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Barton Griffith papers

 Collection — Folder: S2183
Identifier: S2183

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photostats of original letters written between 1821 and 1832, along with their typed transcripts, from members of the Griffith Family in Indiana to each other and to relatives in Pennsylvania, concerning family matters, daily life and settling in Indiana, unrest between Native Americans and white pioneers, trade, national politics including discussion of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and Andrew Jackson. All of the correspondents were probably Quakers, based on their usage of "thee" and "thou." The letters were written by three brothers, Barton, Townsend, and Thornton Griffith, plus one letter by a cousin, William T. Johns. There is also a eulogic poem dated January 16, 1834.

In Barton's letter to Thornton, on January 25, 1827, he wrote: "Father and me are on the banks of Wabash about 80 miles from Indianapolis. Amos and Townsend live thirty miles east of us and Joseph lives 10 miles from Indianapolis." On May 3, 1828, Townsend wrote to his father Abraham Griffith in Covington: "I view thy sickness of a serious nature and one at this period of thy age which will sooner or later terminate thy existence in this house of clay." He signed that letter with his name and also Mahala Griffith, probably his wife. On May 31, 1830, Barton wrote to Thornton in West Chester, Pa., telling about his daily routine working in a merchantile house.Townsend's letter to Thornton in January 1831 mentions "our departed Father and Mother." In his P.S. to this letter, Townsend wrote: "our Country is populating the fastest that I have ever witnessed. It will, in a short time, be very thick settled." Thornton wrote to Barton on October 5, 1831: "What has become of all you Jackson me? Have they all turned to Clay me? If they are not, they soon will." Barton's October 26, 1831 letter refers to Uncle Joseph Griffith. William T. Johns has one letter in this collection, written October 17, 1832, to his cousin Thornton Griffith in Crawfordsville, Indiana. This letter mentions Morris Watson, John L. Haines, and Lewis Walton.


  • 1821-1834


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

Barton Griffith lived in Covington, Fountain County, Indiana during the early 1800s. Originally from Pennsylvania, Griffith, his father Abraham and his brother Townsend later moved to Indiana during the 1820s, while another brother, Thornton, remained in Philadelphia and later West Chester, Pennsylvania.


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 R. E. Banta on 1932/07/13.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2015/05/21 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield. EAD finding aid completed 2015/05/21 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield. EAD finding aid revised 2015/07/01 by Brittany Kropf.
Barton Griffith papers
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Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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