Skip to main content

John L. Ketcham collection

 Collection — Folder: S2469
Identifier: S2469

Scope and Contents

The collection contains five letters written by John L. Ketcham to his children relating to family matters and service during the U.S. Civil War, ranging from 1852 to 1869. There are also newspaper clippings relating to Ketcham and members of his family (circa 1898-1910, undated) and 2 programs from Wabash College (1862-1863).


  • 1852-1910, 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

John L. Ketcham was born April 3, 1810, in Shelby County, Kentucky. He attended school at Indiana University in Bloomington, graduating in 1833. Following graduation, Ketcham moved to Indianapolis where he studied law under Judge Isaac Blackford. In 1836, He married Jane Merrill, eldest daughter of prominent lawyer Samuel Merrill. Ketcham enlisted in the 70th Indiana Regiment during the U.S. Civil War. Following the war, he returned home to Indiana. Ketcham died suddenly on April 21, 1869 when he fell twelve feet into a cellar at the store of Alford, Talbott, and Co.


Nowland, John H. B. Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis: With Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day. Indianapolis: Sentinel Book and Job Print. House, 1870.


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 Alice Michael in 1988/08.


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:

L069: Hibben family papers

L106: Col. Samuel Merrill collection

S0773: Susan M. Ketcham papers

V055: "Reminiscences of Jane Merrill Ketcham" volumes

Item Listing

1852-03-12 John J. Ketcham, Sr. (Bloomington, IN) letter to John L. Ketcham (Indianapolis, IN) – advice on how and where to place Martin boxes (1 p.)

1859-09-27 Newspaper clipping – letter from a boy in London to his mother in Indianapolis, tells of his sightseeing trips and mention Aunt Kate (Catharine Merrill)

1860-02-21 John L. Ketcham (Indianapolis, IN) letter to Kate [Catharine Merrill] – proud of the boys’ progress and happy to receive letters and pictures of the group touring Europe; recommends Dresden as the best place to study German; Samuel Moore reads the boys’ letters in the newspaper; Lou Wiley’s father is proud of his daughter’s progress; Republican Convention tomorrow; Lane to be Nominate; Sending; Feb. 22 note about Oliver P. Morton’s nomination as Lieut. Governor (4 pp.)

1861-04-10 John L. Ketcham (Indianapolis, IN) to "the boys" (in Europe with Catharine Merrill) – explains what is happening at Ft. Sumter, now that war is inevitable; expresses faith in Lincoln and his cabinet; tells of war preparations (8 pp.)

1862-06-21 Paene Exhibition program, Class of 1866, Wabash College – features J. L. Ketcham as one of the speakers

1863-12-11 John L. Ketcham (Indianapolis, IN) letter to General L. H. Rousseau – hopes his son (70th Indiana Regiment) may be appointed Rousseau’s private secretary (1 p.)

1863-12-21 Sophomore Exhibition program, Class of 1866 of Wabash College

1869-04-04 John L. Ketcham (Indianapolis, IN) letter to "Lew" – tells of his birthday presents – a gold watch chain, a painting of two partridges and their brood from Mrs. Vance – of the birthday party and his reflections on his past life

circa 1898 Newspaper clipping – Foster C. Shirley, Sgt. Co. A., 44th Regiment in the Philippines writes from Manila of death of General Flor De Lis and the capture of his stronghold; credit given to Capt. Ketcham

1910-08-18 Newspaper clipping – comment on John L. Ketcham’s assessment of German vocational education

circa 1910-08-18 Newspaper clipping – John L. Ketcham on the importance of trade schools

Undated Newspaper clipping – Jane Merrill Ketcham’s reminiscence of the trip from Corydon to Indianapolis in 1824

Processing Information

EAD finding aid created in 2012/09 by Brent Abercrombie. EAD finding aid updated 2022/12/15 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid revised 2023/02/21 by Brittany Kropf.
John L. Ketcham collection
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.