Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Kirkman mss., 1836-1875, are papers of Joseph J. Kirkman, 1809-1879, farmer, businessman, sheriff of Gibson County, Indiana. Included are papers relating to the flatboat trade; a butcher's account book, June 27, 1838-Feb. 1, 1841; bills for merchandise purchased by Kirkman, June 15, 1846-November 23, 1875, from Devin & Franch, Lewis Evans & Co., George N. Jerauld, James Thomas Embree, administrator of the estate of Joseph Devin, G. B. & S. J. Bingham and J. Jennings; some Civil War letters; a group of deeds of land and land grants in Gibson County; some papers of Samuel Hall; and other miscellaneous papers.

The flatboat papers consist of letters, 1846-1850, written by Kirkman by Joseph Devin, merchant of Gibson County, who sent a large number of flatboats to the New Orleans market in the years 1832 to 1850, dealing with the flatboat business, and two statements of accounts rendered to Kirkman, May 28 and June 11, 1847, by Martin & Stockwell of New Orleans for the sale of produce received by flatboat.

The Civil War letters, June 23, 1862-November 2, 1864, are from Robert Featherstone at Batesville, Arkansas, William Snow, John Watkins, George D. Kirkman, John Orr, Samuel Blacketer, and John R. Brazelton, the last 5 serving with the 24th Indiana volunteers. Included also is the discharge of John Watkins, Dec. 31, 1863, from that regiment, signed by John F. Grill, major.

Among the land grants is one to William Howe, August 1, 1837, signed Martin Van Buren by Abraham Van Buren, secretary, and three grants, October 15, 1853, and June 18, 1856, to Joseph Devin and Joseph J. Kirkman signed by Joseph A. Wright, governor of Indiana.

The miscellaneous papers include a partnership agreement, April 5, 1849, for the raising of hogs in Gibson County between Kirkman and James Goodman; Kirkman's commission as sheriff of Gibson County, Aug. 21, 1850, signed by Joseph A. Wright, governor of Indiana; excise tax receipts to Kirkman, 1864 and 1865; a letter of Aug 1, 1873, from J. T. and G. A. Coolidge of Evansville asking for aid in meeting a financial obligation; and two pardons, Sept. 17, 1840, to Matthew Tibits and Samuel McAfee, convicted of robbery in Gibson County, signed by David Wallace, governor of Indiana.

All of the mss. of this collection are in a folio box.

Collection size: 50 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.