Table of Contents
A Guide to the collection at the Connecticut Historical Society
Nathaniel Terry, the progenitor of the families in this collection, married Catharine Wadsworth Terry of Hartford, Connecticut. They had eight children who lived to adulthood. Henry Wadsworth Terry (b. 1799), a landscape gardener who lived in Winsted, Connecticut, married Anna Wright Hurlburt. Edward Pomeroy Terry (1800-1843) graduated from Yale College in 1820 and practiced as a physician in Hartford. Alfred (1802-1860) also graduated from Yale and settled in New Haven where he practiced law. He married Clarissa Howe. Harriet Wadsworth Terry (b. 1804) married Richard B. Post and lived in Princeton, N.J. Adrian Russell (1808-1864) graduated from Yale in 1831, went to Ecuador in 1832 to establish a practice there (unsuccessfully) and eventually taught Chemistry at Bristol College in Pennsylvania. Charles Augustus Terry (1810-1872) married Julia Elizabeth Woodbridge. He graduated from the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1833 and was Professor of Obstetrics at Western Reserve College in Ohio. Catharine Elizabeth Terry (1813-1882) was the second wife of Reverend Doctor Leonard Bacon (1802-1881). Bacon graduated from Yale College in 1820, after which he went to Andover Theological Seminary. He was ordained pastor of the First Church of Christ at New Haven in March, 1825, where he remained until his death. He was a noted author and theologian. A detailed account of his professional accomplishments can be found in the book Michael Bacon of Dedham, 1640, and his descendants by Thomas W. Baldwin (Cambridge, Mass., 1915). The youngest child of the family was Frances Ellen (1816-1876) who married George Brinley Jr.
Henry Wadsworth Terry and his wife Anna had two daughters: Rose, a noted writer of prose and poetry, who married Rollin Cooke; and Alice (1831-1877) who married Howard S. Collins, a farmer in Collinsville, Conn. Leonard and his first wife Lucy Johnson had nine children: Rebecca Taylor Bacon (1826-1878) a noted educator; Benjamin Wisner Bacon (1827-1848;, Leonard Woolsey Bacon (1830-1907) who also graduated from Yale and became a minister; Francis Bacon (1831-1918), who graduated from Yale in 1853 as a physician and practiced in Galveston, Texas for five years before serving in the army and later becoming Professor of Surgery at Yale; Theodore Bacon (1834-1900) also graduated from Yale in 1853 and studied law in the office of Judge Henry R. Selden of Rochester, NY; George Blagden Bacon (1836-1876) who in 1861 was ordained pastor at Orange, N.J.; James Hillhouse Bacon (1838-1840); Lucy Bacon (1841-1854); and Edward Woolsey Bacon (1843-1887), who served on board David Farragut’s flagship Hartford, commanded two “colored” troops in the Civil War, received his Yale degree in 1868, and was ordained a minister at Wolcottville, Conn. Leonard and his second wife Catherine Wadsworth had five children: Katherine Wadsworth Bacon (b. 1848) who married Eugene Smith, a prison reformer of New York City; Thomas Rutherford Bacon (1850-1913), Yale class of 1873 and minister in Indiana, Connecticut and California; Alfred Terry Bacon (1852-1901) Yale class of 1873 traveled in the West Indies and Europe before settling in Colorado where he raised cattle; Ellen Brinley Bacon (b. 1856) who married Henry Burke Closson; and Alice Mabel (1858-1918) who taught at the Hampton Institute, Virginia and in Tokyo, Japan and who was the founder of Dixie Hospital, Hampton, Virginia for training African-American nurses.
Additional information on the Bacon family can be found in Michael Bacon of Dedham, 1640, and his descendants by Thomas W. Baldwin (Cambridge, Mass., 1915), located in the CHS library reading room.
The correspondence in this collection is arranged alphabetically by name of recipient, with a few exceptions, which will be noted below.
Alfred Terry Bacon, called “Taff” by his siblings, received letters from his siblings, most notably one from bother George in Hong Kong in 1856, where George reported he just bought a “box of monkeys” made by a Chinaman. Brother Thomas, at school in Andover, wrote about his teachers and the books he was reading.
Alice Bacon’s most significant letter is one written by J.R. Hawley on U.S. Senate stationery, which introduced her to Dr. Walter Wyman, Supervising Surgeon General, Marine Hospital Services, Washington, DC.
Catherine Terry Bacon received regular letters from her children. Of note are descriptions of life in Galveston from son Francis, letters from husband Leonard while he was travelling in Europe and the Middle East, childhood letters from Thomas who was first visiting in Colebrook, Conn. and then at school in Andover, Mass., and urgent letters from Theodore who was experiencing some family strife while in Clarkson, NY. He also wrote in 1862 while in an army camp, complaining about his servant. Other correspondents include cousin Sarah Terry Carrington of Colebrook, Conn.; nieces Alice Terry Collins and Rose Terry Cooke; daughter Katherine Smith; and her mother and father.
Francis Bacon’s correspondence has been distributed among the recipients with the exception of three letters, all from Galveston, addressed to “Dear Doctor”, “Dear Sister” and “Dear George”, relatively anonymous greetings that could not be assigned to a specific individual, ca. 1853, 1855.
Leonard Bacon’s letters include those from his associates and extended family, from his children, one from Edward Everett, two from Noah Webster, and several letters from his son George who was on board the U.S.S. Portsmouth sailing to Barbados and China, and from his daughter Rebecca. His papers also include the following printed material: a hymn written for the bicentennial of the founding of New Haven, 1838, “A Letter from the Rev. Leonard Bacon, D.D., to the Church and Congregation under his charge”, 1851; and a poem written for him on his seventieth birthday, 1872.
Leonard Woolsey Bacon received letters of introduction from Rutherford B. Hayes, and thank you notes from Oliver Wendell Holmes and William Dean Howells, 1881-1890. Leonard wrote long detailed letters to his brothers while accompanying his father on his trip through Europe and the Middle East.
Letters received by Rebecca T. Bacon include two from her brother Leonard while he was in Glasgow and London, from her mother, and from members of her immediate and extended family, 1850-1864. Two outgoing letters are addressed to Benjamin W. Bacon, dated 1847, and there are the final four pages of a letter to an unknown recipient.
Thomas R. Bacon received one letter from his brother George addressed from Shanghai. The remainder of his papers is a selection of school essays, ca. 1864. Ellen Terry Brinley is represented by both incoming and outgoing correspondence to friends and family, 1837 and undated. Rose Terry Cooke wrote a letter in French to “Monsieur mon cousin” in 1854.
Eugene Smith’s correspondence primarily refers to his work with the New York Prison Association and includes letters from Charles Dudley Warner and Samuel Clemens, 1864-1894.
Significant among Katherine W. Bacon Smith’s correspondence are a series of letters from Helen Miller Gould about funding for the Hampton Training School for Nurses, 1900-1901, and letters from her siblings. 1869-1905.
Leonard Bacon Smith married Simone Alibert, whom he met in France in 1919. Their papers include a wedding invitation, two letters from Leonard to Frederick Agate, and two from Simone, in French, to unidentified individuals, 1919.
Adrian R. Terry received letters from his family while he spent time in Ecuador trying to establish a medical practice. The news from home is particularly rich, especially the letters from his father giving him the most up to date political news. Other correspondents include Americans living in South America giving Adrian advice on establishing himself. There are also financial records and correspondence, primarily with Charles Swett, concerning the medicines he purchased in New York and had shipped to him in Ecuador. Of note are letters from fellow doctor Ashbel Smith, 1833-1835, whom Adrian frequently mentions in his missives home.
Alfred’s incoming and outgoing family correspondence dates from 1815, ca. 1833, and undated.
Catherine Wadsworth Terry evidently was the central figure in the Terry family. All of her children wrote to her when they were away from Hartford—Adrian while in Ecuador, Alfred while studying at Yale, 1817-1819, and while studying law in Litchfield, 1823-1824, from Charles when he was still in New York and then after his relocation to Cleveland, Ohio; several letters from Charles’ wife Julia; from Catherin’s husband, Nathaniel Terry; and from her brother and sister-in-law Daniel and Faith Wadsworth.
Charles A. Terry is represented by incoming and outgoing correspondence, plus a memorial card issued at his death in 1872.
Nathaniel Terry received letters from his son Adrian while he was in South America. Alfred reports to his father how his studies at Yale progress and about his exploration of musical composition. Alfred also wrote regularly while in Litchfield. Nathaniel’s wife Catherine and his daughter Ellen keep him apprised of daily activities while he is away from home. Daniel Wadsworth received letters from nephew Adrian in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Printed materials probably belonged to family members and include a Harriet Beecher Stowe pamphlet and a gift acknowledgement given to Theodore Dwight Woolsey, president of Yale College, 1869. The last few folders in the collection are family letters that lack enough information to attribute them to anyone in particular, and letters that do not seem to be related to the family. Further analysis may reveal hidden connections. Among the family papers is an agreement between Jeremiah Wadsworth and Noah Webster, Jr. about leasing a brick house in Hartford, 1789.
Related items in the museum include dresses of Lucy Bacon and Rebecca T. Bacon, 1960.21.1, 2, and a silhouette portrait of Nathaniel Terry, 1843.34.5
There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Use of the material requires compliance with the Connecticut Historical Society's Research Center regulations.
Bacon, Alice Mabel, 1858-1918.
Bacon, Catherine Terry, 1813-1882.
Bacon, Francis, 1831-1912.
Bacon, George B. (George Blagden), 1836-1876.
Bacon, Leonard Woolsey, 1830-1907.
Bacon, Leonard, 1802-1881.
Bacon, Rebecca Taylor.
Bacon, Theodore 1834-1900.
Bacon, Thomas Rutherford.
Brinley, F. Ellen Terry, 1826-1878.
Cooke, Rose Terry, 1827-1892.
Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893.
Smith, Eugene, 1839-1928.
Smith, Katherine W. Bacon, b. 1848.
Terry, Adrian R. (Adrian Russell), 1808-1864.
Terry, Alfred, 1802-1860.
Terry, Catherine Wadsworth.
Terry, Charles Augustus, 1810-1872.
Terry, Edward Pomeroy 1800-1843.
Wadsworth, Daniel, 1777-1848.
Ecuador --Description and travel.
Europe --Description and travel.
Family --New England --History --19th century.
Lawyers --Connecticut --New Haven.
Middle East --Description and travel.
New Haven (Conn.)
Physicians --Connecticut --Hartford.
Physicians --Ohio --Cleveland.
Physicians --Texas --Galveston.
Yale College (1718-1887).
Item, Collection Title, Collection number (Box #, Folder #). Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut.
Collection was processed by Barbara Austen in 2008.
EAD Finding Aid created June 2011.