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Leach family papers

Identifier: c-00440

Scope and Contents

The Leach family papers consist of photocopies of letters, and a ledger/scrapbook belonging to Morgan Leach. The early letters (1810-1827) discuss the hardships of pioneer life, the swift deaths brought on by disease, and the loneliness of separation from families left behind. The later correspondence discuss business and land transactions, teachers' wages, and various aspects of small town life. Clinton's letters to his parents in 1841, when he went from Margaretta, Ohio to Grand Blanc, Michigan include detailed description of the places he traveled through and the cost and means of transportation at the time.

Morgan Leach's ledger records the credit accounts of his customers between 1845 and 1851 when he worked as a peddler. The ledger was later used as a scrapbook for newspaper clippings of letters he wrote to the Clinton County Republican while serving in the Civil War while he was serving with the 1st Michigan Cavalry. He described the hardships of camp life, the cold damp weather, and the lack of adequate provisions (blankets, overcoats, etc.) which contributed to widespread disease and death. He commented on the encouragement and hospitality shown by both Northerners and Southerners. Often expressing his political views, Dr. Leach recounted the battle of Winchester in April, 1862 when he was ambushed and presumed dead while tending to patients on a Union train. The final two letters discussed the low morale of the troops in 1862 resulting from the retreat of the Union army to Washington D.C. and the poor war effort. Warning that the Union could lose the war, Leach advocated recruiting and arming blacks and all able-bodied white males.


  • Creation: 1810 - 1863

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biography of the Leach Family

Jeshurun and Theoda Huntington Leach were married around 1818 and moved from Clarence, Niagra County, New York to Montgomery, Hamilton County, Ohio where Jeshurun had migrated earlier. In 1825 they settled in Oakland Oakland County, Michigan, but were persuaded by Theoda's family to return to New York in 1827. By 1838 they had returned to Ohio, making their home in Margaretta.

After Jeshurun Leach's death in 1841, Theoda and two of her sons, DeWitt Clinton Leach and Morgan L. Leach, moved to Michigan to live. Morgan Leach worked in the peddling trade before becoming a physician.


0.25 Cubic Feet (, 8 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Ray C. Williams, 1971-05-12.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Leach Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US