Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Charles W. Marvin Family papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Charles W. Marvin Family papers,
Creator: Marvin, Charles W.
Inclusive dates: 1850-1948, and undated
Extent: 2 cubic ft. (in 5 boxes, 1 Oversized folder)
The collection includes the family papers of Dr. Charles W. Marvin, an Assistant Surgeon of the 26th Michigan Infantry during the Civil War, and his children, Louis, Ella, and Burr.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 1353

Access Restrictions:

Charles W. Marvin Family papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Charles W. Marvin Family papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


The collection is organized into series by creator, then organized by size, alphabetically and chronologically.



Charles Wakeman Marvin was born in Sharon Township (Richland County, Ohio) on April 15, 1824, the son of Stephen and Sarah B. (Sherwood) Marvin. After getting his education, Charles assisted his father who was a tanner and currier.

In the winter of 1845-1846, Charles taught school and later read medicine with Dr. H. O. Mack. Charles graduated from the Western Reserve Medical College at Cleveland (Ohio) in 1851. He practiced medicine at Johnsville, Freeport, and Perrysburg (Ohio).

Dr. Marvin moved to Gratiot County, Michigan, in 1860, becoming the first physician in Ithaca. He worked as a doctor until 1886.

In Ithaca, he became involved with educational matters. Dr. Marvin served as a school trustee (1863-1886) and as Director of the school board.

Dr. Marvin was commissioned as an Assistant Surgeon of the 26th Michigan Infantry on June 27, 1864. He was honorably discharged on June 4, 1865. Afterwards, he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Moses Wisner Post. Dr. Marvin was also a charter member and officer of the Ithaca Cemetery.

On December 18, 1857 Dr. Marvin married Martha J. Brooke (September 27, 1827-September 14, 1909). Together, they had four children: Louis J.; (Stephen) Seymour S. (1861-1867); Ella D. (Sarah Ellen) “Topsy;” and Burr.

In 1886, Dr. Marvin retired to his farm in Newark Township, Illinois, for several years, he died on Sunday, April 27, 1902 at home. He was buried by his fellow GAR members.

Louis John Marvin (May 29, 1859- ) taught in various districts in Gratiot County, Michigan, and in the first English school in Frankenmuth, Michigan (1882). In 1883, he worked on a ranch in Leon Springs, Texas. He served as deputy county clerk and clerk of Newark Township. After his father’s death, Louis farmed at the family homestead. In 1903, he was a delegate to the Republican County Convention.

Ella D. (Sarah Ellen) ‘Topsy” Marvin (October 23, 1866- ) graduated from Ithaca Public Schools in 1887 and Central Michigan Normal School (now Central Michigan University) in 1890?. She taught for several years in Muskegon, Ithaca, Cassopolis, Grayling, Farwell, and Breckenridge. Ella also taught in Marywood, Illinois, 1901-1910, after which she returned to the family farm.

Burr Marvin (July 7, 1871- ) graduated from Ithaca Public Schools in 1891, studied for two years at Alma College, and took a business course in Saginaw, Michigan. He worked for the Pere Marquette Railroad County in Saginaw and Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1906. Afterwards, he also returned to the family farm. (All of the above information is from the collection.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection consists mostly of Dr. Marvin and Louis Marvin’s papers, with a few items of other family members. They offer a view of family life and work in Ithaca.

The papers consist of Dr. Marvin’s Civil War papers (mostly forms for supplies, ordnance, muster roll, and his muster-out certificate from 1864-1865; Family Biographical Materials, 1850, 1869-1902; Family Correspondence, 1850, from Rough and Ready, California, describing gold mining conditions, 1890-1900, and undated; Family Legal Papers (mostly land records), 1850-1899; Burr Marvin’s poetry booklet, undated; and diplomas of Burr, Ella, and Dr. Marvin, and a chemistry certificate of Burr’s, 1851, 1887-1908. A few published items complete the papers. One is about Northern Michigan Medical Association prices and resolutions (1864) and the other is about Ithaca’s Common Council (1881).

The volumes include Dr. Marvin’s account books (general), 1853-1869; and (doctor’s), 1884; and diaries, 1868-1901 (4 volumes). Louis Marvin’s account books, 1902-1904 and 1944-1946; diaries, 1875-1944 (76 volumes), a Blacksmith’s account book, 1852-1856; and the account books of Marvin Bros., 1863-1948 (5 volumes) complete the volumes.

Of particular interest here are the doctor’s account book giving dates, names, and health problems of patients, and fees. Dr. Marvin’s diaries have scattered entries noting some church and school activities and patients’ cases. In August 1885, he traveled to the Dakota Territory and Nebraska, writing detailed entries in his diary.

Louis’ diaries detail his various interests and pursuits including school, his experiences teaching in Frankenmuth (January-March 1882), and Ithaca; work in Texas (1883) and later as a printer in Ithaca; Dr. Marvin’s death (1902); service in county offices (1903); and service as a delegate to the Republican County Convention. His diaries, 1902-1944, mostly note farm work and events in Ithaca, his work to erect the H. R. Pattengill Monument on the lawn of the Ithaca City Hall (1924); and his organization of the H. R. Pattengill Reunions, 1888-1938.

Subject Terms

    • Marvin, Charles W.
    • Marvin, Louis J.
    • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 26th (1862-1865)
    • Northern Michigan Medical Association.
    • Education--Michigan--Gratiot County.
    • Education--Michigan--Saginaw County.
    • Education--Michigan--Frankenmuth.
    • Education--Michigan--Ithaca.
    • Physicians--Michigan--Gratiot County.
    • Physicians--Michigan--Ithaca.
    • Ithaca (Mich.)--History.
    • Gratiot County (Mich.)--History.
    • Texas--Description and travel.
    • Dakota Territory--Description and travel.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Charles W. Marvin Family papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Charles W. Marvin, Biographical Materials, 1869-1902
    Box   1 F   2
    Charles W. Marvin, Civil War Papers, 1864-1866
    Box   1 F   3
    Charles W. Marvin, Civil War Returns of Medical and Hospital Property, 1865
    Box   1 F   4
    Charles W. Marvin, Correspondence, Rough and Ready (Original and Transcript), December 6, 1850
    Box   1 F   5
    Charles W. Marvin, Correspondence, 1890-1900, undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Charles W. Marvin, Legal Papers (folder 1 of 2), 1850-1869
    Box   1 F   7
    Charles W. Marvin, Legal Papers (folder 2 of 2), 1870-1899
    Box   1 F   8
    Charles W. Marvin, Northern Michigan Medical Association (broadside), 1864
    Box   1 F   9
    Charles W. Marvin, Rules Governing Ithaca Common Council, 1881
    Box   1 F   10
    Burr Marvin, Booklet of SPASMS (poetry), undated
    Box   2 F   1
    Charles W. Marvin, Account Books (2 volumes), 1853-1869, 1884
    Box   2 F   2
    Charles W. Marvin, Diaries (4 volumes), 1868-1904
    Box   2 F   3
    Louis J. Marvin, Account Books (2 volumes), 1902-1904, 1944-1946
    Box   2 F   4
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (9 volumes), 1875-1882
    Box   2 F   5
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (7 volumes), 1883-1899
    Box   3 F   1
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (10 volumes), 1900-1909
    Box   3 F   2
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (6 volumes), 1910-1915
    Box   3 F   3
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (6 volumes), 1916-1921
    Box   4 F   1
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (8 volumes), 1922-1928
    Box   4 F   2
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (8 volumes), 1929-1937
    Box   4 F   3
    Louis J. Marvin, Diaries (6 volumes), 1938-1944
    Box   5 F   1
    Miscellaneous Account Books, Blacksmith Account Book (1 volume), 1852-1856
    Box   5 F   2
    Miscellaneous Account Books, Marvin Bros. Account Books (5 volumes), 1863-1948
    F   1  
    Oversized Folder, Biographical Materials, Burr Marvin, YMCA Chemistry Certificate, 1908, Ithaca Public Schools High School Diploma, 1891; Ella Marvin, Ithaca Public Schools High School Diploma, 1887; Charles W. Marvin, Medical Doctor Diploma, Western Reserve Medical College, Cleveland, Ohio), 1851, 1908, 1891; 1887; 1851