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Harlan-Sargent Family Papers

Identifier: MS-BC268

Scope and Contents

The Harlan-Sargent Papers, 1820-1940, consists of 1 linear foot of correspondence, deeds, bills, miscellaneous legal documents, clippings, publications, genealogical materials, poems, stories and other literary materials. The files are arranged chronologically.The collection contains primarily personal correspondence that illustrates family life and the business and political climate of rural southeastern Illinois and southern Ohio in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Various court cases in the 1820s are discussed among the letters of brothers Jacob, Justin and Aaron Harlan and others. Local political issues, like the proposed change of the county seat of Clark County from Darwin to Marshall, and national political issues, like the candidacies of Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson, the 1832-1833 nullification crisis in South Carolina, and the Black Hawk War, are also aired, especially in the letters of William B. Archer, which are found throughout the collection as well as in the “Archer-Harlan Correspondence” file (Box 1 Folder 2). The Church of the New Jerusalem, founded by Emanuel Swedenborg, is alluded to in the correspondence of Cornelia and Edwin A. Vickroy, who introduced Swedenborg doctrines to Nancy Harlan, and discussed at length in many long letters written by Swedenborgian missionary Thomas Newport. An 1827 letter from Samuel Butler describes the wilderness of the Illinois country. An 1832 letter describes an Indian “skirmish” southwest of Chicago, probably an incident of the Black Hawk War.Of special interest are a piece of silk from Stephen Sargent’s mother’s wedding dress (Box 2 File 8), a drawing of a miners’ camp (Box 2 1/2 , File 1), and an 1831 letter from R. Langston to the Clark County postmaster asking about the whereabouts of her husband who had run off with another women.


  • Created: 1820-1940
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1820-1889
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1957

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.


1.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Jacob Harlan (1799-1836), a Clark County, Illinois, postmaster & county official, Stephen Sargent (1797-1878), a Coles County, Illinois, farmer, Nancy Robinson Chenoweth (1805-1893), who was married to Harlan (1822-1836), and later to Sargent (1842-1878); and their relatives and descendants in Illinois, Ohio, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Iowa, and Indiana. Including correspondence, deeds, bills, legal papers, clippings, publications, genealogical materials, poems, stories and other literary materials. Topics of correspondence include family matters, Emanuel Swedenborg’s Church of the New Jerusalem, the Black Hawk War, and local, state and national politics including the candidacies of Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson.  Principal correspondents: Jacob Harlan, his brothers Aaron, R. Barclay, and Justin, brother-in-law William B. Archer, cousin Samuel Butler, sister Cornelia, and Cornelia’s husband, Edwin A. Vickroy; Swedenborgian missionary Thomas Newport; Stephen Sargent’s brother Samuel and nephew, Andrew Sargent; Nancy Harlan Sargent’s brother Martin S. Chenoweth.

Arrangement Note

Materials are arranged by file type and organized alphabetically thereunder.
Archon Finding Aid Title
Janet Hart, Ginny Lee, and John Stassi
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

112 North Sixth Street
Springfield IL 62701 US
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