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James Nelson Shepherd collection

Identifier: L311

Scope and Contents

This collection contains James Nelson Shepherd's Bible (1855); his pocket diary (1861-1866) with entries from his service in the Civil War and his personal accounts; his letters to his fiancée, Arminda Rhyan of New Goshen, Vigo County, Indiana and a couple of her needlepoint items, with one using human hair (1860-1862); Civil War letters to Shepherd from his brothers, Thomas E. Shepherd of the 31st Indiana and Edgar M. Shepherd from home (1862); Shepherd's farm ledgers (1864-1866), including his record of shipments made on the steamboat Sultana (1864); photocopies of various newsclippings (1887-1892); and a typewritten transcript of Shepherd's Civil War diary made by his daughter, Myrtle (circa 1958).


  • 1855-1958, 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

James Nelson Shepherd was born on November 10, 1838 in Vigo County, Indiana to James and Catherine Shepherd. He enlisted in the Union army in September, 1861 and served with Company K, 31st Indiana Volunteer Infantry in Kentucky and Tennessee with a rank of sergeant. Shepherd was discharged from the army on December 31, 1862 due to a gunshot wound suffered earlier at the Battle of Fort Donelson. He married Ariminda Rhyan (1844-1925) on February 19, 1863 and they had six daughters and two sons. Shepherd was a Vigo County farmer, stock breeder, and served as the county's treasurer from 1865 to 1869. He died at the age of 57 on April 7, 1895.


Information found within collection. "James N. Shepherd." Indiana Civil War Soldier Database Index, 1861-1865.Accessed April 25, 2016.

"Ex-Treasurer Dies." Terre Haute (IN) Express, April 8, 1895. "James Nelson Shepherd." Find a Grave Index. Accessed April 25, 2016.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Margaret K. Coordes on 1978/05/25.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/04/26 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2016/04/26 by Laura Eliason.
James Nelson Shepherd 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.