Hinckley-Stanton-Rivers Family
Papers, ca. 1836-1951 (bulk, 1855-1928)

SC19258

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research.
Acquisition: Purchase, Stephen A. Resnick, September 1989.
Processed By: Abigail L. Fahrenwald Simkovic, Student Assistant, University at Albany, April 2013.

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Biographical Note:

The Hinckley family emigrated from England on the Hercules to Massachusetts in March 1635, where they settled until 1796 when they traveled to the “Royal Grant,” settling in the area around Russia and Norway, New York. It was there that they bought land and established the Hinckley farm. The Hinckley family established several businesses in that area, including the general store, Hinckley & Ballon, and a lumber mill that was situated along the West Canada Creek.

Samuel Gardner Hinckley (1832-1921), Caroline Dyer Hinckley (ca.1835-1912), Mary Elizabeth Hinckley (1840-1929), and Sarah Helen Hinckley (1843-1918) were born on the Hinckley family farm to Gardner Hinckley (1808-1875) and Elizabeth Atwood Hinckley (1810-1874). Samuel Gardner Hinckley later married Sarah Fern, with whom he had five children. Samuel Gardner and Sarah moved to the Chicago area some time before 1880.

Caroline Dyer Hinckley married John W. Stanton (ca.1815-1896) in 1857. John W. Stanton had been previously married to Betsy Kimball, with whom he had one son, William W. Stanton (1843-1913). Betsy Kimball died shortly after the birth of their son. John W. Stanton was raised on a farm in Massachusetts and was a blacksmith until circa 1844 when he moved to Salisbury, New York, where he built two saw mills in the following four years before traveling to California in search of gold in 1859 for a little less than a year before returning to New York and the lumber mill business. Caroline’s two unmarried sisters, Mary Elizabeth and Sarah Helen, lived with Caroline and her husband on the Hinckley family farm. 

Following the death of John W. Stanton, the three sisters – Caroline Dyer Hinckley Stanton, Mary Elizabeth Hinckley, and Sarah Helen Hinckley – continued to live together and run the family farm. The sisters combined their finances into a joint account with equal access and control among the three women. William W. Stanton continued to live with the Hinckley sisters working as a bookkeeper and merchant for Hinckley & Ballon until at least 1910, possibly until his death in 1913.

Scope and Content Note:

This is a very female-oriented series of papers. Although Caroline Hinckley Stanton married, her two younger sisters, Mary E. Hinckley and S. Helen Hinckley, remained single. After the death of her husband, John W. Stanton, Caroline, along with her sisters, retained control over the family finances, farm, and businesses. Within this collection are many records pertaining to the running of the farm and the Hinckley sisters’ fight for control over their financial livelihood. These documents include receipts detailing the ordering of seeds for the farm’s plantings as well as correspondence documenting the sisters’ staunch assertion for equal and collective control of their finances with their bankers, as well as a series of canceled checks.

The three sisters were also involved in local Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) and Women’s Relief Corps (W.R.C.) activities before, during, and after “the Great War.” This collection contains lists of their corps memberships, the minutes of one meeting, as well as a few receipts related to G.A.R. activities and the local gravesite survey completed by the W.R.C.

Outside the era of the three Hinckley sisters these papers contains a century of family receipts that document the day-to-day operation of their farm, the pharmaceutical consumption of the family, as well as the family’s financial relationship to their community through a number of promissory notes. The holdings of the family are well documented within the three wills contained in this collection.

There are ten photographs including individual portraits. Four of the photographs depict both family and agricultural life on the Hinckley farm. The portraits include families and infants, as well as one of two women driving a horse-drawn carriage. The agricultural photographs include two photos of a herd of cattle.

A teacher’s certificate for second grade instruction for William J. Lewis dated 1906 was in an envelope sent to Ida Holgate (1881-unknown) in Clifton, New York. Ida Holgate was a grade-school teacher in New York. The relationship between either of these people and the Hinckley, Stanton, and Rivers families is uncertain. With this certificate are a few pages of math schoolwork questions, including notes from word problems.

The latest dated documents found with these papers derive from the Rivers family. These include genealogical notes written on the back of Donald Duck Orange Juice labels and one letter from 1943 which references the political climate of the time as well as the author’s current work petitioning for the “full statehood” of the District of Columbia.

One unique piece of the collection is the two sets of genealogy notes written on the back of labels for Donald Duck Florida Orange Juice.

Provenance Note:

The provenance is unclear. It appears that William W. Stanton never married and had no children, and it is not clear how and with whom this collection passed after the late 1920s. However it does appear that, after the death of the final Hinckley sister in 1929, these papers passed to Lena R. Rivers (1874-1966), from whom the later material derives. The provenance of these papers is unclear between Lena R. Rivers’ death in 1966 and the purchase of these papers from Stephen A. Resnick of Paper Americana in 1989.

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1 Correspondence, General; 1854-1943 (25 items)
1 2 Correspondence, Sarah Helen Hinckley, 1891-1916 (31 items)
1 3 Receipts and Promissory Notes, ca. 1836-1929 (circa 62 items)
1 4 Bank Statements and Canceled Checks, 1923-1928 (circa 28 items)
1 5 Legal and Estate Papers, 1848-1908 (12 items)
  1. Memorandum of Business Transactions of Elizabeth Snell, undated [circa 1848].
  2. Last Will and Testament, Edward F. Whiteside, February 6, 1851.
  3. Last Will and Testament, Jacob Snell, January 4, 1854.
  4. Estate of Henry Carruthers, Agreement for Sale, February 18, 1857.
  5. Warrantee Deed, Bethune Tract, Lot 12, Morehouse, N.Y., Almon G. Jones to Elanor Waffler, April 26, 1859.
  6. Warrantee [sic] Deed, for lands situated between the lands of Henry Yawney and Philip G. Miller in Ephratah, N.Y., Ambrose Coolman to the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, June 20, 1874.
  7. Warranty Deed, James Edwards to Simon C. Mathewson, for one eighth acre of land along the highway in Ephratah, N.Y., September 20, 1879.
  8. Deed, J.W.S. to Amos C. Hall, lands surrounding Mix Lake in Wilmurt, N.Y., July 7, 1892.
  9. Estate of John W. Stanton, Executor’s Deed, December 2, 1899.
  10. Memorandum to a Deed, Caroline Helen Hinckley and William H. Stanton to Daniel F. Strobel, December 7, 1899.
  11. Addendum to a Deed, Sarah Helen Hinckley and Caroline Hinckley Stanton to Daniel F. Strobel, April 29, 1901.
  12. Resolution to the Commissioner of Pensions, April 4, 1908.
1 6 Lists of G.A.R. members, Women’s Relief Corps members, and local grave sites, and meeting minutes from one Women’s Relief Corps meeting 1855-1929 (18 items)
1 7 School Papers and Teachers Certificate of the Second Grade from the State of New York Department of Public Instruction, 1906. (8 items)
1 8 Photographs (10 items)
1 9 Sundry: Envelopes, Genealogy, Military Papers, 1869-1951 (14 items)
Last Updated: November 15, 2013