J. Sterling Morton, 1832-1902 (Guide to Microfilm) [RG1013.AM]


RG1013.AM: Julius Sterling Morton, 1832-1902

Papers: 1849-1902
Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska: Newspaper editor, politician, agriculturist
Size: 78 rolls of microfilm


Julius Sterling Morton was born in Adams, Jefferson County, New York, on April 22, 1832 to Julius Dewey and Emeline Sterling Morton. J. Sterling, as he came to be known, was the eldest of the three children, with the other two William D. and Emma. Morton’s father operated a general store in Adams but in 1834 decided to try his business fortunes farther west and moved the family to Monroe, Michigan where he became engaged in the produce and commission business.

Morton obtained his early education in a private school and at age fourteen matriculated at Wesleyan Seminary in Albion where he remained until 1850 when he entered the University of Michigan. His student years were marked with his native intelligence, warm and engaging personality, innate speaking and literary abilities and his mischievous behavior. Six weeks before he was to graduate from the University, Morton was expelled for his outspoken views and controversial behavior and accepted employment as a reporter for a Detroit newspaper. Later the University and Union College, in Schenectady, New York, both granted him undergraduate degrees.

In Detroit on October 30, 1854, Morton married his school sweetheart, Caroline Joy French, born on August 9, 1833, in Hallowell, Maine. They were to be blessed with four sons, Joy, Paul, Mark, and Carl. The family maintained a close relationship and in late June 1881 when Caroline died, Morton suffered an irreplaceable loss in his family. Immediately after marriage the young couple left for Nebraska Territory, stopping for a winter in Bellevue, before moving to Nebraska City in April 1855 where Morton accepted the editorial duties of the Nebraska City News.

Practically from the day of his arrival in the Territory, Morton plunged into politics, and while he was rarely elected, his many candidacies, devotion to the principles of the Democratic Party and enthusiasm in campaigning were seldom equaled. He was elected to, but not seated in, the first Territorial Legislature but later served in the second and fourth sessions where he was active in trying to locate the capital in the South Platte country. He was Secretary of the Territory from April 30, 1858, to May 19, 1861, and upon the resignation of Governor William A. Richardson became Acting Governor from December 5, 1858, to May 2, 1859. Besides the controversy over the capital location, Morton had to deal with the problems of the disposition of public printing and an Indian scare.

In 1860 Morton was the Democratic nominee for Delegate to Congress but was not seated because of a post-election controversy over voting irregularities. With his failure to capture the governorship in 1866, Morton devoted his efforts to his family and business interests, and did not seek political office until the 1880s, when he was a candidate for governor in 1882, 1884 and later in 1892. In these and other unsuccessful campaigns for the Senate and Congress, Morton was noted for his conservative and outspoken views including the advocacy of free trade and the gold standard.

When Morton was not a candidate for public office his affairs centered on the operation of Arbor Lodge, encouraging and advising his sons on their careers, the advocacy of tree planting and his promotional work for several railroads, including the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. Morton’s agricultural development activities started with the purchase of a claim near Nebraska City and the gradual evolution of this tract into Arbor Lodge. Tree planting became a hobby with him and to encourage other persons to adopt this practice, he proposed that one day be set aside to undertake this work. From 1885 when the Nebraska Legislature established April 22nd as Arbor Day and declared it a legal holiday, the practice of planting trees has spread to many other states and nations.

Morton’s knowledge of agriculture and his adherence to the principles of conservative Democracy were among the reasons why President Grover Cleveland selected him to be Secretary of Agriculture in 1893. Morton’s four years as Secretary were marked with his efficient administrative methods, including the addition of many positions to the Civil Service system; and his methodical reduction of Departmental expenses, such as the temporary elimination of free seed distributions, the reduction of governmental trip expenditures, and the elimination of unnecessary services and employees.

Upon completion of his Department of Agriculture duties Morton returned to Nebraska City where he continued to write and discuss contemporary issues through The Conservative, founded in July of 1898. His other interests remained with his family and Arbor Lodge and his additional activity of compiling a History of Nebraska. In January of 1901 the death of his youngest son, Carl, inflicted a second great personal loss on Morton which contributed to his failing health. He died in Lake Forest, Illinois, on April 27, 1902, at the home of his son, Mark.


The J. Sterling Morton Papers were presented to the Nebraska State Historical Society in December of 1954 by the University of Nebraska which had received them from Mr. Mark Morton. Morton established a fellowship in American History at the University to facilitate the preparation of a biography of his father (James C. Olson, J. Sterling Morton, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1942). Additional correspondence and other materials have been added to the papers since 1954. The material relates to county, state and national political developments, the promotion of agriculture and railroads, and many late 19th Century issues, including the monetary and tariff questions, imperialism, activities within the Democratic Party, Morton’s administration of the Department of Agriculture, 1893-1897, as well as to Morton’s business and personal interests.

The papers are organized into six series. Series 1, incoming correspondence, 1849-1902, Rolls 1-45; Series 2, incoming and outgoing correspondence, dated, undated and unbound, 1850-1902, Roll 47; Series 3, outgoing correspondence, bound press copy books, 1874-1902, Rolls 48-69; Series 4, diaries and farm journals, 1850-1902, Rolls 70-72; Series 5, scrapbooks, 1880-1902, Rolls 74-77; and Series 6, outgoing family correspondence, 1854-1900, Roll 78.

The incoming letters are arranged in alphabetical-chronological order, while the other series are in chronological order. Roll 1 is composed of an index of all incoming letters and includes the name of the person or organization writing to Morton and the date of the letter. Roll 47 is composed of both incoming and outgoing correspondence, some of which is undated and/or unidentified. The press copy books are indexed by year in the front of each volume. Pages in the press copy volumes which were not microfilmed are indicated in an editorial note prior to each book. Those books which do not have an editorial note preceding them have all of the pages microfilmed.

In order to facilitate viewing the documents only one page of a letter appears on a frame. Morton’s diaries, however, were microfilmed two pages per frame. Letters which are obviously torn or in some way altered from their original appearance were microfilmed without any target noting their condition. Some of the letters have the date marked on them when they were answered. On occasion Morton would underline or annotate words or phrases in the text of a letter. Dates supplied by the project staff are enclosed in brackets. Targets were utilized to indicate where endorsements were filmed before a letter or enclosures after a document. A number of enclosures and/or endorsements have become separated or are missing from their original letters; this fact has not been noted when it occurs. Every exposure, including targets inserted in the correspondence noting the appropriate years, was given a number by the automatic numbering device located in the lower right hand corner of each frame.

There are a number of Morton family letters and other items in the papers which do not relate directly to J. Sterling Morton or to his career. These have not been microfilmed. A description of them is to be found in the Society’s Manuscript Records.

This microfilm meets standards established by the National Historical Publications Commission, General Services Administration and was produced with its assistance in 1967. The microfilm is available through Interlibrary Loan. For additional information about this collection, please contact our Library Staff.


Roll 1

This roll is composed of the name and persons and the date or dates which they wrote to Morton. The alphabetical-chronological arrangement of the names follows the method in which the incoming letters are organized. In some instances a cross reference to a name or an organization has been made, especially in the case of enclosures or where there are several signatories. To aid researchers, targets noting letters of the alphabet have been inserted in appropriate places in the index.

Roll 2
1849 A. Winchell-1862 Erastus B. Chandler

This roll relates the course of Morton’s early life from his outspoken controversial behavior and subsequent expulsion from the University of Michigan to his early political ventures in Nebraska Territory. Correspondence in 1854 reveals the intensity with which Morton pursued his political aspirations. There are letters regarding Morton’s election as Representative from Otoe County in 1855, the location of the Territorial Capital, the sectionalism of the North and South Platte political factions, and the Governorship of Samuel W. Black. Mark W. Izard and William A. Richardson endorse Morton for the position of Territorial Secretary and there is a discussion of his subsequent appointment to that position. Throughout this roll there is correspondence regarding the explosive political issues of the day including the slavery question, the election of President James Buchanan, the disposition of Nebraska’s boundaries, the Lincoln and Douglas campaign, and the Civil War. In 1860 Morton was a candidate for the House of Representatives and there are a number of letters regarding the contested election and his subsequent loss to his campaign rival, Samuel G. Daily.

Roll 3
1862 John J. Clopper-1868 Victor Vifquain

This roll relates the political activity of Morton during the Civil War and his subsequent efforts to strengthen the Democratic Party. Within the factionalized party, Morton maintains a position of conservatism, drawing support from such prominent Democrats as Dr. George L. Miller, James M. Woolworth, Andrew J. Poppleton and Erastus B. Chandler. These men correspond readily with Morton, commenting on the suppression of the southern rebellion, the territorial and national Democratic conventions, and the controversial Nebraska Statehood question. William A. Richardson and George H. Pendleton write requesting Morton’s support in their effort to weaken the powerful Republican coalition dominating the national political scene. Numerous persons request assistance in obtaining postmasterships, judgeships, military commissions, and other patronage positions. Additional correspondence relates to Morton’s agricultural interests, particularly the development of his farm near Nebraska City and the acquisition of saline lands in Nebraska.

Roll 4
1868 J. B. Weston-1872 Lyman Richardson

The context of this roll departs from a discussion of political developments and pertains more to Morton’s increased interest in agricultural and business activities. Morton removed himself from political contention after his loss to David Butler in the 1866 race for governor and turned his creative talents to the promotion and development of Nebraska. There are a number of letters relating the extension efforts of Morton to bring a railroad line to Nebraska City and his subsequent position as commissioner promoting the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company. The development of the Morton farm near Nebraska City and requests for agricultural articles and addresses commands much of his attention during this period. There is correspondence regarding the disposition of the saline lands of Nebraska and the United States Supreme Court’s decision revoking Morton’s ownership of this property. Robert W. Furnas devotes his letters to pioneer efforts in plains forestation. Lyman Richardson and George L. Miller, proprietors of the Omaha Herald, write regarding Morton’s editorial contributions to the newspaper and discuss several investment opportunities.

Roll 5
1872 Edward Roggen-1874 Thomas Peck

This roll relates the activities of Morton as a commissioner for the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and as President of the State Board of Agriculture. George S. Harris, L. O. Goddard and Charles E. Perkins write regarding Morton’s promotion of the railroad, the taxation of railroad lands, the Patrons of Husbandry and railroad controversy over freight rates and other involvements and problems confronting the Burlington and Missouri. There is correspondence from Robert W. Furnas and Daniel H. Wheeler regarding the organization of the Nebraska State Fair, the general promotion of Nebraska agriculture and Morton’s appointment in 1873 as State Manager of the United States Centennial International Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876. The drought and grasshopper invasion of the early 1870s intensifies Morton’s efforts to promote the settlement of Nebraska and he makes numerous addresses and writes articles relating to the agricultural potential of Nebraska.

Roll 6
1874 Charles E. Perkins-1876 W. L. Wilson

The context of this roll relates to the promotional and business activities of Morton and to his duties as commissioner of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company. The grasshopper invasions in the 1870s brought a number of requests for articles by Morton on the Nebraska Relief and Aid Society, ways and means of deterring the invasions, the extent of damage inflicted and a discussion of Nebraska agriculture. Daniel H. Wheeler writes regarding Morton’s position as President of the State Board of Agriculture and the administration of the State Fairs. Morton maintains his interest in the agricultural development of Nebraska, accepting numerous requests for addresses before county horticulture and pomological societies. L. O. Goddard and C. W. Smith address their letters to the issuance of railroad bonds, railway land taxation, and government regulation of the railroad. Charles E. Perkins writes extensively about the Patrons of Husbandry movement and directs Morton to write articles regarding rate regulation, the right of eminent domain and the railroad pooling system. George L. Miller and Lyman Richardson discuss Morton’s position as correspondent for Chicago Times, the senatorial campaign of Algernon S. Paddock and their mutual financial interest in railroad bonds.

Roll 7
1876 P. L. Woodbury-1879 Tobias Castor

Correspondence during this period reveals Morton’s varied personal and business affairs. There are numerous letters from persons seeking business and financial advice and even loans to solve personal problems. William Irving relates to Morton the continued progress of his two older sons, Joy and Paul, who are employed by the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad Company. A number of investments occupy Morton’s attention in 1879; but uppermost at this time are his New Mexico mining ventures handled for him by Henry M. Atkinson. Morton’s main business interest centers on the railroads and he receives a number of letters from Edward Campbell on the friction between the railroad and the farmers in Iowa. Morton’s correspondence with L. O. Goddard, Charles E. Perkins and Robert Harris reflects not only his activities among congressmen in matters of railroad legislation, but also provides an insight into Burlington politics and future operation plans. In 1878 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad hires Morton as their Washington agent and he is instructed to take care of all matters in Washington that might affect the expansion of their railroad into the Southwest.

Roll 8
1879 O. A. Cecil-1880 Phineas W. Hitchcock

This roll relates the activities of Morton as lobbyist for the Santa Fe Railroad, as a member of the Nebraska Mexican Mining Company and as Chairman of the Democratic State Committee of Nebraska in 1880. There is correspondence from Thomas Nickerson and William B. Strong regarding Morton’s duties as lobbyist and his influential support of the railroad’s effort to reach the Pacific Coast. Phineas W. Hitchcock and Erastus B. Chandler correspond readily with Morton regarding their mutual mining interests in New Mexico and their efforts to develop mining property in that state. The context of the roll changes with the election year in 1880 and Morton’s position as Chairman of the State Democratic Committee. There are a numerous letters from Democratic leaders throughout the state regarding the scope and content of the party platform, the indebtedness of individual counties ad the Republican management of state funds, the acquisition of canvass books and their use in determining the strength of the Democratic vote, the procurement of political literature to attract the German and Swedish vote, and requests of Morton for political addresses in support of the platform and proposed candidates.

Roll 9
1880 R. Hollingsworth-1881 Carl Morton

The contents of this roll pertains to Democratic Party activities both on the state and national level in trying to win the election of 1880 and to Morton’s business interests. Morton was besieged with numerous requests for campaign visits ad speeches because of his position as Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee and his noted speaking ability. George L. Miller provides insights into the campaign as he discusses ways of promoting the Democratic candidates, Winfield S. Hancock and William H. English, and the importance of Indiana in the outcome of the election. Mark M. Parmer is concerned about the organization of the Democratic Party on the county level and presses Morton for more aid and support if the party is to carry the election in Nebraska. Charles E. Perkins in several letters to Morton discusses the inflationary aspects of silver on currency. Henry M. Atkinson and Phineas W. Hitchcock write regarding Morton’s mining interest in New Mexico. Atkinson is Morton’s agent and is a frequent correspondent as he handles the exchange of stock with mining companies.

Roll 10
1881 Emma Morton-1884 A. L. Patterson

This roll relates the political activity of Morton as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Nebraska in 1882 and 1884 and his unsuccessful attempt to secure the Democratic Senatorial nomination in 1883. George L. Miller, Robert W. Furnas and J. C. Crawford correspond readily with Morton relating their support of his proposed candidacies. There are numerous letters from Democratic leaders throughout the state regarding Morton’s campaign and the political issues of free trade, prohibition, anti-monopoly and revenue reform. With the election of Cleveland, Morton’s position as Chairman of the Democratic State Committee and as a member of the Democratic National Committee is well utilized as he receives numerous requests for his influence in procuring patronage positions for fellow Democrats throughout the state. There is additional correspondence regarding delegations to the state conventions, proposed candidates and the procurement of funds for the subsequent campaigns. Morton maintains his interest in the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, receiving letters from T. S. Howland and Charles E. Perkins regarding his lobbying activities in behalf of the railroad. In addition, there are numerous letters from Morton’s sons regarding the death of their mother, Caroline, and the subsequent memorial published in her memory.

Roll 11
1884 J. C. Pearley-1885 John Schonan

Morton’s activities as lobbyist in behalf of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and the political influence he exerted as Chairman of the State Democratic Committee of Nebraska constitute the major portion of this roll. Charles E. Perkins requests Morton’s aid in deterring the passage of legislation regarding federal regulation of interstate commerce and pooling and rebating practices of the railroads. Victor Vifquain writes regarding the conflict between Morton and George L. Miller and Miller’s subsequent coalition with James E. Boyd in opposition to Morton’s desire for tariff reform. The political patronage elicited by the election of Cleveland commands much of Morton’s attention in 1885 as he is besieged with requests for endorsements for state and federal positions. Matthias Baroch, J. E. Riley and George H. Pendleton solicit Morton’s assistance in obtaining positions as land office registers, postmasters, judges, and presidential cabinet offices for fellow Democrats. There is also correspondence relating Morton’s membership in the American Free Trade League and his active campaign for tariff reform.

Roll 12
1885 L. B. Schonlan-1886 W. L. May

The bulk of the material relates to the dispensing of patronage in Nebraska as Morton’s position as Chairman of the State Democratic Committee brings him numerous requests for his assistance in obtaining positions as postmaster, judge, United State Attorney or United States Marshal. The correspondence of Donald MacCuaig and Albert Watkins reveals the success of their lobbyist actions with Morton for the postmastership of Nebraska City and Lincoln respectively. N. W. Smails, Charles H. Brown and Victor Vifquain show concern for the conflict that has developed between Morton and George L. Miller over patronage and particularly the method of making appointments. Morton receives many letters from Nathaniel E. Egleston of the Forestry Bureau seeking his support in influencing Congressional legislation for regulating lumber industries and practicing tree conservation.

Roll 13
1886 Ellen Mayhen-1887 George L. Miller

This roll relates to the widening split in the Democratic Party in Nebraska caused primarily by the conflict of whether the conservative forces of Morton, D. P. Rolfe, Andrew J. Sawyer and N. W. Smails, or the coalition of Miller and Boyd, would dispense patronage. Victor Vifquain, E. R. Watson, and Charles H. Brown write Morton expressing concern over the widening split within the party and the political alignments that were developing as Morton was vacationing in Europe in 1886. P. B. Weare writes regarding the financial investments of Morton and his involvement in the agricultural market and sale of railroad stocks. W. H. Broadhead and Calvin C. Clawson write about the acquisition of mining property in Idaho and the subsequent development of those interests in that state.

Roll 14
1887 J. L. Miller-1888 C. W. Pool

The content of this roll pertains to Morton’s activities as an agent in Washington the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and the N. K. Fairbank Food Company and to his nomination for Congress in 1888. Charles E. Perkins expresses his concern over federal regulation of railroads, denies that railroads are over-charging farmers and laments to Morton that free enterprise is being threatened by the proposed Interstate Commerce Act being considered by Congress in 1887. N. K. Fairbank and H. C. Bannard are also in frequent contact, seeking Morton’s assistance in behalf of their company, whose food processing methods are under investigation by Congressman William H. Hatch of Missouri to ascertain the need for a pure foods bill. Andrew J. Sawyer, Frank W. Welna and J. T. Kinney caution Morton as to the difficulty of being elected to Congress from the First District in 1888 because of the breech that exists within the Democratic Party. Euclid Martin, prominent Omaha Democrat, charges that the forces of James E. Boyd purchased Boydís position as a delegate to the 1888 Democratic National Convention with money and patronage. Later Martin decries the Democratic defeat and believes the Republicans waged a campaign of lies against the Democrats.

Roll 15
1888 Elizabeth E. Poppleton-1890 A. J. McClatchin

This roll relates Morton’s nomination and unsuccessful senatorial campaign in 1888, his activities in speaking and writing in behalf of free trade, and his continuing interest in the agricultural development and forestation of Nebraska, D. P. Rolfe, Andrew J. Sawyer, Victor Vifquain and N. W. Smails write regarding Morton’s senatorial candidacy and the political victory his nomination represent over the liberal forces of the Democrats dominated by James E. Boyd. Posey S. Wilson, F. S. Whedon and Thomas W. Tipton express their support of Morton’s campaign for tariff reform and his efforts in behalf of the American Tariff Reform League. Charles H. Brown denounces the Democratic gubernatorial nomination of Boyd and the alleged support of his candidacy by a “liquor faction” of Nebraska Democrats. In addition there are letters from William Jennings Bryan enlisting Morton’s support for his nomination and subsequent election to Congress in 1890 and from the American Forestry Congress and Jersey Cattle Breeders Association for assistance in behalf of their programs.

Roll 16
1890 Andrew MacCuaig-1892 Mary L. Ballantine

This roll relates to Morton’s activities as a proponent of tariff reform and advocate of the gold standard and his role as a leader of the conservative wing of the Democratic party of Nebraska. Charles H. Brown, C. J. Bowlby, J. H. Broody and Victor Vifquain and other Nebraskans support Morton’s campaign for tariff reform and express their concern over the growing influence of the newly formed People’s Party. George L. Miller attempts to enlist Morton’s support for the gubernatorial candidacy of James E. Boyd and later denounces Boyd and William Jennings Bryan for their support of free silver. Andrew J. Sawyer solicits Morton’s assistance for Bryan’s Congressional candidacy in 1890. Bryan corresponds with Morton indicating his agreement with Morton’s tariff reform but his disagreement with Morton over the silver issue. N. W. Smails requests Morton’s opinion of the proposed coalition of Nebraska Democrats and members of the Alliance party against Republican forces in the gubernatorial campaign of 1890. Interspersed throughout this roll is correspondence regarding Morton’s efforts to obtain an appointment to the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Roll 17
1892 H. C. Bannard-1892 Charles W. Thomas

Requests for patronage are a predominant portion of this roll. The election of 1892, Morton’s unsuccessful attempt in running for the Nebraska governorship, and his proposed appointment as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture are also topics of importance. Charles H. Brown writes that Grover Cleveland is the best man for Democrats to nominate because of his acceptability with party leaders and his popularity with the voters. Tobias Castor expresses doubt that Morton will be able to win in 1892 because of his unpopularity among the Bohemian immigrant group. Robert Clegg and T. M. Franse note a growing breech between Morton and William Jennings Bryan and wonder how both will be able to remain with the Democratic Party. Euclid Martin writes about his deep concern over the lack of party unity and places the blame on the forces of James E. Boyd. Robert W. Furnas informs Morton that he has written President-elect Cleveland, supporting him as Secretary of Agriculture and advises Morton to acquire bipartisan support in order to improve his chances or obtaining the cabinet position. There is occasional correspondence from Mortonís sons discussing personal problems, family health, and business interests.

Roll 18
1892 J. G. Thompson-1893 Alexander H. Brooks

During this period Morton receives numerous letters of support and concern in his candidacies for governor in 1892, United States Senator in 1893, and his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture in 1893. John DeWitt Warner and Albert Watkins comment favorably on Morton’s gubernatorial campaign, assuring him of strong Democratic opposition to his Populist rival, Charles H. Van Wyck. The failure of William Jennings Bryan to support Morton’s candidacy is of great concern to H. J. Whitmore as he warns Morton that his campaign for the gold standard would assure the election to Van Wyck. Requests for an active senatorial campaign and support for Morton’s position on the silver issue and tariff reform are received in numerous letters from P. B. Weare. The context of the roll changes with Morton’s appointment as Secretary of Agriculture. Charles H. Brown warns Morton of the tremendous amount of patronage his office controls and advises him to deal effectively with the gifts of office at his command, as unwise patronage could create many political enemies. The warning is well-conceived, as Morton is besieged with requests for such patronage positions as land registrars, postmasters, judgeships, Indian agents, United States Marshals, revenue collectors and state statisticians.

Roll 19
1893 Lena J. Brown-1893 Samuel P. Davis

Much of Morton’s attention as Secretary of Agriculture is commanded by requests for patronage positions both within Nebraska and throughout the nation. Tobias Castor solicits Morton’s support of Frank Irvine for Nebraska Supreme Court Judge and denounces William Jennings Bryan’s endorsement of Silas A. Holcomb for the judgeship. Castor also warns of the impending coalition of James E. Boyd, C. V. Gallagher and Bryan which could control the forthcoming Democratic State Convention of 1893. The impact of the Populist movement on the Nebraska Democratic Party is apparent as office seekers clamor for Morton’s endorsements, professing to be straight conservative Democrats and relating their belief in the gold standard, tariff reform and the principles of the Cleveland administration. Some Nebraskans reveal the split within the Democratic Party as they denounce rival Democrats as being closely aligned to the Populist movement, particularly as being advocates of free silver. James H. Canfield, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska, writes regarding Morton’s position as President of the Nebraska State Historical Society enlisting his support for the completion of new quarters for the Society and for the establishment of an agricultural experiment station at the University.

Roll 20
1893 Chester M. Dawes-1893 R. E. Goodill

The problems of dispensing patronage and the disunity in the Democratic Party of Nebraska continue to be a primary concern of correspondents on this roll. George W. Doane, S. B. Evans and Charles D. Fuller believe that the Democratic Party should be strengthened by appointing to patronage positions only those Democrats who have been loyal party members and faithful administration followers. H. A. Fisher informs Morton that there are many Democratic supporters in the Bohemian element of the state and that they should be justly rewarded. C. V. Gallagher believes that the factionalism within the party can only be terminated by the reconciliation of the two main opposing forces, led by Morton and James E. Boyd. Matthew Gering, however, warns Morton that William Jennings Bryan is going to be the real intra-party rival in the future and that the Bryan forces are already beginning to organize.

Roll 21
1893 Addison M. Gooding-1893 G. A. Jameson

Morton continues to receive numerous requests for patronage positions, including endorsements for foreign consuls, government inspectors, postmasters, land registrars, Indian Agents, microscopists and revenue collectors. A. A. Harris solicits Morton’s support of fellow Democrats and informs his of the danger of Populist domination of the Democratic Party in Kansas. Albert H. Horton and A. E. Haulenbeck express their concern over the fate of the party in Kansas and ward that a fusion with the Populists in 1894 would completely destroy Kansas Democracy. Morton’s advocacy of the gold standard and the repeals of the Sherman Act of 1892 receives support from Michael D. Harter, N. S. Harwood and Henry Hentz. Harwood places the blame of the financial crisis of 1893 on the shoulders of the free silver advocates ad also warns Morton of the importance of making sound appointments of fellow conservatives in order to strengthen party unity and to weaken the Populist cause. J. J. Hochstetler and Gilbert M. Hitchcock congratulate Morton for his efforts to reorganize the Department of Agriculture and for his elimination of ineffective employees within the Department.

Roll 22
1893 P. Jansen-1893 Emma Malpass

Numerous requests for Morton’s endorsement of persons to patronage positions comprise the bulk of the correspondence on this roll. Fellow Democrats from Nebraska and throughout the nation vie for Morton’s attention while professing their support of the Cleveland administration, Morton’s advocacy of the gold standard and the “true Jeffersonian democracy.” The influence of Populism and its disastrous effects on the Democratic Party is apparent as persons seeking patronage readily condemn rival Democrats as being closely aligned with the Populist Party and as being advocates of free silver. W. C. Jones warns of the growing strength of Populism in Kansas and denounces the resolution backed by Senator John Martin nominating the entire Populist state ticket. Jones advocates the fusion of Republican and Democratic forces in order to combat the growing strength of Populism in Kansas. W. D. McHugh, Omaha Democrat, advises a reorganization of the Democratic Party along conservative lines away from the Populistic tendencies of Governor James E. Boyd. McHugh urges Morton to shrewdly use patronage to strengthen the party and thus weaken the Populist cause. McHugh comments at length on the conservative campaign against the Populists at the Democratic State Convention of 1893 and expresses satisfaction over the subsequent conservative victory.

Roll 23
1893 C. V. Manatt-1893 N. H. Parks

The clamor for patronage and friction within the Democratic Party of Nebraska are the dominant themes on this roll. Gradually the currency question achieves importance as correspondents express their views on the financial condition of the nation. Euclid Martin, Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee, undertakes the task of informing Morton of his approval or disapproval of numerous individuals seeking patronage positions. Martin warns Morton to beware of the forces of James E. Boyd and William Jennings Bryan. He admonishes Morton to use patronage as a means of strengthening his own party position by appointing only loyal “Gold Democrats.” George L. Miller attempts to act as party mediator when he urges Morton to forget past differences and work toward unifying their party by a fair distribution of political favors. As the Panic of 1893 becomes more noticeable, J. H. Millard, President of the Omaha National Bank, discusses the need for a special session of Congress to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, Robert E. Moore, Republican loan broker from Lincoln, expresses the idea that it may be good for the country to use silver in its exchange, especially domestically, thus leaving the government ample gold reserve for its exclusive use in international trade. Carl Morton writes his father that sales have increased in the family business enterprises, and cites Morton’s position as Secretary of Agriculture as a possible factor.

Roll 24
1893 J. C. Parsons-1893 J. M. Schooby

This roll continues to relate to Morton’s activities as Secretary of Agriculture and the numerous requests he receives for patronage. Other board topics of interest include comment on the Panic of 1893 and a discussion of the Democratic State Convention of 1893. Charles E. Perkins offers his congratulations to Morton on his appointment to the cabinet and expresses his concern at his inability to expand the Burlington Railroad because of the “tight money” market. Erskine M. Phelps informs Morton that few businesses will escape the ruinous effects of the crisis and calls for Congressional action to repeal the Sherman Act of 1892 to return the country to economic stability. D. P. Rolfe denounces the campaign of William Jennings Bryan and James E. Boyd to sway the Democratic members to support the free silverites at the Democratic State Convention of 1893 and relates his agreement with Tobias Castor and George L. Miller that “sound money” delegates must be sent to the convention. A. J. Sawyer writes and warns Morton of the attempt by Bryan and the anti-administration forces to capture the primary and pack the state convention with free silver advocates.

Roll 25
1893 Fred Schriever-1893 Wason Brothers

This roll continues to relate mainly to the year-long problem of dispensing patronage within the Democratic Party; but gradually the financial crisis of 1893 and the influence of Populism receive considerable attention. Persons request political favors of every description and the competition between applicants is evident by the attempts of each correspondent to place himself in the tradition of a faithful Democrat. Thomas G. Shearman expresses the need for the Democratic Party to spend more time trying to get the tariff reduced and to let the silver issue rest for the time being. W. S. Shoemaker turns his attention to the McKinley Tariff and urges Morton to push for immediate repeal or the Democratic Party will be further split by not keeping its campaign pledge. Several writers, including N. D. Toby, express concern over Populist activities. Many believe that they were stirring up financial discontent throughout the west. There was caution against any Democratic attempt to fuse with the Populists, for fear of driving faithful Democrats into the Republican Party.

Roll 26
1893 Albert Watkins-1894 Allen Blacker

The material on this roll continues to relate to the extension of patronage and to a discussion of important contemporary issues including comment on the nation’s financial situation. Albert Watkins conveys his support of Morton’s work as Secretary, and his endorsements of persons who should receive patronage. H. J. Whitmore and E. P. Weatherby are interested in appointing “sound Democrats” to various posts and also offer the names of persons for Morton’s consideration. They also express concern at the growing political influence of William Jennings Bryan and warn Morton of Bryan’s campaign to stop the repeal of the Sherman Act and to weaken Congressional confidence in the Cleveland administration. P. B. Weare calls for the repeal of the Sherman Act and advises Morton that the immediate sale of gold bonds would relieve the financial crisis of 1893. He also informs Morton of the development of Alaskan gold fields and expresses optimism at the abundance of this new gold supply. Posey S. Wilson urges the annexation of Hawaii because of the harmful effects of duty-free sugar flooding the United States under the provisions of the McKinley Tariff. Edward Atkinson comments on the Panic of 1893 and expresses satisfaction with the defeat of Bryan and the free silver forces in the election of 1894.

Roll 27
1894 W. W. Blair-1894 F. L. Evans

During his second year of office Morton is again confronted with numerous requests for assistance in obtaining patronage positions. The bulk of the remainder of the correspondence reflects Morton’s influential position in the Democratic Party as he is contacted for advice in party activities. Solicitous letters from J. P. Dempster and Milton Doolittle advise Morton of the necessity of making sound appointments and offer endorsements of various persons for his consideration. The growing strength of the Populists and the political astuteness of William Jennings Bryan is of concern to Tobias Castor as he advises Morton of the support the Chicago Times has given Bryan’s candidacy in 1894 and of the organized campaign of the “Silver League” to capture Nebraska for Bryan. D. W. Cook comments on Democratic Party unity and warns Morton of C. V. Gallagher’s support of Populism and the dangers in presents to the party in Nebraska. J. C. Crawford predicts the death of the “Old Guard” or conservative Democrats because of the probable fusion of Democrats and Populists. A. L. Drummond informs Morton of Jacob S. Coxey and his army of unemployed men who are marching on Washington and asks Morton to secure adequate protection for the President. J. H. Duggan comments on the composition of “Kelley’s Army” which was moving through Iowa to join Coxey’s march on the capital.

Roll 28
1894 G. J. Evans-1894 J. Hampton Leonard

The documents on this roll relate to the Pullman Strike, the influential activities of the Populist-Silverite forces and the acquisition of patronage. S. B. Evans believes that the strike is the work of the Populists who are seeking more “socialism” and feels that the “mob” should be dealt with severely. Denton Hancock, George B. Harris and George W. Holdrege condone President Cleveland’s methods in putting down the 1894 strike. They also express concern for the rapid growth of Populism and warn that the Bryan forces must not be allowed to seize control of the Democratic Party in Nebraska or nationally. C. R. Clover writes that Western Nebraskans want the troops sent from Forts Robinson and Niobrara to the strike in Chicago returned to their posts. He reminds Morton that it had only been a few years since the Sioux and Cheyenne had driven hundreds of settlers from their homes. T. J. Hamilton objects to the large percentage of southern Democrats and Irish Catholics being appointed to positions in Washington state and warns that unless this is stopped, the Democratic Party will be split. Numerous other letters on this roll are from persons seeking free agricultural seed, patronage positions, and information about planting trees in observance of Arbor Day.

Roll 29
1894 Henry C. Lett-1894 Budd Reeve

This roll consists of numerous requests from persons seeking endorsement to patronage positions and letters reflecting the threat Populism posed to the Democratic Party. M. D. Long informs Morton of the coalition of William Jennings Bryan and James E. Boyd which is trying to deliver the Democratic Party into the hands of the Populists. Witten McDonald denounces the Republican and Populist administrations of Kansas and Missouri and advises Morton that wise distribution of federal patronage could do much to strengthen the Democratic cause in those states. W. D. McHugh warns that the “sound money” Democrats are being slighted by the administration and relates the possibility of a Democratic-Populist fusion if proper appointments are not forthcoming. He also keeps Morton fully informed of the events of the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of 1894 and says that the influential support of Edward Rosewater and Bryan enabled Silas A. Holcomb to defeat the conservative forces at the Democratic Convention and to be subsequently elected governor. Euclid Martin, Chairman of the Democratic State Committee, criticizes Morton for his ineffective handling of federal patronage, saying that the failure to receive appointments has led to a demoralization among conservative Democrats.

Roll 30
1894 Henry J. Reinum-1894 W. W. Wilmer

The material on this roll reflects the political problems of the Democratic Party in Nebraska and the nation because of dissatisfaction over dispensing patronage, and by the growing split of the party between the philosophy of William Jennings Bryan and the conservative element led by Morton. In addition, there are indications of rising discontent among farmers and laborers over their economic status and the gathering strength of Populist agitators. D. P. Rolfe laments his loss in the 1894 election for mayor of Omaha and claims that a “new element” defeated him and it has gained control of the Democratic Party in Omaha. The new political force was not composed of the business element of the population as before, but rather centered around immigrant laborers and agricultural workers. Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J. Sawyer comment on political developments in Nebraska and of Bryan’s efforts to gain complete control of the Democratic Party in Nebraska. Victor Vifquain, American Consul General at Panama, believes that the United States ought to land troops in Central America as a means of stabilizing the government in those countries and as a means of protecting the American interest there. He believes that many of the Central American countries ought to be annexed by the United States and that because England has not complied with the stipulations of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, the treaty has outlived its usefulness.

Roll 31
1894 Posey S. Wilson-1895 James A. Cherry

Correspondence on this roll continues the main theme brought about by Morton’s duties as Secretary of Agriculture, namely requests for patronage. Morton also receives letters complimenting him on his campaign for “hard money” and his attacks on the proponents of free silver. Posey S. Wilson expresses his agreement with Morton’s stand on the money question and denounces the growing support given Populism by Nebraska newspapers. S. N. Wolback, also comments on the rise of Populism, and advises Morton of the need for restraint in attacking William Jennings Bryan so that the Democrats can be united. Allen Blacker informs Morton of the growth of Populism in Texas and writes of his concern because of the popularity of Coin’s Financial School. J. R. Buchanan is also alarmed at the wide acceptance of the publication and requests Morton’s aid in obtaining a rebuttal. Edward Atkinson, Charles H. Baker and H. C. Barnard comment on the international crisis which is developing from the Venezuela Boundary dispute of 1893 and solicit Morton’s influence in bringing about a peaceful settlement of the controversy. James H. Canfield requests Morton’s assistance in securing a promotion for Lieutenant John J. Pershing in view of his efficient organization and administration of the Cadet Corps at the University of Nebraska. Tobias Castor impresses upon Morton the need for Secretary of the Treasury, John G. Carlisle, to address the Nebraska Democratic State Convention in 1895 in order to minimize Populist influence at the convention.

Roll 32
1895 J. F. Chestnut-1895 N. S. Harwood

Prominent topics on this roll include the controversy over free silver and agricultural discontent with the policies of the Cleveland administration. F. A. English, A. B. Farquhar and Charles D. Fuller express the discontent of farmers and laborers, saying that these groups do not want a single gold standard. English predicts that the bimetallist Democrats would control the party by 1896. Farquhar states that after a visit to twenty-four states he found public opinion favoring free silver, with the feelings strongest in Montana, Nevada, Colorado and Idaho. The Chicago Single Tax Club chides Morton for the plight of the farmers and the Democratic Party for its failure to repeal the McKinley Tariff. Michael D. Harter and other political friends of Morton inquire about or encourage Morton’s desire to seek the Presidency in 1896. Harter states that if Morton does not seek the nomination then he will.

Roll 33
1895 Robert Hassey-1895 M. J. Moyer

This roll continues to relate to Morton’s activities as Secretary of Agriculture as there are numerous requests for Morton’s assistance in securing patronage positions, in the settlement of pension claims, and in the procurement of government publications. John P. Irish expresses concern at the factionalization of the Democratic Party and urges Morton to join other party leaders in their proposed tour of northwestern states, which was formed to strengthen Democratic unity and to retard the growing power of the free silver advocates of the Populist Party. B. I. Hinman denounces the prominence of James E. Boyd and the Populists in Nebraska politics and says that a Cleveland-Morton presidential ticket in 1896 would restore much needed unity to the Democratic Party. J. Laurence Laughlin requests Morton to inform President Cleveland of the necessity of the immediate issuance of government bonds to replenish the dwindling gold reserve of the federal government and to reestablish economic stability within the United States. Euclid Martin, Witten McDonald and W. D. McHugh write about the dispensing of federal patronage, convey their support for Morton’s campaign for “hard money,” and comment on the threatened absorption of the Nebraska Democratic Party by the Populists.

Roll 34
1895 Howard L. Mundy-1895 John W. Towle

This roll of correspondence emphasizes the mass concern with the issues of silver coinage, protective tariffs and the effect of these questions upon the election of 1896. Coin’s Financial School is popular reading at this time and A. T. Nash informs Morton that the book is influencing people’s thinking. Arthur L. Perry of Williams College admits that the gold standard is not perfect but that it is the best system available at the present time. Perry, P. J. Smalley and Edmund Stern believe that Morton could be the Democratic presidential nominee in 1896. Perry, however, doubts that Morton would have the support of his own state, because the Democratic Party is split by factions and Populism. Smalley invites Morton to speak before the Minnesota Democratic Association and urges him to use the occasion to declare his candidacy. Stern calls Morton the “gold knight of Democracy” and says that people would support him if he was a candidate.

Roll 35
1895 J. H. Tracy-1896 H. K. Carroll

Morton continues to press for the gold standard and receives numerous letters from Fred W. Vaughan regarding the organization of the Sound Money League of Nebraska, formed to combat the growing influence of free silver advocates. James M. Wood, Henry W. Yates and J. H. Whitmore want Morton to be a presidential candidate in 1896 and advise him that a “sound money” campaign will be nationally successful. Allen Blacker informs Morton of the Populist strength in Texas and expresses concern at the shattering effect of William Jennings Bryan’s campaign on the Democratic Party in that state. William Baker, President of the Chicago Board of Trade, keeps Morton abreast of the agricultural market and states that the “hard money” Democrats should bolt the Democratic National Convention of 1896 if Bryan is nominated. Edward Atkinson and P. B. Weare address themselves to the international situation with Atkinson denouncing the rumors of war with England over the Venezuela Boundary dispute and Weare requesting Morton’s assistance in securing protection for American business interests in Alaskan gold fields.

Roll 36
1896 Thomas Carroll-1896 H. A. Johns

The silver question and Populism are controversial issues of the day as Morton receives numerous letters regarding their disruptive effect on the Democratic Party. Tobias Castor, commenting on the presidential election of 1896, predicts the victory of William McKinley if the free silver Democrats are allowed to dominate the Democratic National Convention and nominate William Jennings Bryan. Castor is alarmed at the growing influence of the Populist forces and expresses his desire to have the “sound money” Democrats bolt the National Convention in the event of the adoption of a free silver platform. C. J. Ernst and J. C. Crawford express their support of Morton for President and advise him that a campaign on a “sound money” platform would unify the Democratic Party and provide for a possible Democratic victory in 1900. Morton is fully informed of the disposition of the National Convention as Lawrence Gardner submits a partial list of delegates, including those from Nebraska, Missouri and Michigan. Charles W. Dabney, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, corresponds regarding Department business and Morton’s controversial decision to disband the seed distribution bureau.

Roll 37
1896 Claude M. Johnson-1896 C. R. Rohde

This roll reflects the interest and concern of correspondents with the issues of free silver, free trade, interstate commerce, and party politics. Euclid Martin declares that the conservative wing of the Democratic Party must once and for all repudiate “Bryan Populism” and free silver and accept the consequences of such a decision. G. P. Marvin, George L. Miller and Arthur L. Perry join Martin in criticizing “those people who carry McKinley buttons and vote for Bryan.” These men also express the intention of voting for McKinley, but would rather support Morton if he would accept the advice of such men as J. F. Kinney, John P. Irish and others to be the presidential candidate on a conservative ticket. Kenesaw M. Landis finds the Justice Department slow in acting when he charges the Armour, Morris, and Swift meat packing companies with monopolistic practices in violation of the Interstate Commerce Act. He turns to Morton for advice and influence to help get a hearing for his charges. Together with the need for Democrats to keep their promise about the repeal of protective tariffs, R. D. Kathrens expresses hope that they will support a fair labor act prohibiting child labor and equal wages for women doing equal work with men. Amid numerous letters from office seekers and school children wanting Arbor Day information, Arthur L. Perry warns that conservatives must present new programs of finance and economy that will unite the Democratic Party if they are to win the Presidency again.

Roll 38
1896 D. P. Rolfe-1897 Caroline Childs

The nomination of William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic standard bearer and the adoption of the free silver platform at the Democratic National Convention in 1896 are of concern to conservative Democrats as numerous letters request Morton’s participation in a campaign to defeat Bryan. Albert Watkins, Portus B. Weare and H. W. Seymour write regarding the 1896 Indianapolis convention and encourage Morton to accept its presidential nomination. Calvin Tomkins relates the efforts of the Reform Club to combat the free silver propaganda which is flooding the country. Edward Shelden assures Morton that sound money Democrats and Republicans would unite to defeat Bryan and carry Nebraska for William McKinley in the 1896 election. Morton’s controversial address at Chicago in 1896 is well received by proponents of the gold standard at Posey S. Wilson expresses his satisfaction with the speech and asks Morton to be a presidential candidate. When Morton completes his duties as Secretary of Agriculture, he receives numerous congratulatory letters regarding his efficient administration of the Department. F. W. Baker and Allen Blacker warn that the defeat of Bryan in 1896 was only a temporary setback and that a strong reorganization of the conservative element of the Democratic Party is essential to defeat a Bryan candidacy in 1900.

Roll 39
1897 S. J. Childs-1897 W. B. Nassau

Correspondents on this roll congratulate Morton for his successful administration of the Department of Agriculture, reveal the consternation Democrats have over factionalism in their party, request Morton to make public appearances and speeches, or endorsements and references, and inquire about his future political plans. Following the defeat of William Jennings Bryan, Charles Dabney, Michael D. Harter, H. A. Herbert, A. B. Farquhar, Euclid Martin and George L. Miller express the need for rebuilding the party along the lines of “sound money,” free trade, laissez faire, and “integrity and honesty in government.” Miller states that separatist movements are not the way to defeat Bryan and says that the Indianapolis convention only increased the factionalism within the Democratic Party and did not depose Bryan. Worthington C. Ford decries the Republican waste of tax dollars and calls for integrity and efficiency in government rather than “pensions and spoils.” Robert W. Furnas writes about the varieties of fruit he is growing and the domestic animals he is raising and informs Morton that Nebraska soil can grow many fruits.

Roll 40
1897 E. V. Smalley (National Sound Money League)-1898 Katherine DuBois

This roll relates to Morton’s activities during his final days as Sectary and as private citizen in Nebraska City. John Nordhouse, Morton’s former private secretary who retains the position under James W. Wilson, informs Morton of events within the Department of Agriculture. Nordhouse relates the failure of the Republican administration to retain competent Democrats in patronage positions. Andrew J. Sawyer expresses his disappointment at the unfair treatment of “gold” Democrats and maintains that without the aid of the conservative Democrats, William McKinley might well have been defeated in 1896. Edward Atkinson congratulates Morton on becoming President of the National Sound Money League and for the growing popularity of The Conservative. Allen Blacker and William E. Custis encourage Morton to accept the invitation of the Argentina government to establish a Department of Agriculture in that country.

Roll 41
1898 Nelly Duffield-1898 Charles A. Sawyer

The correspondence on this roll gradually changes from domestic political issues and focuses on the conflict between Spain and the United States. Initially the war did not command much favorable comment from Morton’s conservative friends, but as it progresses changes of opinion can be noted. George L. Miller expresses grave doubts as to the wisdom of such a war and fears that a conflict would bring the leading powers of Europe to the aid of Spain. Robert W. Furnas disapproves of American imperialism and thinks the war will cost more lives than the territory in question is worth. John Hyde believes that even after the United States defeats Spain, she would have to face England in another war. As the conflict continued Edward Farquhar and Furnas are less opposed to it; while Miller talks about the high qualities of the “Anglo-Saxon” fighting man being too great for the Spanish. A. B. Hepburn cautions that this is no time for war as “sound money” and the defeat of the forces of William Jennings Bryan were more threatening to the country than the war. Morton’s sons, Carl, Mark, Paul and Joy, write frequently about the publishing of The Conservative, family financial investments and their individual families.

Roll 42
1898 Winona S. Sawyer-1899 Charles P. Lloyd

The correspondence on this roll relates to the monetary question, developments within the Democratic Party and comment on the Spanish-American War. Winona S. Sawyer and E. V. Smalley write regarding the formation of a Monetary Congress to be held at the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition and the Currency Convention of the National Sound Money League to convene in Omaha in 1898. Tobias Castor desires a re-organization of the Democratic Party and says that the William Jennings Bryan faction of the party must be defeated in the 1899 Nebraska election to lessen Bryan’s chances for the presidential nomination in 1900. Grover Cleveland is disappointed at the political impotency of the Democratic Party and warns Morton of the strong possibility of a successful candidacy by Bryan in 1900. Morton’s editorial efforts in The Conservative are met with success as correspondents relate their support of his campaign for the gold standard, his condemnation of Bryan, his anti-imperialistic views, and his writings relating to agricultural development in Nebraska and the nation.

Roll 43
1899 Sue M. Lohrfink-1900 M. J. Carlisle

This roll relates to the contemporary issues of politics, free silver, anti-imperialism, Populism, and personal financial matters. Euclid Martin and George L. Miller despair for the Democratic Party and lay the blame on William Jennings Bryan and his supporters. Arthur L. Perry and Albert W. Wilson, however, speculate that possibly the time had come for all Democrats to back Bryan because the free silver issue was dying down and President William McKinley’s imperialistic foreign policy was not acceptable to conservative Democrats. Wilson takes Morton to task for his selfish politics and accuses him of keeping the party divided. W. D. McHugh approves of McKinley’s foreign policy and denounces any plan of independence for Cuba or the Philippine Islands. Morton is advised by the National Sound Money League of a possible merger with the Indianapolis Convention to consolidate the fight for sound money and banking reform. Clarence S. Paine and Jacob H. North are not happy with the progress Morton is making in preparing the History of Nebraska, and urge him to put forth more effort into its completion. Morton’s sons are frequent writers as they relate their personal success in the business world and the state of the family investments.

Roll 44
1900 John M. Carson-1900 Winona S. Sawyer

This roll relates to events in and the election of 1900. Louis R. Ehrich, A. B. Farquhar, Euclid Martin and Andrew J. Sawyer express their agreement with Morton’s advocacy of a third political party to combat the imperialistic foreign policy of William McKinley and the unlimited coinage beliefs of William Jennings Bryan. T. M. Osborne also desires a third party and proposes that a convention be held at Indianapolis in 1900 to accomplish that end. Bryan’s defeat in 1900 and his failure to carry Nebraska leads prominent men of the two major parties to write congratulatory letters expressing satisfaction with the editorial vendetta carried on by The Conservative against the Bryan candidacy. The New York World requests Morton’s opinion on McKinley’s decision to send Secretary of State John Hay to mediate the dispute between the Boer Republics and Great Britain and on the possibility of reorganization of the Democratic Party.

Roll 45
1900 E. L. Sayre-1901 Shackelford Miller

The documents on this roll relate to “Bryanism,” foreign policy, publishing of The Conservative and History of Nebraska, and the death of Carl Morton. Louis R. Ehrich writes that William Jennings Bryan is still trying to keep the silver issue alive and thought it unfortunate that Bryan had just enough power in the Democratic Party to keep the presidential nomination from going to someone else. Charles M. Dietrich expresses agreement with Morton that there is a need for a state investigation into Nebraska’s revenue laws and state institutions with the proper reform based on a committeeís recommendations. Albert Watkins also favors an investigation and wants to include the state university. William E. Connelly writes that H. L. Rucker, a former worker on the History of Nebraska, is in Kansas using Morton’s name to solicit funds for a proposed, but unauthorized History of Kansas. Connelly advises Morton that Rucker’s behavior is very suspicious and that he ought to investigate the matter. Robert W. Furnas, George L. Miller and Ehrich express shock at the shooting of William McKinley and think that this action may bring tighter immigration regulations. George H. Maxwell of the National Irrigation Association states that he favors federal regulation rather than state and local control in the matter of land conservation.

Roll 46
1901 R. C. Mitchell-1902 J. M. Woolworth

Morton receives numerous letters supporting his editorial efforts of free trade, anti-imperialism, and agricultural development which appear in The Conservative. The newspaper is actively supported by Morton’s sons, Joy, Mark and Paul, as they write regarding subscriptions and financial contributions. The death of Carl Morton deals a serious blow to the family and Morton receives numerous letters of condolences from lifelong friends. With the defeat of William Jennings Bryan in the election of 1900, Morton turns his literary talents to the writing of a history of Nebraska. Addison E. Sheldon, Clarence S. Paine, Jacob H. North and Albert Watkins correspond regarding the procurement of subscriptions, biographical acquisitions and publication procedures of the history. Paul Morton writes requesting that his father accompany Theodore Roosevelt and himself on a trip to Colorado.

Roll 47
October 1850-January 1902

This roll is composed of incoming and outgoing letters, dated and undated, which pertain to Morton’s activities as Secretary and Acting Governor of Nebraska Territory, as Secretary of Agriculture, and as editor of The Conservative. There are letters to William Medill regarding the disbursement of Territorial monies and to President James Buchanan advocating the appointment of a Nebraskan, Samuel W. Black, as Governor of the Territory. Morton requests William A. Richardson to advise him whether he should be a candidate for Congress in view of the growing popularity of Stephen A. Douglas as a presidential hopeful. In the 1870s Morton is a proponent of a strong Democratic State Central Committee, but after suffering defeat in the gubernatorial race in 1884, he expresses the desire to never again be a Democratic candidate for public office. The impact of the election of 1884 and the ensuing battle for control of federal patronage is duly noted in numerous letters to Charles H. Brown, denouncing James E. Boyd and George L. Miller. With the nomination and election of Boyd as Governor in 1890, Morton begins a campaign to oust him on the grounds that he was not a legal citizen. Correspondence during the years Morton served as Secretary of Agriculture reflects his efforts to dispense federal patronage and to instill efficiency in the Department. During this period Morton writes a voluminous critique on William Jennings Bryan’s speech in 1896 at the Madison Square Garden. Through The Conservative Morton campaigns for the gold standard, free trade, tariff reform and Nebraska’s agricultural development.

Roll 48
April 1874-April 1885

Morton comments on a number of contemporary issues including the invasion of grasshoppers, the adverse weather conditions, and the activities of the Patrons of Husbandry. There are also letters indicating Morton’s promotional work and real estate transactions for the Burlington Railroad, his assistance to Nebraskans plagues by drought and grasshoppers, and a discussion of developments with the Democratic Party. Interspersed throughout the roll are letters to members of the Morton family relating to day-to-day occurrences and business matters, such as mining investments in New Mexico. Gradually politics become a dominant theme, particularly in the 1880 election, when Morton attempts to form Hancock and English clubs throughout Nebraska. After the election of 1884 Morton endeavors not to offend any Democrats who are seeking patronage, but rather refers people to the State Committee or to party leaders in various communities. Near the end of the roll Morton expresses confidence that President-elect Grover Cleveland will make sound political appointments, assures friends he is not a candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture, and stresses the need for Civil Service Reform.

Roll 49
December 1883-April 1887

The early portion of this roll reveals Morton’s business interests, including his lobbying activities for the Burlington Railroad, inquiries about and payment of his numerous life insurance policies, and comments on the condition of the Morton lumber enterprise. Throughout the roll there are letters to the Morton family noting the health and activities of his sons and the deep loss Morton suffered with his wife’s death in 1881. In 1884 Morton supports Thomas F. Bayard for the presidential nomination at the National Democratic Convention. With the subsequent nomination and election of Grover Cleveland, Morton declines to endorse people for patronage positions, saying that he has little influence with the President-elect. Morton advises Bayard to remaining the U. S. Senate where he can best work for the party and for his own political career. Included among the limited number of people Morton endorses for appointments are Andrew J. Sawyer, and Euclid Martin. In a series of letters in 1885 and 1886 Morton actively campaigns against the appointment of S. H. Calhoun as Collector of Revenue for Nebraska while promoting Donald MacCuaig for the position. In 1885 and 1886 Morton reflects upon his early career, including his first Thanksgiving in Nebraska Territory, and his candidacies for Governor and U.S. Senator. Morton is also kept busy accepting or declining speaking engagements and answering inquiries about Arbor Day.

Roll 50
April 1887-June 1890

Morton’s mining interests in Idaho, his operation of Arbor Lodge, his salary for securing right-of-way for the Burlington, and his sale of farm land constitute several important business activities discussed in correspondence in the early part of this roll. Morton is frequently in contact with his sons as he is deeply involved in their personal and business affairs. In September 1887, Morton objects to local option and says that the state should decide the validity of prohibition. Events in 1888 revolve about Morton’s trip to Maine, New York, Michigan and Illinois speaking on behalf of Democratic nominees and his own efforts in Nebraska as an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. In October and November he expresses optimism to Charles E. Perkins when he says that his victory is “quite possible.” He sends $100 to Gage County to be used in getting out the Democratic vote, but later attributes his defeat to limited campaign expenditures and to the influx of new voters. Near the end of the roll there are letters relating Morton’s free trade views, his opposition to subsidies, and his belief that Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller is the best man to run for president in 1892.

Roll 51
July 1890-April 1895

During 1890 Morton is actively engaged in “wagonizing” the Burlington Railroad bridge at Nebraska City. He is opposed to a coalition with the Farmer’s Alliance, even though he believes that the Alliance would receive more support from the Democrats than from the Republicans. Morton is concerned with intra-party differences in 1891 and 1892 and informs R. E. Dunphy that Governor James E. Boyd could have strengthened the Democratic Party by signing the Newberry railroad regulation bill, even though it was a poor bill. With the election of Grover Cleveland, attention turns to national affairs and the possibility of Morton being appointed as Secretary of Agriculture. He informs Michael D. Harter that if the position is offered to him he will accept, but will not campaign for it. Morton, however, writes to Joy and to Robert W. Furnas requesting their assistance in encouraging persons to write the President-elect in his behalf and suggests in January 1893 that his cause would be advanced if he were promoted for the U.S. Senate.

Morton’s official correspondence reveals his diligent efforts to reduce the expenditures of his Department, to reorganize the Weather Bureau and to cope with the numerous patronage requests. Other broad topics of interest include comment on rainfall experiments and the closing of sugar beet stations, Morton’s efforts to eradicate the Russian thistle, and his concern over reports that condemned meat is being sold to the public in Chicago.

Roll 52
March 1893-February 1897

The concluding volume of official correspondence, 1895-1897, relates in part to Morton’s efforts to reorganize the staff and functions of the Weather Bureau and to increase its efficiency. Morton requests President Grover Cleveland to ask for Mark W. Harrington’s resignation as Chief of the Weather Bureau and later recommends Willis L. Moore as the new Chief. Other letters relate to the possibility of a “beef combine” operating in Chicago, Morton’s advocacy of the metric system, and to the beneficial results of the Civil Service program.

Morton’s private press copy books during his years as Secretary relate mainly to recommendations for or against persons who want patronage positions. He asks George L. Miller to recommend for patronage conservative Democrats rather than those who support free silver. Morton tells Charles H. Brown that the large number of patronage requests “shakes one’s faith in the capacity of the great mass of the people for self-government.” Professor J. Laurence Laughlin is an occasional recipient of a letter about their mutual interest in the currency question and Morton promotes Laughlin’s views and publications. T. C. Crawford and Michael D. Harter learn of Morton’s displeasure with the Sherman Act because it compels the United States to make monthly silver purchases. Morton is critical of Experiment Stations and says that while there are some good stations, too few results have been obtained to justify large expenditures.

Roll 53
May 1893-August 1893

Correspondence on this roll relates to political developments in the Democratic Party, a discussion of the currency question and to political patronage. Morton contends that it was the support of the German people and of Edward Rosewater that enabled James E. Boyd to be elected governor of Nebraska in 1890. In August 1893 Morton tells P. W. Birkhauser that the American Protective Association and the Republican Party will be definite threats to Democratic chances in the fall election. Morton comments on the currency-silver issue, the favorable aspects of “sound money,” the need to repeal the Sherman Act, and other related matters in letters to W. W. Baldwin, Albert H. Horton, E. P. Weatherby, John P. Irish, George L. Miller, Edward Atkinson, P. B. Weare, John H. Millard, Charles E. Perkins, and Henry M. Yates. Morton also corresponds with a host of federal officials, including Hoke Smith, W. S. Bissel, Richard Olney, Daniel S. Lamont, and Robert A. Maxwell attempting to secure their support of or opposition to applicants for patronage positions.

Roll 54
August 1893-November 1893

Correspondence on this roll reflects Morton’s opposition to the Sherman Act and to the appointment of “unsound” Democrats to patronage positions. In August Morton assures his son, Joy, and later John P. Irish, that the Sherman Act will be repealed. Morton contends that he does not have the time to write Nebraskans on the fallacies of silver prior to the State Convention and doubts if he can assist in selecting “sound money” men to comprise the State Committee. He does, however, actively campaign in behalf of the candidacy of Frank Irvine for Nebraska Supreme Court Judge. In October he seeks to embarrass William Jennings Bryan when he asks Tobias Castor and Andrew J. Sawyer to have a “cheerful Populist” write Bryan asking him to support Silas A. Holcomb, the Populist opponent of Irvine. Morton says that if Bryan supports Holcomb he would displease the Democrats, while if he remains neutral he would offend the Populists. In November Morton informs Henry Strong that he hopes William McKinley will be the next Republican presidential nominee as then the election can be waged squarely between protection and tariff for revenue only.

Roll 55
November 1893-February 1894

The dispensing of federal patronage commands much of Morton’s attention as he channels numerous applications for the consideration of appropriate cabinet members or other governmental officials. During this period he is also aware of the growing strength of Populism in Nebraska and campaigns for tariff reform and the gold standard. Morton is involved in the Democratic State Convention of 1893 and directs Andrew J. Sawyer, Euclid Martin and W. D. McHugh to stop at all costs the influence of C. J. Bowlby on the delegation. Morton continues to advocate the Supreme Court candidacy of Frank Irvine, while denouncing the support William Jennings Bryan has given to Silas A. Holcomb. In early 1894 Morton relates his belief that the Populists are composed of “the discontent of both parties who follow politics for revenue only.” He also writes numerous letters to his sons, Joy and Carl, regarding their business ventures and warns them of the insolvency of the United States Government.

Roll 56
February 1894-May 1894

This roll reflects Morton’s concern with political patronage, with developments within the Democratic Party and with an incident in Nebraska City where Morton and his son, Carl, are hung in effigy. Morton is irritated by the effigy incident and relates to Carl and others the civic improvements the Morton family has contributed to Nebraska City. There are a number of letters relating to the personnel and operations of the Genoa Indian School and to its general improvement. Morton notes the “lack of coherence” in the Democratic Party and endeavors to curtail William Jennings Bryan’s patronage privileges. He says that George L. Miller is being considered for appointment to the Interstate Commerce Commission but later relates that Miller is not appointed because of his former association with the “Gould crowd.” Morton defends his work in extending patronage in a letter to Euclid Martin by pointing out that his influence is limited. Later he advises Richard Olney that the Democratic organization in Utah Territory must be aided, as once it is admitted as a state, “it is essential to our comfort that it come in with two conservative senators.”

Roll 57
May 1894-November 1894

This roll reflects Morton’s interests with developments within the Democratic Party, with the contemporary issues of free trade, free silver, Monroe Doctrine and the Homestead Law, and with patronage, adverse weather and economic difficulties. In May Morton informs Hoke Smith that the forces of William Jennings Bryan plan to overthrow the regular Democratic organization. Morton believes the outlook for tariff reform is good in June but several months later writes William T. Baker that he is sure no tariff reform will be passed in Congress. Morton comments critically on the Monroe Doctrine and the Homestead Law, calling the former “a good deal of humbug.” He contends that the Homestead Law attracted many people to Nebraska who knew nothing about tilling the land and that these people merely pretended to farm while waiting to sell their land. Morton writes W. W. Cox that land “west of the 100th Meridian was not intended for the purpose of the plow. It was, by nature, only a pastoral country.” While Morton vacations in Europe in the fall of 1894, John Nordhouse informs him of developments within the Department.

Roll 58
November 1894-March 1895

The dispensing of federal patronage, the controversial issue of currency, and political developments within the Democratic Party are the main themes of this roll. William T. Baker, J. Laurence Laughlin, Lyman Gage, and John R. Walsh are urged to draw up a bill that would create a Currency Commission. Later Morton says that Richard Olney favors the Commission, but that John G. Carlisle believes that Congress would strike out the clause empowering the President to make the commission appointments, and would select free silver men. Morton informs Witten McDonald that the 1894 election “shows very clearly to my mind that the Anti-Catholic element had very much to do with increasing the overwhelming majority against many of the Democratic nominees for Congress.” In 1895 he answers numerous questions about the silver issue and suggests that people would better understand the money question if they read his pamphlet, “A Few Facts In Finance.” Morton relates his belief that the presidential campaign of 1896 would not be based on the values of the two major parties, but rather on the issue of the gold standard versus free silver.

Roll 59
March 1895-July 1895

Morton continues to answer numerous patronage requests and fight for the unification of fellow Democrats behind the gold standard. The growing popularity of Populism is of great concern to Morton as he writes Euclid Martin regarding the organization of a Sound Money Committee in every county of Nebraska in order to combat the forces of free silver. He also answers questions or states his position on the silver issue and directs many correspondents to the works of J. Laurence Laughlin. Fred W. Vaughan, Euclid Martin, James A. Porter and James A. Cherry are among Democrats with whom Morton discusses the money question. Morton is somewhat relieved of dispensing patronage during the middle of 1895 as he informs office seekers that he is unable to secure positions because job openings have been placed under the Civil Service system.

Roll 60
July 1895-October 1895

Much of the correspondence on this roll centers around the Democratic State Convention of Nebraska in 1895. Morton corresponds with N. S. Harwood, Tobias Castor and Fred W. Vaughan regarding their desire to have John G. Carlisle address the convention and elevate the principle of “sound money” to national prominence. Morton also writes to W. D. McHugh of the failure of the Free Silver Convention in Omaha to gain wide acceptance and of the need for Carlisle’s presence at the state convention to combat the forces of free silver. When Carlisle cannot address the convention, Morton advises the procurement of Michael D. Harter and later expresses his satisfaction with Harter’s address and the “sound money” triumph at the convention. Morton expresses his determination not to become a presidential candidate in 1896 and maintains that he will not again seek political office upon conclusion of his duties as Secretary of Agriculture. Interspersed throughout the roll are letters to his sons regarding family and business matters and to associates regarding political patronage.

Roll 61
October 1895-February 1896

Correspondence on this roll relates to Morton’s defense of the gold standard, his satisfaction with the business careers of his four sons, his determination to terminate the seed distribution bureau of the Department of Agriculture and to his comments on political and diplomatic developments. The eastern Republican victories in the senatorial and gubernatorial elections of 1895 fair to diminish Morton’s enthusiasm for a Democratic victory in 1896, as he informs Victor Vifquain that the Democrats would win if the gold standard was the basis of their national platform. Morton warns S. A. Robinson, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Reform Club, that a strong fight over the monetary question would take place in the immediate future, especially in Missouri where the silver forces were gaining strength. Morton proposes to Albert Watkins and D. P. Rolfe that gold monometalism and reform of both the tariff ad the internal revenue tax should become the major planks in the Democratic platform or 1896; and that if these were adopted, a Democratic victory would be secured. The strained diplomatic relations and rumors of war between the United States and Great Britain over the Venezuela Boundary dispute in 1895 are denounced by Morton and he calls for a peaceful arbitration of the controversy.

Roll 62
March 1896-October 1896

Morton expresses his opinions on such issues as civil service reform, free seed distribution, William Jennings Bryan’s free silver advocacy, and the business interests of his four sons. Aside from a deluge of requests for positions and references, Morton advises William G. Rice that Civil Service reform is a good cause and that it ought to be strengthened and broadened to eliminate more technical governmental positions from patronage seekers. Morton assails the seed distribution program as a congressional “pork barrel” and expresses to Robert W. Furnas and T. J. Boykin the feeling that Congress ought to cease rewarding “vote getters” from the public treasury. The political campaign of 1896 is never far from Morton’s attention and he comments readily on Bryan’s deficiencies. John P. Irish, Allen Blacker, P. J. Smalley, A. L. Perry, C. R. Clover, A. B. Farquhar, and others receive Morton’s prediction of Bryan’s election if the Republicans do not increase their campaign and Morton’s spurning of Bryan’s philosophy as detrimental to the national economic structure.

Roll 63
September 1896-January 1897

Morton’s philosophy of limited government and his objection to “Bryanism,” free silver and his desire for reform of banks and tariff are items of interest on this roll. He continues to predict the victory of William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 election unless the Republicans wage a more vigorous campaign. Morton opposes increased state and federal taxes in letters to D. E. Lantz, L. R. Ehrich, and Carol Morton and says that what government needs is more efficiency and less revenue. He expresses displeasure with government regulation of banking, railroads and corporations and solicits responses to these questions from George L. Miller, Robert W. Furnas, and Charles E. Perkins. To these same men Morton presents his plan for a monetary commission that would “bring greenbacks, national bank notes, silver certificates, and treasury notes into harmony.” In 1897 Morton frequently comments to his family and friends the desire to retire to Arbor Lodge upon completion of his duties as Secretary and expresses hope that William McKinley would appoint Robert W. Furnas to succeed him.

Roll 64
May 1897-January 1898

The correspondence on this roll reflects the transition of Morton from governmental duty to private life. In response to numerous congratulatory greetings upon completion of his Secretaryship, Morton assures friends that he is happy to be leaving Washington and wishes to be remembered for “efficiency and business-like conduct of his office.” Morton attempts to persuade Charles E. Perkins that Nebraska City would be a better place to construct the Burlington Railroad’s car shop than Omaha. He warns his son, Joy, that the sugar beet industry in Nebraska is too risky and to refrain from investing money in it. Morton does, however, encourage his sons to purchase real estate adjacent to Arbor Lodge to enlarge the family holdings. With the construction of the Overland Theater, the increased production of the Nebraska Cereal Mills and the Argo Starch Company, Morton was optimistic when he wrote to George L. Miller and Robert W. Furnas that some day Nebraska City would be larger than Lincoln. Morton also cites the need for reform of the civil service in order to retain competent men in the service of government and reminisces with C. W. Ernst about the overland mail delivery in early Nebraska.

Roll 65
January 1898-June 1898

Much of the correspondence on this roll reveals Morton’s misgivings over the United States’ involvement in foreign affairs and his desire to reform the political parties. Morton predicts to Thomas F. Bayard, Victor Vifquain, George L. Miller, Robert W. Furnas, and others that the armed might of the European countries would come to the aid of Spain, if the United States persists in her imperialistic policies. He also expresses his dissatisfaction with President William McKinley’s conduct of domestic affairs ad calls for the repeal of the protective tariffs and for the continued growth of the government’s classified service. Morton avoids discussing party politics and local issues for the most part but occasionally is critical of William Jennings Bryan. Correspondence with Jacob North, Clarence S. Paine, and H. L. Ruche, all agents for the History of Nebraska, reveals Morton’s difficulties in compiling that project. Other matters of interest include his editing of The Conservative and family business investments.

Roll 66
June 1898-May 1899

Morton’s efforts to promote The Conservative and his dedication to the principles of tariff reform, gold standard and anti-imperialism comprise the major portion of this roll. Morton denounces the United States’ intervention into the affairs of Cuba and Hawaii and says that the “benevolent assimilation” advocated by the William McKinley administration is a direct violation of the Monroe Doctrine and that this type of policy would lead to a war with Russia and other European powers. Morton is also critical of McKinley’s disregard of Civil Service when filling governmental positions and calls for a Democratic victory in 1900 to defeat the “spoils system.” The failure of the Republican Congress to pass the proposed legislation establishing gold as the basis of the monetary system is disappointing to Morton and he writes fellow Democrats that free coinage of silver is still a possibility. Morton declines an invitation to form a Department of Agriculture in Argentina, saying that he would like to spend his remaining days at Arbor Lodge.

Roll 67
May 1899-August 1900

Throughout this roll Morton’s correspondence reveals his concern with the growing popularity of William Jennings Bryan and his efforts to curb Bryan’s effectiveness. Morton laments the problem of the electorate in 1900 as a choice between “two evils.” He is alarmed at the increasing strength of Populism and informs George L. Miller that only a reputable Democrat of national prominence, such as John G. Carlisle, Richard Olney, or Grover Cleveland can save the nation from “Bryanarchy.” Morton discusses the formation of a third party with Horace White, Louis Ehrich and Grover Cleveland and later agrees with Cleveland that an attempt to form such an organization so close to the election would be a weak and ineffectual effort. As Bryan’s candidacy begins to pick up momentum, partially through the active participation of William H. “Coin” Harvey, Morton calls for the defeat of free silver at all costs, even if this means a continuation of the Republican administration. Morton informs James Sweet that he is not going to attend the Democratic National Convention because of Bryan’s obvious popularity with the people.

Roll 68
August 1900-June 1901

The correspondence on this roll reveals Morton’s disenchantment with the presidential candidates in 1900, his increased activity in publishing The Conservative and the History of Nebraska, and the deep loss he suffered with the death of his son Carl. Morton concentrates his political thoughts on the national level and labels the 1900 election as “a choice between evils” and fears that William Jennings Bryan will be elected. Morton informs Alfred L. Perry that he has no personal animosity against Bryan, but says his silver beliefs are not consistent with Democratic principles. The continuation of the Republican administration’s policies of protective tariffs and of the involvement in the war with Spain further weakens Morton’s opinion of President William McKinley. Morton writes Charles E. Perkins and Hanna A. Wagoner that McKinley is a tool of Mark Hanna and other Republican leaders. Anti-trust proceedings filed against the Morton enterprises in Nebraska City by Bryan supporters antagonizes Morton and he informs Charles H. Dietrich and David Brown that unless the suits are dropped he and his sons would close down their businesses and leave.

Roll 69
June 1901-April 1902

During this period Morton is occupied with private affairs, including renovations at Arbor Lodge, real estate transactions, dispensing advice to his sons on business matters and in editing The Conservative and the History of Nebraska. Morton infrequently discusses politics and public affairs except as they relate to free silver, banking and civil service reforms, and other topics of articles which appear in The Conservative. He actively seeks to increase The Conservative‘s circulation while pressing Clarence S. Paine and Jacob North to complete the History of Nebraska. Morton accompanies his son Paul on several trips and in February 1902 visits Mexico, after which he writes Alfred L. Perry that his views on silver have been reaffirmed as he sees the poor condition of the silver-backed Mexican economy. After a lingering illness, Morton dies on April 27, 1902 and the remaining correspondence is answered by his private secretary, John Nordhouse.

Roll 70

The diaries on this roll relate Morton’s experiences as a student at the University of Michigan and his business involvements, both in and out of Nebraska. Morton’s comments on university life reveal his attachment to his family, his fondness for literary and debating activities, and his notation of day-to-day occurrences. Later entries contain detailed accounts not only of trip expenditures, but of a variety of farming and household expenses, including prices of real estate, grains, food and other items. When Morton is away from home, whether for business or pleasure, entries relate to expenses incurred, persons and places visited and topics of conversation.

Roll 71

These farm journals relate primarily to activities on the Morton farm or to his other business investments and are maintained by Morton, his wife and their sons. Entries relate to farming procedures, land acquisitions, general maintenance of Arbor Lodge, and expenses for taxes, insurance, farm labor and other related accounts, plus an indication of farm liabilities. Later Morton relates his trip expenditures incurred as a lobbyist for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and in the development of mining property in New Mexico. There are also notations relating amounts of money Morton receives for his work with the railroad, his mining claims in New Mexico, the sale of railroad bonds in Otoe County, and the general productivity of his farms.

Roll 72

The diaries and farm journals on this roll are maintained by Morton and his sister Emma, and relate primarily to activities at Arbor Lodge. Entries provide an insight into the business operations of Morton with notations stating the procurement of livestock and farm properties, expenditures for goods and services and the general maintenance of Arbor Lodge. Morton also records expenditures incurred on business trips to Chicago and Washington, and short vacations to Colorado and the Southwest. Early entries reveal Morton’s deep personal loss suffered with the death of his wife Caroline as he devotes numerous passages to her memory. The journals also relate the extent of Morton’s political involvements during this period including a record of his attendance at Democratic State and National Conventions and speaking engagements in behalf of his candidacies for governor in 1833 and for Congress in 1888. There are other items of interest, including the industrial development of Nebraska City, the individual business successes of his sons and the promotion of plains forestation.

Roll 73

This roll is composed of farm journals maintained by Morton and other members of his family including his son Carl and his sister Emma. Entries pertain to guests who visited Arbor Lodge, livestock transactions, planting of crops and trees, as well as a daily record of weather conditions. In the 1892 gubernatorial race, Morton records his speaking engagements and the dates of visits to various towns in Nebraska. During 1899 there is an entry almost every week stating the amount of gold in the United States reserve.

Roll 74

This roll consists of five scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings from Nebraska and other states and relate to Morton’s career and other activities. The majority of the clippings in all the volumes have the date and name of the newspaper from which they were taken. Articles pertain to Morton’s candidacies for public office during the 1880s and to the struggle for control of federal patronage.

Roll 75

This roll consists of mounted newspaper clippings and relates to Morton’s political activities, his appointment as Secretary of Agriculture and the subsequent administration of the Department of Agriculture.

Roll 76

The clippings in these scrapbooks relate to Morton’s activities as Secretary of Agriculture and to his advocacy of civil service reform and the adoption of the gold standard.

Roll 77

This roll consists of scrapbooks composed of newspaper clippings which relate to Morton’s administration of the Department of Agriculture, the division within the Democratic Party over the issue of free silver, and the presidential campaigns of 1896 and 1900.

Roll 78

This correspondence consists of letters written by Morton to his sons, Joy, Mark, Paul and Carl; and to his wife Caroline and to his sister Emma. The bulk of the correspondence is concerned with the mutual welfare of the Morton family, but there is also mention of Morton’s political career, the activities of his sons, and the individual and corporate business enterprises of the Morton family.

Revised 12-19-2008 TMM

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