MS063: Melancthon E. Washburn Family Collection
Processed by: Stephen Light '05
The Melancthon E. Washburn Family Collection was donated anonymously in April of 1991.
Melancthon E. Washburn was born sometime during or around 1836, the son of Roswell (?) Washburn and Laura Cleveland (?). Washburn's mother died in 1839 and
Between January of 1858 and October of 1864, Washburn taught in the
following places: Federalton, Ohio; Cairo, Kentucky; Athens, Ohio;
Headquarters, Kentucky; Long Bottom, Ohio; Lebanon, Kentucky; Charleston,
(West) Virginia; Camp Piatt (West) Virginia; Mexico Missouri; Meredosia,
Illinois; and De Sota, Missouri. During the winter of 1862 and 1863 Washburn
was located in
In 1865 Washburn received employment as a U.S. Military Telegraph Operator
Scope and Content Notes:
The Melancthon E. Washburn Papers consist primarily of correspondence between Washburn and his family members during the Civil War period. While the letters date anywhere from 1857 to 1883, most of them fall into the 1861 to 1865 time frame. The collection also consists of a wide range of miscellaneous items, including newspaper clippings collected into scrapbooks, the diary of Melancthon's son William Washburn, wedding invitations, Confederate bonds and currency, and a public broadside advertising a slave auction.
The content of the letters cover a wide range of topics, such as the war, politics, daily life, and family news. The letters from Melancthon's father especially are a great source for understanding the hardships a subsistence farming family had to endure in the era. The letters also provide the unique perspective of a family loyal to the Democratic Party in the North and hostile to the idea of abolition and the Republican Government attempting to implement such a practice.
The scrapbooks contain articles focusing on a few different topics. Included
among other subjects in the first scrapbook are the assassination of Lincoln,