Transcribe this: Creation of a School for Indian Children

May 12th, 2015

In the first of these two letters, David Fowler wrote to Secretary of War Henry Knox on March 13, 1793, and two days later, Knox corresponded with General Israel Chapin regarding the matters Fowler discussed in his letter. Fowler, a Native American, is writing to Knox about the inhabitants of Brotherton, most of whom are poor as a result of being forced off their plantations and subsequently “lost all during [the] late war.” As a result of their economic condition, Fowler is obliged to ask for the assistance of the United States government in establishing a school for the children of Brotherton. Fowler states that he and his son have been traveling through New England “among the remnants of the tribes of Indian dwellings” that had been given to Brotherton by the Oneidas years ago in an attempt “to remove the White intruders.” The journey has resulted in much expense, and Fowler and his son also need a sum of money in order to return home.

Knox wrote to Chapin, the agent of Indian Affairs for New York, and sent him a copy of Fowler’s letter. Knox requests that Chapin look into Fowler’s request, and states that “if it should be your opinion, that granting his request would conduce to the general object of the United States” then Chapin should give a sum not exceeding fifty dollars per annum in order to establish the school. Knox notes that he provided Fowler with thirty dollars so that he and his son can travel home.

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Community Transcription – Forty-Eight Months

May 4th, 2015

April was the forty-eighth 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 April 30, we had 2,220 users, with 65 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 14,728 saves to War Department documents, which is about 384 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 244,565 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month included university students, members of the Choctaw Nation, the Gun Lake Tribe, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, a retired member of the United States Marine Corps, and librarians and archivists. We had a large influx of genealogists sign up this month thanks to a post on the Legal Genealogist blog about the Papers of the War Department. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned the history of North Carolina, Georgia, and Maine; payroll records and pension paperwork; the 1791 Battle of the Wabash; the relationship between Native Americans and the United States government and military; the infrastructure of the War Department; and the constitutionality of the Militia Act.

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

Transcribe this: “We have alarms every day”

April 8th, 2015

In this letter dated May 6, 1791, Colonel David Sheppard writes to Secretary of War Henry Knox to inform him of the state of affairs in the Ohio country. Sheppard writes that he followed the orders he had received to have the militia leave the area, but tells Knox the number of soldiers they currently have “is not sufficient to the present emergency.” After the militia left, Indians attacked and killed several scouts, privates, and inhabitants of the region, and Sheppard is unsure of the exact number of casualties. Sheppard writes that “we have alarms every day.” Mentioning that Captain Kirkwood will be able to provide a better account of the situation, Sheppard notes that “we are without munitions and but few arms.”

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Community Transcription – Forty-Seven Months

April 1st, 2015

March was the forty-seventh 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 March 31, we had 2,155 users, with 36 new transcribers registered since the last update. Those volunteer transcribers have made 14,344 saves to War Department documents, which is about 120 additional edits since the last update. The average number of edits before a document is saved continues to be three. We have had 240,792 total page views.

Among those who signed up to transcribe in the last month were historians, retired members of the Armed Forces, university students, members of the Cherokee Nation, historical writers, and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Those who specified an interest or focus mentioned early American military history, the history of medicine, the funeral practices following the death of George Washington, and the Whiskey Rebellion.

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

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.”

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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.