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U.S. Lesh writings and letters

 Collection — Folder: S0823
Identifier: S0823

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of speeches and pamphlets written by U. S. Lesh ranging from 1925 to 1965. “Ex Parte Milligan,” “A Knight of the Golden Circle,” and “General James R. Slack: War Democrat” all deal with the Knights of the Golden Circle. “The Three Guards” is an educational play written by Lesh set during the Revolutionary War. There are also two letters written by Lesh to a Mr. or Dr. Kelley.


  • 1825-1965, undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Ulysses Samuel Lesh was born on August 9, 1868, in Rock Creek Township, Wells County, Indiana. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1891. He then practiced law in Huntington, Indiana, periodically throughout his life. On June 27, 1894, he married Minnie Fulton with whom he had three sons, John M., Lex, and Joseph F. Lesh served as Huntington City Attorney (1902-1904) and Huntington County Attorney (1907-1909). He was a staunch Republican and spent time and money supporting the local party.

From 1917 to 1921, Lesh served as Assistant Attorney General under Ele Stansbury. He was then elected Attorney General and served two terms (1922-1925). While Attorney General, Lesh succeeded in making the Indiana State Fair a state agency. After leaving office, he formed a law partnership with his two sons, practicing in Indianapolis until 1938. He then returned to Huntington where he resumed his former association with his younger brother, Eben Lesh. After his brother’s death in 1955, U. S. Lesh continued to practice alone. In addition to his legal career, Lesh authored two books, A Knight of the Golden Circle (1911) and Three Profiteers (1934). He died on June 5, 1965.

Founded in 1856, the original purpose of Knights of the Golden Circle was to create a new territory centered around Havana, Cuba, that would encompass Central America and a great deal of Mexico and the United States. The Knights were able to recruit Union soldiers during the Civil War to act as spies for the Confederacy. Among the Union spies was Lambdin P. Milligan, whose trial by military tribunal was to spur the famous Supreme Court decision Ex parte Milligan (1866). This decision affirmed the constitutional right of all citizens to be tried before a jury of their peers.

Sources: Indiana State Library. Accessed April 28, 2006.

Banta, Ray E., comp. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1816-1916. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1949.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Darwin Kelly on 1965/08/13.


No further additions are expected.

Item Listing

1925 Oct. 22 Speech delivered at a banquet for the Committee on Standards of Literature of the Indiana Parent-Teacher Association pamphlet (2 copies)

1947 July 26 “Ex Parte Milligan,” pamphlet (2 copies)

1956 “A Knight of the Golden Circle,” pamphlet (2 copies)

1961 Sept. 1 Lesh, U. S. to Mr. Kelley, TLS

1964 Dec.or 1965 Jan. or Lesh, U. S. to Dr. Kelley, TLS

undated “The Three Guards: A Dramatic Lesson in American History,” pamphlet

undated Speech, “General James R. Slack: War Democrat,” typescript, 8 p.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2006/04 by Christina Baich. EAD finding aid created 2006/04 by Christina Baich. EAD finding aid revised 2015/10/30 by Laura Eliason.
U.S. Lesh writings and letters
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.