Papers : 1757-1837 (predominantly 1777-1825)

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .B9F3P3
Category: Family
Creator: Byles Family.
Description: 2 microfilm textual records () ; 35 mm
            At the time of the American Revolution, Mather Byles, Sr. (1707-1788), a graduate of Harvard College in 1725 and a poet and wit, was the congregational minister of Hollis Street Church in Boston. He was a well known Loyalist and was expelled from his church for his Loyalism.  He married Anna (Noyes) Gale, and secondly Rebecca Tailer, and had the following children: Mather, Jr., Elizabeth, Samuel, Mary and Catherine. Mather, Jr. was a graduate of both Harvard and Yale Colleges, and received a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford in 1770. He served as a congregational minister in New London, Connecticut, before his ordination in the Church of England, after which he took up his duties as minister of Christ Church in Boston. In 1776 he fled with his family from Boston to Halifax and served as garrison chaplain until 1788 when he became rector of Trinity Church, Saint John, New Brunswick. He was survived by several children who married into prominent families. They include Anna, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Mather III, and Belcher. The Loyalist sisters of Mather Byles, Jr., Mary and Catherine, remained in Boston throughout the Revolution.            
            The Papers are filmed in two groups: the first consists of an unbound chronologically arranged series of letters and a few documents, 1777-1825, which are found on reels 1 and 2. The letters are primarily concerned with family matters and pleasantries, however, there are some poems (religious), bible verses, etc. Though both Mather Byles Senior and Mather Byles Junior are Congregationalist Reverends, they rarely make mention of their work in these letters. At most, Mather Byles Junior will occasionally mention preforming a baptism or a funeral in his letters. The letters are followed by a series of bound manuscripts which are chronologically arranged from 1759-1837, also on reel 2. Taken together, the correspondence consists, primarily, of letters written to Rev. Mathers Byles, Jr. from Mary (1750-1832) and Catherine Byles (1753-1837), the sisters who chose to remain in Boston, and by Byles family members and friends, in particular Anna, Elizabeth, Mather III, and Rebecca. The bound manuscripts contain the account book of Mather, Sr. and Catherine Byles, 1759-1837; the commonplace (educational exercises) book of Mary Byles, 1763; copy books (where the young girls would practice their cursive writing) of Mary and Catherine Byles, 1763; and a fragment from a diary belonging to Mather Byles, Jr., 1790.             
Originals: The original records are held by the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
Archival Ref. No.:
Finding Aids:
            An introduction, Byles family genealogical information, and a table of contents for the Papers are found at the beginning of the reel.  
The introduction, genealogical information, table of contents and microfilm shelf list are available in print in the corresponding red Loyalist Collection Inventory binder, as well as through the Loyalist Collection Database as an Electronic Finding Aid (linked below).             
Electronic Finding Aid Record: Microfilm Shelf List and Table of Contents Byles Family Papers.pdf
Notes: Researchers are advised that additional Byles family material can be found in the Byles Family Correspondence, which is located in the Loyalist Collection and shelved at MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .B9F3C6.
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