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Isaac and Benjamin Beeson papers

Identifier: L354

Scope and Contents

This collection contains both personal and business records of Isaac W. Beeson and Benjamin B. Beeson. There are many receipts, account sheets, order forms and invoices for the business parts of the collection. There are also land records, indentures, deeds, and many other legal documents. The personal portions of the collection contain information in the form of letters, organizational meeting minutes and notes, as well as essays written by Isaac and Benjamin about different issues of their time. Prevalent throughout the collection is information about the Anti-Slavery Friends and prohibitionist groups, including letters announcing the disownment of Mary and Isaac Beeson from the Society of Friends.

The collection is organized by date when possible. It begins with a little information on the Beeson family genealogy. There are some records that date back as early as 1809, however, the bulk of the collection covers the dates from the late 1820s until the late 1890s. Although most of the collection is that of Isaac and his son Benjamin, the papers that appear in the collection after 1902 are most prevalently those of Benjamin’s wife, Olinda, and his children There are three account books in this collection, all kept by Isaac and Benjamin Beeson between 1836 and 1885. The bulk of the account books cover entries for their general store, although post office records and diary entries are also included.

The smallest account book has a mixture of dates and types of entries. The first 15 pages, dated 1836 and 1837, contain what have been identified on the cover as “Post Office Records”; however, these records of postage are mixed with records of the purchase of dry goods and groceries. Mixed records continue into the portion dated 1860-1872. Within those years, a diary for 1872 begins on page 64 and extends to page 85. Throughout the 1860-1872 portion of the book are accounts of varying length, from short account such as “Cost of Building the Barn” to longer accounts such as “Receipts & expenditure of the Dalton farm belonging to Isaac W. Beeson.” Most entries are those of a general store, recording sale of dry goods and groceries; however, other types of services rendered (e.g., acting as administrator of an estate) are included. In the back of the volume is a map illustrating a proposed rotation of crops and recipes for veterinary medicines.

The other two volumes in this collection are dates from 1883 to 1885. They record the transactions of a general store. The volume with 512 numbered pages has no index. The volume with 696 numbered pages has an index to its contents arranged by customers’ last names.


  • 1809-1945


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

Isaac W. Beeson was born on December 19, 1789 in Randolph County, North Carolina. He was the son of Benjamin Beeson and Margaret Hockett. He spent several years moving between North Carolina and Indiana before finally settling in Dalton, Wayne County, Indiana. In Wayne County, on February 27, 1838, Isaac Beeson was married to Mary Branson. Their son Benjamin Branson Beeson was born on March 17, 1843. Isaac W. Beeson was a Quaker farmer, merchant and wheelwright in Guilford County, North Carolina and did the same types of jobs once he came to Indiana. Isaac Beeson died in 1871 in Indiana. The son of Isaac W. Beeson and Mary Branson, Benjamin B. Beeson was born in Wayne County, Indiana in 1843. He married Olinda Lamb on October 14, 1865. Together they had four children, Isaac F., Mary L., Edward O., and Frederick L., the last two boys being twins. Benjamin took on much of the same jobs his father had. He always listed himself as a farmer for the census. However, he also worked as a store proprietor and a charter member of several agricultural and religious societies. Additionally, Benjamin B. Beeson was publisher of the Enterprise, a Prohibitionist newspaper of Richmond, Indiana during the years 1891-1897. Benjamin Beeson died on January 2, 1902.


3.5 Cubic Feet (10 manuscript boxes, 3 volumes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Louis Bookout in 1970.


No further additions are expected.

Item Listing

Item-level inventory available upon request.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1999 and 2003-2004 by Phil Williams and Amy C. Belcher. EAD finding aid created 2018/05/04 by Lauren Patton.
Isaac and Benjamin Beeson papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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