Ballantine Family [RG1730.AM]


RG1730.AM:  Ballantine Family

Papers:  1867-1969 & n.d.

Frontier County, Neb.:  Pioneers, stockraisers

Size:  1.5 cu.ft.; 3 boxes


Annie Eliza (Ena) Palmer, daughter of Dempsey B. and Ann M. (Timmons) Palmer, was born in Glynn County, Georgia, probably on September 28, 1849.  Her brother, William Herbert Palmer, had been born on January 6, 1846.

According to family correspondence, Ena, as she was called, was well-educated, learning both French and Latin.  She was a writer of poetry and fiction eventually having her poetry published in Godey’s and other women’s magazines of the day.  Some time in the late 1860s, she was married to a Mr. Raymond(e).  By the time the Palmer family emigrated to Nebraska in 1872, Mr. Raymond(e) was no longer in the picture.

Much mystery surrounds the cause of the Palmer’s family removal to Nebraska.  Apparently, either Ena or her brother murdered a former romantic interest of Ena’s, a Dr. H.H. Harley, shooting him through a window in his house on August 24, 1869.  Shortly after, William Herbert Palmer disappeared from Georgia and reappeared at Ft. McPherson, Nebraska as William Herbert or “Paddy” Miles, an identity he kept for the rest of his life.

Ena and her parents followed “Paddy” west a few years later, arriving at McPherson station on March 19, 1872.  Settling in the Republican River country of southwest Nebraska, the Palmers’ home was located on the Medicine Creek.  Here Ena’s fame as a markswoman grew as she shot against such well-known male sharpshooters as “Texas Jack” Omohundro and “Doc” Carver.

On October 5, 1875, Ena was married to David Coulter Ballantine, a native of Missouri and former resident of Nebraska City, Nebraska, who had moved to Frontier County to begin a cattle business.  Ballantine served as County Treasurer for three years and served in the Nebraska State Senate in 1881.  While acting as an agent for a Chicago livestock house, Ballantine was fatally injured at Benkelman while trying to board a moving train.  He died on October 3, 1882.

Left with two children, Ena continued to live on the ranch.  She married W.L. McClary in 1884, but died, possibly from a premature birth brought on in a runaway accident, in July 1884.

The Ballantine children, David Coulter, born on August 21, 1876, and Ena, born on February 24, 1881, were raised by their Ballantine relatives.  Eventually, Coulter became a stockraiser on the ranch begun by his father.  He died there on December 24, 1959.  Ena became a music teacher and was married to Homer Adams.  She died in Springfield, Missouri in the 1960s.


This collection consists of three boxes of manuscript material arranged in four series:  1) Writings of Ena Palmer Raymond(e) Ballantine; 2)  Correspondence, 1867-1969 and n.d.; 3) Financial Records, 1898-1958; and 4) Miscellany.  This collection relates primarily to the life and times of Ena Palmer Raymond(e) on the Nebraska frontier of the 1870s.  Material pertaining to the history of the Palmer family in Georgia and to the stockraising career of Ena’s son, David Coulter Ballantine, is also included.

The bulk of the collection consists of the writings of Ena Palmer Raymond(e) Ballantine, designated as Series 1.  The first ten folders contain Paul D.  Riley’s manuscript entitled, “Frontiersmen of Fort McPherson, 1870-1875, and the Writings of Ena Raymond(e) Ballantine.”  In his manuscript, Riley interspersed Ena’s diary and journal entries in typescript form, adding background information on the people mentioned and the history of the area.  Of particular interest are Ena’s notes on her experiences participating in a buffalo hunt and her evaluations of many famous frontiersmen of the area, including “Buffalo Bill” Cody, “Texas Jack” Omohondro, and “Doc” Carver.  Included , too, are journals of Richard Seymour describing two trading expeditions and three volumes of the original journals kept by Ena, 1872-1878.  (NOTE:  Because of the fragile condition of the original journal books, researchers are requested to use the typescript copies whenever possible.  The originals should be used only under the supervision of an Archivist.)  Other folders in this series contain original manuscripts and poems written by Annie E. Raymond, Ena’s pen name.

Series 2 is comprised of Correspondence, 1867-1969 and n.d., written primarily between various members of the Ballantine and related families.  Of particular interest are the letters written by Ena to her cousin, Mamie A.  Timmons of Georgia, describing life on the ranch with her children after the death of her husband.  Later letters from Mamie Timmons and other relatives to the grown-up Ballantine children provide information on the youth of Ena Palmer and the Georgia years of  the Palmer family.  Many of these letters are transcribed and appear in typescript form.  Other letters in this series, from the 1930s and 1940s relate to Coulter Ballantine’s efforts to stave off the foreclosure of his ranch.  Included are letters from George W. Norris. Letters from the 1950s and 1960s pertain to the transfer of the Ballantine family papers to the Historical Society and to the Frontier County research engaged in by the Society’s staff.

The Financial Records, 1898-1959, of Series 3 consist of account books, hired help records, and miscellaneous financial notes, as kept by Coulter Ballantine.  Included are cash account listings, livestock purchase entries, some diary entries, work conducted by hired help, sale figures, and tax statements and receipts.

The Miscellany of Series 4 includes genealogical material of the Palmer, Timmons, and related families, livestock sale advertisements and listings and maps showing the Ballantine land; and certificates, the will of (David) Coulter Ballantine, and unidentified writings.

Note:  Photographs from this collection have been transferred to the Photograph Department.


Series 1 – Writings of Ena Palmer (Raymond(e)) Ballantine

Box 1


    1. “Frontiersmen of Fort McPherson, 1870-1875, and the Writings of Ena Raymonde Ballantine,” by Paul D. Riley:

        1. Chapter 1-Fort McPherson, 1870

        1. Chapter 2-July 1872

    1. ibid, Chapter 3-Ena’s Diary-July 1872

        1. Chapter 4-August 1872

    1. ibid, Chapter 5-Ena’s Diary-August 1872

        1. Chapter 6-Fort McPherson, 1871

    1. ibid, Chapter 7-Fort McPherson and the Duke Alexis

        1. Chapter 8-The Valley of the Medicine

    1. ibid, Chapter 9-Ena Palmer Raymonde of Georgia

        1. Chapter 10-Spring 1872

    1. ibid, Chapter 11-June 1872

        1. Chapter 12-On the Medicine

    1. ibid, Chapter 13 – Ena’s Diary-September 1872

        1. Chapter 14-Ena’s Diary-October 1872

        1. Chapter 15-Ena’s Diary-November and December 1872

        1. Chapter 16-Ena’s Diary-January, 1873

    1. ibid, Chapter 17-A Trading Expedition to the Upper Republican-Richard Seymour’s Diary, 15 January-11 February 1873 (original included)

        1. Chapter 18-Journal-February 1873

    1. ibid, Chapter 19-Journal-March-April 1873

        1. Chapter 20-A Trading Expedition to the Stinking Water, March 1873 by Richard Seymour (original included)

    1. ibid, Chapter 21-Frontier Life by Ena Palmer Raymonde

    1. Ena’s Original Journal, 1872-1873:  Includes letters, compositions, manuscripts, poetry; also includes original writings by Dick Seymour

Microfilm Strip (on roll 24 of Microfilm Strips) and Original available in box

    1. Ena’s Original Journal, June 1872-January 1873

    1. Ena’s Journal (original), February-April 1873

    1. Ena’s Journal (original), July 1873-January 1878, Includes financial notes, probably kept by David C. Ballantine.

    1. Ena’s Journal (Typescript), July 1873-January 1878

    1. Original and Typescript copies of Ena’s Journal June 1872-January 1873

    1. Original and Typescript copies of Ena’s Journal March 1873

    1. Original and Typescript copies of “Frontier Life,” by Ena Palmer Raymonde

    1. Manuscript:  “My Sister” (1873)

Box 2


    1. Manuscripts:  “A Page from McCrory’s Book”, “Louisa”; and “A Dream”

    1. Manuscript:  “Triumphant”

    1. Poetry

    1. Poetry

    1. Poetry

    1. Poetry

    1. Journal of Richard Seymour

Series 2 – Correspondence, 1867-1969, undated

    1. 1867-1883

    1. November 1883-1896

    1. 1899-June 1903

    1. July 1903-1931

    1. 1932-1943

    1. February 1947-November 1960

    1. December 1960-1969 & undated

Series 3 – Financial records, 1898-1958

Box 3


    1. Account Book, 1898-1899 (includes miscellaneous diary entries, 1923-1924)

    1. Account Book, 1917; 1930-1939

      Hired Help, 1927

      Hired Help, 1942 (includes miscellaneous financial notes 1907-1913)

      Hired Help, 1948-1949

    1. Miscellaneous financial notes, 1900-1958

Series 4 – Miscellany

    1. Genealogical material

    1. Livestock sale advertisements and listings, 1937, 1951, and 1956; maps

    1. Certificates, Will of (David) Coulter Ballantine, unidentified writings.

Series 5 – Miscellaneous writings about Ena Ballantine and Family

    1. Misc.


Subject headings:

Ballantine, Annie Eliza “Ena” (Raymond(e)) 1849-1884

Ballantine, David Coulter, 1876-1959

Ballantine, David Coulter, 1843-1882

Bison hunting

Carver, William Frank “Doc,” 1840-1927

Cody, William Frederick “Buffalo Bill,” 1846-1917

Fort McPherson (Neb.)

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska — Frontier County

Frontier County (Neb.) — History

Miles, William H. (Paddy), 1846-1909

Norris, George William, 1861-1944

Omohundro, John Baker, 1846-1880

Seymour, Richard

Sioux Indians


AIP/pmc      2-27-1987

kfk/dco        4-22-2003

Revised  TMM        01-10-2022

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