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McMillan Family Papers - MS 661

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The McMillan Family Papers consist of materials relating directly to the Rufus McMillan family of Erie County, Ohio, including correspondence, notes, speeches, and copies of popular songs and ballads of the period from 1828 to 1916.

The McMillan Family Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in the summer of 1979. 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 Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in May 1993.

Biographical Sketch

The McMillan Family was an early farm family of Erie County, Ohio, with Rufus McMillan (1800-1852) arriving in the area in the late 1830s, probably from Oneida County, New York. Married to Catharine Fulmer (1810-1892), the family consisted of five children, Mary Ann, Nancy, Betsie, William, and Demas. The correspondence in the collection mainly centers around Betsie McMillen, who later married George Akins.

Scope and Content

The McMillan Family Papers span the years 1828 to 1916. The largest portion of the collection is a group of copied songs and ballads popular at the time and some Civil War era correspondence.

This small family collection contains a wide array of materials, including correspondence, legal documents, notes, speeches, and hand- copied versions of popular songs and ballads. Within each record group the material is arranged by series, and chronologically when possible.

The correspondence is a minor portion of the collection, containing nine scattered letters from the years 1828 to 1916. The Civil War era letters to Betsie McMillan are of some interest, including the letter of William Morgan referring to the 116th O.V.I. at Romney, Va., and a letter of Betsie Jane Miller, of Weston, Ohio, describing the departure of her brother, Edward, to the War.

The more significant segment of the Papers is an extensive song/ballad collection, containing several handwritten lyrics to such popular songs of the time as Robert Burns' "Highland Mary", a song referring to the French and Indian War "King George and Louis Could Not Agree", and a few ballads relating to the Civil War, and most notably "The Johnson Island Song", and "Southern Girl".

Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Minor scattered family correspondence, including a few Civil War era letters to Betsie McMillan


Notes on tombstone epitaph of Mary Clemons, buried in Sandusky, Ohio, along with other family information; also, scraps with recipes for medicinal remedies

Speech by Rufus McMillan commemorating the 55th year of American independence

A collection of hand-copied songs and ballads, popular from the early to mid 1800's, including songs relating to the French and Indian War, the spread of the railroad, Civil War, social topics, and sentimental ballads


Warranty deed from Frank Feifner to C.L. Squires for land in Erie County


Box 1

  1. Polly B. Bogart to Rufus McMillan, Mar 24, 1828 Alexandria
  2. Almon Hunt to George Akins, Sept 27, 1834 Lyme
  3. George Akins to Betsie McMillan, [186-?] Huron, Ohio
  4. William H. Morgan to Betsie McMillan, Feb 18, 1863 Romney, Virginia
  5. J. Hudson to [Betsie McMillan?], Mar 2, 1864 Swan Lake, Alabama
  6. Betsie Jane Miller to Betsie McMillan, Mar 2, 1864 Weston, Ohio
  7. Florence to Betsie (McMillan) Akins, June 2, 1879 Auburn, Indiana
  8. Isaac A. Crirtman to Betsie (McMillan) Akins, Nov 3-4, 1884 Herkimer, New York
  9. Betsie J. Akins to George H. Akins, Nov 19, 1916 Huron, Ohio
  10. Postmarked envelopes to Betsie McMillan, [186-?]
  11. Notes on Mary Clemons tombstone, [18--]
  12. Recipe fragments, n.d.
  13. Rufus McMillan Speech, July 4, 1831
  14. Song - "Waggoners Curse on the Railroad", n.d.
  15. Song - "King George and Louis Could Not Agree", n.d.
  16. Song - "The Loss of the Albion Ship", n.d.
  17. Song - "Choosing a Man is a Delicate Thing", n.d.
  18. Song - "The Johnson Island Song", n.d.
  19. Song - "Southern Girl", n.d.
  20. Song - "The Little Major", n.d.
  21. Song - "True Blue", n.d.
  22. Song - "The Legacy", n.d.
  23. Song - "Lassy, If You Think It Right", n.d.
  24. Song - "The Scolding Wife", n.d.
  25. Song - "Highland Mary", n.d.
  26. Warranty Deed, 1864

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