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Fast Family Papers - MS 330

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionInventory


The Fast Family Papers, spanning 70 years (1853-1933), includes correspondence, a diary, legal documents, financial ledger, and miscellaneous printed material centering around William Nicholas Fast and related family members.

The records were donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections in September 1983 through the cooperation of Kathryn Fast Doerzbach of Napoleon, Ohio. There are no restrictions in the use of this collection. The register was prepared by Karen Roberts in November 1985 and revised by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts, January 1992.

Biographical Sketch

The Fast Family Papers do not provide any particular descriptions of their family members. However, it is known that William Nicholas Fast, married to Amanda E. Fast, was mustered into the 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company K, on September 6, 1862 in Covington, Kentucky. Captured in action in Athens, Alabama on September 24, 1864, William spent some time in a prison camp in Cahawba, Alabama. He was exchanged on April 22, 1865, and mustered out on May 20, 1865. He received a disability pension of $12 per month for contracting rheumatism, which led to a heart condition.

Bertha Snyder Fast, the wife of Harry C. Fast, maintained a correspondence with Senator Amos Ewing of Oklahoma. While the nature of the relationship is uncertain, there is evidence he worked for Bertha's parents, Mr. & Mrs. Simon Snyder, as a boy in Ohio.

Scope and Content

The bulk of significant information in the Fast Family Papers may be found in the three folders of correspondence, although this information is sketchy at best. The letter of Dec. 6, 1885 is most notable for its account of William's experiences at the prison camp at Cahawba and survival of the explosion of the Sultana. The family correspondence and the Coons correspondence centers mostly around William Nicholas Fast, but there are letters between brothers John, Isaac, and Christian Fast, whose relationship to William is not known. The Amos Ewing correspondence is devoted singularly to his friendship with Bertha Fast, the wife of Harry C. Fast. Also personal in nature, the letters provide a chronology of his rise in Oklahoma politics.

Secondary information on William Fast may be found in the legal documents which highlight his army career with the 102nd O.V.I. during the Civil War. Also, the printed material includes several programs from annual reunions of the 102nd Regiment, with one announcement of a reunion of Sultana Survivors.

One unrelated printed item of interest is an admission card for the execution of Wesley Johnson on May 29, 1884 in Napoleon, Ohio, only the second hanging in the history of Henry County. The ticket is one of just two hundred issued by the sheriff.

Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Correspondence by William Nicholas Fast to his wife Amanda, written while serving with the 102nd O.V.I; a recounting of his capture and imprisonment at Cahawba, Alabama and survival of the explosion of the steamer Sultana; and various letters between brothers John, Isaac, and Christian Fast regarding an estate settlement.

Arranged chronologically
Letters from the A.J. Coons Family to W.N. Fast, regarding their friendship and farming life in Nebraska.

Arranged chronologically
Personal letters from Amos A. Ewing to Bertha Fast, with topics including their friendship from his period of employment as a boy by her parents, through his rise in politics from a House Representative to Senator in Guthrie, Oklahoma.


January-July 1908
Diary written by an unknown woman covering routine farm chores.

A 14 verse poem telling the story of a love triangle and murder.


Arranged chronologically
William N. Fast's Civil War pension claim file, including certificate of discharge, Bureau of Pensions claims form, and correspondence with attorneys regarding his claims.


Account ledger of unknown location or person. Includes the name of H.C. Fast for share of an estate and a distribution of $500 to Bertha Fast.


Arranged chronologically
Admission card to the execution of Wesley Johnson in Napoleon, Ohio (1884); reunion programs of the 102nd O.V.I.; announcement of the 18th Reunion of the National Sultana Survivors Association; pamphlets of the First Christian Church of Guthrie, Oklahoma; and a home remedy for chronic diarrhea.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence - Fast Family, 1864-1930
  2. Correspondence - Coons Family, 1876-1892
  3. Correspondence - Amos Ewing, 1917-1933
  4. Diary, Jan-July 1908
  5. Poem, 1853
  6. Pension claim file, 1865-1904
  7. Ledger, 1917-1922
  8. Printed material, 1884-1931

MS 330 Transcript List
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War Collections