MS 744 - Francis R. Stewart Papers
|Title||MS 744 - Francis R. Stewart Papers|
The Francis R. Stewart Papers consist of roughly .5 linear ft. of Civil War era diaries, a journal, correspondence, a regimental photograph, as well as a copy of a post-war speech by Stewart and miscellaneous other official papers, ranging in dates from 1861-1922.
The papers were donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections on September 24, 1997, with additional material added January 14, 1998, through the cooperation of Margaret Stewart Christiansen of Marblehead, Ohio. There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. The register was prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in September 1997, with revisions in January 1998.
Francis R. Stewart was born December 19, 1835 in Lycoming County, Pa., the eldest son of Thomas D. and Fanny Riddell Stewart. The family moved to Clinton Township, Seneca County, Ohio in 1838, where additional children were born.
Francis went to school in Seneca County and attended the Republic Academy, finally completing his education at Heidelberg College. After that, in 1858, he relocated to Fostoria, Ohio, where he taught school until 1861, at the start of the Civil War.
Enlisting as a private on Aug. 15, 1861 in Co.H of the 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for three years service, and he reenlisted at the end of that term of service for the duration of the war. He was wounded on Dec. 31, 1862 at the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee and twice during the Atlanta Campaign. He was appointed 1st Sergeant on April 4, 1863, and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on Oct. 31, 1863. Transferred to Co.K of the 49th O.V.I. on June 16, 1864, Francis was wounded near Atlanta, Ga. on July 23, 1864. He received additional promotions to 1st Lieutenant on August 11, 1864, for meritorious service at the Battle of Picket's Mill, and finally to Captain of Co.A on December 21, 1864. He mustered out with the Regiment on November 30, 1865, as a veteran.
After the War, Francis returned to Fostoria, where he became involved in the hardware business, first with John A. Bradner, and later with his brother John T., and C.L. Powell. He was active in fraternal organizations, including the Norris Post no.27 of the Grand Army of the Republic, in which he held positions including that of Commander and later Adjutant. He also served a one-year term as Mayor of Fostoria in 1869.
Stewart was also a member of the Fostoria Masonic Lodge, having been initiated as an Entered Apprentice Feb. 22, 1864, and holding other positions through the years. In addition, he was a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Fostoria Academy, and was an elder and founding member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he also taught Sunday School for fifty years.
On October 3, 1866 Francis married Roxanna Chamberlain DeWitt, daughter of John D. DeWitt, a pioneer of Seneca County. It should be noted that a series of correspondence between Roxanna and her cousin Augustus Bull is located in the Augustus Bull Collection (MS-649). Roxanna and Francis had a family of five children, Frank, Lee, Homer, Jesse, and Victor. After her death on April 27, 1890 in Fostoria, Ohio, Francis remarried twice more, to Mary D. Pugh, on August 4, 1891, who died in June of 1915, and on July 18, 1921 to Mrs. Catherine Brown.
A biographical sketch accompanying the diary can be found with the transcripts.
|Scope and Content|
The Francis R. Stewart Papers are a small collection of Civil War related correspondence, diaries and journals, primarily from the last year of the war, from an officer with the 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, from Fostoria, Ohio. Since Stewart was a schoolteacher before the war, his writing is clear, articulate and informative, including the typical observations about the weather and daily activities, as well as concise descriptions of troop movements and battles. Since his information was coming from the standpoint of an officer in the field, he provides authoritative summaries of events.
The series of correspondence in the collection consists primarily of letters received by Stewart from Mary Matilda (Tillie) Foreman, a family friend, living in the area of southern Wood County, Ohio, near Fostoria. Her letters cover the entire period of the war and mention events back in the Hancock, Wood, and Seneca County area, mutual friends, and activities of her brothers who also served in the war. Of particular interest in her letters is the description of her battle with consumption, especially the various treatments tried and considered, including the Water-Cure method. Her death, early in 1865, affected Stewart greatly and is mentioned in his journal. His letters to her were apparently all burned, as mentioned in the letter written by Nellie Foreman to Stewart April 29, 1865.
The first pocket diary, covering the period from June 5, 1864 to August 5, 1864, includes actions of the regiment around Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia as well as the beginning of the Siege of Atlanta. More significantly, the second diary, running from Aug, 6, 1864-Dec 18, 1864 carries the action all the way through to Nashville, and is balanced by the much more detailed entries from the journal.
Entries in the journal provide an expansion of the briefer remarks from the second diary, where there is some overlap in dates, especially elaborating on Stewart's feelings and his personal opinions regarding the political and military conduct of the war. Since the journal entries carry on through to April 1865, near the end of the War, there is more of a sense of continuity in the writing. More mention of individuals is also made in the journal, including the situation of Francis' brother Jim, who was serving with the 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Although it is not related to the Civil War, the speech dated July 12, 1888 is a unique glimpse into the intellectual life of Francis Stewart. Most probably delivered to a gathering of the Norris Post, G.A.R., it is clear that Stewart is very familiar with technological progress and refers to a number of inventions of his period. Even more fascinating is the way he extends the application of technology into the future, describing his vision of flying machines, telephones with visual capabilities, and even television. His enthusiastic attitude towards the ability of "Yankee ingenuity" and the possibilities of the future were probably very progressive for that period and makes the speech an interesting item.
The remaining items are mostly supporting, particularly the commission papers from Stewart's 1864 promotion to 1st Lieutenant. The fact that he maintained an active role in the Ohio National Guard in the period after the war is highlighted by his 1878 appointment as a Captain in the Foster Guards. While Stewart is the only individual identified in the group military photograph, it is presumed to be that of the officers of the 49th O.V.I.
CORRESPONDENCE - TILLIE FOREMAN
CORRESPONDENCE - F.R. STEWART
CIVIL WAR POCKET DIARIES
CIVIL WAR JOURNAL
MILITARY COMMISSION PAPERS
BOOKLET - HISTORY OF THE STEWART FAMIILY
Box 1Folder 1