Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boots Family Collection

Crawfordsville's early history as a land grant office location ensured that thousands of settlers, itching to move west, would take up residence in Montgomery County. Many stayed only a short time before moving on further west, but left a record here as land patentees. The library recently received an unusually comprehensive collection of original documents that provide information about several local individuals, most of them members of the Boots family. 
Among the items received are land patents, dated 1830 and 1831, for Martin Bowers and Thomas McStrain, as well as a document appointing James F. Boots as Sergeant in the 20th Battery Mounted Artillery, Sept. 16, 1862. Indenture deeds and land documents were also given to the library, concerning individuals such as James and Martha Galloway, Leonard Stingley, Eli Boots, Jacob Boots, Rhoda Ann Royer, George and Sarah Smith, James Boots, Sarah Durham, Misnar Irwin, Margaret Irwin, Eli Connell, Thomas and Phebe McStrain. Other treasures include a program from Wesley Academy's 1862 program, and an original signed inscription written by Lew Wallace in the book, "Dedication of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park."

The original items have been added to our archival collection, and, if possible, will be digitized  and made available in the library's image database. Thank you to the donor of these documents, Boots family descendant Richard Williamson. CDPL deeply appreciates his generosity, which will help many future researchers of the Boots family lineage. 

Do you have something of local historical significance to add to our collection? Please call 765-362-2242 ext. 117. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Caleb Mills letter discovered

Caleb Mills, the pioneer educator and minister, has long been celebrated in his adopted hometown of Crawfordsville.  Although born in Dunbarton, New Hampshire in 1806, Mills was a long-term resident of Crawfordsville, and died here in 1879. Although Caleb Mills is nearly synonymous with Indiana pioneer education, once serving as the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, and integral to the development of Wabash College, the Crawfordsville District Public Library had never owned a manuscript written by Mills.

In March 2013, the library received a donation of an 1846 letter written to the American Home Missionary Society in New York, the exact details of which were unknown. Upon receipt, it was discovered that half of the single-sheet letter was written by a committee of churches in Boone County representing the Thorntown, Bethel, and Lebanon congregations. The other half contained a plea for additional support for the churches and endorsement of the current pastor that was penned by none other than the first faculty member of Wabash College, Caleb Mills.

The library is excited to add this manuscript item to the growing number of local history sources viewable at our library or from our website. Examine the local history The library welcomes donations of any manuscript materials relating to Montgomery County or its residents, and has a humidity-controlled, temperature-controlled archives to prolong the life of historical documents. Please contact the reference/local history department 765-362-2242 extension 117 if you have questions about donating items to the library’s local history collection.