Westcott and White Families. Correspondence and Ephemera, 1816-1819 and 1845-1866 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection consists of correspondence involving members of the Westcott and White families, as well as mailed envelopes and other enclosed ephemera. Mary White of Butler, Illinois, and her husband, Jacob B. White, maintained correspondence with relatives and friends from Cleveland, Ohio; Hillsboro, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; and other locations in the Northeast United States.
Mary Ann White (née Westcott) was born to Thomas and Lydia Steere Westcott in 1824. One of six children, she grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. Stukely Westcott (1592-1677), her 4th great-grandfather, was one of the founding settlers of Rhode Island and an original member of the first Baptist Church in the United States. In 1851, Mary Westcott married Jacob Butler White (1824-1869), a physician from Northfield, Massachusetts. The couple settled in Butler, Illinois, shortly after their marriage. Mary's sister, Lydia "Jane" Westcott (1818-1870), relocated as well, moving to Cleveland, Ohio, to be a teacher. A third sister, Abby Westcott (1818-1870), remained in Rhode Island.
The Westcott-White Family collection primarily consists of correspondence between the Westcott sisters, as well as correspondence to Jacob B. White. In the letters, Abby Westcott updated Mary about family happenings at home in Rhode Island; Jane routinely offered her observations on city life and work in Cleveland, Ohio. The sisters also reached out to one another regarding views on relevant fashion and politics, as well as the sending of care packages. Jacob B. White mainly received letters from his friends and colleagues in Illinois and the Northeast. Between 1845 and 1866, White received letters from those he knew at Dartmouth College (his alma mater), two gentlemen from Hillsboro, Illinois, and his brother, Alvin Granville White. An apparent subscriber to the New-York Tribune, White also received a letter and broadside from its founder and editor Horace Greeley, who requested that he renew his subscription.
There is additional correspondence involving an older generation of family members, dating roughly 1816-1819. Addressed to locations in Rhode Island, these letters describe resettlement, as well as daily life and work, in Ohio.
The Library purchased this collection in 2022 with support from a gift given by Mary Sue Schusky in memory of her father, Irving Dilliard, Class of 1927.
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