Newell Family Papers, 1846-1884 

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: Newell family

Title: Papers, 1846-1884

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

Size of Collection: 0.33 cu. ft.

Location Number: Mss. A N544

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists primarily of correspondence sent among the related Newell and Delano families from 1846-1884. The bulk of the collection dates to the Civil War with much of the correspondence sent from soldiers while stationed near Memphis, Tennessee or Vicksburg, Mississippi during the siege of Vicksburg. The soldiers often write of camp conditions, their health, and at times speculate on the end of the war. Civilian family members write of town happenings in the cities of Worthington, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky, where the Newell and Delano families respectively resided.

Folder 1 consists of a letter sent to Joseph Newell in 1878 from an attorney offering his services to file a claim on behalf of Newell for 160 acres of land given to each soldier of the Civil War.

Folder 2 consists primarily of correspondence written by Ransom H. Newell to his sister Lydia. In the letters Ransom writes of his experiences in the army including his time in camp at Fort Pickering in Memphis, Tennessee. Ransom often writes of disease, mentioning measles specifically, and speculates on when he will be able to return home and when the war will end. Also included is a photo believed to be of Ransom H. Newell, an oath with the Confederacy signed while a prisoner of war in which Ransom agreed not to take up arms against the Confederate States again, and a letter from the Adjutant General’s Office announcing his death.

Folder 3 contains a letter from John W. Newell to his brother Ransom H., and a document from the Adjutant General of Ohio announcing John’s death.

Folder 4 includes letters from Lydia Newell, many of which appear to be addressed to her brother Ransom. In the letters, Lydia writes of her father’s farming mentioning planting briefly, and happenings in the town and gossip. She relays details of a church picnic as well as an encounter between John and “old Mrs. Ruth” in which he drew his pistol and called her a traitor.

Folder 5 contains correspondence between the Newell family and the related Delano family of Louisville, Kentucky. Letters include discussion of general family matters including imploring each other to visit, discussing casualties of war and offering condolences.

Folder 6 contains letters from two Civil War soldiers, George McFarland to Lydia Newell, and from Flavel Benedict to a “Mr. Musk.” Both letters mention being in the vicinity of Vicksburg, Mississippi. George McFarland’s letter mentions taking prisoners, and General Grant allowing women and children to be evacuated from Vicksburg, while Flavel Benedict mentions the conditions of camp and his reaction to seeing destruction caused by the Union Army.

Folder 7 contains miscellaneous empty envelopes.

Folder 8 contains miscellaneous materials, including a newspaper clipping with a poem commemorating soldiers, and a scrap of paper on which is written the birth, death and muster dates of Ransom Newell.


Biographical Note

 The Newell family resided in Worthington, Franklin, Ohio and according to the 1860 census consisted at the time of the couple Joseph (born about 1816-1892) and Mary Delano Newell and their children, Lydia (1842-1904), Harrison (1844-1863), John W. (about 1846-1863), Edgar (born about 1855-), Mary (born about 1856-), and Dennis (born about 1858-). The census lists both Joseph and Harrison as farmers. Harrison Newell, also known as Ransom Harrison Newell, enlisted in Company D, Ohio 95th Infantry regiment on August 18, 1862 and served until his death in Webster General Hospital in Memphis Tennessee on July 7, 1863. John W. Newell enlisted in the Ohio 22nd Light Artillery on November 25, 1862 and later died of disease September 24, 1863 in Crab Orchard Kentucky.

Mary Delano Newell is likely the sister of Ransom Delano, who resided in Louisville, Kentucky with wife Amanda Delano. Their children are listed in the 1860 census as Othello (1846-1932), and Harriet (about 1859-). Harriet is likely “Hallie” Delano whose letters to cousin Lydia are included in the collection. Ransom and Amanda Delano’s son Othello Delano enlisted in Company E, Kentucky 28th Infantry Regiment on January 23, 1862 and survived the war to muster out of service on December 14, 1865.


Folder List

Box 1

Folder 1: Joseph Newell correspondence, 1878

Folder 2: Ransom Newell correspondence and photo, 1862-1863, 1884

Folder 3: John W. Newell correspondence, 1863, 1884

Folder 4: Lydia C. Newell correspondence, 1863-1868

Folder 5: Delano family correspondence to Newell family, 1846, 1862-1880

Folder 6: Letters of Civil War soldiers, 1862-1863

Folder 7: Empty envelopes

Folder 8: Miscellaneous


Subject Headings

Benedict, Flavel, 1839-1865.

Delano family.

Delano, Othello, b. ca. 1846.

Fort Pickering (Tenn.)

McFarland, George W., 1839-1904.

Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.

Louisville (Ky.)


Memphis (Tenn.)

Newell, John W., ca. 1846-1863.

Newell, Joseph, ca. 1816-1892.

Newell, Lydia C., 1842-1904.

Newell, Ransom H. (Ransom Harrison), 1844-1863

Soldiers – Health and hygiene – United States – History – 19th century.

United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 95th (1862-1865). Company D

United States. Army. Ohio Light Artillery Regiment, 22nd (1863-1865)

United States. Army. Kentucky Infantry Regiment, 28th (1861-1865)

United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865.

United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – Prisoners and prisons.

Vicksburg (Miss.)

Worthington, (Ohio) – Social life and customs – 19th century.

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