Boyer-Castleman Family Papers, 1837-1901

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Boyer-Castleman family

Title:  Papers, 1837-1901

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection:  .66 cu. ft.

Location Number:  Mss. A B791

Scope and Content Note

The Boyer-Castleman family portion of this collection covers the years 1837 to 1870.  The earliest papers in the collection, which date from 1837 to 1849, document the business activities of Alfred Z. Boyer, Sr. and matters related to his estate. Subsequent letters to his widow, Zerelda, contain consolations on the death of her husband, family news and brief references to family slaves, the funeral of President Andrew Jackson and the Mexican War. These early papers also include an 1837 letter from Sarah Taylor Castleman to her mother.

The bulk of the collection consists of letters received by Martha Peyton Castleman of Lexington from family and friends. One of her most colorful correspondents is Reuben Oliver of Louisville, who wrote lively accounts of his interest in politics, literature and the theater. However, the majority of these items are courtship letters she received from Alfred Zeler Boyer, Jr. between 1857 and 1864. Boyer’s letters touch on a multitude of subjects, including but not limited to, social life in Frankfort and Louisville, Ky., his business activities and travels, church going, the theater, health and his great affection for Peyton. With the outbreak of the Civil War, his letters reveal his transition from a Union man to a Southern sympathizer. An officer in Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry, Boyer’s 1863 letters concern his capture in Louisville and confinement in the Louisville Military Prison upon charges of being a spy. Following his 1864 release, which was facilitated by President Lincoln, Boyer writes about his return to business pursuits in Kentucky.  Also present are letters to both Peyton and her father from her brother, Bushrod T. “Bush” Castleman, a Confederate soldier who writes about his 1862 capture at Fort Donelson, Tenn. and his subsequent capture during Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s 1863 Ohio raid.  Miscellany in the collection consists of: an undated medical prescription, an invitation to an 1859 ball, a clothing invoice and a family record listing the names and dates of birth of A. Z. and Peyton’s children.

The remainder of the collection consists of the papers of the Gleason family of Claremont, New Hampshire which cover the years 1861 to 1901. No connection between these families could be determined beyond the fact that their papers were deposited in the same collection and members of both families resided in Jacksonville, Florida. The collection includes the 1861 marriage record of Timothy A. Gleason (1839-1884) to Cleora A. Tribou, as well as correspondence related to his tenure as a local postmaster in the early 1870s. Also present are the letters of his brother Charles Wistar Gleason (1826-1875) to their mother, Elizabeth Putnam Gleason. Written in late 1874-early 1875, these letters discuss Charles’ plans to sell his business in Centerville, California and travel to Mexico, Hawaii, and Japan.   Also present are the papers of Timothy Gleason’s daughter, Hattie Gertrude Gleason (1863-1939). Following her marriage to Charles Davies circa 1892, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida where she was employed as a music teacher. In addition to music program materials and a recipe book, her papers include a 1901 letter from Mabelle W. Blackman Hudson, the postmistress of Pago Pago, Samoa.


Biographical Note

The son of Alfred Zeler Boyer, Sr. and Zerelda McCoy Boyer (1816-1855), A. Z. Boyer, Jr. was born in Lexington, Ky. in 1836. His father, a boot and shoe merchant, subsequently moved to Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky, where he died in 1846. Two years later Zerelda married Robert C. McKee. A. Z., his brothers, Henry, James, and John as well as their sister, Isabella “Belle” were afterwards raised by their mother and step-father in the capital.

About the year 1857, A. Z. began to correspond with Martha Peyton Castleman (1836-1900), the daughter of Charles W. Castleman (ca. 1809-1881) and Sarah Elizabeth Taylor Castleman (ca. 1809-1895) of Lexington, Ky. A brother, Bushrod Taylor “Bush” Castleman (1839-1918) was a Confederate officer in Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s command during the Civil War. After a lengthy courtship, A. Z., who also served as an officer in Morgan’s cavalry, married Peyton in 1864. They afterwards raised a family in Lexington where A. Z. was employed in the Insurance business. The family relocated to Louisville, Ky. by 1880 and prior to 1890 moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Following their deaths in Florida, A. Z. and Peyton were buried in the Lexington, Ky. Cemetery.

Beyond their mutual residence in Jacksonville, Florida there is no other apparent connection between the Gleason-Davies and the Boyer-Castleman families. The son of Timothy S. Gleason (1789-1843) and Elizabeth Putnam Gleason (1804-1877) of Claremont, New Hampshire, Charles Wistar Gleason (1826-1875) was a merchant who died and is buried in Centerville, California. His brother Timothy A. Gleason (1839-1884) married Cleora A. Tribou (1845-1896) in Claremont, New Hampshire in 1861. A daughter Hattie Gertrude Gleason (1863-1939) married Charles Davies circa 1892. They subsequently made their home in Jacksonville, Florida where she was employed as a music teacher.


Folder List

Folder 1: Correspondence, 1837-1847.

Folder 2: Correspondence, 1848-1855.

Folder 3: Correspondence, 1857.

Folder 4: Correspondence, Jan.-June, 1858.

Folder 5: Correspondence, July-Dec., 1858.

Folder 6: Correspondence, Jan.-June, 1859.

Folder 7: Correspondence, July-Sept., 1859.

Folder 8: Correspondence, Oct.-Dec., 1859.

Folder 9: Correspondence, Jan.-March, 1860.

Folder 10: Correspondence, April-June, 1860.

Folder 11: Correspondence, July-Sept., 1860.

Folder 12: Correspondence, Oct.-Dec., 1860.

Folder 13: Correspondence, Jan.-June, 1861.

Folder 14: Correspondence, July-Sept., 1861; Feb.-April, 1862.

Folder 15: Correspondence, March-Aug., 1863.

Folder 16: Correspondence, Sept.-Nov. 1863.

Folder 17: Correspondence, Jan.-April; Aug., 1864.

Folder 18: Correspondence, Undated.

Folder 19: Miscellaneous, 1859-1870.

Folder 20: Miscellaneous Envelopes.

Folder 21: Gleason-Davies Family Correspondence, 1874-1901.

Folder 22: Gleason-Davies Family Miscellaneous, 1861, Undated.


Subject Headings

Abolitionists – United States.

African Americans – Religion.

African Americans – Social life and customs.

American literature – 19th century.

Anderson, Robert, 1805-1871.

Baltimore (Md.) – History – Civil War, 1861-1865.

Bell, J. F. (Joshua Fry), 1811-1870.

Bowles, James William, 1837-1921.

Boyer, Alfred Zeler, Sr. d. 1846

Boyer, Alfred Zeler, 1836-1892.

Boyer, Martha Peyton Castleman, 1836-1900.

Breckinridge, John C. (John Cabell), 1821-1875.

Bremer, Frederika, 1801-1865.

Brewster, Benjamin Harris, 1816-1888.

Buckner, Simon Bolivar, 1823-1914.

Business enterprises – Kentucky – Louisville.

Castleman family.

Clothing and dress – Missouri – St. Louis

Confederate States of America. Army. Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, 2nd

Confederate States of America. Army. Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, 8th.

Confederate States of America. Army. Kentucky Infantry Regiment, 2nd.

Courtship – Kentucky.

Cowell, Sam, 1820-1864.

Crab Orchard (Ky.)

Cragin, Aaron H., 1821-1898.

Craik, James, 1806-1882.

Crimean War, 1853-1856.

Crittenden, Elizabeth Moss, 1805-1873.

Cushing, Caleb, 1800-1879.

Dean, Julia, 1830-1868.

Death – Social aspects – United States.

Delaware – History – Civil War, 1861-1865.

Ellsworth, E. E. (Elmer Ephraim), 1837-1861.

English literature – 19th century.

Fort Donelson, battle of, Tenn.1862.

Frankfort (Ky.) – Social life and customs.

Gleason family.

Gleason, Charles Wistar, 1826-1875.

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