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Cheney-Watts collection, 1813-1983.

Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  Doc 476  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 

Title : Cheney-Watts collection, 1813-1983.
Physical Description : 1 linear ft.
Summary :

The collection consists for the most part of letters and diaries from the Civil War period, photographs, and genealogical records of the Cheney and Watts families of Stowe, Vermont. In addition there are a few photographs and genealogical records for the Camp family of Morrisville.

William Cheney's papers include his autobiography, in which he tells of the hardships of his early life earning a living working in the woods, including the making of potash, his service in the War of 1812, and his settlement in Stowe. He also describes an ice storm in 1804 and the extremely cold season in 1816. The papers also contain documents relating to the New Hampshire Iron Factory Company and a covenant for the Free Will Baptist Church in Stowe, Vermont.

During the Civil War William Riley and Olive Cheney's three sons William Joseph, Edwin, and George, and their son-in-law, Chandler Watts, served in the Union Army. Letters in the collection, include those between scattered family members at home as well as letters to the family from their sons.

The collection contains two diaries, photocopies of the originals, written by Jane Cheney Watts (1863) and her husband Chandler Watts (1863-1865). The entries are short, both writers are lonely, and they record the weather unfailingly.

Most of the photographs in the collection are Cheney, Watts, and Camp family members from the period 1860 to 1880. The photographic work of Charles B. Cheney is represented in the collection. His work includes family portraits as well as a number of stereopticon views of Vermont and Orford, New Hampshire.

Biographical or historical data :

William Cheney (March 31, 1787-September 8, 1875) was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. He and his wife bought a farm in Stowe, Vermont. Their son, William Riley Cheney, (January 3, 1812-July 9, 1881) farmed in Stowe where he owned and managed a sawmill.

The children of William Riley Cheney and his wife, Olive Eliza Savage (1816-1900), who figure prominently in the collection of the Civil War period diaries and letters, are: Olive Elizabeth Cheney (1836-1911), who married John Corliss of Orford, New Hampshire; William Joseph Cheney (May 8, 1838-March 9, 1906), who enlisted in the 11th Vermont Regiment, Co. D in 1862 where he served as a cook in the regimental hospital and was later a nurse. He was mustered out June 24, 1865; Jane Louisa Cheney (1839-1911), who married Chandler Watts 2nd (March 1, 1839-November 27, 1911) of Stowe on March 18, 1862. Watts, a son of Charles (1809-1888) and Sarah Tomlinson Watts (1810-1896) enlisted in the 11th Vermont Regiment in August 1862. He was mustered out June 24, 1865; George Allen Cheney (November 25, 1842-December 20, 1918), who was drafted in July 1863 and served in Co. B of the 4th Vermont Regiment. He was mustered out July 13, 1865; Edwin Riley Cheney (b. 1844), who enlisted in February 1864, served in Co. B of the 4th Vermont Regiment. He was mustered out July 13, 1865.

Jane Cheney and Chandler Watts had two daughters Nellie Elmira (1872-1928) and Mary Louise (b. 1875). Mary Louise first married George Hendee who died in 1906; she married second, Abel Newton Camp (1874-1915); and she married third, Herbert Woodbury (1867- 1937). Mary Louise Watts attended the New England Conservatory of Music and made her home in Morrisville, Vermont, where her daughter, Rebecca Camp, was born. Rebecca Camp graduated from the University of Vermont in 1934, and moved to New York City where she attended Columbia University. She returned to Morrisville in the 1940s and worked for the Vermont State Library until the 1950s. She married Glenn Skillin and they divorced in 1970.

Charles B. Cheney (January 1850-1897), whose collection of photographic work occupies several folders in the collection, was the son of Lorenzo Dow Cheney (1814-1877), a brother of William Riley Cheney. Charles had photographic studios in Waterbury and Hardwick, Vermont, Orford, New Hampshire, and Somerville, Massachusetts.

Personal Subject : Cheney family.
Watt family.
Camp family.
Corporate Subject : New Hampshire Iron Factory Company.
United States. Army. Vermont Infantry Regiment, 11th 1862-1865.
United States. Army. Vermont Infantry Regiment, 4th 1861-1865. Company B.
Subject Term : Frontier and pioneer life Vermont Stowe.
Weather Vermont.
Baptists Vermont Stowe.
Geographic Term : Stowe (Vt.) Social life and customs.
Stowe (Vt.) History.
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Medical care.
Vermont Climate.
Vermont History War of 1812.
Vermont History Civil War, 1861-1865 Personal narratives.
Vermont History Civil War, 1861-1865 Social aspects.
Vermont History Civil War, 1861-1865 Religious aspects.
Orford (N.H.) Photographs.
Genre/Form : Correspondence.
Local Subject : Free Will Baptists Vermont Stowe.
Added Author : Cheney, William, 1787-1875.
Cheney, Olive E., 1816-1900.
Cheney, William J. (William Joseph), 1838-1906.
Cheney, Edwin R. (Edwin Riley), b. 1844.
Corliss, Olive E., 1836-1911.
Savage, Helen, b. 1845.
Watts, Chandler, 1839-1911.
Watts, Jane Cheney, 1839-1911.
Electronic Resource : Click here for full text of finding aid.