Samuel Maxwell, 1825-1901 [RG3905.AM]


RG3905.AM: Samuel Maxwell, 1825-1901

Papers: 1856-1901
Plattsmouth, Cass County, Neb.: Lawyer; politician
Size: 5.0 cu.ft.; 10 boxes + microfilm


Samuel Maxwell was born in Lodi, New York, on May 20, 1825. He was the son of Margaret Crosby and Robert Maxwell. In 1844 Samuel moved with his parents to Michigan where he taught school and undertook the study of law. In 1856 Samuel migrated to Cass County in Nebraska Territory where he purchased a land claim and began farming. The following year Maxwell made an unsuccessful bid for the Territorial Legislature and after two years in the Territory he returned to Michigan and resumed his law studies. Upon being admitted to the bar in 1859, Maxwell returned to Nebraska and his farming activity. In 1867 he entered into law partnership with Samuel M. Chapman and this partnership was maintained until 1873. Maxwell served as a Nebraska Supreme Court Justice from 1873 to 1894 and was Chief Justice of the court during nine of those years. In 1893 after an unsuccessful bid for re-election to the court, Maxwell began private law practice in Fremont, Nebraska. During his lifetime Maxwell was active in both Territorial and State politics. He was a delegate to the first Republican Territorial Convention in 1859, and was a representative to the Territorial Legislature of 1859, 1860, and 1865.

Maxwell was also a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1868 and presided over the Republican State Convention held in Nebraska City that same year. In 1872, having failed to receive the Republican nomination for governor, Maxwell was selected as his party’s choice for Supreme Court Judge. He was also a member of the Nebraska Constitutional Convention in 1871 and 1875. In 1895 Maxwell was again unsuccessful in his attempt to regain his position on the Supreme Court. In 1896 he was nominated by the People’s Independent Party for Third District Congressman. He was elected and served one term in the House from 1897 to 1899. In 1898 he was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican nomination for Congress. At the end of his term as Representative, Maxwell returned to Fremont and resumed his law practice until his death on February 11, 1901. Maxwell’s first wife was Amelia A. Lawrence of Michigan. He later married Jenette M. McCord of Cass County, Nebraska. They had two children, Maggie and one baby who died in infancy. In 1866 Maxwell was married for the third time to Elizabeth A. Adams. This union produced nine children, Henry E., Jacob A., Andrew C., Samuel Jr., Ella E., Marilla P., Anna May, Sarah H., and Rachel.


This collection is arranged in six series comprising ten manuscript boxes of material. Series 1 and 2 consist of the papers of Samuel Maxwell as they were arranged and microfilmed by the Nebraska State Historical Society under the auspices of the National Historical Publications Commission during the period from 1965 to 1967. Series 1) incoming correspondence, 1853-1901, Reels 1-7; Series 2) outgoing correspondence and miscellaneous material, 1857-1901, Reels 7-8. Series 3 through 6 consists of the unfilmed papers in the Maxwell Collection. Series 3) manuscripts; Series 4) printed material, 1860-1897; Series 5) financial file, 1853-1901; and Series 6) account books, 1859-1867. The bulk of the papers of the Maxwell collection are arranged and described on microfilm. In order that the integrity and preservation of the papers be maintained, it is asked that the researcher use the microfilm for their research needs if possible. Access to the original documents can be granted if the microfilm does not satisfy the researcher’s needs.

Note: See the Library Catalog and the Nebraska History index for published materials by and about Samuel Maxwell. See also the Samuel Chapman papers [RG2974]; Thomas Jefferson Majors papers [RG2189]; and Silas Holcomb papers [RG1, SG17] for related materials.


Series 1 – Incoming Correspondence, 1853-1901

Box 1

  1. Partial Index to Correspondents, 1871-1881, 1887-1895
  2. November 1853-December 1864
  3. January 1865-December 1869
  4. January 1870-December 1872
  5. January 1873-December 1876
  6. January-June 1874

Box 2

  1. July-September 1874
  2. October-December 1874
  3. January-July 1875
  4. August-December 1875
  5. January-December 1876
  6. January-December 1877
  7. January-December 1878
  8. January-June 1879

Box 3

  1. July-December 1879
  2. January-December 1880
  3. January-December 1881
  4. January-December 1882
  5. January-December 1883
  6. January-December 1884
  7. January-December 1885
  8. January-December 1886
  9. January-August 1887

Box 4

  1. September-December 1887
  2. January-December 1888
  3. January-December 1889
  4. January-May 1890
  5. June-December 1890
  6. January-December 1891
  7. January-May 1892
  8. June-December 1892
  9. January-June 1893

Box 5

  1. July 1893
  2. August-December 1893
  3. January-August 1894
  4. September-December 1894
  5. January-June 1895
  6. July-August 1895
  7. September-December 1895

Box 6

  1. January-December 1896
  2. January-March 1897
  3. April 1897
  4. May-June 1897
  5. July-August 1897
  6. September-December 1897

Box 7

  1. January-May 1898
  2. June-December 1898
  3. January 1899-February 1901
  4. Complete, Undated
  5. Incomplete, Undated

Series 2 – Outgoing Correspondence and Miscellaneous Materials

  1. Outgoing correspondence, 1857-1900
  2. Outgoing correspondence, undated
  3. 1864-1899 Miscellaneous, Petitions and Resolutions

Box 8

  1. Legal Briefs, 1874-1897
  2. Legal Briefs, 1874-1897
  3. Petitions, Agreements, 1873-1889

Series 3 – Manuscripts

Box 9
Manuscript of Judicial Procedure

Series 4 – Printed Material, 1860-1897

Box 10

  1. Printed Material, 1860-1897 includes: Circular letter, organizational material, articles, newspaper clippings

Series 5 – Financial File

  1. Miscellaneous receipts, bills and agreements
  2. Miscellaneous receipts, bills and agreements
  3. Miscellaneous receipts, bills and agreements

Series 6 – Account Books, 1859-1867

  1. Account Books includes:
    Catalog of Maxwell Law Library 1870
    Notebook of selected law statutes
    Account Book, 1859
    Account Book, 1864
    Account Book, 1865
    Account Book, 1866
    Account Book, 1867

Subject headings:

Allen, William Vincent, 1847-1924
Boyd, James E., 1834-1906
Butler, David C., 1829-1891
Chapman, Samuel M., 1839-1907
Crounse, Lorenzo, 1834-1909
Dawes, James William, 1845-1918
Fremont (Neb.) — History
Gaslin, William, 1827-1910
Hitchcock, Phineas Warrener, 1831-1881
Holcomb, Silas Alexander, 1858-1920
Irrigation — Nebraska
Lake, George Baker, 1827-
Lawyers — Nebraska
Maxwell, Samuel, 1825-1901
Nance, Albinus, 1848-1911
Nebraska. Supreme Court
Paddock, Algernon Sidney, 1830-1897
People’s Independent Party
Plattsmouth (Neb.) — History
Republican Party — Nebraska
Saunders, Alvin, 1817-1899
Thayer, John Milton, 1820-1906
Thurston, John Mellon, 1847-1916
Valentine, Edward Kimball, 1843-1916
Van Wyck, Charles Henry, 1824-1895
Vifquain, Victor, 1836-1904

DJR/ab 02-02-1967
nd 06-16-1997
KFK/dco 09-18-2003
Encoded TMM 07-08-2010

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