Skip to main content

Everett family papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Everett

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Everett family papers consist primarily of correspondence between members of the Everett family, including Robert and Elizabeth Everett, their children, and other relatives. There is some outside correspondence regarding the family's magazine, Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd, much of which is in Welsh. There are also letters from friends and colleagues of Mary Everett, a practicing homeopathic physician in New York City, teaching colleagues and former students of Cynthia Everett, who taught at freedman's schools in the south, and some friends and colleagues of John Edward (Eddie) Everett.

The family correspondence covers a variety of issues and events, especially health and news of daily events in the lives of the writers. The letters of John Roberts Everett and Sarah Colgrove Everett are particularly compelling for their descriptions of pioneer life in 1850s Kansas Territory, as well as events surrounding the Free Soil movement and the Battle of Osawatomie. Mary Everett's letters contain descriptions of her medical school training, prescriptions, and medical advice. Cynthia Everett's correspondence details the conditions of the freedman's schools in Norfolk and Charleston, and the teachers and students she encountered there. A strong dependence on faith is evident in all of the correspondence, but the letters of Sarah Colgrove Everett and Robert Everett Jr. are particularly notable for their compassion and optimism. Many of the letters, in keeping with Congregationalist teachings and beliefs, espouse temperance and also reflect progressive opinions regarding slavery and women's suffrage.

In addition to the correspondence, there is a small amount of personal materials and other items related to Robert Everett and his children, including sermons, speeches, school exercises, and a variety of printed materials, some of which are in Welsh. Also significant are Mary Everett's notes from medical school, and brochures Cynthia Everett collected from the freedman's schools in Norfolk and Charleston.


  • Creation: 1794-1949
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1838 - 1927



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Everett family papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Everett family papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Everett family

Robert Everett was born in 1791, in Gronant, Flintshire, in northeast Wales. He graduated from Wrexham Seminary in 1815, and soon after was ordained a minister with the Congregationalists at Capel Lôn Swan, Denbigh. During this time Everett learned a system of shorthand writing, which he adapted to the Welsh language and continued to use throughout his life. While at Denbigh he wrote an instructional book of this shorthand writing, as well as a Sunday school catechism first published in 1822. He married Elizabeth Roberts, of Denbigh, in 1816, and the couple emigrated to America in 1823 when Everett accepted a call to the Welsh Congregational Church of Utica, NY. He remained in Utica nine years, then moved south to Winfield to become pastor of the Congregational Church there, and also spent a short time as pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Westernville. In 1838 he settled in Steuben, near Remsen, NY, where he took charge of the two Welsh chapels there, Capel Ucha and Penymynydd. Everett continued as pastor in Steuben until his death in 1875.

In 1840 Robert Everett started Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd, (The American Missionary), to serve the Welsh Congregationalists. Initially published at an office in Remsen, NY, Everett eventually moved the press to his residence around 1845, where the family printed Y Cenhadwr for the next thirty years. Elizabeth Everett and all of the Everett children contributed to the publication of Y Cenhadwr, setting type, taking orders, and mailing copies. The influential publication had a wide circulation throughout the United States and Canada, sometimes reaching overseas as well. Everett, an early abolitionist, used Y Cenhadwr to preach against slavery and also to advocate temperance. When some subscribers, particularly those in the south and border states, stopped taking Y Cenhadwr because of the anti-slavery articles, Everett debuted another magazine, Y Dyngarwr, (The Philanthropist) entirely devoted to the temperance movement and campaign against slavery. Everett fully embraced the abolitionist cause, supporting the Liberty Party, hosting anti-slavery society meetings at his churches, and incorporating the abolitionist message into his sermons. He initially met with much opposition from congregants who did not wish to hear political opinions during religious services. He was often pelted with eggs or hymnals during his sermons, once his horse and carriage were vandalized, and he was briefly in danger of being removed from his post. Everett persevered, however, and continued to preach anti-slavery and encourage his fellow Welsh to support the movement. In 1853 he published a Welsh translation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, which he intended to stir up anti-slavery spirit among the Welsh Congregationalists. After dissatisfaction with the Kansas-Nebraska Act prompted many Welsh to support the nascent Republican Party, by 1856 most Welsh were united in their opposition to slavery. When the Civil War broke out in 1860, Everett, though a pacifist, supported the Union as he considered the conflict a crusade against slavery. Robert Everett died in 1875 after a brief illness. After his death, Elizabeth Everett continued to publish Y Cenhadwr until late 1876, when their son Lewis Everett took over. Elizabeth Everett died in 1878 after contracting pneumonia.

Robert and Elizabeth Everett had eleven children, three of whom were born in Wales: Elizabeth (1818), John Roberts (1820), and Robert Jr. (1822). The other eight were born after the family emigrated to the United States: Lewis (1825), Jane (1827), Mary (1830), Sarah (1832), Henry (1834), Anna (1836), Cynthia (1839) and Edward William (1843).

Elizabeth Everett Butler (1818-1877) was educated at the Young Ladies' Domestic Seminary in Clinton, NY, founded by the abolitionist Hiram Huntington Kellogg, and remained there as a teacher and also principal before her marriage. She married Reverend J.J. Butler and the couple had a son, John H., and two daughters, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Hattie. The family lived in New Hampton, New Hampshire, for many years, later settling in Hillsdale, Michigan, where J.J. Butler was a professor of theology at Hillsdale College. Their son J.H. Butler was professor of Latin there as well. Hattie Butler married a preacher, Holden Putnam, and settled in Ludington, Michigan where Putnam was pastor of the Congregational Church.

John Roberts Everett (1820-1896) married Sarah Colgrove (1830-1864) and the couple had five children: Henry, Frank, Robert, Clara, and John Edward, only three of whom survived to adulthood: Frank, Robert and John Edward. The family emigrated to Kansas Territory in 1854. An abolitionist, John Roberts Everett was active in the Free Soil Party during his time in Kansas, and present with John Brown at the Battle of Osawatomie on August 30, 1856. Due to Sarah's failing health, the family moved back east in the early 1860s. After Sarah's death in 1864, John lived briefly with family in New York and worked for his father's printing press, but later returned to Kansas and established himself as a farmer. Their son, John Edward (Eddie) Everett (1863-1954), was raised primarily by his father's family in Remsen, NY. He graduated from Mexico School, Mexico, NY, and Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, and became a Congregationalist minister in 1890. He pastored churches in many towns and later settled in Brewster, NY. John Eddie married Helen Frost. Frost had been married previously to Eugene Frost, who died. John Eddie adopted Helen's two children, Howard and Zaidee, and the couple had four more children: Roberts, Margaret, Edward, and Mary.

The second son of Robert and Elizabeth Everett, Robert Everett Jr. (1822-1856) was a daguerreotypist in Utica, NY, and also worked on Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd. He was a committed abolitionist and lectured on that topic as well as temperance. Lewis Everett (1825-1881) remained in Remsen, NY at the family home and managed Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd after his parents' death. Jennie Everett (1827-1891) attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in the 1840s, and taught school for many years. She traveled to Kansas in the 1870s and lived with her brother John Roberts Everett for a while, and later lived with her sister Mary Everett in New York City, where she assisted in Mary's medical practice.

Mary Everett (1830-1916) initially taught school, and later attended the New York Medical College and Hospital for women. After graduating in 1872 she opened a homeopathic practice in New York City. She was one of the first female surgeons in the United States, and active in temperance and women's rights movements from the 1860s until her death in 1916.

Sarah Everett Pritchard (1832-1882) married a preacher, William Pritchard, and lived near Remsen, New York. Henry Everett (1834-1854) died at the age of 19. He had attended Whitestown Seminary in Whitestown, NY, and died at a water cure in Glen Haven, NY. Anna Everett (1836-1902) attended Mount Holyoke Seminary and also Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where her sister Jennie taught school. Anna also became a teacher, and eventually moved back to the family home at Remsen, NY.

Cynthia Everett (1839-1876) initially taught school in and around Remsen. In 1870 she went to Norfolk, VA and then Charleston, SC, with the American Missionary Association to work in freedmen's schools. She remained there only a short time before becoming ill and returning to Remsen.

Edward Williams Everett (1843-1920) was the youngest of the 11 Everett children. He lived in Turin, NY, where he married Mary Allen in 1869. The couple had four sons, Jay Carroll, Charles, Robert, and Edward. In 1885 the family moved to Olpe, KS, south of Emporia, where Edward opened a general store near the home of his brother John Roberts Everett. He also served as postmaster at Olpe, from 1893 until 1897. Two more sons, Ray and Harry, were born in Kansas. Jay Carroll Everett attended Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University, and later became a Presbyterian minister and clerk of the Kansas Synod.


6.9 Linear Feet (16.5 boxes)


Primarily correspondence of the Everett family, concerning family news and health issues, and also covering abolition, temperance, women's rights, rights of African-Americans, and moral reform. Printing, education, pioneer life, and religion are all discussed within the papers. Papers include materials of Robert Everett, the pastor of Welsh Congregationalist churches in Oneida County, NY, and publisher of Y Cenhadwr Americanaidd (The American Missionary), a Welsh religious reform magazine that was pro-abolition. Also included are letters and materials of Mary Everett, a graduate of New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, who was also involved in the suffrage movement, John Roberts and Sarah Colgrove Everett, pioneers who moved to Kansas Territory in 1854 and were active in abolitionist activities, and Cynthia Everett, a member of the American Missionary Association who taught freedmen in Norfolk, VA and Charleston, SC following the Civil War.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1838-1927
Boxes 1-14
Series 2: Family papers, 1794-1949
Boxes 15-17

Collection Stack Location

1 14 6


Gift of Roberts Everett, Mary Everett Johnsrud, Margaret Everett Cannon, and Zaidee Everett Bauman, 1969.

Processed by

Kelly Kress, 2009.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Genre / Form


Inventory of the Everett family papers, 1794-1949, bulk 1838-1927
Finding aid prepared by Kelly Kress
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2011-08-18: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States