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Caleb S. Layton papers

Identifier: MSS 0098-F0147

Scope and Content Note

The Caleb S. Layton papers consist of eight letters, one account book, one bond, and one receipt belonging to nineteenth-century Delaware attorney, legislator, and judge Caleb S. Layton (1798-1882), reflecting his legal career and personal life and finances. Much of the material relates to a land dispute involving Solomon and A.W. Prettyman.

The bulk of the correspondence found in Series I. Letters and documents pertains to the case of Sarah Collins and, later, Priscilla Rust v. Reverend Solomon Prettyman. The case centered around a dispute over rental fees for a piece of land rented by Sarah Collins to Solomon Prettyman, with Collins subsequently transferring her interest in this land to Priscilla Rust. Five of the eight letters found in the collection were written by Prettyman, with four addressed to Layton and the fifth to Prettyman's brother, A. W., of Lewes, Delaware. Also included is one reply from Layton to Prettyman, and a letter to Prettyman from A. W.

Also in Series I. are a few miscellaneous items including a handwritten copy of the bond between Solomon Prettyman and Sarah Collins; one envelope addressed to Layton and postmarked "Albertsville;" and one receipt for the printing of a temperance address.

Series II. includes one account book for Layton's account with the Farmers Bank of Georgetown, Delaware, spanning the dates 1871 to 1881.


  • Creation: 1845-1881


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

Caleb S. Layton (1798-1882), was a Delaware attorney, judge, and legislator.

Layton was born in Sussex County, Delaware, on April 12, 1798. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Milton, where his father founded a mercantile business. Following schooling, Layton joined his father's business. In 1819, he married Penelope Rodney and began to hold public office. In 1820, he was appointed Clerk of the Peace for Sussex County, a position he held until he resigned in 1822 to pursue a legal education. While studying law with Thomas Cooper Esq. of Georgetown, Delaware, Layton served as Clerk of the Assembly from 1824 to 1825. In 1826, he was admitted to the bar and was also elected a member of the Assembly. Layton continued to be re-elected to the Assembly until 1830, when he successfully ran for a Senate seat. He served as Secretary of State for the state of Delaware, under Governor David Hazzard from 1830 until 1833. In 1836, he was reappointed to this position by Governor Charles Polk. Also in that year, he was appointed associate justice of Superior Court. He served in this capacity until his resignation in 1844. Among his many accomplishments during his legislative career were the introductions of a bill establishing a free school system and the first bill to abolish slavery in the state. Layton died on October 3, 1882, leaving nine children, who continued his example of public service to the state of Delaware.

Conrad, Henry C.History of the State of Delaware. Wilmington, Del: The author, 1908.


11 item (17 pages)

1 volume (57 pages)


Consists of ten letters, one receipt, and one account book belonging to nineteenth-century Delaware attorney, legislator, and judge Caleb S. Layton (1798-1882), reflecting his legal career and personal life and finances.


Purchase, November 2009.

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of MSS 0098 Delaware Miscellaneous Historical and Literary Manuscripts.

Shelving Summary

  1. Box 6, F147: Shelved in SPEC MSS 098 manuscript boxes


Processed by Theresa Hessey, April 2004. Encoded by Lora J. Davis, September 2010. Further encoding by George Apodaca and Tiffany Saulter, March 2015.

Finding aid for Caleb S. Layton papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 September 23
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA