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Treiber family papers

Identifier: c-00151

Scope and Contents

The Treiber papers consist of correspondence, family history, and teaching certificates. John Treiber's letters to his wife, which make up the bulk of the collection, were written in 1872 and 1873 when he was sailing on the Great Lakes and working as a lumberjack in Oconto, Wisconsin. Mary Treiber's letters from family and friends (1869-1889) discuss everyday matters such as sick babies, sharecroppers, and family activities. Correspondence from Marion Howell of Lansing describe life in the capital city in the 1880's. The family histories are of particular interest since they not only chronicle some of John Treiber's adventures, but describe pioneer life in Kalamo township, Michigan in the 1850's and the hardships of travel between New York and Michigan. The papers also contain two teaching certificates (1863, 1865) issued to Sarah Hitchcock, Mary Treiber's half-sister, authorizing her to teach in the towns of Dorr and Byron, Michigan. Also included are two photographs of John Treiber.


  • Creation: 1863 - 1889

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

John Treiber was a wanderer. Born in Germany in 1839, he moved to America with his parents around 1848. As a sailor, he traveled to Europe, Mexico, South America, India, and the Far East. He later worked as a lumberjack and briefly owned a lumber boat, which was lost in a storm on Lake Michigan. He met his wife, Mary McCarty, while he was hiking across Michigan to visit a brother. Mary McCarty Treiber was born in western New York State in 1840 to Norwegian and Irish immigrant parents. When she was nine months old, her family set out for New Orleans, but her father died of yellow fever during the journey. Returning to New York, her mother eventually remarried and the family lived for about nine years in a Quaker community in the western part of the state. Around 1852 they immigrated to Kalamo township, Eaton County, Michigan, which was essentially still a wilderness at that time. When she met John Treiber, Mary McCarty was living with her younger brother, John, and she continued to do so for several years after her marriage because of Treiber's frequent absences. They finally settled in Carlisle, Eaton County, Michigan, and raised their five children there.


0.1 Cubic Feet (, 7 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Gift of Rosemary Holt, 1959-10-07. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University Property Rights: Michigan State University

Treiber Family Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
R. Hannum
November 1986
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