The Draper Manuscripts

The Draper Manuscripts are a collection of personal papers of noted American frontiersmen and correspondence between Lyman C Draper and many early settlers of the American frontier.  The collection covers the American history of the western frontier between 1740 and 1810.  Lyman C Draper started his collection of personal papers and correspondence with the frontier settlers or their closest living relatives in the 1830′s.  The collection is the best original source material of the time.  The papers and letters are owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society.


The Draper Manuscripts have been indexed and copied to microfilm.  The Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) research library in Carlisle, PA has one copy.  Of special interest to me are the NN series entitled “Pittsburg and Northwest Virginia”.  In the NN series of the collection, Lyman C Draper and Adam Poe exchanged several letters between 1849 and 1852.  Adam Poe was the son of Andrew Poe.  Andrew and his brother Adam were the Poe brothers who engaged the Wyandot war party in a battle to death along the Ohio River.   The letters of Adam Poe are transcribed to the best of my ability on the following pages:


Ltr Adam Poe 6 Jany 1849

Ltr Adam Poe 22 Mar 1849

Ltr Adam Poe 15 May 1852


The first letter dated 6 Jan 1849 includes a wonderful rendition of the hand-to-hand combat between Andrew Poe and the Indian chief Bigfoot.  The subsequent letters answer additional questions and correct some misinformation on the first letter.


Rather than scan copies of the original source letters, I transcribed the pages with spelling, grammar, punctuation unchanged.  From the style of his writing, Adam Poe, author of the letters, was a well educated man.  When troubled by indecipherable words, the able reference staff of AHEC came to my rescue.  For example, a word I thought spelled “seral” with staff assistance became feral which today would be spelled ferrule.


Copyright © 2012 Francis W Nash
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