Gordon Wilson Collection
CORRESPONDENCE AND PAPERS OF THE WHEATCROFT FAMILY
John Christopher Wheatcroft
1808 or 09 – Dec. 10, 1885; came to New Harmony in 1826 and joined the Owen Community; his wife was Ann Dransfield, 1815-1886
Alexander Burns, Jr., 1819 – June 25, 1846, editor of The Indiana
Statesman, died of tuberculosis at age 27
Edward Hudson Burton, 1820-1897, son of John Burton
17 Sept. 1837 Burns, Alexander, Jr., Cincinnati, Sept. 17, 1837. To John Wheatcroft, Livingston, Clarke County, Illinois. 4 p.
Left N.H., “the city of mental independence:, for Cincinnati to obtain work in his field of interest; unsolicited letters of introduction given him from Maclure and Achilles [Fretageot] to Miles Greenwood; also from Walker, Amphlett, Richard Owen; wages & living less attractive than in “Happy town” (N.H.); discusses Thespian Society & some of plays they are presenting; by the time he’s 21 he hopes to go in business for himself – to commence a newspaper in Posey County, to equal of any in state; rejoices at the re-election of Robert Dale Owen to the State Legislature.
6 Mar. 1842 Burns, Alexander, Jr., Cincinnati, Mar. 6, 1842. To John C. Wheatcroft, New Harmony, Posey County, Indiana. 4 p.
Writes to friend requesting advice on starting publication of a Democratic newspaper, the location putting him in a quandary – the advantages & disadvantages of N.H. or Evansville; one of the main purposes of such a paper would be to help elect Robert Dale Owen to the U.S. Congress; background on his difficulties with Amphlett and James Snelling; however, he’s willing to forgive & forget & renew friendship with Snelling & hire him on the new paper; Amphlett has a great hold with Maclure even though The Disseminator has dragged along the last several years. Warren [Josiah] has lately lectured in Cincinnati on the Time System; depression conditions are prevailing these days.
24 Aug. 1845 Burns, Alexander, Jr., New Harmony, Aug. 24, 1845. To John C. Wheatcroft, care of Miles Greenwood, Eagle Foundry, Cincinnati, Ohio. 4 p.
Report on election; “Young Democracy” triumphed locally, in the State Legislature, and in Congress despite the falsehoods of the opposition; town news – a fine concert, balls, circus coming; burial of Richard Owen’s little daughter Nora; has been given a fine horse by Nelson and saddle and bridle by R.D. Owen because of his services in the cause; Stickney is a scoundrel; Mr. Cooper a social lion; helped Turner to answer attack by Hovey.
10 July 1846 Twigg, William A., New Harmony, Ind., July 10, 1846. To Messers Rowe, Corbin, Wheatcroft, New Harmony. 3 p.
As Secretary of the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Church, Twigg is stating the conditions for rental of the Hall [former Harmonist church]
6 May 1859 Burton, Edward Hudson, New Orleans, May 6, 1859. to John C. Wheatcroft, New Harmony. 3 p.
He is very agreeable to renting Wheatcroft space for his shop rent free; regarding difficulty with Mr. Rabear [Ribeyre] over free passage at the corner of Robinson’s Orchard (agreed to beforehand), Burton will refuse to rent it to him; R. Ford is to be informed of this matter. [This may be reference to land lying west of present Catholic Church].
1847-1885 Wheatcroft, John C. Account Book. 174 p.
Accounts for services rendered, including the care of cows and cattle; repair & maintenance of various properties, Working Men’s Institute bills, of which he was a member; charts of time worked on various homes.
Most prominent members of the community are named, among them: Alexander Maclure, H.C. Cooper, D.D. Owen, Dr. Robson, Achilles Fretageot, E.T. Cox, Thomas Mumford, Charles H. White, Alexander Burns, R.D. Owen, Wm. Michaux, Wm. Flowers, John Chappelsmith, Dr. Norword, George Warren, David Schnee, Victor Duclos. See pp. 11 & 12 for amusing personal comments.
Mary Isabel (Belle) Wheatcroft
1842-Mar. 14, 1896; married Etto J. Miller, 1839-1873
Alexander Maclure Fretageot, 1840-1862, son of Achille Emery and
Cecilia Noel; died of typhoid during the Civil War at Helena, Arkansas,
Godfrey Gundrum, 1837-1927
18 July 1861 Fretageot, Alexander M., Evansville Camp, Thursday, July 18,
Describes the New Harmony company’s trip to their army camp in Evansville; camp life; manes mentioned – Major Gavitt, Charly Randolph, Rich Hornbrook, Achilles Fretageot, Ell. Wheatcroft [Belle’s sister], Fanny (?), Mary Mumford; write him in care of Capt. John K. Highman.
25 Sept. 1861 Fretageot, Alexander M., Pilot Knob, Mo. To Belle Wheatcroft,
New Harmony, Posey Co., Indiana. 4 p.
For cleanliness and amusements New Harmony takes the lead over other towns he’s been in; townspeople here fear Rebels will
pounce on them so that cannon are ranged all around the
surrounding mountains; interruptions of army life; old Ball tunes
remind him of Charly [Randlolph] of old Union Hall; some
talk that Martha was to come help Mrs. Truscott as nurse;
hopes the 3 Harmony ladies will succeed in getting offices of
nurses for regiment; respects to Ell.; too hurried now to answer
[Susan Baldwin Truscott joined her husband in Missouri as
a nurse; Florence Dale Owen Cooper and Lydia Hinckley did
nursing in Evansville.]
28 Nov. 1861 Fretageot, Alexander M., Camp Fremont, Pilot Knob, MO. Nov.
28, 1861. To Belle Wheatcroft, New Harmony, Posey Co., IN 4 p.
Difficulties of answering his mail; has to use Mrs. Truscott;s room
as tent is too cold; suggests that she must miss the good times; has
no suggestion for naming new society; temporary name “The Fine
Crowd” seems appropriate; when soldiers return the Adelphi will
rise again & debate the girls as they once did with the Minerva;
no leaves for Christmas; names mentioned; Mary Miller, Anna,
Mary M., Celia Rogers, A.M.S., Martha.
14 June 1862 Gundrum, Godrey, Tuscumbia, Alabama, June 14-17 1862. To
Belle Wheatcroft, New Harmony, Posey Co., Indiana. 8 p.
Describes his situation in Tuscumbia, Alabama; water plentiful;
townspeople extremely unfriendly; company cook run out of a
house when he honestly confessed to being a Yankee Negro; Gen.
Buelle has issued orders to furnish 250 teams, purpose unknown; a
whole division almost captured by Rebel cavalry; fate of Negroes
who gave Union army information was death by hanging;
possibility of a female regiment of southern ladies offers
interesting aspects; he is sending this letter through politeness of
Mr. Warren [George?]
Albert and Eleanor (Ella) Wheatcroft Norcross
Eleanor, 1844-1892; Albert, 1842-1864, died in Civil War
Eugene Skinner Thrall, 1843-Jan. 1889; married Mary Mumford whose
brother, Thomas Mumford, Jr., became Thrall’s partner in a fine store; a a man of culture and refinement who purchased and remodeled the Opera
House in 1888.
25 July 1863 [Thrall, Eugene], Camp at Vicksburg, July 25, 1863. To Albert
Norcross, Esq., Company F 25th Regiment Indiana Volunteers. 2 p
Vicissitudes of army life; campaign around Jackson, Miss;
description of present camp; N.H. news includes John
Bennett’s marriage, Al’s own engagement; people mentioned –
Tom, Charley Randolph, Dock Hayden
29 May 1864 Wheatcroft [John C. and Ann D.], New Harmony, May 29, 1864.
To Serg’t Albert Norcross, Company F 25th Indiana, Vet, Vol.
Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, 16th AC Decatur, Alabama. 4 p.
John is serving his county by hoeing potatoes and generally
conceding to the demands of the ladies; observations on what
the good life in the South might have been had not a few lusted
after power; sad plight of Negroes; victory is being dearly bought;
Ann apologizes for not writing sooner; assures Al of her concern,
anxiety, and affection for him; news of family & friends
12 Jan. 1867 Ferd [unidentified], Mount Vernon, Indiana, Jan. 12, 1867. To
Ella [Eleanor] Norcross, New harmony, IN 4 pp.
Thanks her for photograph of her husband who was killed in the
Civil War; tells her how close they were & how much he misses
Him, the best friend he ever had; Christmas festivities in Mt.
Vernon reasonably enjoyable; working now in a Commission
House, but he plans to go on the river having already a place on
The “Armada” when the ice, which has shut down Mt. Vernon,
Breaks up. Names mentioned: Hulda, Lollie.
10 Sept. 1878 Norcross, Ella [Eleanor], Philadelphia, Sept. 10, 1878, Sunday
morning. To father and mother, Mr. & Mrs. John Wheatcroft,
[New Harmony, Indiana] 4 p.
Writing now since most of time will be spent visiting the
Centennial; sees a number of their friends including Arthur
Fauntleroy; disappointed in Cincinnati; wishes to receive
mail especially from brothers George & Charlie & sister Belle;
love and remembrances to other family members and friends
George D. Wheatcroft
Hal Wilmoth, ? – June, 1911
26 June 1864 Wilmoth, Hal L., Princeton, June 26, 1864. To cousin
George D. Wheatcroft, [Grayville, IL?] 2 p.
Life in Princeton; difficulties of work with his boss; wishes
he could get down to Grayville; there is to be a barbecue
in Harmony on the Fourth; “Hurrah for Grant.” Names
mentioned: Will Miller, Dr. West, Snelling, John Burton.
25 June 1864 Miller, Etto J.
Discharge papers, Indianapolis, IN, June 25, 1864 1 p.
29 April 1889 Miller, Belle [Mary Isabel Wheatcroft]. New Harmony
Civil War widow’s pension certificate and notice. 2 p.
Wheatcroft Family, New Harmony, IN
Certificate stating that Mary S. Wheatcroft is a member of the
Friendly Botanic Society & has the right to prepare medicines.
New Harmony, Indiana, August 21, 1829
Note for John Wheatcroft to Mrs. Chappellsmith requesting
Berries, n.p., n.d.
Receipts for jin [sic], ginger pop, cordial, conijac [sic]
CORRESPONDENCE AND PAPERS OF THE BROOKS FAMILY
Dr. Liberty Darling Brooks, 1813- Sept. 1883, a “Thomsonian physician who
Believed in the use of vegetable medicine only: [Local history file]; married
Winnifred Hatch, 1819-1898
Richard Brooks, 1840-1886, married Mary Jennie Hall, Nov. 27, 1867; kept
a meat market and was for a few years in charge of the Tavern; Mrs. Brooks
Left New Harmony after husband’s death and herself died in 1910.
William Fauntleroy, 1826-1906; married Rachel Homer in 1855
Jacob Ruchti, 1842-1883
Dr. Robert Robson, 1801-1878
Brooks Family Items
1838 Owen, William, New Harmony, Indiana 
Copy of the bond of William Owen to Liberty D. Brooks and
Charles H. White. 2 p.
27 Nov. 1840 Hatch, Mary A., Mt. Pleasant, Martin County, PA., Nov. 27,
Darling Brooks, [New Harmony, IN]. 1 p.
Informs them of son John’s death; general news of rest of family
Members; hopes so much they will come for a visit soon.
13 Mar ? Hatch, Rose E., Mt Pleasant [PA], March 13, ?. To sister
Winefride [sic], Brooks, New Harmony, Posey Co., IN. 2 p.
Delay in writing due to illness; she is now well as is rest of
family; news of friends and relatives.
6 May 1860 Brooks, Liberty Darling, New Harmony, May 6, 1860. To
Richard Brooks, c/o T.L. Bethel & Bro, Newburgh, Warrick
Sending son things by Charles Stuffin who will take them to
Evansville; does he need more shirts; some things are marked
R.B. others or not.
19 Aug. 1860 Brooks, Richard, Newburgh, August 19, 1860. To Father, Mother
& Sister – Liberty, Winnifred, Emeline [Emma] Brooks, [New
Harmony, IN]. 1 p.
Mr. Odle of N.H. visited; likewise Gov. Willarce [Willard?] who
was unwell; several drownings have occurred; since rain is scarce
corn & tobacco prices have gone up.
8 Oct. 1860 Pitts, Edward A., Mt. Vernon. Oct. 8, 1860. To Richard [Brooks],
[Newburgh, IN]. 1 p.
Had a fine time last week at the County Fair; Mr. Cooper ran
his horse into a fence resulting in the horse’s death and injury
to himself; met many young ladies from N.H. including Miss
E. Robson whom he loved very much; Marth, Inis & Emma would
like t see Richard; election next week – Edward’s father is a
candidate for County Representative; Blackburn for County
Treasurer; Douglas “all the go in this town.”
11 Sept. 1862 Perky, F. G. convalescent Hospital, Evansville, IN, Sept. 11, 1862.
To Richard [Brooks] [Newburgh, IN]. 3 p.
Still in the bull pen although getting along tolerably well; no good
news to be expected from such a place; hopes he may soon join
his regiment or get discharged; believes the war will continue for
another 3 years; wishes peace would come & the Union preserved;
however, a few more generals need their pockets filled with green
banks before change can be expected; has heard that half of his
regiment has deserted; he feels almost the same way.
9 Jan. 1863 Brooks, Richard, Wetang [?] Nashville, Jan. 9 1863. To Mother,
Mrs. L. D. Brooks, New Harmony, Posey County, In. 1 p.
Has just returned from Cairo, a better trip than before; John
Robson will be better off with his father than as a soldier; many
soldiers are returning with paroles from Gen. Price; they say they
are tired of the war; the people here are “democrats of the rib
23 Jan. 1864 Brooks, Richard, Cleveland, Tenn., Jan. 23, 1864. To parents and
sister, Liberty Darling, Winnifred and Emma Brooks, New
Harmony, Posey County, Ind. 2 p.
Mail is scarce; some boys have had not mail since they left home;
he has had more luck than most; peace prospects are fair; sees
Wm. Faunt Le Roy and H. C. Stallings; has heard from Jacob
Ruchti and John Althouse; camp is scattered between Cleveland
and Chattanooga; this part of state looks better than rest because
citizens were Union people so fences have not been destroyed;
looks something like home.
Oct. 1864 Robson, Dr. Robert, Surgeon G1. Ind. Vol, New Harmony. To the
Examing Surgeon, n.d, n.p. 1p.
From long acquaintance with Richard Brooks he has never
considered him capable of withstanding the life of a soldier;
Richard has suffered from chorea and exostosis of the leg.
15 Feb. 1865 Brooks, Richard, Cleveland, Tenn., Feb. 15, 1865. To parents
& sister, Liberty, Winnifred, Emma Brooks, New Harmony,
Posey County, Ind., 4 p.
Receipt of mail poor. N. H. boys in his camp: Wm Faunt Le Roy,
H. C. Stallings, Elias Johnson, Wm R. Johnson – brother-in-law
of Jacob Utley, James Hans, John Williams; what his outfit does
depends on Sherman’s success & his depends on the state of the roads; mention of numerous N.H. people: Dr. Mann, Eliza, Clara,
Mrs. Wiley & Ellen, John Gregory, Mr. Corbon [Corbin?]
Envelop marked “soldier’s letter”.
27 Feb. 1865 Brooks, Dick [Richard], Chattanooga, Tenn., Feb 27, 1865. To
parents and sister, Liberty, Winnifred, Emma Brooks, New
Harmony, Posey Co., Ind. 2 p.
Left Cleveland day before yesterday and all the boys that went
from Harmony are here; will very likely be seeing Dr. John
Robson in a few weeks; doesn’t know where they go next,
probably to Louisville where he will look up A. L. Smith [?];
doesn’t know where to tell them to write, but will himself write
as often as he can on the road when he has stamps.
19 April 1865 Brooks, Dick [Richard], Camp near Raliegh, N.C., April 19,
Brooks, [New Harmony, IN]. 2 p.
First opportunity to write since leaving Wilmington; is sending home heavy Cav. coat in care of Cooper & Hunsdon;; moving camp now so will write soon; Wm. Faunt Le Roy, J. Ruchti, and H. Shaver are in same camp.
25 April 1865 Brooks, Dick [Richard], In camp near Raleigh, N.C., April 25,
[New Harmony, IN]. 4 p.
No action going on as they are awaiting results of negotiations;
may be going in pursuit of Johnson [a Confederate commander –
Perhaps Bushrod Rust Johnson?] who has lead them a merry chase;
He may as well come to terms now as it will be worse for him when he is captured; health is improved 7 and he is in good spirits and ready to travel again afoot, which is the way, as the stage never comes along; pleased with officers who come from the
Ranks and understand well what a private endures, so used to hard
Beds he will take to the floor when he returns home; tell Mrs. Faunt Le Roy that Will is all right.
28 May 1865 Brooks, Dick [Richard], Washington, May 28, 1865. To parents
and sister, Liberty, Winnifred, Emma Brooks, New Harmony,
Posey County, Ind. 3 p.
No letters from home since he left Louisville; however, has heard
through Wm Faunt Le Roy that they are all well; fair prospects of
being home by July 4th for a dance in Union Hall; 62 men already
mustered out, they may be next; Wm Faunt Le Roy and J. Ruchti
are in good health. Envelope marked “soldier’s letter.”
6 June 1865 Brooks, Dick [Richard], Washington City, D.C., June 6, 1865. To
parents and sister, Liberty, Winnifred and Emma Brooks, New
Harmony, Posey Co., Ind. 3 p.
No letter yet; it would seem that mail to Washington should arrive
without delay; in a very pretty camping area with trees and
honeysuckle; some of the boys have visited the Capitol and Patent
Office; the Sanitary Commission has sent potatoes, onions, pickled
cucumbers, canned tomatoes, & lemons to the camp; Ben
Williams arrived yesterday.
12 Oct. 1866 Smith, A. L., Louisville, Oct. 12, 1866. To Richard Brooks,
New Harmony. 2 p.
Concerning a job traveling which he wishes him to consider;
since he needs someone by Nov. 1 he’d like an immediate
answer as to terms, etc.
1 Jan. [1865?] Brooks, Dick [Richard], Bridgeport, Ala, New Year’s Day
[1865?]. to parents and sister, Liberty, Winnifred and Emma
Brooks, [New Harmony, Ind.] 2 p.
Pleasant day though some snow had fallen; some of Hood’s men,
barefoot & nearly naked, came in to take the oath and were sent
north; Hood’s [John Bell, Confederate general] career is about
wound up; before Dick’s 12 months are up the Southern
Confederacy will be played out; the Gov. is feeding 2/3 of the
people. 7 men including 3 officers of a cavalry unit were
captured by a gun boat near Decatur; they were all “strong
Rebels” who will find the Northern prison fair & very different
from the treatment given by them to our soldiers; he has “but
(dam) little feeling for them.”