Hiram Sibley Family Papers

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Collection Overview
Title: Hiram Sibley Family Papers
Creator: Sibley, Hiram, 1807-1888
Call Number: D.81
Dates: 1850-1950
Physical Description: 21 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation

Biographical/Historical Note
Hiram Sibley (1807-1888) was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. He moved to western New York State during the 1820's and worked as a shoemaker, wool carder and machinist. In 1828 he began a machine shop in Mendon, later adding a wool carding business at Mt. Morris and Sparta. In 1838 he sold his business and moved to Rochester, entered banking and real estate and was elected sheriff in 1843. About this time he met Royal Earl House and became interested in telegraphy. Sibley encouraged Samuel F.B. Morse and in 1851 he organized the New York and Mississippi Valley Telegraph Company. He believed that many small companies could never be successful, and with his partner Don Alonzo Watson of Rochester, Ezra Cornell of Ithaca and others, formed Western Union Telegraph Company in 1856. Sibley held the position of president for the next thirteen years. He was also responsible for a transcontinental telegraph line, which was independent of Western Union until 1864. He also projected a trans-Siberian telegraph to link Europe and America. The project was well under way when the successful laying of the Atlantic Cable in 1868 made it unnecessary, and caused the company great losses.

Sibley retired from Western Union in 1869, and went into the seed and nursery business in Rochester and Chicago. He also invested in land, timber, coal and railroads in the South and in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington and Oregon.

Hiram Sibley also gave generously to institutions and charitable organizations. He was one of the incorporators of Cornell University, where he endowed Sibley College of Mechanic Arts. He also presented the University of Rochester with its first library building in the 1870's.

Hiram Sibley married Elizabeth Maria Tinker (1815-1903) in 1833. They had four children, of whom Zilpha Louise, Hiram Watson and Emily survived. Zilpha Louise married Hobart Atkinson, and Emily married first Isaac Averell and second James Sibley Watson, son of Don Alonzo Watson. Hiram Sibley died in 1888 in Rochester.

Hiram Watson Sibley (1845-1932) studied in Europe and entered business with his father, Hiram Sibley, brother-in-law, Hobart Atkinson, and Skipworth Wilmer. Their ventures included land development in Rochester,. Sibley, Ill., Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, railroads, and the seed business. About 1880, Hiram W. Sibley also entered a partnership with Isaac Bearinger which lasted until 1896. Sibley and Bearinger had offices in Saginaw, Michigan, and dealt in timber, coal and land. After the death of Hiram Sibley in 1888, Hiram W. Sibley also managed the affairs of the Sibley Estate, the legal entity which administered the inheritance of the Sibley Family.

Hiram Watson Sibley married Margaret Durbin Harper (1850-1937), of the Harper publishing family. They had six children, of whom three survived to adulthood. Ruth married John Gade and Margaret Urling married O'Donnell Iselin. Fletcher Harper Sibley (1885-1959) succeeded his father in managing the family businesses. Harper Sibley, as he was always known, was a prominent citizen in Rochester and continued the Sibley tradition of community involvement and private financial success.

Access
The Hiram Sibley Family Papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduScope and Content
The collection consists primarily of the business and legal records of the Sibley family, including Hiram, Hiram Watson, and Harper.

The Hiram Sibley material is generally concerned-with the Russian-American Telegraph Co., and consists of correspondence, notes, printed material, and translations from as well as documents in Russian. There is also a small amount of family correspondence and material.

The Hiram Watson Sibley section consists of business correspondence between Hiram, Hiram Watson, Hobart Atkinson and other members of the firm. Some of this material is also personal, since the partners were related to each other by marriage. There are also the records of the firm Sibley and Bearinger (1880-1896); deeds and records of property owned in the far west and south, including holdings in Panther, West Virginia, in coal and timber (c1895-c1950); legal material for the Sibley Estate, and the estates of individual family members; and records of charitable contributions in Rochester and New York City.

The later sections (circa 1920-1950) of the Panther, West Virginia, materials pertain to Harper Sibley.

Subject(s):
Coal mines and mining
Lumber trade
Correspondence
Records (Documents)
Deeds
Wills
Sibley, Hiram, 1807-1888
Sibley, Hiram Watson, 1845-1932
Sibley, Harper, 1885-1959
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Mrs. F. Harper Sibley, 1975. Additional material: gift of Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott Architects, March 12, 2007.Citation
[Item title, item date], Hiram Sibley Family Papers, D.81, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL: http://www.library.rochester.edu/rbscp


Revision Information
2018-02: EAD revision
Content List
Hiram Sibley Correspondence, Western Union Extension, Family Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 1Correspondence, 1850-1862
Box 1, Folder 2Correspondence, 1863
Box 1, Folder 3Correspondence, January-September 1864
Box 1, Folder 4Correspondence, October-December 1864
Box 1, Folder 5Correspondence, January-March 1865
Box 1, Folder 6Correspondence, April-August 1865
Box 1, Folder 7Correspondence, September-December 1865
Box 1, Folder 8Correspondence, January-May 1866
Box 1, Folder 9Correspondence, June-December 1866
Box 1, Folder 10Correspondence, 1867
Box 1, Folder 11Correspondence, 1868
Box 1, Folder 12Correspondence, 1869
Box 1, Folder 13Correspondence, 1870
Box 1, Folder 14Correspondence, 1871-1872
Box 1, Folder 15Correspondence, 1873
Box 1, Folder 16Indexed Correspondence, Hiram Sibley to Mrs. Sibley, 1864-1865
Box 1, Folder 17Family Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 18Genealogical Records
Box 1, Folder 19Rochester Central Nursery, 1857-1866
Box 1, Folder 20Western Union Telegraph Co., Stockholders, Bylaws, and Balance Sheets
Box 1, Folder 21Transcontinental Telegraph
Box 1, Folder 22Western Union Extension, Negotiations Correspondence
Box 1, Folder 23Certification of Western Union Russian Extension Co., 1864
Box 1, Folder 24Proposed Route of Telegraph Line
Box 1, Folder 25Notes for Negotiations
Box 1, Folder 26Printed Material, Russian-American Telegraph
Box 1, Folder 27Translations from St. Petersburg Russian Gazette, February 1866
Box 1, Folder 28Printed Material, Western Union Extension Negotiations
Hiram Sibley Photographs, Newspaper Clippings
Box 2, Folder 1Sibley Hall - Cornell University
Box 2, Folder 2Newspaper Clippings
Box 2, Folder 3Financial Records, Europe, 1865
Box 2, Folder 4Passports and letter of credit
Box 2, Folder 5Resolution on resignation of Hiram Sibley, 1869
Box 2, Folder 6Printed material, Other telegraph lineal
Box 2, Folder 7Long Island Railroad Bond, 1868
Box 2, Folder 8Miscellaneous financial receipts
Box 2, Folder 9Photographs
5 photographs

Box 2, Folder 10Newspaper clippings and obituaries about Hiram Sibley
Box 2, Folder 11Zilpha Louise (Sibley) Atkinson, Diary, 1855
Box 2, Folder 12Elizabeth Tinker Sibley, Journal, 1850-1852
Hiram W. Sibley Correspondence
Box 3Correspondence, 1875-1878
26 folders

Box 4Correspondence, 1879-May 1880
16 folders

Box 5Correspondence, June 1880-1884, undated
17 folders

Sibley and Bearinger, 1883-1897
Box 6, Folder 1-6Sibley and Bearinger, timber deals, 1884-1897
Box 6, Folder 7Sibley and Bearinger, British Columbia lands
Box 6, Folder 8Sibley and Bearinger, Washington and Oregon lands
Box 6, Folder 9Sibley and Bearinger, mining in Port Authur, Ontario
Box 6, Folder 10Sibley and Bearinger, mining in Michigan
Box 6, Folder 11Sibley and Bearinger, mining in Minnesota
Box 6, Folder 12Sibley and Bearinger, Minnesota land deals
Box 6, Folder 13Sibley and Bearinger, sale of Minnesota land
Box 6, Folder 14-15Sibley and Bearinger in account with Panther Lumber Co.
Box 7, Folder 1Agreements of Copartnership, and Dissolution of Copartnership, 1883 1896
Box 7, Folder 2-4Financial records
Box 7, Folder 5Hiring
Box 7, Folder 6Selling out after dissolution of company
Box 7, Folder 7Receipts in full of payments
Box 7, Folder 8Collection of due bills
Sibley Family Estates
Box 8, Folder 1Hiram Sibley Estate, affidavits
Box 8, Folder 2-9Hiram Sibley Estate, annual audits
Box 8, Folder 10Hiram Sibley Estate, trustees
Box 8, Folder 11Hiram Sibley Estate, will
Box 8, Folder 12Agreement indemnifying Hiram Sibley Estate for payment of bond made to Sarah M. Elliott and George Elliott.
Box 8, Folder 13Judicial settlement of Hiram W. Sibley, March 14, 1933
Box 8, Folder 14Memorandum of sale of coupon bonds, Trustees of Hiram Sibley Estate
Box 8, Folder 15Judicial settlement of the Estate of Hiram Sibley
Box 8, Folder 16Hiram W. Sibley, codicil to Last Will and Testament
Box 8, Folder 17Power of attorney
Box 8, Folder 18Margaret D. Sibley, stocks and bonds
Box 8, Folder 19Mount Hope Cemetery, Hiram W. Sibley - Contract for perpetual cares
Box 8, Folder 20Trust indenture between Hiram W. Sibley and Security Trust Co., March 16, 1923
Box 8, Folder 21Jas G. Averell estate
Box 8, Folder 22Ruth S. Gade will
Box 8, Folder 23Emily S. Averell Watson estate (accounts)
Box 8, Folder 24Augusta Whitaker estate
Box 8, Folder 25J.P. Durbin will
Box 9, Folder 1-5Margaret C. Harper estate
Box 9, Folder 6-7Margaret C. and Fletcher Harper estates
Box 9, Folder 8-13Fletcher Harper estate
Box 9, Folder 14Insurance policy, James Eldridge
Sibley Family, Illinois Lands, Mining in Minnesota, Mining in Idaho
Box 10, Folder 1-9Illinois lands, 1852-1934
Box 10, Folder 10Illinois lands, Right of ways, 1928 1940
Box 10, Folder 11Illinois lands, Account for, 1888
Box 10, Folder 12-13Mining in Minnesota, 1894-1918
Box 10, Folder 14-23Mining in Idaho, 1906-1916
Sibley Family Rochester Real Estate
Box 11, Folder 1Rochester property - Hiram Sibley Building
Images added March 12, 2007

Box 11, Folder 2Various Rochester properties
Box 11, Folder 3Rochester property - Harriet Fisher Mortgage
Box 11, Folder 4-5Rochester property - Telephone Company
Box 11, Folder 6-9Rochester property - Sibley Tract
Box 11, Folder 10Various Rochester properties
Box 11, Folder 11Merger - Monroe Bank/Alliance Bank, 1900
Sibley Family Miscellaneous Land Holdings
Box 12, Folder 1-5Emily S. Ganson, Buffalo, 1871-1909
Box 12, Folder 6-11New York City property, 1907-1939
Box 12, Folder 12Westchester County lands, 1903-1906
Box 12, Folder 13Cayuga County lands, 1909
Box 12, Folder 14-16British Columbia lands, 1890-1901
Box 12, Folder 17Kentucky lands, 1911-1916
Box 12, Folder 18Port Arthur, Ontario lands, 1891
Box 12, Folder 19Oakland Heights, Pontiac, Michigan lands, 1913-1914
Box 13, Folder 1-7Oregon lands, 1894-1938
Box 13, Folder 8-12Washington lands, 1893-1935
Box 13, Folder 13Washington and Oregon lands, Accounting records, 1892-1911
Sibley Family Charitable
Box 14, Folder 1Charitable, University of Rochester, 1924
Box 14, Folder 2Charitable, Paderewski Fund, 1922-1923
Box 14, Folder 3Charitable, Red Cross, 1918
Box 14, Folder 4-5Charitable, Friendly Home, 1914-1919
Box 14, Folder 6Charitable, Stock Certificates, 1892-1934
Sibley Family Lecture Notes, Columbia Law School
Box 15, Folder 1-3Lecture notes, Columbia Law School
Sibley Companies
Box 16, Folder 1Panther Lumber Company, minutes: Board of Directors and Stockholders meetings
Box 16, Folder 2Sibley Coal and Coke Company, ledger/journal
Box 16, Folder 3Sibley Coal and Coke Company, ledger/accounting records
Box 17, Folder 1Cash book, 1894-195?
Box 18, Folder 1-19Panther Lumber Company
Box 18, Folder 20-21Panther Lumber Company/Panther Coal Company
Box 18, Folder 22Lathrop Coal Company, Map of mine number 3.
Box 18, Folder 23Panther Coal Company, Map of mine number 4, Panther, West Virginia
Box 19, Folder 1-11Panther Railroad Company
Box 19, Folder 12-13Panther Red Ash Coal Company
Box 19, Folder 14-17Sibley Coal and Coke Company in connection with other companies
Box 20, Folder 1Panther Lumber Company
Box 20, Folder 2Harper Sibley, Oregon timber lands
Box 20, Folder 3Hiram W. Sibley, Washington timber lands
Box 20, Folder 4Hiram W. Sibley, Panther Lumber Company
Box 20, Folder 5Minnesota lands
Box 20, Folder 6Photographs - Minnesota
Box 20, Folder 7Washington and Oregon lands
Box 20, Folder 8Washington lands
Box 20, Folder 9Panther Coal Company
Box 20, Folder 10-19Sibley Coal and Coke Company
Box 20, Folder 20-21Panther Lumber Company/Lathrop Lumber Company
Box 20, Folder 22-23Panther Lumber Company/Sibley Coal and Coke Company
Box 21, Folder 1Check book: Panther Lumber Company, December 4, 1916-August 2, 1920
Box 21, Folder 2Check book: Panther Lumber Company, August 6, 1920-May 3, 1924
Box 21, Folder 3Check book: Panther Lumber Company, May 22, 1924-December 8, 1926
Box 21, Folder 4Check book: Panther Lumber Company/Panther Coal Company, July 19, 1933-October 30, 1940
Box 21, Folder 5Check book: Sibley Coal and Coke Company, December 31, 1925-August 31, 1927
Box 21, Folder 6Oversize maps and broadsides related to the telegraph
Located in the map case, alcove 8



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