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Henry A. Griswold Papers

Identifier: MS-BC260

Scope and Contents

The Henry A. Griswold Family Papers, 1814-1943, consist of 3 cubic feet and 1 oversize bound volume of diaries, correspondence, legal and financial records, a minute book, autograph albums and a scrapbook. Most of the material in the collection dates from the 1850s to 1920. The collection details farm life of Greene County during the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Henry A. Griswold Papers, 1814-1909 (Boxes 1-4 and Oversize Bound Volume 1) contain diaries (1858-1909), family and business correspondence (1878-1909), legal and financial records. Many of the early accounts deal with the settlement of the estates of Cyrus and Henry Griswold. Real estate tax records are included. The diaries and letters detail family and farm life in Greene County, rental of farm land in Loup, Nebraska, and the status of stock in the Alabama Fruit and Winery Association and the Birmingham Powder Company. An oversize bound volume contains accounting records, and notes and instructions in the process of tanning leather. The Mamie E. Griswold Papers, 1878-1937 (Boxes 4-5) consist of diaries and autograph albums. Subjects include household work, gardens, weather and social activities in White Hall and Greene County. The Other Family Members Papers, 1856-1943 (Boxes 5-6 ½) include a number of autograph albums, a minute book for the Literary Association of Apple Creek Prairie, 1871-1885, a receipt book, a scrapbook, and a Bloomingdale’s catalog, 1882-1886. A program from White Hall’s centennial celebration in 1932 and 6 World War II ration stamp book (1943) are also included.


  • Created: 1814-1943
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1838-1937


Biographical or Historical Information

The Griswold family settled in Greene County, Illinois in 1820, having originally come from Waltham, Vermont. Two brothers, Cyrus (1792-1838) and Henry (1790-1850), took up farm land on Apple Creek Prairie near White Hall. Cyrus and Henry (called Harry) entered into a partnership that involved a farm and a wagonmaking shop. Cyrus was known to be a skilled wagon maker. The partnership became deeper when the two brothers married two sisters. Cyrus Griswold married Abby Post and Harry Griswold married Maria Post. Harry Griswold became executor of Cyrus Griswold’s estate upon Cyrus’ death in 1838, and Harry himself died in 1850. Harry and Cyrus had done quite well with the farm and wagon shop. Consequently they had lent quite a lot of money for real estate speculation. At the time of Cyrus’ death the country was experiencing a depression. Many of the loans the brothers had made had to be foreclosed and Harry ended up owning a lot of real estate. When Harry died in 1850, his oldest son Henry Adonijah Griswold assumed responsibility for settling the two brother’s estates. Henry A. Griswold (1828-1909) was a farmer and life-long resident of Greene County. He married Sallie E. Baker in 1863, and they raised a family of five children. Besides the family farm, other business interests including holding stock in the Alabama Fruit and Winery Association and the Birmingham Powder Company. In addition, Henry owned farm land in Loup, Nebraska. He was a charter member of the Social Grange and a Mason. For many years he was a Trustee of Township, Illinois, Range 12 in White Hall. For the last few years of his life Henry lived in retirement in White Hall. Mamie E. Griswold (1865-1938) was a daughter of Henry and Sallie Griswold. She never married and made her home with her parents, first on the family homestead and after 1903 in White Hall. Miss Griswold was a member of the White Hall Christian Church and taught Sunday School for many years. Other activities included the Grange, the Lyceum, and the Dorcas Society. She was also a member of the Guiding Star Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.

Note written by


2.70 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Henry A. Griswold papers are a compilation of diaries, financial records, autograph albums, catalog, scrapbooks, a minute book, household receipt book, notes, instructions, and estate settlement papers which document farm life in White Hall, Greene County, Illinois after Griswold's father and uncle moved from Vermont in 1820 to establish a farm and wagon-making shop.  Materials are created by Griswold, his daughter Mamie E. Griswold, and additional family members.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in three series: the papers of Henry A. Griswold, the papers of Griswold's daughter Mamie E. Griswold, and the papers of other family members.
Archon Finding Aid Title
Cheryl Schnirring
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
(217) 558-8923