Rapp-Idleman Family Papers, 1861-1883

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: Rapp-Idleman family

Title: Papers, 1861-1883

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

Size of Collection: 0.66 cubic feet

Locator Number: Mss. A R221

Scope and Content Note

The collection largely consists of letters written by their siblings and close friends to William Rapp and Clara Idleman Rapp during the Civil War and the post-war years up to 1883. Two of William’s brothers served in Ohio infantry regiments and their letters describe daily military life and movements and engagements of their regiments. A third brother living in Terre Haute, Ind., and San Francisco, Calif., writes of personal experiences in those cities and events occurring between 1861 and 1883. William kept a diary during 1864 in which he describes daily life in the 121 st Ohio Infantry Regiment and early engagements of the Atlanta Campaign. Other Ohio soldiers in Union regiments write to Clara, a number of whom are apparently courting her. After the war, several relatives and friends write to Clara, relating family events and activities related to Smithville Academy, a teacher preparatory school in Ohio. Clara kept a diary during 1870, in which she describes daily family events, chronic personal health problems and teaching activities.

Separation Note: Tintypes from this collection have been transferred to the photo department.

Biographical Note

William C. Rapp was born in July 1844 in Wurtemberg, in what is now Germany. He and several brothers and sisters immigrated to the U.S., probably in the early 1850s and presumably with their parents. They settled in Marion County, Ohio. William enlisted in the 121st Ohio Infantry Regiment in August 1862. In the Atlanta Campaign, he was wounded in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (June 1864) and spent the rest of the war recuperating in military hospitals. After being discharged in April 1865, he moved to Richland County, Ill. and became a storekeeper. By 1871, he had returned to Marion County and married Clara R. Idleman. Clara was born in Marion County, 7 April 1847, the daughter of S. and C. A. Idelman. . She had one sister, Lydia, and two brothers, Will and Cicero. She attended Smithville Academy in Ohio and became a schoolteacher. She and William had one child, a son, Orlando. Clara had a long history of health problems and by 1873 her health had markedly deteriorated. She died 8 Jan. 1874 at the age of 26, presumably from tuberculosis. In 1883, William was remarried to Ida M. Walters, a 32 year-old widow with 3 children. William died between 1900 and 1910.

Jacob J. Rapp, William’s older brother, was born ca. 1837. In 1861, he was in the newspaper circulation business in Terre Haute, Ind. By 1866, he had moved to San Francisco, Calif, where he held numerous jobs, primarily as a rooming house clerk. Another brother, George David, enlisted in the 4th Ohio Infantry Regiment in 1861, serving as corporal. A fourth brother, Louis Frederick, was born ca. 1839 and enlisted as a private in the 82nd Ohio Infantry Regiment in 1861. Little is known regarding a fifth brother, John. There were at least 3 sisters, Margaret Rapp Yager (Jaeger), Caroline Rapp Franklin and Elizabeth (Lib) Rapp Myers.

Folder List

Folder 1: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; 1861

Folder 2: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; January – April 1862

Folder 3: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; May – November 1862

Folder 4: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; 1863 – 1865

Folder 5: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; 1866 – June1868

Folder 6: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; July 1868 – 1869

Folder 7: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; 1870 – 1883

Folder 8: Correspondence to William C. Rapp; undated

Folder 9: Correspondence to Clara Idleman Rapp; 1862 – 1865

Folder 10: Correspondence to Clara Idleman Rapp; 1866 – 1868

Folder 11: Correspondence to Clara Idleman Rapp; 1869 – June 1870

Folder 12: Correspondence to Clara Idleman Rapp; July 1870 – 1871

Folder 13: Correspondence to Clara Idleman Rapp; 1872 – 1873

Folder 14: Correspondence to Clara Idleman Rapp; undated

Folder 15: Miscellaneous correspondence

Folder 16: William C. Rapp diary, 1864 – 1865

Folder 17: Clara Idleman Rapp diary, 1870-71

Folder 18: Business, tax documents, Confederate currency etc.

Folder 19: Miscellaneous Civil War era poems, one by Pvt. W. C. Rapp

Folder 20: Dance, wedding invitations; teaching certificate, newspaper clippings etc.

Folder 21: Oversize documents: annual newspaper greetings to subscribers; advertisements by Civil War bounty, claims agents

Subject Headings

Atlanta Campaign, 1864

Bounties, Military – United States


Confederate States of America. Army. Morgan’s Cavalry Division


Eye – Diseases

Georgia – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

Indiana – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

Indiana – Newspapers

Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875 – Political and social views

Kennesaw Mountain, Battle of, Ga., 1864


Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 – Death and burial


Love poetry, American

McDowell, Battle of, McDowell, Va., 1862

Migration, Internal – United States

Military pensions – United States – Civil War, 1861-1865

Money – Confederate States of America

Ohio – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

Ohio – Newspapers

Ohio. Union Light Guard (1863-1866)

Payne, Lewis, 1845-1865

Psychiatric hospitals – Ohio

Railroads – United States

San Francisco (Calif.) – Description and travel

Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872 – Assassination attempt, 1865

Silver mines and mining – Nevada

Smithville Academy (Smithville, Ohio)


South Carolina – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

Teachers – Education – Ohio – History – 19th century

Terre Haute (Ind.) – Description and travel

United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

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

United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – Destruction and pillage – South Carolina

United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – German Americans

United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865 – Health aspects

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

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

United States. Army – Military life – History – 19th century

United States. Army – Pay, allowances, etc

United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 4th (1861- 1865)

United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 82nd (1861-1865)

United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 121st (1862-1865)

Virginia – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

War poetry, American

West Virginia – History – Civil War, 1861-1865

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