I am researching Jesse Newell for a preservation project in Oskaloosa, Kansas, and came across a mention of Mr. Newell in a Cecilia Sherman letter in your article for archipelago.org. I had never seen this reference before and was delighted to have found something new about Mr. Newell, as many of us have read over and over the same references from Cutler’s, from Annals of Oskaloosa, etc. I checked with the Kansas State Historical Society reference division and they did not find this letter, although I know they have other related letters and items. I would like to include the reference from your letter in the work we are putting together about Mr. Newell and, thus, seek your permission to cite your letter. May I use portions of the letter mentioning Mr. Newell, please, crediting the source in whatever way you deem correct?
Thanks very much,
I’m so happy you found Cecilia Sherman’s letters on Archipelago. She was my great-great grandmother. I was named for her adopted daughter, who donated those letters to the Library of Congress, where I found them in the late 1990s in the John Sherman collection. Please feel free to cite them and the article. I’ll be interested to learn about Mr. Newell and would love to see your paper when it’s done. All best.
Many, many thanks for your help, both here and through that other social network medium. I forgot to check here for a response and am doubly grateful for the information you have shared. First, my “research” is not bound for a paper, really, it is supporting a just-begun effort to preserve a tiny limestone summer kitchen — that’s what we are calling it for now, it likely was lived in and later was a storage outbuilding — that sits on what we recently figured out was Jesse Newell’s homestead acre in Oskaloosa, Jefferson County. We do not know if Jesse Newell or a subsequent owner (15 years later) built the little stone building, but the site was his homestead acre in the town that he and a Joseph Fitzsimons laid out in July 1856, barely two months after Jesse Newell’s travel visa experience was described by your great-great grandmother. We also are quite certain that Jesse Newell built the original part of the wood-frame house that stands on the property. So. What we have all read over and over again is that in September 1856 Jesse Newell was captured (dragged by a rope and hung, but cut loose before life had “expired,” as the various accounts go) by a pack of flag-carrying South Carolinians who were headed from Lecompton toward Atchison. The oft-cited accounts next report that Newell subsequently found the free-state forces also moving in the vicinity and told them where to find the South Carolinians in what is now Jefferson County. The accounts vary slightly about his riding a mare, riding the mare bareback, the mare was grey, the mare was old… to alert the forces, so you can imagine our delight at reading the life-giving details from your great-great grandmother’s letter. We have called out retirees, empty-nesters, land title experts and sixth-generation Newells (some of whom still farm just a few miles from Mr. Newell’s homestead) to gather information and we will be sure to check the library you told us about. Thank you, again, and I’m happy to let you know how our research goes. We will have to put all our findings into some kind of report some day, and we will send it your way (with all credit to the letter, its source and its current holder).
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