duties as a supply officer. Series 2. Ozias Seymour (1776-1851), 1797-1853 Ozias, a son of Maj. Moses Seymour, was born in Litchfield in 1776 and died there in 1851. He was a pioneer manufacturer of hats, ran a farm, and served as deputy and later sheriff of Litchfield county from 1819 to 1834. He married Selima Storrs (1786-1814), a daughter of Dan Storrs and Ruth Conant Storrs of Mansfield, Conn. Ozias Seymour and Selima Storrs Seymour had four children: Origen Storrs Seymour (1804-1881), Henrietta Sophronia Seymour Woodruff (1806-1892), Amelia Seymour Sanford (1809-1833), and Maria Seymour Sanford (1813-1836). Most of the papers in this series relate to Ozias Seymour's activities as sheriff. Also included is correspondence with several of his wife's brothers, Zalman Storrs, Lucius Storrs, and Juba Storrs. Series 3. Epaphroditus Seymour (1783-1854), 1806-1855 Epaphroditus (commonly, Epaphro) Seymour was born in Litchfield in 1783 and died in Brattleboro, Vt., in 1854. He was educated at the Morris Academy in South Farms, Conn., and trained to become a merchant's clerk in Brooklyn, Conn. About 1802, his brother Henry convinced Epaphro to move to Guilford, Vt., and engage in trade. Henry settled in Pompey, N.Y.; Epaphro lived in Guilford until 1814, when he moved to Brattleboro and was associated with George Atherton in mercantile business. He continued there about four years. In 1821, the Bank of Brattleboro was chartered. Seymour was chosen cashier in 1822, continuing until 1837, when he was elected president. Among his interests was horse breeding. He married Mary Root Seymour (abt. 1800-1841). They had one child, who died in 1830 at age two. Most of the papers in this series relate to Seymour's business dealings. Series 4: Origin Storrs Seymour (1804-1881), 1788-1895 Origen Storrs Seymour, son of Ozias Seymour, was born in Litchfield in 1804 and died there in 1882. He graduated from Yale College in 1824, attended the Litchfield Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1826. He began immediately to practice in Litchfield and continued for more than 50 years. He was elected to various town offices and often represented the town in the general assembly of which he was a speaker in 1850. He was served in the United States Congress from 1851 to 1855. He was then elected one of the judges of the Superior Court and was on the bench for eight years. In 1864 and 1865, he was the Democratic nominee for governor of the state. In 1870, he was elected judge of the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals of the State of Connecticut, and in 1873 became chief justice, an office he filled until he retired in 1874 upon reaching the constitutional age limit. Often after his retirement he was employed as referee in important cases. The new practice code, adopted by the legislature in 1879, was prepared by a commission over which he presided. In the last year of his life he was elected unanimously to the legislature. He married Lucy M. Woodruff (1807-1894), the daughter of Morris Woodruff and Candace Woodruff. They had four children: Edward Woodruff Seymour (1832-1892), Storrs Ozias Seymour (1836-1918), Maria Seymour (1838-1878), and Morris Woodruff Seymour (1842-1920). Some of the correspondence in this series is from former classmates at Yale. There are several letters from members of the Storrs and Woodruff families. Seymour also provided his uncle Epaphroditus Seymour legal advice. Other papers relate to Seymour's legal work. Seymour was the first president of the Connecticut Bar Association and the series contains the draft of the speech he made at the first meeting in 1875. Series 5. Other Seymour family members, 1793-1923 This series contains the papers of a number of Seymour family members, including their spouses. In the detailed listing, the relationship of the family members to the principal figures is noted when known. Among these family members are three more of Maj. Seymour's sons: Moses Seymour Jr. (1774-1826), Horatio Seymour (1778-1857), and Henry Seymour (1780-1837). Moses Jr. was a merchant and businessman in Litchfield and his correspondence documents these activities. Horatio Seymour moved to Vermont and was politically active. His correspondence includes letters written while he served in the United States Senate. Henry Seymour moved to New York, settling in Utica. He was an Erie Canal commissioner, and some of his letters contain references to the project. Henry committed suicide in 1837; although his death is discussed in some correspondence, the exact nature is only alluded to. This series also includes letters written by Henry's son Horatio Seymour, who was active in New York politics and served as governor 1853-1854 and 1863-1864. Horatio Seymour was nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1868, losing to Republican Ulysses S. Grant. Members of the Storrs and Woodruff families are represented here as they married into the Seymour family and there are exchanges between the Seymours and their in-laws, most notably among Selima Storrs Seymour's brothers Zalmon Storrs, Lucius Seymour, and Juba Seymour and Lucy Woodruff Seymour's brother Lewis B. Woodruff, her son Morris Woodruff Seymour, and her cousins. Another item of interest is an 1892 letter written by Harriett Beecher Stowe to her friend, Mary Harrison Browne Storrs (1835-1913), wife of Storrs Ozias Seymour, in which Stowe thanks Storrs for remembering her birthday. Mary Browne Storrs was an author and artist, publishing books and contributing to periodicals in the 1860s and 1870s. Examples of her work can be found in Series 8, Oversize. Series 6. Third-party papers, 1781-1882 This small series contains all of the correspondence not included in the above series, plus personal papers related to known individuals. Of note are the account book and diary, both from the late 1780s, of Ruth Conant Storrs, the mother of Selima Storrs Seymour. There is also a 1791 letter from the prominent South Carolina merchant, slave trader, and politican Henry Laurens to his son discussing business matters. Series 7. Other papers, 1777-1888 This series consists of papers that cannot be associated with a specific Seymour family member, deeds, miscellaneous legal and business records, writings, and other papers. In particular are business records relating to partnerships between Ozias Seymour and Charles Seymour, and Ozias Seymour and Epaphroditus Seymour. There are a large number of deeds and papers also include other business and legal records and writings. Series 8. Oversize This series contains account books, ledgers, and day books regarding the business activities of Charles Seymour, Epaphroditus Seymour, Moses Seymour, and Ozias Seymour that document their hat manufacturing business and other activities. The series also contains the journals and notebooks of author and artist Mary Harrison Browne Seymour (who used the initials "M.H.S." to sign her work), as described above in Series 6, Other Seymour family members. Of particular interest is an album, 1861-1914, that contains many of her cartoons and examples of her published work, touching on topics that range from domestic life, husbands, and hairstyles to comments on national issues and elections.


  • created: 1777-1923
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1948


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.


4.17 Linear Feet

10 Hollinger boxes other_unmapped

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The papers are arranged in eight series: Series 1. Maj. Moses Seymour (1742-1826), 1778-1837 Series 2. Ozias Seymour (1776-1851), 1797-1853 Series 3. Epaphroditus Seymour (1783-1854), 1806-1855 Series 4. Origen Storrs Seymour (1804-1881), 1788-1895 Series 5. Other Seymour family members, 1793-1923 Series 6. Third-party papers, 1781-1882 Series 7. Other papers, 1777-1888 Series 8. Oversize

Source of Acquisition

Mrs. Origen S. Seymour

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

The bulk of the collection was donated by Mrs. Origen S. (Frances Lord) Seymour in 1949, with additional gifts in 194 and 1955. Mrs. James P. Woodruff donated a small group of Seymour papers in 1952. Additional gifts were made by Storrs O. Seymour, Mrs. Edward W. Seymour (1918); Edward W. Seymour (1919), Eaton Jones (1971), and Mary Brewster (1972).

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Other Descriptive Information

This collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Other Descriptive Information

The description for this collection was updated (Jan 2022) to include information about African Americans documented within several account books. Their names and the dates of the entries are included within the description of the specific items within which they appear.

Seymour family papers
Leith Johnson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Litchfield Historical Society Repository

7 South Street
P.O. Box 385
Litchfield CT 06759
860-567-3565 (Fax)