Samuel Marshall Kirkpatrick, 1815-1892 [RG3486.AM]


RG3486.AM:  Samuel Marshall Kirkpatrick, 1815-1892

Papers:  1835-1922

Nehawka, Cass County, Neb.:  Territorial Council Member; House of Representatives Member; Constitutional Convention Delegate; Lumberman; Farmer; Stock raiser

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


Samuel M. Kirkpatrick was born in Adams County, Ohio, in 1815, to Absalom and Elizabeth Van Pelt Kirkpatrick. The family moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, when Samuel was 14. In 1836 Samuel married Elizabeth C. McMillan. She died with their only child in 1839. Samuel Kirkpatrick engaged in farming and dealing in livestock until 1838 when he left Indiana and settled in Louisa County, Iowa, where he entered into a mercantile business. He also served as County Clerk there for four years. In 1841 he married Elizabeth Craig in Boone, Iowa. They had ten children, eight of whom reached maturity.

In 1845 Kirkpatrick traveled to the Pacific Coast, remaining there for two and a half years where he engaged in mining and mercantile affairs. In June of 1855 he settled his family on land where Nehawka, Cass County, Nebraska, is now located. He erected a sawmill only 3 months after settling in Nebraska. This was the first mill building in Cass County, as well as the first mill on the Weeping Water. Kirkpatrick ran this sawmill until May of 1856, when he again engaged in farming and stock raising. Because he was intimately connected with important interests of southern Nebraska, Kirkpatrick was elected to the Territorial Council in 1855 and re-elected in 1856 and 1861. In 1864 he represented Cass County in the House of Representatives, also serving as Speaker of the House. He was elected to the Senate four times. He was also delegate to the Constitutional Conventions of 1871 and 1875. After the 1875 Constitutional Convention, Kirkpatrick withdrew from politics. He continued to farm and deal in livestock until his death in 1892.


This collection consists of two boxes of manuscript material arranged in seven series: 1) Correspondence, 1835-1922; 2) Promissory Notes and Legal Documents; 3) Account Book, 1838-1863; 4) Genealogical Material; 5) Photographs; 6) Scrapbooks; and 7) Miscellaneous. This collection relates primarily to Samuel M. Kirkpatrick’s life in Iowa and Nehawka, Cass County, Nebraska. Historical material about Cass County, Nebraska, is also an integral part of the collection.

The correspondence of Series 1 comprises the bulk of the collection. This material consists mainly of letters written and received by Samuel M. Kirkpatrick, which discuss friends and relatives, farming, politics, temperance meetings, business, revival meetings, Indian troubles, trip to California, the economy, droughts and plagues. Of particular interest are letters written during Kirkpatrick’s tenures as a representative in the Territorial Council and the House of Representatives and as a delegate to the Nebraska Constitutional Conventions of 1871 and 1875, as well as letters from California and Oregon during the 1850s. A handwritten outline of topics discussed in each letter is filed at the beginning of the collection.

Series 2 consists of Promissory Notes and Legal Documents, and is comprised mainly of contracts, land transaction agreements, I.O.U.s and receipts. The Account Book, 1838-1863, of Series 3 provide information on accounts held by and with Samuel M. Kirkpatrick. Information on debts, credits, various types of expenditures, and crop costs and values is given. Series 4 consists of Genealogical Material, including newspaper clippings, family tree diagrams, and photocopied biographical information.

The Photographs of Series 5 are of Kirkpatrick family members and of unidentified scenes. The Scrapbooks of Series 6 deal primarily with Cass County, Nebraska history. Volume 1 contains handwritten biographies and documentation of local historical events. This volume was owned by Julia Baynes of Texas. Volume 2 contains newspaper clippings documenting Cass County, Nebraska history. Volume 3 also documents Cass County history, as well as providing newspaper clippings about archaeology in Iowa and Nebraska, and Nebraska state history. One scrapbook of greeting cards has been transferred to the museum. The Miscellaneous of Series 7 includes a typed index to the Nehawka Register, 1893-1894, material relating to Alvin A. McReynolds, (particularly on archaeological expedition to the Iowa Bluffs, which he was involved in during 1934), and various documents and programs owned by Samuel M. Kirkpatrick.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1835-1922

Box 1


    1. 1835-1837

    1. 1838-1839

    1. 1840-1844

    1. 1845-1847

    1. 1848

    1. 1849

    1. 1850-1852

    1. 1853-1856

    1. 1857-1859 (and undated 1850s material)

    1. 1860-1861

    1. 1862-1865

    1. 1866-1869 (and undated 1860s material)

    1. 1870-1874

    1. 1875-1876

    1. 1877-1879

    1. 1880-1883

    1. 1884-1885

    1. 1886

    1. 1887-1888

    1. 1889-1890 (and undated 1880s material)

    1. 1891-1822

    1. Undated

    1. Typed correspondence, 1837-1887 (Partial)

    1. Kime Correspondence (Kirkpatrick descendants)

Series 2 – Promissory Notes and Legal Documents

    1. Includes contracts, land transaction agreements, I.O.Us and receipts

Series 3 – Account Book, 1838-1863

    1. Includes information on accounts, debts, credits, expenditures, and crop values and prices

Series 4 – Genealogical Information

    1. Newspaper clippings, family tree diagrams, and photocopied reports

Series 5 – Photographs

    1. Kirkpatrick family members and unidentified scenes

Series 6 – Scrapbooks

Box 2


    1. Cass County, Nebraska Historical Material – handwritten biographical notes and reports of historical events

    1. Cass County Nebraska Newspaper clippings

    1. Newspaper clippings – Cass County, Nebraska, archaeological, and Nebraska State history

Series 7 – Miscellaneous

    1. Nehawka Register index, 1893-1894

    1. Alvin A. McReynolds material – includes report on an archaeological expedition to the Iowa Bluffs, 1934

    1. Poll book, documents, programs, owned by Samuel M. Kirkpatrick



Agriculture — Economic aspects

Agriculture — Nebraska

Agriculture — Nebraska — Cass County

Archeology — Iowa

Cass County (Neb.) — History

Constitutional Conventions — Nebraska

Gold mines and mining — California

Kirkpatrick, Samuel Marshall, 1815-1892

Legislative bodies — Nebraska

Nehawka (Neb.) — History


AIF   12-12-1979

Encoded TMM   05-19-2010

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Marker Monday: Spade Ranch

Marker Monday: Spade Ranch

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.