Collection ID: LMC 1729
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Collection context


The Meigs mss., 1794–1831, cpnsists of letters and papers of Return Jonathan Meigs, 1764–1825, governor of Ohio, United States senator, and postmaster general during the administrations of Presidents James Madison and James Monroe.
85 Items (1 box; 1 folio)
Materials are in English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Meigs mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Return Jonathan Meigs, 1764–1825, was born, November 17, 1764, in Middleton, Connecticut, the son of Joanna (Winborn) and Return Jonathan Meigs. Meigs graduated from Yale College in 1785. He studied law and was admitted to the Connecticut bar. He married Sophia Wright in 1788 and moved to Marietta, Ohio, in 1788. On February 12, 1798, he was appointed one of the judges of the Ohio territorial government. Meigs was elected to the Ohio territorial legislature in 1799. He served as chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, 1801–Oct. 1804. On October 1, 1804, Meigs was appointed commandant of United States troops and militia in the St. Charles district of Louisiana. Meigs was appointed a judge in Louisiana Territory March 11, 1805. He returned to Ohio and was called to Richmond, Virginia, on business relating to Aaron Burr's trial. He transferred to serve as a judge in Michigan Territory, April 2, 1807, a position from which he resigned to run for governor of Ohio. He was elected governor but declared ineligible because of long absence from state. He served in the United States Senate from December 12, 1808–May 1, 1810. He was then governor of Ohio, 1810–March 1814. Meigs became United States postmaster general, March 17, 1814–June 30, 1823. He died at Marietta, Ohio, March 29, 1825, survived by his wife and only child, Mary (Mrs. John George Jackson).

Scope and Content:

The Meigs mss., 1794–1831, consists of letters and papers of Return Jonathan Meigs, 1764–1825, governor of Ohio, United States senator, and postmaster general during the administrations of Presidents James Madison and James Monroe.

The collection contains letters and papers relating to Indian disturbances in Indiana and Ohio in 1811; the participation of Ohio volunteers in the Hull campaign which culminated in the surrender of Detroit to the British on August 16, 1812, including Meigs' orderly book, March 28–May 23, August 8, and October 1–8 and 16, 1812; Meigs' accounts of disbursements, June 8, 1812–September 14, 1813, in connection with a council at Urbana, Ohio, May 6, 1812, with chiefs of the Shawnee, Delaware, and Wyandot nations to obtain a cession of land for a road through the Indian country for the use of General Hull's army, and a council at Piqua, Ohio, August, 1813; a petition of the Wyandot Indians for a redress of land grievances, October 4, 1806; George Washington Indian Peace Medal dated 1792 with a portion of the original ribbon and specimen card clearly identifying "Col. Meigs Trading Medal"; a plat map of square no. 449, Washington, D.C., showing lots owned by Meigs, January 1, 1795; letters, September 17 and November 2, 1804, from Henry Dearborn in regard to Meigs' appointment and duties as colonel and commandant in Louisiana; a letter, August 11, 1807, from Meigs to his wife about the trial of Aaron Burr; a letter, January 28, 1823, describing the death of Return Jonathan Meigs, Senior, and an undated document recounting his Revolutionary War service; a letter, August 21, 1822, from Henry Clay in regard to his presidential prospects in the election of 1824; an undated letter of Meigs relating to the collection of balances due the Post office department from postmasters; invitations to social functions in Washington, D.C.; and Meigs' commissions as deputy postmaster, Marietta, Northwest Territory, July 4, 1794, as a judge in the Northwest Territory, February 12, 1798, as brevet colonel and commandant of the United States army and militia in the district of Louisiana, October 1, 1804, as a judge in Louisiana Territory, March 11, 1805, and January 30, 1806, as a judge in Michigan Territory, April 2, 1807, and as Postmaster general of United States, March 17, 1814.

Included also are some personal and business letters to Mrs. Sophia (Wright) Meigs.

Filed with the collection is positive and negative microfilm (one reel of each) containing letters and papers from this collection and from that of Meigs' son–in–law, John George Jackson.

Names of writers of letters and signers of documents: John Adams; John Armstrong; John Caldwell Calhoun; Lewis Cass; Henry Clay; Henry Dearborn; William Eustis; William Hull; Thomas Jefferson; James Madison; Return Jonathan Meigs, 1740–1823; Return Jonathan Meigs, 1764–1824; Return Jonathan Meigs, 1801–1891; Mrs. Sophia (Wright) Meigs; James Monroe; Timothy Pickering; Mrs. Louisa (St. Clair) Robb; and Richard Rush.

Note on Indexing Term - "North America--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775": Of particular interest is an undated document recounting the Revolutionary War service of Return Jonathan Meigs, Senior.

Acquisition information:
Purchase: 1953
Physical location:



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[Item], Meigs mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
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Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
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