Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Crawford mss., 1849-1864, consist of letters and papers of Medorem Crawford, 1819-1891, captain, Quartermaster's department, United States volunteers, and a member of the Oregon legislature.

Career: born, June 24, 1819, Orange county, New York: 1842, accompanied Elijah White to Oregon; 1845, moved from near Wheatland to Oregon City; 1847-1849, member of the Oregon provisional legislature; 1852, moved to farm in Yamhill county, Oregon; 1860 elected to Oregon House of representatives; 1862, appointed captain in U.S. army; 1862 and 1863 escorted emigrant trains across plains to Oregon; 1864, appointed collector of internal revenue for five years; 1871, appointed appraiser of customs at Portland for four years; died, December 26, 1891, at Dayton, Oregon; buried, Lafayette, Oregon.

Biographical information on Medorem Crawford may be found in Caroline C. Dobbs' Men of Champoeg (Portland, Oregon, 1932) pp. 157-159; and in the Transactions of the twenty- fifth annual reunion of the Oregon pioneer association for 1897 (Portland, Oregon, 1898), pp. 122-129.

This collection contains correspondence, 1849-1857, between Medorem Crawford in Oregon, his father, Samuel G. Crawford of Havana, New York, who emigrated to Oregon in 1862, and Medorem Crawford's brothers, Ronald C. and John D. Crawford in Oregon and LeRoy Crawford in Havana, New York. They relate to family affairs, conditions in Oregon, the influx of emigrants, and the California gold rush.

Included also is an overland diary of LeRoy Crawford, 1861, and a list of names of the member of that expedition; a diary of Medorem Crawford of a journey by boat from Oregon to New York by way of Panama and return to Oregon by overland trail from Omaha, Nebraska, conducting a military escort for the protection of emigrants, 1862; a copy of a letter from Medorem Crawford to Brigadier General Lorenzo Thomas, adjutant general of the U.S. army, November 30, 1862, explaining Crawford's report of the 1862 overland journey; and 48 vouchers for expenditures on that trip. The 1862 diary of Medorem Crawford has been partially published (June 16, - Oct. 15, 1862) as Journal... in 37th Congress. 3rd Session. Ex Doc. No. 17 (Lilly F593.1 .C85).

Collection size: 88 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.