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C. A. Risser Papers - MS 308

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionInventory


The C.A. Risser Papers consist primarily of correspondence from C.A. Risser to his cousin Christian Risser, both residing in Ohio, between the years 1879 and 1888. The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Yeager, Bowling Green, Ohio, on April 25, 1983. An additional donation of thirty-two copy negatives of later Risser Family members was made by the Yeagers on October 31, 1989.

No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The collection was processed and register prepared by Stephen Charter in June 1983, with additions by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts, in November 1989.

Biographical Sketch

Christian A. Risser was born March 29, 1841 in Ashland County, Ohio, a son of Christian and Mary (Risser) Risser. When Christian A. was seven, the family moved to Perry Township, Wood County. Here he grew to manhood, working at the shoemaker trade.

On January 1, 1864, he enlisted as a private in Captain Robert W. Smith's Co. B, 57th Regiment, O.V.I. and was honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant. On August 14, 1865, his discharge paper (Wood County, Ohio, Record of Soldiers Discharges, Vol. C, page 153) describes him as being 5'2", with a light complexion, grey eyes, and light hair.

Christian married Ellen Garnsford on March 22, 1875, in West Millgrove, Wood County. Seven children were born to the couple: Aurelius, Arthur E., Chester G., Claude D., Claren F., Mabel E., and Harry C.

Shortly after his marriage, Christian A. began a dry goods business (general merchandise) in West Millgrove in partnership with C.W. Lenhart (1875-83). Later (1883-88) he became established in Jerry City as a Justice of the Peace and collector. In 1889, he embarked in the shoe business in Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio, and continued in this occupation until his death on March 21, 1909.

Scope and Content

The C.A. Risser Papers are comprised of correspondence written between 1879 and 1888 by Christian A. Risser primarily to his first cousin, Christian Risser (son of Henry and Elizabeth Risser). The contents include general information about family members, family reunions and land transactions, and also the business dealings of Christian A. Risser. General information is provided about lifestyles during this period, events in the Wood County, Ohio area such as the gas and oil discoveries, and such national events as the land rush occurring in the West. A hand-written item listing is included in this register following the box/folder inventory and photograph identification sheet.

Also included in this collection is an autograph album originally owned my Minnie M. Conley with autographs from friends and relatives covering the period 1883 to 1892. One of the individuals signing the album, Clara Risser, was a niece of Christian A. Risser.

The collection includes both the original letters and photocopies. The photocopies are arranged according to the Box 1 inventory in the first eight folders. The originals follow and are arranged in the same sequence as the photocopies.

The copy negatives, deal with a later generation of the Risser family in West Millgrove, Ohio. Primarily showing members of the family of Charles and Jessie Risser, the photographs include views of life in West Millgrove. One notable series shows activities related to Memorial Day observation in the early 20th century.

Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Includes correspondence from Christian A. Risser to his cousin, Christian Risser regarding family business and purchase of land further west.


Autograph Album--Minnie M. Conley
No discernible arrangement
Includes autographs and some poems and comments from relatives and friends.

Arranged chronologically
Thirty-two copy negatives, primarily of the family of Charles and Jessie Risser, of West Millgrove, Ohio. Most photographs include identification.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence (photocopy), 1879
  2. Correspondence (photocopy), 1880
  3. Correspondence (photocopy), 1882
  4. Correspondence (photocopy), 1883
  5. Correspondence (photocopy), 1884
  6. Correspondence (photocopy), 1885
  7. Correspondence (photocopy), 1886
  8. Correspondence (photocopy), 1887-1888, n.d.
  9. Autograph album, 1883-1892
  10. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  11. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  12. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  13. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  14. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  15. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  16. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  17. Original correspondence, 1879-1888
  18. Photographs (32 negatives, with identification), circa 1900-1918

Photograph Identification

  1. Home, store and post office, West Millgrove, Ohio, with Charles, Helen and Maurice Risser in front, 1908
  2. Matilda Catherine (Kelso) Risser and Helen Risser at home of Edward Rufus Risser, West Millgrove, Ohio, 1909
  3. Risser family wagon decorated for Memorial Day Parade, circa 1910
  4. Women getting flowers ready to decorate graves, Memorial Day, circa 1910
  5. Children who will carry flowers in Memorial Day Parade to cemetery, circa 1910
  6. Parade to cemetery, West Millgrove, Ohio, Memorial Day, circa 1910
  7. Sarah Helen (Adams) Chilcote, Jessie Inez (Chilcote) Risser, Helen Risser, Beryl Risser and Maurice Risser, West Millgrove, 1912
  8. Jessie Risser with daughter Maurine, 1915
  9. Jessie Risser with daughter Maurine, 1915
  10. Jessie Risser with daughter Maurine, 1915
  11. Charles Edward Risser with children, Maurice, Edward and Maurine, 1915
  12. Helen Chilcote holding granddaughter Maurine Risser, Ad Adams holding Mary Bower, 1915
  13. Maurine Risser, 1915
  14. Children of Charles and Jessie Risser; Beryl, Maurice and Maurine, 1915
  15. Jessie Risser, holding Maurine, with Beryl and Maurice, 1915
  16. Helen Chilcote with Maurine, Jessie, Maurice & Beryl Risser; Bessie, Grace & Genevieve DeWitt; and Ethel Chilcote, 1915
  17. Jessie Inez Chilcote Risser with children Maurice, Beryl & Maurine, 1915
  18. Risser family group, including Helen Chilcote holding Maurine Risser, Jessie Risser, Charles Risser, Bessie DeWitt, Maurice Chilcote, Leander Chilcote, Ethel Chilcote, Helen Risser, Maurice Risser, Beryl Risser, and Ad Adams, 1915
  19. Risser family group, including Helen Chilcote holding Maurine Risser, Jessie Risser, Charles Risser, Bessie DeWitt, Maurice Chilcote, Leander Chilcote, Ethel Chilcote, Helen Risser, Maurice Risser, Beryl Risser, and Ad Adams, 1915
  20. Children of Charles and Jessie Risser; Maurine, Beryl, Maurice, and Helen, 1916
  21. Maurine Risser, 1918
  22. Maurice Risser, holding Clair, with Beryl and Maurine, 1918
  23. Maurine Risser, with Clair and cousin Marcus Chilcote, 1918
  24. Helen Risser holding Clair, with Maurice, Beryl and Maurine, 1918
  25. Maurine, Beryl and Clair Risser, 1918
  26. Maurice Risser holding Clair, with Beryl and Maurine, 1918
  27. Jessie Risser with Maurice, Beryl, Clair and Maurine, with cousin Genevieve DeWitt, 1918
  28. Charles Edward Risser with children Maurice, Beryl & Maurine, 1918
  29. Helen Risser holding Clair, with Maurice, Beryl, Maurine, and cousin Genevieve DeWitt, 1918
  30. Jessie Risser with Beryl, Maurice & Maurine, Helen holding Clair, and cousin Genevieve DeWitt, 1918
  31. Maurine and Clair Risser, 1919
  32. Perry Chilcote home, West Millgrove, Ohio

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