MS 446 mf - William Gorrill Collection
|Title||MS 446 mf - William Gorrill Collection|
The William Henry Gorrill Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in November 1985, with the cooperation of R. Bruce Way, Tiffin, Ohio. Additions to the collection have been made periodically since 1985, with the continued assistance of Mr. Way, as well as that of Marion Gorrill and William Gorrill Swigert of California. The collection, which dates predominately from 1857 to 1923, consists largely of correspondence, diaries, and photographs documenting Gorrill's activities as a lawyer in Wood County; his trip West and settlement in Oakland, California; his marriage to Addie Walker; and his death from tuberculosis in 1874.
No restrictions exist on the use of this collection for research purposes. The collection was processed and finding aid prepared by Ann Bowers in June 1989.
William Henry Gorrill was born in Bowling Green, Ohio, on January 30, 1841, to William and Sarah (Morse) Gorrill. He attended law school at the University of Michigan and graduated in 1862. He worked for a short time in the office of Asher Cook and then formed a partnership with Edward Bissell of Toledo, Ohio. Because of failing health brought on by tuberculosis, he traveled west in 1869 and eventually settled in Oakland, California. To help fund the trip West, he wrote extensive letters which were published in the Toledo Commercial and Toledo Blade about his travels which included observations on the land and its inhabitants. On December 12, 1871, he married Adelaide Walker, whom he had met while in Toledo. They had three children: one son, William Henry, and twin daughters, Addie and Carrie. While in California, he worked as a contracting agent for the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio; he then formed, with his brother Charles, the Pacific Bridge Company. He served as its President until his death on September 12, 1874.
|Scope and Content|
The William Henry Gorrill Papers are an extremely valuable resource which provide documentation on Wood county, the legal profession, travels through the West, and life on the west coast during the 1850s through the mid 1870s. William Henry was a prolific and witty writer as well as a keen observer of both human nature and the physical environment. Perhaps because of his failing health, he lived each day to the fullest he could and richly documented, through his letters and diaries, all of his activities.
William Henry Gorrill's correspondence comprises the bulk of this collection, with the largest series being his letters to Addie Walker Gorrill, 1865-1874. In these letters he discusses his daily life, political views, court cases, his trip west and settlement in California, the establishment of the Pacific Bridge Company, and his courtship of Addie and subsequent marriage. He also writes extensively and on similar topics to his brother Charles (1870-1872), his sister Jennie (1865-1871), and the wife of his law partner, Sarah Bissell (1869-1873). More scattered correspondence exists between Addie and other family members, and Charles Gorrill with his sisters and brothers.
Located both with the correspondence and in the clipping scrapbooks are the published letters William H. wrote while traveling west in 1869. These letters provide detailed observations of his trip, including various means of transportation he utilized, descriptions of the land, the climate, and the various communities through which he passed, and his views of the settlers, emigrants, and the Indians. Of interest to note is that both his public and private views are available to the researcher through this extensive correspondence.
Adding still more observations and detail to the information located within his letters, are the entries in his diaries, which date from 1867 to 1870, and 1874. Although sometimes difficult to read, his entries provide details similar to those documented in his letters as well as the prices of various commodities. Occasionally he draws pictures in the diaries; especially true within the 1869 diary documenting the trip west.
Also included in this collection are photographs of the Gorrill family and various relatives; scrapbooks in which he kept clippings from local newspapers (mostly poems and humorous items); a few of his legal writings and a July 4, 1865 speech given at Bowling Green, Ohio; and legal papers from his estate as well as that of Lewis Walker.
Photocopies of most of the letters and diaries have been made to enhance the legibility of the writing.
ADDIE (WALKER) GORRILL CORRESPONDENCE
WILLIAM H. GORRILL CORRESPONDENCE
WILLIAM H. GORRILL PUBLISHED LETTERS
CHARLES GORRILL CORRESPONDENCE
BRIDGE COMPANY PAPERS
WRITINGS AND SPEECHES OF WILLIAM H. GORRILL
DIARIES OF WILLIAM H. GORRILL
DIARY OF CHARLES GORRILL
SCRAPBOOKS AND CLIPPINGS
|Order of Microfilming|