Morgan Martin papers, 1645-1931.


Morgan Martin papers, 1645-1931.

Papers of a Wisconsin pioneer and land speculator who served in the Wisconsin Territorial Council, as Washington representative for Wisconsin Territory, president of the state constitutional convention, member of the state legislature, United States Army paymaster, Indian agent, and Brown County judge, including correspondence, diaries, accounts, land patents and other legal and business records, reminiscent articles by Martin, and reminiscences and a brief diary by Mrs. Martin. Business and personal correspondence, which forms the bulk of the collection, largely concerns legal problems, land grants and purchases, Indian affairs, the fur trade, governmental activities, and personal news. Among the early papers in the collection are a few relating to the fur trade, particularly the operations of the Abbott brothers, Samuel, James, and Robert, centering around Detroit and Mackinac, Michigan; controversies before the merger of fur companies in 1821; and the bankruptcy of the American Fur Company. Beginning with Martin's removal to Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1827 there are numerous business and legal papers relating to his work as an attorney for local and eastern clients, particularly as that of a collection agent. Legislative papers contain correspondence, 1845-1847, when he served as territorial representative in Washington, on Wisconsin problems such as land claims, mineral rights, pensions, appointments, elections, and internal improvements. Letters from constituents contain many references to Wisconsin politics. Letters during the Civil War describe his service as a United States army paymaster and after the Civil War deal with his problems as Indian agent for the Menominee, Stockbridge, and Oneida Indians and include comments on claims, annuities, and treaties. Correspondents include William Beaumont, Florimond Bonduel, Ramsay Crooks, Henry Dodge, George Dewey, Lucius Fairchild, Alexander J. Irwin, Andrew Jackson, James T. Lewis, Lucius Lyon, Philetus Sawyer, Horatio Seymour, John B. Sheldon, and Daniel Webster. Other papers contain information on the career of James D. Doty. Material on the Fox River Improvement Company includes correspondence with Hiram Barney, an Eastern investor in the company, some claims of Martin's against the state, and a few record books. After 1865, Martin's correspondence largely concerns the financial difficulties of the company and his efforts to meet his obligations which continued until his death. Martin was one of the promoters of the Bank of Wisconsin at Green Bay, Wisconsin and for a time its president. There are checks, notes, and drafts relating to this bank and to the Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank of Detroit, Michigan and letters by Henry Stringham, cashier of the Wisconsin bank, advising and commenting on banking practices. The development of the townsite of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is enlarged upon in communications from Solomon Juneau and others, and in records of sales of lots, tax receipts, and statements of accounts. References to Indian affairs are found in traders' claims, in a letter by George Boyd in 1841, and in some Stockbridge correspondence in the 1870s. Among miscellaneous subjects touched upon are Antimasonry in Michigan Territory, the organization of the Episcopal Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the building of the first Milwaukee, Wisconsin courthouse, lake transportation, and land sales in the Lake Michigan region. Personal papers include correspondence with relatives and friends in Martinsburgh, Lowville, and elsewhere in New York State, and scattered account books, 1836-1848. There are some reminiscent articles written by Martin towards the end of his life and a folder of rough drafts of reminiscences by Mrs. Martin. A group of letters, land patents, and other legal documents of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries relates to ancestors of Mr. and Mrs. Martin in the colony of New York prior to the American Revolution. Also present are diaries of Mrs. Martin (nee Elizabeth Smith) kept before and after her marriage. Letters from their son, Leonard Martin, describe the work and life of a surveyor of the Northern Pacific Railroad in Montana, 1871-1872. Letters, 1873-1874, received by Leonard concern his work as assistant engineer for the Fox River Improvement project of the U.S. government. The correspondence of daughters Deborah and Sarah Martin includes many letters pertaining to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and notes, biographical sketches, and genealogical data relating to Brown County, Wisconsin. Some papers also support the disputed claim of Mrs. Martin's brother, Admiral Melancton Smith, to credit the capture of the rebel ram Manassas while he was serving as captain of the warship Mississippi. The processed portion is summarized above and is described in the register. Additional accessions date 1825-1885 and are described below.

6.4 c.f. (15 archives boxes and 1 flat box) and.20 reels of microfilm (35 mm.); plusadditions of 0.8 c.f.

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