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Hadley-Starr Family papers

Identifier: C-35

Scope and Contents

Six archival boxes of materials pertaining to the Hadleys, Starrs, Merrills and all the families that married into theirs, and into whose families they married. These include Allens, Goves, Cottons, Dibbles, Rowans, Robbins’, Finches, Williams’, Warners, Wells’, Partridges and others. Many hundreds of letters from family members from several generations, genealogies, research into earliest known ancestors and their war records, emigration from country of origin; identification of colleges attended by family ancestors, diaries, travel diaries, obituaries, marriage certificates. In the case of Egbert C. Hadley, who served as a Trustee of Middlebury College (1936-1968), there are extensive files of bills, correspondence, inventories, blueprints, invoices, etc., relative to “Hadley House” on the college campus. All of the documents in this collection are copies of the originals, with the exception of the files pertinent to Hadley House. The papers are of particular interest, due to the fact that five members of these related families served as Trustees of Middlebury College, beginning in 1806 and extending to 1968.

Collection contains manuscript family letters (copies), copies of pages from family bibles, copies of newspaper clippings, legal documents, including many deeds; photocopy of a miniature of Eliza Allen (Mrs. Thomas Merrill), birth certificate of Egbert Charles Hadley, 1888, clipping and photo of Clifton Starr Hadley, 1964, inventories of estates, wills, drafts of speeches, copies of Middlebury College Trustee meeting minutes, several genealogies. The only original documents are concerned with Hadley House, including deeds, bills, invoices, lists, blueprints, etc. These last items are the only original documents in the collection.


  • Creation: 1805-1966


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish materials, contact: Special Collections & Archives Middlebury College Phone: (802) 443-2387 Email:

Biographical / Historical

The common thread binding these families together is the service of five among them as Trustees of Middlebury College, beginning in 1806, with Thomas Abbott Merrill who served until his death in 1855. He was born in Massachusetts in 1780, was a tutor at Dartmouth and at Middlebury 1804-05. Ordained in 1805, he became pastor of the Congregational Church at Middlebury in the following year, and served until 1842. His great grandson, Egbert C. Hadley also served as a Middlebury Trustee from 1936-1968. Hadley was a great nephew of Moses Allen Starr, M.D. who was a Trustee from 1898-1932. The Hon. Peter Starr, an attorney, served as a Trustee from 1819 until his death in 1860. Moses Allen Starr, M.D. was Hon. Peter’s grandson, through his son, Egbert. Hon. Peter’s son, Charles Jones Starr, by his first wife, was a Trustee from 1855-1893.

Starr Hall on the Middlebury College campus, one of the early buildings, was named for Hon. Peter Starr, to commemorate both his spirit and his generosity to the college. It was erected with funds contributed by two of his sons, Charles Jones Starr and Egbert. Starr Library was donated by Egbert Starr, was enlarged by his son, Moses Allen Starr, M.D.

Thomas A. Merrill had a number of children, the most significant of whom for this narrative was the youngest, Eliza Ann Merrill, born in 1826. She married Henry William Starr, son of Hon. Peter Starr by his second wife, Eunice Sergeant. Eliza Ann had one year at Mt. Holyoke Seminary with the class of 1844. She was a heroine of a sort later on, as a married woman. When she married H. W. Starr, he was a widower with two sons, Charles E. and Peter J. Together they had three daughters, one of whom died in infancy. When her brother, Edward Merrill, and his wife both died leaving five children, Eliza Ann Starr took them into her home to raise, in about 1869. H.W. and Eliza Ann, and all of those children lived in Burlington, Iowa, where she died in 1890. There is a letter from her husband’s cousin, Dr. Moses A. Starr in response to an inquiry about her health shortly before her death. There is also a medical opinion suggesting that making her comfortable while the end is awaited is the best that can be done. She had an inoperable tumor.

Eliza Ann’s daughter, Caroline (Carrie) Augusta Starr married Harry Clifton Hadley, an attorney practicing in Burlington, Iowa. Carrie Augusta had been born in Middlebury, VT when her mother was visiting family (Merrill) in 1859. She, like her mother, enjoyed a period of higher education at Vassar College with the class of 1880. She married Hadley in 1886, and quickly produced Clifton Starr in 1887, and Egbert Charles in 1888. Tragically, her husband died in 1890, as did her mother. She moved to Middlebury, VT in 1899, where she resided until her death in 1916. Her two sons were raised in Middlebury and attended the college in the classes of 1909 and 1910. Egbert Charles Hadley was a Trustee from 1936, and Board Chairman from 1944 until his retirement there from in 1968. He died in Middlebury in 1981. Clifton served in World War I, and had a career as an attorney in Boston and in New York City.

The Hadleys are avid genealogists and within these files are family lines going back into the l7th Century. Elbridge Drew Hadley, who is a half brother (being the son of their father’s first wife) to Harry Clifton Hadley, Carrie Starr’s husband (see above) and uncle to Clifton and Egbert, is a continuing source of Hadley background and information. We have his application to become, on the strength of his great-grandfather’s, service in the Revolutionary War, a Son of the American Revolution. That was George Hadley who enlisted from Weare, NH, in 1776; he also served in the French and Indian War in 1762, and was at Fort Edward in 1777.

The Merrills, Starrs and Hadleys, so interconnected, and such faithful servants of Middlebury College, came full circle when Egbert C. Hadley purchased the farm that once belonged to his mother. Mr. and Mrs. Hadley prepared their retirement home in Middlebury during the years 1939-1942, approximately. They left the home and property to the College, which is known as Hadley House.


6 Boxes


Because the families of Merrill, Starr and Hadley are so intertwined, it is not possible to separate them entirely. As a result, each of the six boxes is devoted largely to one family or another, but in some cases they overlap and connect with material from another branch or family into which they are married. The material in each box is generally chronological, but again, since genealogies and historical letters are concerned the chronology is not strict, nor can it be. Box #1 pertains to Thomas Abbot Merrill, the Abbott family, the connection of Merrill’s youngest daughter, Eliza Ann Merrill, with Henry William Starr. They were the parents of Caroline Augusta Starr who married a Hadley. Box #2 is devoted to the Hon. Peter Starr, his family, his wife’s family (Sergeant) and their connections, thence to the aforementioned Henry William Starr who married Eliza Ann Merrill, and lived and worked in Burlington, Iowa. Box #3 is devoted to three generations of Starrs. Box # 4 concerns the Starr family, but with greater emphasis upon the families to which they are related. Box #5 is devoted to Hadleys, their Merrill connections, and including genealogies of both Hadleys and Merrills. Box 6 is exclusively concerned with Hadley House, its evolution and all the detail appurtenant thereto, in the years l940-42.

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Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States