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Manuscripts of Early National and Antebellum America

What follows is a list of Early National and Antebellum records and record groups from the North American manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, University Libraries of Notre Dame. Records are subdivided by point of origin, into the following categories: United States (Federal); New England; Middle Atlantic (NY, NJ, PA); Northwest (OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, IA, MN); South (DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, KY, TN); Southwest (AL, MS, LA, AR, TX, MO); Far West; Canada; Caribbean; Maritime; and Miscellaneous. Records and record groups included here date wholly or primarily from the years 1788 to 1860.

Records - United States

  • LAND GRANTS. 1818-1848. 7 documents. A group of seven vellum land grant certificates from the presidencies of James Monroe (1), Andrew Jackson (1), John Tyler (3), and James Knox Polk (2). The earliest of these, for War of 1812 veteran Jacob Brown, is signed by Monroe. MSN/EA 1000-1-F1 to MSN/EA 1000-7-F1.

  • JEAN BAPTISTE RICHARDVILLE LAND GRANT. 1823. 1 document. An oversized (68 cm.) vellum land grant certificate, ceding about 3000 acres along the St. Mary's River in present-day Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Jean Baptiste Richardville (Peshawa), principal chief of the Miami nation of Indians. The grant is pursuant to Article 3 of the government's 1818 treaty with the Miami. The document is signed by President James Monroe. MSN/EA 1002-1-Oversize.

  • MA-TO-WA LAND GRANT. 1860. 1 document. A vellum land grant certificate, ceding 320 acres on the Nemaha half-blood reservation in Richardson and Nemaha Counties, Nebraska Territory, to Ma-to-wa (b. c1847), a girl of Iowa blood. The document is signed by President James Buchanan. MSN/EA 1003-1-F2.

  • THOMAS J. BAIRD ORDERLY BOOK. 1818-1822. 1 vol., 33 cm., 85 leaves, with 134 pages of manuscript in various hands. An orderly book kept from November 1818 to October 1822 by U.S. Army 1st Lt. Thomas James Baird, Payne's (3rd) Company, 1st Battalion, Corps of Artillery, Southern Division. Baird (1794-1842), born in Dublin, graduated from West Point in 1814 and subsequently served in the War of 1812. He was commissioned 1st lieutenant in 1818. Baird was initially assigned to command small garrisons at Fort Johnson and at Castle Pinckney, in Charleston harbor, with a detachment of Payne's Company (December 1818 to August 1819). He was then sent to Fernandina on Amelia Island, off the north Florida coast, where he filled the first of a sequence of staff positions—in this case, acting assistant commissary of subsistence (October to December 1819). At Fort Wayne, Savannah (January to July 1820) he was appointed assistant commissary of subsistence, before returning to Fernandina in July 1820; in October of that year he was appointed battalion quartermaster. After about a year at Fernandina Baird was posted to Bellona Arsenal near Richmond (October 1821 to October 1822), where he once again served as assistant commissary. At all these posts, Baird occasionally found himself in command. The content of the manuscript changes noticeably with Baird's first arrival at Amelia Island (October 1819). Prior to that time, Baird's entries consist mostly of copies of orders relevant to his command, from general orders to garrison orders issued by Baird himself. There is also a full descriptive roll of the 70 privates and musicians who had enlisted in Baird's detachment in 1818-19, as well as a register of desertions (41, in about a year) and a clothing account. These various rolls contain entries up to August 1819. After Baird's initial appointment as commissary, his entries consist almost exclusively of copies of his official correspondence. Much of this, of course, is dedicated to matters of subsistence and supply. But given the frequent diversity of Baird's duties, the letters necessarily touch on many additional aspects of command, as well as the distinctive cultural and climatic conditions faced by soldiers posted to the Southern coast. Of particular note are the letters from Amelia Island (1819 and 1820-21). Not only was the island remote and difficult to supply; it was the object of an ongoing territorial dispute with Spain, resolved only in 1821 when the U.S. took formal possession of the Florida territory. MSN/EA 1004-1-B. [Finding Aid]

  • "REPORT OF BREVET MAJOR S. WOODS, DATED 10 NOV. 1849". 1850. 1 vol., 34 cm., 168 leaves and 1 folding map, with 162 pages of manuscript in the hand of A.S.H. White. In the summer of 1849 Brevet Major Samuel Woods (1812-1887) led a company of dragoons down the valley of the Red River (separating present-day Minnesota from North Dakota) to Pembina on the Canadian border, to select a site for a new military post and to report on circumstances among the Indians and half-bloods. This is a clear copy of Woods' report and attendant documents, made in 1850 by A.S.H. White for secretary of the interior Thomas Ewing (who along with secretary of war George W. Crawford had conceived the expedition). The documents were published by the House as Pembina Settlement. Letter from the secretary of war transmitting the report of Major Woods relative to his expedition to the Pembina settlement, and the condition of affairs on the north-western frontier of the territory of Minnesota, March 9, 1850 (H. doc 51, 31st Cong. 2d sess.). In addition to Woods' report (10 November 1849), the copied documents include: Woods' letter of instruction from Adjutant General Roger Jones (18 April 1849); two letters of Rev. Georges-Antoine Belcourt (1803-1874), one on Indian affairs in the Red River country (10 August 1849) and one on the hunting of the buffalo (25 November 1845); and a report (1 October 1849) and letter (3 October 1849) of Brevet Captain John Pope, the topographical engineer assigned to the expedition (and future commander of the Army of the Potomac). The map of the expedition bound into the volume was drawn by Pope. MSN/EA 1001-1-B.

Records - New England

  • JOHN DINSMORE PAPERS. 1782-c.1920 (bulk 1782-1822). 716 manuscripts, many partly printed; 1 newspaper. The personal papers and court records of the Rockingham County, New Hampshire farmer, innkeeper, and justice of the peace John Dinsmore, Jr. (16 January 1759-15 April 1814). Dinsmore (or Dinsmoor) was born in Windham, Rockingham County, the son of John Dinsmore (1721-1793) and Martha McKeen (1723-1803). The elder Dinsmore was a man of local influence, serving Windham as clerk, town meeting moderator, and selectman; he was also a justice. The younger Dinsmore passed most of his life at Windham, on the original family estate, before removing (c.1807) to the village of Londonderry, Rockingham County, where he kept an inn. He was twice married, to Susannah Bell (1759-1807) and Mary Rogers. The greater part of the Dinsmore collection, some 550 items, consists of Rockingham County court records, retained by Dinsmore during his years as a member of the judiciary. These records range in date from January 1797 to November 1813. The majority are partly printed writs of execution issuing from minor civil suits, signed by Dinsmore in his capacity as justice. Most bear endorsements, and calculations of damages and court costs. There are also a small number of papers pertaining to criminal cases. Other, less extensive series in the collection include: land records (21 items, including 10 deeds to parcels of land acquired by John Dinsmore); financial records (50 items, mostly account sheets and receipts); records issuing from Dinsmore's position as a proprietor of the Londonderry Turnpike (42 items, mostly receipts, 1805 to 1810); and papers relating to the settlement of Dinsmore's estate (44 items, 1814 to 1822). These latter include inventories of Dinsmore's real and personal estate, and an estate ledger kept by the executor, Dinsmore's eldest son, James (1788-1872). MSN/EA 0503-1 to MSN/EA 0503-170. [Finding Aid]

  • BOSTON & PROVIDENCE RAILROAD CORPORATION CORRESPONDENCE. 1832-1912 (bulk 1832-1859). 354 letters, postal cards, and pieces of ephemera. The Boston & Providence Railroad was incorporated in 1831 and completed in 1835, with a line between Park Square, Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. It was one of the first railroads in New England chartered for public use. The most substantial part of the collection consists of 127 pieces of incoming business correspondence to officials of the B&PRR, 1832 to 1846. Topics touched upon include financing, land acquisition, line construction, and other legal and financial matters. An additional 65 pieces of correspondence dating from 1847 to 1859 pertain primarily to the Taunton Branch of the B&PRR and the New Bedford & Taunton Railroad. MSN/EA 1506-1 to MSN/EA 1506-76. [Finding Aid]

  • JACOB HAYWARD LAND DEED. 1796. 1 document, partly printed. A deed of sale recording the transfer of three parcels of land from Jacob and Elizabeth Hayward to Seth Thayer. Jr., for the sum of £60. The parcels are located in Milford, Worcester County, Massachusetts. With endorsements. MSN/EA 1504-1.

  • WRIT OF ATTACHMENT AGAINST ABRAHAM JOSLYN. 1801. 1 document. A document written and signed by Ware, Massachusetts town treasurer William Anderson, directing the sheriff of Hampshire County to attach the estate of Abraham Joslyn for debts owed to the town, stemming from Joslyn's work as tax collector in the year 1799. MSN/EA 1502-1.

  • ISAIAH THOMAS, JR. RECEIPT. 1810. 1 document. A receipt signed by Charles Wheeler for Isaiah Thomas Jr. of Worcester, Massachusetts, acknowledging payment of $40.00 from William Gran for two cows. MSN/EA 1501-1.

  • TURNPIKE ACCOUNT SHEETS. 1810-1834. 2 documents, partly printed. Annual account sheets for two Connecticut turnpike companies, showing debits (including interest on outstanding stock, repairs, and wages) and credits (tolls collected). A sheet for the Goshen and Sharon Turnpike shows accounts as of 1 May 1810; a sheet for the Hartford and New Haven Turnpike shows accounts as of 1 May 1834. MSN/EA 1503-1-F2 to MSN/EA 1503-2-F1.

  • MEDWAY (MA) SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 2 MINUTES BOOK. 1825-1869. 1 vol., 21 cm., 138 leaves, with 173 pages of manuscript. Minutes of the meetings of the residents of School District No. 2 in Medway, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, 5 September 1825 to 1 March 1869. The entries, typically made by the district clerk for the given year, record matters like the election of district officials; the state of the budget; plans for the construction and maintenance of facilities, and so on. There are also copies of warrants, certificates of oath, and other legal records associated with school district business. MSN/EA 1505-1-B.

  • WILLIAM HOLMES DISABILITY CERTIFICATION. 1826. 1 document. A certification of the wounding of Thomas Holmes of the New London, Connecticut artillery company, by an accidental discharge during a ceremony honoring the memories of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. MSN/EA 1500-1.

  • RECORD BOOK OF THE FREE TEMPERANCE SOCIETY OF TURNER, 1833-1836. 1 vol., 26 cm., with 14 pages of manuscript. Contains the constitution, membership, and meeting minutes of a Maine temperance society. MSN/EA 10006-01.

Records - Middle Atlantic

  • REBECCA CADWALADER DICKINSON RECEIPT BOOK. 1788-1821. 1 vol., 11 x 17 cm.., 98 leaves, with 99 pages of entries in various hands; 21 additional manuscripts. A receipt book, with attendant loose manuscripts, of Rebecca Cadwalader Dickinson (1746-1821) of Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey. Rebecca Cadwalader was a daughter of the prominent physician Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, and second wife (m. 1804) of General Philemon Dickinson, commander of the New Jersey militia in the Revolution and later (1790-93) U.S senator. The book includes receipts for cash purchases made by Rebecca Cadwalader over some thirty years; many are for firewood, bought along the Delaware wharves; others are for corn or oats. There are also receipts for tax payments made by Cadwalader on a property in Philadelphia's Middle Ward. Individual entries may be in Cadwalader's hand or in the hand of the seller, though they are typically signed by the latter. MSN/EA 2101-1 to MSN/EA 2101-4; MSN/EA 2101-5-B.

  • DUNNING MCNAIR LAND DEED. 1806. 1 document. A deed of sale recording the transfer of two parcels of land from Oliver Ormsby to Dunning and Anne McNair, for the sum of $1400. The parcels are located on Front Street in the borough of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. With endorsements by McNair, by a judge of the county Court of Common Pleas, and by the county recorder. MSN/EA 2100-1-F2.

  • RECORD BOOK OF THE FIRST RIFLE REGIMENT, MARYLAND VOLUNTEERS. 1858-1861. 1 vol., 35 cm., with 46 pages of manuscript. Constitution, by-laws, and meeting minutes of an organization called the Regiment Association of Rifle Maryland Volunteers, whose membership consisted of officers of the various Maryland militia companies making up the 1st Rifle Regiment, Maryland Volunteers. MSN/EA 10005-01.

Records - Northwest

  • EBENEZER ARNOLD INDENTURES. 1804-1813. 2 documents. Two indentures, binding Ebenezer Arnold (b. 1796) to Dr. Leonard Jewett to learn "the Science of Medicine" (1804), and to Amos Grippen, as an apprentice blacksmith (1813). The manuscripts are from Washington and Athens counties, Ohio. MSN/EA 2600-1 to MSN/EA 2600-2.

  • COURT RECORDS, THE STATE OF OHIO VS. WILLIAM JORDAN AND JOHN D. DECKER. 1816. 6 documents. A small group of court records relating to The State of Ohio vs. William Jordan and John D. Decker, heard in the Champaign County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas in 1816. The two men, of Urbana, Champaign County, were accused (and convicted) of fighting a duel. The collection includes a memorandum on the case written by justice Nathaniel Pinckard; bonds of recognizance entered by each of the defendants; a presentment against the defendants, written by the prosecutor and signed by the foreman of the jury; and writs of attachment against the defendants. MSN/EA 2602-1 to MSN/EA 2602-6.

  • MAHONING PLANK ROAD COMPANY MINUTE AND RECORD BOOK. 1849-1863. 1 vol., 35 cm., 320 leaves, with 54 pages of manuscript entries in two secretarial hands. The Mahoning Plank Road Company was organized in 1849 and incorporated in 1851, "for the purpose of constructing a plank road from the town of Warren in Trumbull County [in northeast Ohio], to Canfield in Mahoning County, thence to the line of the Columbiana County… ." The records consist primarily of minutes from directors and stockholders meetings; these span the entire life of the company, from 1849 to 1863. These minutes detail the company's organization, the election of officers, the raising of capital, issuance of stock, route selection, the engagement of surveyors, the setting of tolls, and so on. From 1855, the minutes include yearly treasurers' reports with itemized lists of company debits and credits. Entries are in the hands of two company secretaries, John M. Edwards and William W. Whittlesey. MSN/EA 2601-1-B.

Records - South

  • MISSISSIPPI ESTATE AND BUSINESS RECORDS. 1821-1902 (bulk 1836-1872). 355 documents. About two-thirds of this collection consists of Hinds County, Mississippi probate records from the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras, pertaining to the settlement of 12 local estates. Notable among these are documents relating to the cases of William Demoss (d. 1845), John Raney (d. 1863), and Joseph Spengler (d. 1852). Among the remaining documents is an accumulation of 49 personal and business records of the Amite County planter Robert Patterson Smiley (1815-1877). MSN/EA 8201-1 to MSN/EA 8201-44. [Finding Aid]

  • DANIEL FARMER, JR., MILITIA COMMISSION. 1812. 1 document, partly printed. A document dated 6 July 1812, appointing Daniel Farmer, Jr., of Culpeper County ensign in the 5th Regiment Virginia Militia. The document is signed by Virginia governor James Barbour. MSN/EA 3200-1.

Records - Maritime

  • ALFRED WHITNEY LOGBOOK. 1830-1836. 1vol., 33 cm., 150 leaves, with 103 pages of manuscript in the author's hand. A volume containing logs of two separate voyages, kept by Alfred Whitney as first officer, and subsequently captain, of the commercial brig Pheasant of New York, and as captain of the brig Nestor of Bridgeport. Log entries for the Pheasant appear for most days from 8 February to 22 June and 10 to 24 July 1830. The Pheasant departed New York on 18 February bound for Bahia (in Brazil) and Buenos Aires, where she arrived on 21 May. On her return voyage, under Whitney, she was damaged in a storm off the River Plate and forced to put in to St. Catherine's (Brazil), where both the ship and its remaining cargo were sold at public auction. The log entries include the usual nautical particulars as well as actions of the ship's company and (when in port) details of the loading and unloading of stores and cargo. In addition to these daily entries, the volume contains the ship's accounts with fifteen officers and crew, as well as financial records pertaining to the sale of the Pheasant at St. Catherine's. There are also copies of five letters written by Whitney from 25 August to 30 October 1830, mostly to the ship's owners, George Douglass & Co. The second voyage chronicled in the volume took the brig Nestor, under Whitney, from Bridgeport to Demerara (now Guyana) and back. There are log entries for every day at sea (18 July to 17 August and 3 to 28 September, 1836), though there are no "civil" entries for time in port. MSN/EA 4702-1-B.

  • MERIDIAN LOGBOOK. 1839-1840. 1 vol., 33 cm., 36 leaves, with 70 pages of manuscript entries in a single hand. A logbook kept by an unidentified seaman aboard an American whaler, the brig Meridian (Capt. Ricketson), of Wareham, Massachusetts. Entries were made on a daily basis throughout Meridan's voyage, from 1 October 1839 to 27 July 1840. Meridian sailed west to the Canaries, south to Brazil, and home by way of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Entries include position, wind and weather, and information on navigation and activities aboard ship. The author also describes the sighting and killing of whales, and a near mutiny off the coast of Brazil (19 January 1840). MSN/EA 4704-1-B. [Finding Aid]

  • CORVO/ENTERPRISE LOGBOOK. 1840-1841. 1 vol., 34 cm., 20 leaves, with 37 pages of manuscript entries, mostly in a single hand. A logbook kept by an unidentified individual aboard the American whalers Corvo and Enterprise, off the southern coast of South America, in 1840-41. Entries begin in mid-voyage, and appear regularly from 6 October 1840 to 17 May 1841; they typically include the weather, longitude and latitude, and, on occasion, mention of the sighting and killing of whales. The keeper of the log was aboard Corvo from October to February, when he transferred to Enterprise in the Falkland Islands (both ships appear to have been owned by F. Pendleton Co. of Stonington, Connecticut). He returned to Corvo in April. The log breaks off as it began, with the vessel at sea. MSN/EA 4703-1-B. [Finding Aid]

  • BILLS OF LADING. 1853. 4 documents, partly printed. A group of four bills of lading itemizing goods transported in four separate voyages between America and Britain in 1853. MSN/EA 4700-1 to MSN/EA 4700-4.

  • RAVEN LOGBOOK. 1855-1856. 1 vol., 36 cm., 67 leaves, with 131 pages of entries, mostly in the hand of James G. Crocker. Logbook of a voyage of the extreme clipper ship Raven, with daily entries from 28 August 1855 to 13 June 1856. Under the command of Captain Josiah Crocker, Raven sailed east from Richmond, Virginia to Sydney, Australia (103 days); she then proceeded to Padang in Sumatra (37 days) before returning westward to New York (80 days). The log was kept by James G. Crocker, whose status is unidentified but who was very likely first officer. The log records the ship's speed in knots for each hour of the day, as well as the ship's course and the direction of the wind. In a "Remarks" column Crocker notes specifics of wind and weather, the putting on and taking off of sail, tasks performed by each watch, the loading and unloading of cargo, and many other matters besides. Folios 66r to 67r contain diagrams of the Raven's sails, drawn by her sailmaker, John Roberson. MSN/EA 4701-1-B.

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