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William Jay Roberts Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: SM
Date: 26 May 2016

Biographical History

Captain William Jay Roberts (1836-1870) of New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut was an American soldier and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He studied Law at Yale and was admitted to the bar in Litchfield County in 1866 but never practiced due to his health. In 1861, he organized the enlistment of volunteers for the Union Army and served himself in the 8th Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteers as First Lieutenant. On May 1862 he was promoted to the rank of Captain. On January 31, 1865 he was discharged for disability reasons due to wounds he had received at Fort Harrison. He died five years later at the age of 34. His wife Ann Eliza Roberts (1839-1920) outlived him by several decades. William's sister Jennette (d. 1854) attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, MA.

George B. Wentworth (1820-1902) served as a Union soldier in the 22nd Regiment of the Connecticut Volunteers during the Civil War. He was married to Comfort W. (Fisher) Wentworth. Their son Daniel (1850-1934) became a landscape and animal painter, and married Sarah O. Cooley in 1874. Daniel and Sarah went to Munich, Bavaria in 1884-1885 where Daniel studied painting. A letter of Sarah Wentworth to her mother-in-law Comfort Wentworth mentions Roberts' wife Ann Eliza and a census of 1940 lists Ann Eliza's and William's daughter Caroline Eliza Roberts as living in the household of Gilbert Wentworth (son of Sarah and Daniel Wentworth) in Syracuse, N.Y.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The majority of the William Jay Roberts Collection consists of Correspondence, mostly letters sent by William Jay Roberts to his sister and mother as well as by George B. Wentworth to his wife, during the Civil War. There is also a small number of letters sent by Jennette Roberts, William's sister, as well as by the painter Daniel F. Wentworth, George Wentworth's son, while he and his wife were in London and Munich, talking about the two cities, Bavarian culture and his art education. The collection also comprises a few items of Memorabilia belonging to William Jay Roberts and to George B. Wentworth. The series Military documents holds Roberts' promotion and discharge certificate, various documents related to army life, a brochure on pension legislature, etc. and a record book of Company I of the Eighth Connecticut Volunteers containing notes, field orders, etc. from various officers.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is divided into three series: Correspondence, Memorabilia and Military documents. The Correspondence is arranged by sender and chronologically. The Military documents are also arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Roberts, Ann Eliza, 1839-1920.
Roberts, Caroline Eliza.
Roberts, Charlotte, 1799-1874.
Roberts, Emily, 1839-1917.
Roberts, Gerardus, 1790-1861.
Roberts, Jennette, 1833-1854.
Roberts, William Jay, 1836-1870.
Tanner, James.
Wentworth, Catherine P.
Wentworth, Comfort.
Wentworth, Daniel F.
Wentworth, George B., 1820-1902.
Wentworth, Sarah.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army. -- Connecticut Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1865)
United States. -- Army. -- Connecticut Infantry Regiment, 22nd (1862-1863)


Bavaria (Germany) -- Description and travel.
Hartford (Conn.) -- History.
New Milford (Conn. : Town) -- History.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Genres and Forms

Military records.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William Jay Roberts Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Gil Kehoe, 2014.

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