The Isely Family Papers contain correspondence and other documents dating from the late 1850s through the 1930s. A significant portion of the collection consists of letters written during the Civil War between Christian H. Isely and his wife, Marie Elizabeth “Eliza” Dubach. Christian served in the 2nd Kansas Cavalry and they traveled throughout Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma; which was then Indian Territory. During the war, Eliza went to live with Christian’s parents in Ohio, rather than stay with her father in Willow Dale, Kansas, due to the unstable conditions in the Kansas-Missouri border region. The Isely’s were a profoundly religious family and their correspondences depict the deeply rooted connection between religion and political convictions and how their beliefs often divided their family.
Collections in the Neosho Category
John W. Fisher’s diary documents his duties in the Missouri State Guard from mid October, 1861, through the first week of January, 1862. Fisher was born in Virginia, and lived in Westport, Missouri prior to the War. Fisher served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Missouri State Guard. The diary cites Fisher’s movement through Missouri and Indian Territory. Fisher survived the war, ending his days in a Confederate Veterans home in Harrisonburg, Missouri, in 1910.
In September 1857, the Kansas Constitutional convention met in Lecompton, determined to make Kansas a slave state. The Lecompton Constitution included a provisional article that guaranteed a slaveholder’s right to retain ownership of their slaves currently living in the territory, but it also prohibited future importation of slaves to Kansas. Heated debates took place in the Senate over the admission of Kansas, under the proslavery. This collection contains speeches from Missouri Senator, Trusten Polk and Illinois Senator, Steven A. Douglas on the admission of Kansas to the Union under the Lecompton Constitution.