Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

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   Shortly after the Revolution at least two of the Vermont Colvins returned to what was apparently the original spelling of the name as Calvin, and as their descendants have continued the use of the restored name, they become and are properly a part of the present day Calvin family. There is obviously no reason for considering as Colvins these descendants of John Calvin, the Dartmouth immigrant, merely because some of their intervening ancestors adopted a different spelling for the name, which has been now restored to the original form in the two family lines mentioned.
   The two Vermont Colvins who thus returned to the spelling of the family name as Calvin were Sanford Jenks Calvin (born 1770), son of Levi Colvin of Clarendon, the Ensign of Revolutionary days, and Peleg Calvin (born 1778), son of Corporal Richard Colvin of Manchester, another Revolutionary soldier. The genealogy of both of these restorers of the Calvin name and of their descendants is set forth so far as known in Part II hereof but an outline and summary here to illustrate the course of the development of the family and their emigration westward from Vermont will be of interest.
   Sanford Jenks Calvin, born in Rhode Island in 1770, was a son of Levi and Lydia (Jencks) Calvin, and great great grandson of the immigrant John Calvin of Dartmouth, (Sanford 5, Levi 4, Jeremiah 3, John, Jr. 2, John 1). His mother Lydia was the granddaughter of a Colonial Governor of Rhode Island. Sanford removed with his parents as a child to Clarendon, Vermont, where his father was a leading citizen and an officer in the Vermont militia during the Revolution. Sanford is said to have studied law and to have been admitted to the bar in 1790, practicing his profession at Rutland until 1804 when he removed to Smithfield, Madison Co., New York, where he resided the rest of his life. He is said to have insisted on writing his name as it sounded to him and always spelled it Calvin. However, as he was an educated man, one may suspect that the change was based on the conviction after investigation that the name was originally Calvin and should be so spelled. The form Calvin was continued by his children and has always since been used by his descendants who are thus properly to be considered as of the Calvin family to which the immigrant John of Dartmouth is believed to have belonged.
   Sanford J. Calvin was twice married and had eleven children. His first wife was Abigail Chipman, of a distinguished Vermont family, by whom he had two sons and three daughters, the sons having been Alpheus Reed Calvin (1793-1839) and Dileno Dexter Calvin (1798-1884). The former of these, Alpheus, removed to Jefferson Co., New York, and had a son, Delano Chipman Calvin (b. 1824), who was a prominent lawyer and in 1875 became Surrogate of New York City. Sanford's second son, Dileno Dexter Calvin, grew up in Vermont but moved as a young man, probably about 1830, to Jefferson County, New York, on the east bank of the St. Lawrence River, near the Thousand Islands. His brother, Alpheus Reed Calvin, had moved to this section from Vermont with his family some years earlier.

Source: Calvin, Claude W. The Calvin families: origin and history of the American Calvins, with a partial genealogy. Pasadena, Calif.: unknown, 1945, pp. 33-34.



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