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I recently acquired two letters, one written in 1841 and the other in 1842 from Silvester Stevens of Hermon NY to his brother-in-law and sister.  The letters give an interesting glimpse into the hard times that were faced by the early farmers in that area.  While Silvester was apparently a constable in the town, he also was apparently having a great deal of financial difficulties.  Both letters ask his “brother” to help him out financially, either through sending money or by coming to Hermon and buying his farm.  He also thanks his brother for sending $10 a year or so earlier, but apologizes for not being able to repay it.


In the 1842 letter, Silvester mentions his family includes a four month old boy who was at that time still unnamed.  He asks his sister to name the child “for he is a fine boy and worthy of a good name”.  Looking at old census records, this child would appear to be his son, James.


Here are the links to the two letters:

September 26, 1841 Letter

October 16, 1842 Letter


Looking at census listings, I’ve been able to learn the following information about the family:

Silvester Stevens was born around 1812 was married to “Elones”, born in 1818.  They had a large number of children:

1. William, b. 1834 – married “Zilpha” and had at least three children: Franky (b. 1863), Eliza (b. 1869) and George (b. 1872)

2. John, b. 1836 – married “Catherine” (b. 1848) and had at least four children: Adelbert (b. 1867), John (b. 1868), Riley (b. 1874), and Theodore (b. 1878)

3. Mary J., b. 1838

4. Charles E., b. 1841 – married Anna (b. 1855), at least one child, Harry E. (b. 1864)

5. James, b. 1842

6. Maria, (1845 – 1931) – married Darius Briggs (1847-1923); at least three children, Frank George (1873-1935), Merton (1898-1905), Harlow (1899)

7. Freeling, b. 1847 – married Jane

8. Clarissa, b. 1849

9. Franklin, b. 1853

10. Phineaus W., b. July 1854

11. Fred (Ford?), b. 1858

12. Ida Ann, b. 1860

13. Eliza, b. 1865


Theodore Stevens (son of Silvester’s son John), Married Mabel Worden (b. 1881) and had at least the following children:

1. Shirley b. 1903

2. Bernice b. 1906

3. June b. 1910

4. Phebe b. 1911

5. Theron b. 1913

6. Merrill, b. 1921

7. Merritt, b. 1921


John Stevens (son of Silvester’s son John), Married Matilda Denishia and had at least the following children:

1. Mary (1909-2001)

2. John (1914-2001)

3. Doris b. 1919