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Robert Simerwell papers

Creator: Simerwell, Robert, 1786-1868

Date: 1817-1867

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: MICROFILM: MS 1124-MS 1126
Ms. Coll. 500

Unit ID: 40500

Biographical sketch: Blacksmith; Baptist missionary to the Shawnee, Potawatomi; farmer. Of Michigan Territory; present Johnson, Franklin, Shawnee Counties, Kan.

Abstract: Letters of application for jobs at the Fort Wayne (Ind.) mission, general rules of the mission, letters received relating to the Carey (Mich.) mission, letters of introduction of missionaries, statistical charts showing status of Carey and Thomas (Mich.) missions, letters received from other missionaries, correspondence relating to treaties, letters describing life at the missions, letters received concerning the purchase of Potawatomi lands in Michigan, accounts of the Rev. Isaac McCoy & correspondence concerning his accounts, accounts of the Chicago Indian Agency, lists of students at Carey Mission, letters relating to Indian removal & emigration, correspondence dealing with McCoy's trip to the West, letters received concerning the removal of the missions to land west of the Mississippi River, accounts of the Carey & Thomas missions, letters received relating to the operation of the missions, expense account of Johnston Lykins, list of articles sold by Carey Mission, correspondence relative to goods purchased for Indians, letters dealing with the purchase of land west of the Missouri River, petitions of the Potawatomi to see the president of the U.S., voucher for payment to Simerwell as blacksmith to the Potawatomi, description of Carey Mission property, accounts of the Potawatomi emigration west, letters written from eastern Kansas after the arrival of the Potawatomi there, report to the Baptist General Convention for Foreign Missions, minutes of mission church meetings, correspondence relating to Simerwell's activities as an appointee of the American Baptist Publication Society, Simerwell's diary, and a calendar & registers of Simerwell's correspondence.

Space Required/Quantity: 2.25 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Robert Simerwell papers

Titles (Other):

  • Papers
  • Robert W. Simerwell papers
  • Diaries


Biog. Sketch (Full): Robert Simerwell was a missionary throughout most of his life. Born in Ireland in 1786, he came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his family in 1803. He originally served among the Potawatomi Indians in Michigan Territory while he apprenticed to a blacksmith and attended school at night as well as studying their language. He later came to the Baptist Shawnee Mission on Pottawatomie Creek in eastern Kansas. In 1848 the government set up a new mission a few miles west of Topeka, Kansas. In a three-story stone building with twelve rooms, boys and girls were given instruction in the manual arts, as well as in reading, writing, arithmetic, and religious subjects. In the fall of 1854, he and his wife had retired from active work in the Pottawatomie Mission, to homestead on 160 acres southwest of Auburn, Kansas. Simerwell died at home in 1868.

Scope and Content

Contents: Roll 1 (MS 1124). [Register of] letters sent by R. Simerwell (1827-1831), [register of] letters received by R. Simerwell (1824-1833), [and] record of the branch of the Potawatomie Bap[tist] Miss[ion] Church, 1840-1844 ; correspondence and reports: Robert Simerwell: 1822 Feb.-1831 June -- roll 2 (MS 1125). Correspondence and reports: Robert Simerwell: 1831 July-1867 Jan., Robert Simerwell and other family members, 1831-1867 ; Typed copies of letters by Robert Simerwell, Isaac McCoy, and others ; accounts: 1829 -- roll 3 (MS 1126). Accounts: 1831-1856 ; diary, 1824-1837 ; notebooks, 1817-1831 ; oversize folder.


Locator Contents
007-05-06-07 to 007-05-07-02   
073-04-05-03  Folder 19: 1865 American Baptist Publication Society certificate 
904-35-00-00  Oversize items: (1) Letters received by R. Simerwell [register], 1824-1833 ; record of the branch of the Potawatomie Bap. Miss. Church, 1840-1844. (2) Letters sent by R. Simerwell [register], 1827-1831. (3) Certificate of naturalization, Supreme court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., 1824 Mar. 29. (4) An exhibit of the state of the Indian school at Carey, St. Joseph River, Michigan Territory (for the year ending 30th September 1824). (5) Rev. Isaac McCoy in account with Phillip [Pernath?], 1828-1829. 


  • MS 1124: Corresp. registers; Potawatomi Msn. Ch. records (1840-44); R. Simerwell corresp. & repts. (1822-31) 1822-1844
  • MS 1125: Correspondence and reports: R. Simerwell & other family members, 1831-67; account books, 1829 1829-1867
  • MS 1126: Account books: 1831-1856 ; diary, 1824-1837 ; notebooks ; oversize folder 1824-1856

Related Records or Collections

Other Finding Aid/Index: Contents listing available in the repository.

Index Terms


    United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Chicago Indian Agency -- Accounting
    United States. President
    American Baptist Missionary Union
    American Baptist Publication Society
    Baptist General Convention for Foreign Missions (U.S.)
    Carey Indian Mission (Niles, Mich.)
    Fort Wayne Baptist Mission
    Potawatomi Mission (Shawnee County, Kan)
    Thomas Station (Indian mission : Mich.)
    Account books -- Kansas
    Account books -- Michigan
    Notebooks -- Kansas
    Notebooks -- Michigan
    Petitions -- United States
    Fort Wayne (Ind.)
    Franklin County (Kan.)
    Johnson County (Kan.)
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Michigan -- History -- To 1837
    Middle West
    Niles (Mich.)
    Shawnee County (Kan.)
    Topeka (Kan.)
    United States
    Carter, Elizabeth Simerwell, 1835-1883
    Lykins, Johnston, 1800?-1876
    McCoy, Isaac, 1784-1846
    Meeker, Jotham, 1804-1855
    Simerwell, Ann, 1832-1857
    Simerwell, Fanny Goodridge, 1789-1855
    Simerwell, Robert, 1786-1868
    Simerwell, Robert, 1786-1868 -- Diaries
    Blacksmiths -- Kansas
    Blacksmiths -- Michigan
    Farmers -- Kansas -- Shawnee County
    Missionaries -- Indiana -- Fort Wayne
    Missionaries -- Kansas
    Missionaries -- Michigan
    American diaries -- Kansas
    American diaries -- Michigan
    American letters -- Kansas -- History -- 19th century
    Baptists -- Missions -- Indiana -- Fort Wayne
    Baptists -- Missions -- Kansas
    Baptists -- Missions -- Michigan
    Indians of North America -- Middle West
    Indians of North America -- Missions -- Middle West
    Missions -- Indiana -- Fort Wayne
    Missions -- Kansas
    Missions -- Michigan
    Potawatomi Indians -- Indiana
    Potawatomi Indians -- Kansas
    Potawatomi Indians -- Michigan
    Indians of North America -- Kansas
    Indians of North America -- Michigan
    Indians of North America -- Missions -- Kansas
    Indians of North America -- Missions -- Michigan

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Use and reproduction: Information on copyright available from the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).

Add'l physical form: Microfilm. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 1983; rolls MS 1124-MS 1126, lab. nos. 22524-22526; available for research or inter-library loan.

Add'l physical form: Selected items: Also available via Kansas Memory, Electronic resource. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 2007. http://www.kansasmemory.org/locate.php?categories=4905-5445&