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Stetson Family Papers


This collection consists of materials relating to the Stetson Family of New York City, especially Francis L. Stetson.

The founder of the family was Robert Stetson, a native of England, who came to America in 1630 and settled at Scituate, MA. Lemuel Stetson (March 13, 1804-May 17, 1868), a lawyer, served as a Democrat in the state assembly and as a representative in the 28th U. S. Congress. He married Helen Hascall on Feb. 24, 1831, who died on Jan. 1, 1860. They had four sons, Ralph Hascall (Jan. 22, 1832-Nov. 5, 1859); John Lemuel (Mar. 8, 1832-Sept. 17, 1862); Francis Lynde (Apr. 23, 1846-Dec. 5, 1920) and William Sterne (Apr. 2, 1850-May 29, 1883). John L. Stetson was a Lt. Colonel with the 59th New York Veteran Volunteers and was killed Sept. 17, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam.

Francis Lynde Stetson, a lawyer, was born at Keesville, Clinton Co., NY on April 23, 1846. He graduated from Williams College in 1867. He attended Columbia Law School and graduated in 1869. In 1894, he formed the firm of Stetson, Jennings & Russell. His firm represented J. P. Morgan and U. S. Steel Corporation. President Grover Cleveland was a partner of Stetson between his two terms as President. Stetson was also the counsel for Samuel J. Tilden in the Tilden-Hayes controversy over the 1876 Presidential election. He was president of the New York State Bar. He held memberships in the Century, Metropolitan, University, Down Town, National Arts, Tuxedo, Riding & Groilers Clubs of New York. He married Elizabeth Ruff on June 26, 1873 and died in New York City on Dec. 5, 1920.


The collection was donated by Ruby Schmidt, a local historian from Granbury, in 1993.

Scope and Description

The collection consists primarily of the business and personal correspondence of Francis L. Stetson. An examination of letters reveals few letters from his more famous clients. It consists primarily of routine business, political and family correspondence. The collection contains some interesting examples of hotel stationery from around the world. The most interesting correspondence are the letters of John L. Stetson, who wrote primarily to his father about life in the Army of the Potomac from 1861 to 1862.

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Last updated: Oct. 9, 2014