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Samuel J. Keller papers

Identifier: L285

Scope and Contents

This collection includes letters from Samuel J. Keller in Bluffton, Indiana, California, and Minnesota; Mexican War and Civil War army camps, as well as business, legal and financial papers; a diary; newspaper clippings; business advertising; postcards; and miscellaneous ranging from 1848 to 1911, regarding family matters, army life and wars.

There is also an appointment for Keller to the 47th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Militia on October 10, 1861.


  • 1848-1911


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

Samuel J. Keller was born in Ohio on December 18, 1825 John and Rachel Keller and was their oldest son. He served in the Mexican War as a private in Company K., Infantry, 2nd Regiment in 1847. Keller married Melvina E. Wallet [Wolleat] on March 14, 1852 in Wells County, Indiana. They had eight children: William Harter (who died at the age of 9), Samuel, May [Mary] Ellen, Catharine, Emma Adaline, Jennie, Lydia and John. Keller served in the Indiana Volunteers, Regiment 47, Company H, enlisting on October 1, 1861, then as a captain from December 13, 1861 to December 12, 1864 during the U.S. Civil War.

He learned the brickmaking trade and worked in several communities in Indiana and in Minnesota, from 1854 to 1858, then returning to Bluffton, Indiana. In 1876 he and his family moved to San Jose, California, then to Portland, Oregon where he prospected for gold. They returned to Bluffton in 1880. Keller served as postmaster of Bluffton from 1884 to 1886. He died July 22, 1911 and was buried in the Fairview Cemetery, Bluffton, Indiana.


Items within the collection. "Samuel J. Keller."1860 United States Federal Census. Accessed July 29, 2016. "Samuel Keller." 1870 United States Federal Census. Accessed July 29, 2016. "Samuel J. Keller."1880 United States Federal Census. Accessed July 29, 2016. "Samuel J. Keller."Indiana, Marriage Collection, 1800-1941. Accessed July 29, 2016. "Samuel J. Keller."U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865. Accessed July 29, 2016. "Samuel J. Keller." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed July 29, 2016.


1.05 Cubic Feet (3 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from J. A. Chaney on 1972/07/24 and others.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/07/29 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2016/07/29 by Edythe Huffman.
Samuel J. Keller papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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