Transcribe this: Fever in Philadelphia

March 10th, 2015

In a letter written by Secretary of War James McHenry to President John Adams on August 24, 1799, McHenry describes the fever that has gripped Philadelphia. The fever has “similar ravages” to those that occurred in 1793, 1797, and 1798. The sickness is so bad that McHenry tells President Adams the offices of the War Department are moving out of Philadelphia to Trenton, and that he expects to reach the city the following Monday. The move must have been challenging for McHenry, as he notes that the “personal inconveniences attending upon this removal are very great.”

While the document contains four separate pages, it is short and written legibly. Are you interested in transcribing this document and adding to the searchable content of the PWD? Learn about the transcription process and sign up for a transcriber account here.

 

Community Transcription – Forty-Six Months

March 3rd, 2015

February was the forty-sixth month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. We are still receiving regular requests for transcription accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

As of February 28, we had 2,119 users, with 19 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 14,224 saves to War Department documents, which is about 26 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 228,226 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month were archaeologists and authors, as well as high school and university students. Transcribers include teachers at every level of education, elementary to university. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned espionage, the Whiskey Rebellion, privateers on the Outer Banks, and digital history projects in general.

As we continue to move forward with the project, individuals may still register for a transcription account.

Transcribe this and “oblige a poor woman”

February 11th, 2015

In a letter dated February 27, 1796, Abiel Foster wrote to Secretary of War James McHenry on behalf of the mother of John Stanal Gilman. Gilman was a deceased soldier who served under Captain Cass and fought in the Western Army. Gilman’s mother resided in Foster’s neighborhood in New Hampshire and was curious as to whether her son was owed any “arrears of pay or clothing” at the time of his death. If Gilman was to have been the recipient of money or clothing, both would be due to his mother. Foster asks McHenry to look into Gilman’s mother’s inquiry, and stated that any information McHenry might discover would “oblige a poor woman.”

Interested in transcribing this document and adding to the searchable content of PWD? Learn about the transcription process and sign up for a transcriber account here.

Community Transcription – Forty-Five Months

February 3rd, 2015

January was the forty-fifth month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. We are still receiving regular requests for transcription accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

As of January 31, we had 2,100 users, with 28 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 14,198 saves to War Department documents, which is about 46 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 225,033 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month included genealogists and park service employees, as well as high school and university students. Transcribers include teachers at every level of education, elementary to university. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned the frontier fort system, St. Clair’s defeat, commerce, and the beginnings of the United States Navy.

As we continue to move forward with the project, individuals may still register for a transcription account.

Transcribe this: Maria Butler to President Washington

January 14th, 2015

Maria Butler, the “relick” (widow) of General Richard Butler, wrote to President George Washington late in 1791 to express her concern over the insecurity of the frontier at Pittsburgh and points west. Her husband had only recently been killed in a battle between the Western Confederacy of Indians and the United States which took place near what is today the border between Ohio and Indiana and his body was buried on the field. Although the area around Pittsburgh seemed dangerous to Mrs. Butler, she was determined to remain in the area with her children.

The images of this document are scanned from microfilm and can be difficult to read, but if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, transcribe this document. If you do not have a transcriber account, sign up for one here.

Community Transcription – Forty-Four Months

January 7th, 2015

December was the forty-fourth month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. We are still receiving regular requests for transcription accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

As of December 31, we had 2,072 users, with 23 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 14,152 saves to War Department documents, which is about 80 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 222,628 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month included military historians, professional transcribers, museum employees, as well as high school and university students. Transcribers include teachers at every level of education, elementary to university. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned United States policy toward American Indians, the treaty with the Seven Nations, Anthony, Wayne, and ship construction.

As we continue to move forward with the project, individuals may still register for a transcription account.

Complete a Transcription: History of a Canadian Refugee

December 16th, 2014

In an undated document, Benjamin Thompson set forth the history of his life during the era of the American Revolution. Although born in Boston, he was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to a merchant in Montreal. He recounts his efforts on the part of the American cause, prior to his departure from Montreal in 1776, all in an effort to qualify for compensation under the Act of Congress for the Relief of Refugees from the British Provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia.

The first eight pages of this document have been transcribed, but the last four (images 9-12) have not. Can you complete this transcription so its content can become part of the searchable archive of the Papers of the War Department?

Community Transcription – Forty-Three Months

December 2nd, 2014

November was the forty-third month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. We are still receiving regular requests for transcription accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

As of October 31, we have 2,049 users, with approximately 63 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 14,072 saves to War Department documents, which is about 385 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 217,451 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month were public librarians, members of local historical societies, journalists, students at the graduate and undergraduate level, and members of the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations. Transcribers include teachers at every level of education, elementary to university. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned the French colony at Gallipolis, Ohio, the treaties of Muskingum and Fort Harmar, the ratification of the Constitution, American Indian delegations and oratory, and James Swan. Transcribers also expressed interest in uncovering the history of American Indian tribes and nations which appear in the documentary record of the War Department, specifically the Lenape, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Potawatomi.

As we continue to move forward with the project, individuals may still register for a transcription account.

Community Transcription – Forty-Two Months

November 4th, 2014

October marked the forty-second month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. We are still receiving regular requests for transcription accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

As of this morning, we have 1,986 users, with approximately 33 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 13,687 saves to War Department documents, which is about 355 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 209,975 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month were independent researchers, students at the graduate and undergraduate level, museum curators, and members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. Transcribers include teachers at every level of education, elementary to university. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned Fells Point, Baltimore, gifts to the Indians, and conducting research for model scale building.

As we continue to move forward with the project, individuals may still register for a transcription account.

Help Complete a Transcription: Keeping Up Appearances at Fort Niagara

October 24th, 2014

In this Letter from Captain James Bruff to accountant William Simmons.  Bruff had recently assumed command of Fort Niagara after the British agreed to turn it over to the Americans as part of the Jay Treaty. He laments that his own government does not provide enough of an allowance for entertaining British officers, who are garrisoned just across the Niagara River at Fort George, while British government “makes an allowance for such purposes.”

This particular letter is cited in Eliga Gould’s 2012 work Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire.  Gould highlights Bruff’s perception that keeping up certain appearances with other Western nations was a sure sign of stature, sovereignty, and treaty-worthiness  “among the powers of the earth.”