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Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, 1839-1905


Scope and Content

From the Collection:

This collection documents the Wheaton Family and their involvement in the town of Norton, Massachusetts, their founding of and supporting Wheaton Female Seminary, establishing the Norton Public Library, funding alterations to Norton’s Trinitarian Congregational Church, and interactions with townspeople. The largest portion of the collection focuses on Judge Laban Wheaton, Laban Morey Wheaton, and Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton. Financial records and property deeds relating to the family and the Seminary constitute a substantial portion of the collection. The Wheaton family’s involvement in local businesses is evident in documents regarding the Wheaton Manufacturing Company as well as other manufacturing enterprises and investments.

The documents in the collection cover the years 1721-2009, but the bulk of the collection falls between 1779-1905. Documents include business and financial records, property deeds, ledgers, diaries, sermons, appointments, community involvement, correspondence, and images. Objects, ephemera and paintings are part of the collection. Of great importance is the extensive documentation of the support given to Wheaton Female Seminary by the Wheaton family.

Ironically, the main weakness of this collection is the lack of documentation on Elizabeth "Eliza" F. Wheaton Strong, in whose memory Wheaton Female Seminary was founded. Also lacking is documentation on some other family members, whose series may include only one document. In addition, many of Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton's diaries are missing from the collection, although they may exist. The collection also lacks many of the financial records of Judge Laban Wheaton. Personal correspondence is essentially absent from the collection.



Judge Laban Wheaton

The Judge Laban Wheaton series documents the years 1779-1846. The series’ strength lies in records that relate to his position as Justice of the Peace, including appointments and estate administration. Other documents relate to his death and memory. Subseries include: Appointments and Sermons, Business, Funerary, and Images, portraits, and memorabilia.

Laban Morey Wheaton

The Laban Morey Wheaton series covers the years 1815-1865. The series documents the business practices, community involvement and appointments of Mr. Wheaton. Of particular importance are two hand-written copies of a speech he gave when campaigning for Congress. Subseries include: Correspondence, Personal, Business, Community involvement, Funerary, and Images, portraits, and memorabilia.

Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton

The Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton series covers the years 1839-1905. Mrs. Wheaton’s records make up the bulk of the collection. A variety of correspondence covers her business and personal life. Of particular interest in this series are Mrs. Wheaton’s diaries, travel journal and ephemera, and detailed financial records. Subseries include: Correspondence, Business, Community involvement, Diaries and Travel, Funerary, and Images, portraits, and memorabilia.

Samuel Chapin

The Samuel Chapin series covers the years 1856-1888, and includes materials related to Eliza Baylies Wheaton's favorite brother. The series contains receipts for heating his house, funded by Mrs. Wheaton. Of particular importance are the correspondence and mortgage notes relating to the San Jose, Santa Clara County, California property purchased by Mrs. Wheaton but operated by Mr. Chapin.

Mary Chapin Smith

The Mary Chapin Smith series covers the years ca. 1905-ca. 1920. The series contains research about Mary Chapin Smith, Wheaton Class of 1873 and Mrs. Wheaton's favorite neice, including an hotel in Highlands, NC, purchased for her by Mrs. Wheaton, and a poem written by Mrs. Smith for the 75th Anniversary of Wheaton Female Seminary.

H. G. Wheaton

The H. G. Wheaton series covers the year 1856-1857. This series contains itemized lists of expenses for an account with the Wheaton Family.

Fanny Morey Wheaton

The Fanny Morey Wheaton series contains a portrait of the wife of Judge Laban Wheaton painted in circa 1834, and 1979 photographs of her gravesite.

Eliza F. Wheaton Strong

The Eliza F. Wheaton Strong series consists of the portrait painted in circa 1834 and 1979 photographs of her gravesite, needlework, and a family mourning painting.

George Wheaton

The George Wheaton series relates to the year 1774. The document is his appointment as Justice of the Peace, in the subseries Appointments.


The Wills series covers the years 1799-1907. Included are the wills of Judge Laban Wheaton, Laban Morey Wheaton, Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, and Samuel Chapin, as well as detailed documentation of the execution of the estates.

Geneaology and Biography

The Geneaology and Biography series contains genealogical information about the Wheaton family. Of importance are two unpublished manuscript biographies of Judge Wheaton, one written by Eliza Baylies Wheaton, and the other by Taunton, MA, historian Jennie Copeland. An article written by a staff member of the Massachusetts Historical Society was prepared for the Harvard Necrology.

Financial Records

The Financial Records series covers the years 1830-1905 with the bulk from the years 1865-1905. Most of the extant records were kept by Eliza Baylies Wheaton after Laban Morey Wheaton’s death, and consist mainly of bills and receipts for purchases and services. The series also contains numerous ledgers and cashbooks kept by both Laban Morey Wheaton and Eliza Baylies Wheaton. Subseries include: Ledgers and Cashbooks and Receipts.


The Property series covers the years 1721-2009. This large series contains the deeds for all the properties that are or have been held by the Wheaton family and Wheaton College. Of interest are deeds to the Winter Street property in Boston, Massachusetts, and property on Nantucket. Includes the subseries Deeds and Repairs.


  • 1839-1905

Access Restrictions

No restrictions. Open for research.


From the Collection: 9.6 Cubic Feet (26 archival boxes Plus Two for Central Files (27-28))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English