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Bagley family papers

Identifier: 00018

Scope and Contents

The Bagley family papers includes the personal papers of David M. Bagley, his wife, Bennette Bagley, his son, William, and his grandson, Laurence. The material, dating from 1830 to 1932, is arranged by family member.

Bennette Bagley's papers contain personal correspondence from friends and family members in England wishing her a safe journey to America in 1833, and her will and estate papers of 1888.

David M. Bagley's papers include correspondence relating to the Civil War, family affairs, and Michigan politics on the local, state and federal levels. The Civil War letters are from Michigan men stationed in Georgetown, D.C.; Petersburg, Virginia and St. John's River, Florida. Camp life and general morale is described. On the state level, Bagley corresponded with B. D. Pritchard, Commissioner of the State Lands, discussing political appointments in the State Land Office where Bagley was a clerk. He also corresponded with two Michigan Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., D. C. Leach and John W. Longyear, concerning political activities. David Bagley's legal papers offer a general survey of the family's legal business. Included are apprenticeship papers, building contracts, tax receipts, deeds, summons and mortgages. David Bagley was an active contributor to the Lansing State Republican and the collection contains manuscripts of articles written for publication and the newspaper editions in which these articles appear. Most of these articles are political in nature and center on the Republican Party of which David Bagley was a member. A diary and phrenology chart belonging to Bagley are also present. The civil war related materials (folders 5-7) have been transcribed, scanned and put online at

William Bagley's papers include a speech to the Old Settlers Association in 1927 and several articles for publication primarily concerned with prohibition. One article, however, read before the State Senate in December 1901, entitled "What Shall be Done With the Deserted Pine Land of Michigan?", was concerned with Michigan conservation. William Bagley's papers also contain deeds, abstracts of land and titles, mortgages, tax receipts, wills and estate papers, broadsides, three plat maps and records relating to Old Mission Harbor.

Lawrence Bagley's papers include drawings of United States Naval Vessels (1893) and a report card for December 1893 to January 1894.

The remainder of the collection contains miscellaneous correspondence including a letter from O. P. Chubb 1862, and three letter books, two of which contain the correspondence of Mrs. Hannah Stace (apparently Bennette Bagley's Aunt) and one which contains letters from English relatives. One letter of particular interest from Thomas Stace has a good description of pioneer Australia. In addition, there are several financial ledgers documenting the family's business activities. Included is a joint ledger and farm diary from 1870, a joint ledger and diary for 1880, and a Peninsular Grange Ledger (1885-1902).


  • Creation: 1830 - 1932

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.

Biographical Note

The Bagley family, originally from Smithfield, Rhode Island, moved to Old Mission Harbor, Michigan where they became active in state and local government. David M. Bagley held a clerkship in the Michigan Auditor Generals Office (1855-1864) and was the bookkeeper in the State Land Office from 1868-1869.

David and his son, William Bagley, also operated a fruit orchard in the Lansing area and the Old Mission Harbor. Both were active members in the Republican Party. David Bagley published several articles in the Lansing State Republican from 1868 to 1870. William wrote articles in support of prohibition in the early 1930s.


0.66 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Mary Rosecrans Bagley, 1967-08-25.

Legal Status

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

Bagley Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
R. Viol
November 1997
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