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Robert W. McBride papers

Identifier: L288

Scope and Contents

The collection contains some correspondence and a large number of speeches of Robert McBride. There are also some papers regarding the Union Light Guard as well as a pamphlet written by McBride and several drafts of his manuscript for Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln. A small amount of legal papers and papers relating to the Waterloo Rifle Company and Wheelway League are also included.

Various membership and appointment certificates are included in the large collection as well as the oversized folders. The volumes are a record book in which McBride wrote a regimental history of the Union Light Guard and tracked the soldiers who served in the regiment and who attended reunions and a meeting book for the Waterloo Rifle Company that includes meeting minutes (1880-1886) and the company’s constitution.

There are also oversize certificates, 1863-1896 (OBC048) and 2 volumes, Waterloo Rifle Company meeting book, 1879-1886 and an undated Union Light Guard reunion record book and regimental history (V251).


  • 1863-1926


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

Robert Wesley McBride was born on January 25, 1842, in Richland County, Ohio. His parents were Augustus and Martha A. (Barnes) McBride. At age 13, McBride moved with an uncle to Iowa. In 1859, he began teaching in the Iowa public schools. McBride returned to Ohio in 1862 and enlisted in the 7th Ohio Independent Squadron of Cavalry, more commonly known as the Union Light Guard. This squadron became bodyguard for President Abraham Lincoln, serving as mounted escort of the president until his assassination. McBride was discharged in September 1865.

After the Civil War, McBride returned to his first profession, teaching, and worked in Ohio and Indiana public schools. In 1866, he moved to Indiana and settled in Waterloo, DeKalb County. Over the next year, he studied law and was admitted to the bar (April 1867) and began practicing in Waterloo (September 1867). On September 27, 1868, McBride married Ida S. Chamberlain.

In 1882, McBride was elected Judge of the 35th Judicial Circuit, which comprised DeKalb, Noble, and Steuben counties. He held this post for six years. In June 1890, McBride moved to Elkhart, Indiana. After losing his bid for a seat on the Indiana Supreme Court to Judge J. A. S. Mitchell, he was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison to a commission to investigate matters on the Puyallup Indian Reservation in Tacoma, Washington. However, Justice Mitchell died suddenly and McBride was appointed to fill his seat in December 1890. McBride immediately returned to Indiana to accept the post. He left the Supreme Court bench when his term ended in January 1893 and moved to Indianapolis to resume the practice of law.

McBride was also the vice-president of the Wheelway League, an association that created and maintained a bicycle path (“wheelway”) on the canal towpath between Indianapolis and Broad Ripple in 1896. In 1904, McBride became counsel for the loan department of the State Life Insurance Company. Months before his death, he wrote Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, in which he told of glimpses he got almost daily of President Lincoln during the last sixteen months of the Civil War. He died on May 15, 1926.


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

Taylor, Charles W. Biographical Sketches and Review of the Bench and Bar of Indiana. Indianapolis: Bench and Bar Publishing Co., 1895.


1.1 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes, 1 large oversize folder, 2 volumes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by document type.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Mrs. J.P. Hoster on 1941/09/09 and 1954/02.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

OBC048: Robert W. McBride oversize collection, 1863-1896

V251: Robert W. McBride volumes, undated

Processing Information

Collection re-processed 2006/03 by Christina Baich. Finding aid revised 2015/11/04 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2018/05/02 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid revised 2021/09/14; 2021/11/11 by Lauren Patton.
Robert W. McBride 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.