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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Access:
Publication Rights:
Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Acquisition Information
Container List

Spear Family Papers

Collection Summary

Repository
University of Vermont Libraries Special Collections Burlington, Vermont 05405-3596
Creator
Spear Family
Title
Spear Family Papers
Dates [inclusive]
1793-1942
Quantity
Two cartons, two oversize bound volumes
Shelf location
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library.
Language
English
Abstract
Richard Spear (1737 - 1788) moved to Shelburne, Vermont, from Braintree, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1783. He died five years later, but his sons Asahel (1778 - 1849) and Elhanan W. Spear (1782 - 1869) remained in Shelburne and raised families there. The Spear Family Papers contain an interesting variety of manuscripts from the 1790s to the 1940s.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] Spear Family Papers, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections © 2003 

Access:

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Acquisition Information

The majority of the manuscripts in the Spear Family Papers came to the Wilbur Collection between 1978 and 1983. These acquisitions were part of the aftermath of a 1978 auction that dispersed the contents of the attic of Elhanan W. Spear's 1804 family homestead.

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Biographical Note

Richard Spear (1737 - 1788) moved to Shelburne, Vermont, from Braintree, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1783. He died five years later, but his sons Asahel (1778 - 1849) and Elhanan W. Spear (1782 - 1869) remained in Shelburne and raised families there. Elhanan W. Spear prospered as a shoemaker and tanner in the early nineteenth century, and he and several of his 11 children achieved some prominence in Shelburne and Chittenden Couty business and political affairs. The Spears married into a number of Chittenden County's leading families, creating an extensive family network that spread throughout northwestern Vermont during the course of several generations.

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Scope and Content Note

The Spear Family Papers contain an interesting variety of manuscripts from the 1790s to the 1940s. There are financial papers concerning Elhanan W. Spear's shoemaking and tanning operations, Orson S. Spear's (1808 - 1890) work as a land surveyor, housewright, and Lake Champlain steamboat and ship builder in the 1850s, and Clayton R. Turrill's (1849 - 1924) late nineteenth - century investments and business interests. A scattering of Shelburne town records from the 1830s and 1840s document some aspects of local government in the antebellum period. Numerous family letters detail the activities of three generations of Spears, offering a good look at the ties between those who stayed in Shelburne and those who moved away from the family homestead. A small section of manuscript songs and poems sheds some light on popular music in early Vermont.

The loose papers in the collection are in Carton One, in a largely chronological arrangement under the heading "Correspondence, misc. papers." The songs and poems are arranged alphabetically by title or first line. The bound manuscript volumes -- account books, diaries, memo books -- are in Carton Two, with two oversized bound manuscripts listed at the end of the Inventory.

Folder One, Carton One of the Papers contains some biographical and genealogical notes that may be useful in sorting out the Spears and their relatives. Researchers should also consult Verne R. Spear, The Descendants of George Spear who Settled at Braintree, Massachusetts 1642 - 1988 (West Hawley, MA, 1988), Wilbur Collection call - number CS 71 .S64 1988.

The majority of the manuscripts in the Spear Family Papers came to the Wilbur Collection between 1978 and 1983. These acquisitions were part of the aftermath of a 1978 auction that dispersed the contents of the attic of Elhanan W. Spear's 1804 family homestead. This building, on Route 7 in Shelburne (just south of the Shelburne/South Burlington town line), is currently the headquarters of the Perry Restaurant Group.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Songs (document genre)
  • Poetry
  • Diaries
  • Account books
  • Correspondence
  • Land surveys
  • Financial records

Geographic Name(s)

  • Champlain, Lake
  • Shelburne (Vt.)

Subject(s)

  • Shoemakers
  • Tanning
  • Steamboats--Champlain, Lake

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