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Thomas Timothy McAvoy collection

 Collection — Folder: S0862
Identifier: S0862

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photostatic copies of Catholic missionary records in Marshall County, Indiana ranging from 1834 to 1837 regarding the work of Father Louis DeSeille and his possible successor. The papers comprise Father DeSeille's baptismal register (1834-1836), documenting the baptisim of Potawatomi tribespeople, and a letter from Angelique Compeau and five prominent Native Americans--Sineie (Sinigo), Markartamwa, Menomine, Peppemarwha, and Weishkemar--in Plymouth, Indiana to Bishop Bruté of Vincennes, Indiana on September 30, 1837, requesting a new priest following the death of Father DeSeille. A typed historical paper, "The Indian Missions of Marshall County," by Rev. Thomas Timothy McAvoy, circa 1940s, accompanies the records.


  • circa 1834-1940s


Language of Materials

Materials in English and Latin.

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.

Historical Note

Catholic missionaries such as Father Louis DeSeille worked among Native American tribes, such as the Potawatomi, in the Old Northwest from the early 18th century until the "Indian removal" of the 1830s. U.S. government officials considered DeSeille an obstacle to Native American removal in Indiana and lobbied unsuccessfully for his replacement. After DeSeille's death in 1837, his successor, Father Benjamin Petit, was unable to prevent the Potawatomi people's removal from Indiana the following year and accompanied them on their infamous march to Kansas, known as the "Trail of Death."

Biographical Note

Rev. Thomas Timothy McAvoy, a noted Catholic historian and archivist, wrote numerous articles and works relating to the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. Born on September 12, 1903 in Tipton, Indiana, McAvoy was ordained as a priest in 1929. He devoted his life to education and the preservation of the past, working as a professor of history (1933-1969) and archivist (1929-1969) at the University of Notre Dame. McAvoy also served as the managing editor of "Review of Politics," the university's well-respected publication on political theory, from 1942 until his death in 1969.

Father Louis Deseille (1795-1837), a Catholic missionary from Belgium, ministered to Native Americans in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, working closely with the Potawatomi people. Chief Menominee (circa 1791-1841) was the head of a large community of Potawatomi tribespeople living near Twin Lakes in what became Marshall County, Indiana. He and his village were forced to leave the state during the removal of the Potawatomi from Indiana in 1838, despite never signing the treaty agreeing to emigration. Bishop Simon William Gabriel Bruté (1779-1839), a French Catholic priest, was appointed the first bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana on May 6, 1834.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Frances E. Emerson in May 1949.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014/06/24 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2014/06/24 by Brittany Kropf.
Thomas Timothy McAvoy collection
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.