MS 393 - The Belkofer Family Letters: Carter/Martin/Morgan Families (Kelley's Island, Ohio)
|Title||MS 393 - The Belkofer Family Letters: Carter/Martin/Morgan Families (Kelley's Island, Ohio)|
The correspondence of the Carter/Martin/Morgan Families of Kelley's Island, Ohio, span the years 1851 to 1892 and include thirty letters between the relatives of these families. The letters express the trials and triumphs of 19th century life in America.
The collection was loaned to the Center for Archival Collections for photocopying in September 1984 by Sandra Belkofer, a relative of the families in question, whose name has been used to identify the collection. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purpose of preservation and scholarly research. Ms. Belkofer had requested that one letter dated January 31, 1864 not be made public until January 1, 1994 and in honoring the request this letter remained sealed until that time. The transcriptions and notes for the register were prepared by Amy Jones in September 1988. The final register was completed by Susan Irwin in July 1992, with revisions by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in October 1992, and February 1994
There is little biographical information available. No biographical information was found in any of the Erie County histories, but some of the names do appear in the Erie County Probate Court Death Records. Whether or not these are the same individuals as those found in the letters is not known. The names Carter, Martin and Morgan are well known in the history of Kelley's Island and it is possible that these families are somehow connected. The Martin family was one of the early landowners on the island. Some names mentioned in the letters include other resident families, such as the Webb Family, which ran a quarry operation, and the McGettigan Family. Kate Clemons, a correspondent of one letter, was probably Catherine McCann Clemons, wife of Milo Herbert Clemons of Marblehead.
|Scope and Content|
The Belkofer Family Letters consist of thirty letters from the Carter, Martin, and Morgan Families who were all associated with Kelley's Island, Ohio. The collection's name comes from the donor who is a relative of the authors of the letters. The letters range in date from 1851 to 1892, as well as some which are undated or whose dates are difficult to read.
The letters give insight into the struggles and successes of a family living during the 19th century. Many of their problems correspond with those we face today: births, deaths, illness, financial problems, family relationships, and specific to this collection, the struggle to build a farm in Missouri. Also expressed in the letters of J.F. Martin (Sept. 8, 1863 and Jan 31, 1864 from London, Ontario) is concern about being drafted during the Civil War, with reference to a visit by Vallandigham to Canada. One learns general things about life at this time; the prices of store bought items, the entertainments that people took part in, what sorts of jobs and careers people worked at and what they were like, etc. There are several receipts interfiled with the letters, which give the actual prices for several different items.
Overall this collection gives one insight into the everyday life of an American family. Unfortunately some of the materials are undated, and even though an attempt has been made to transcribe some of the less legible letters, the handwriting is still sometimes difficult to read and only photocopies of the letters are available.
Box 1, Folder 1
Box 1, Folder 2
Box 1, Folder 3
Box 1, Folder 4