Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Croghan Family Papers, 1794-1855

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, September 2009

Summary Information
Title: Croghan family papers
Creator: Croghan, George, 1791-1849 and Croghan, John, 1790-1849
Inclusive dates: 1794-1855
Extent: 101 items
This collection holds the family and business papers of George Croghan, a hero in the War of 1812 and the inspector general of New Orleans from 1825-1845.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1965. M-1363.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Alternate Format:

The Croghan family papers have been microfilmed.


This collection was originally part of a 1935 donation to the University of Michigan Library. The Croghan family papers were transferred to the Clements Library in 1965.

Preferred Citation:

Croghan Family Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized into three series:

  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Documents and Financial Records
  • Series III: Printed Materials.


George Croghan, son of Major William Croghan and Lucy Clark, was born near Louisville, Kentucky, on November 15, 1791. His mother was the sister of William Clark, the famous explorer, and George Rogers Clark, the Revolutionary War General. George graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1810 and studied law briefly before volunteering as a dragoon to fight Indians in the Northwest Territory. He joined the U.S. Army in 1812 and was quickly promoted to major. In 1813, at the age of 21, Croghan gained national acclaim from his successful defense of Fort Stephenson in northeastern Ohio, when he repelled a large British force lead by General Proctor.

Croghan left the military in 1816 and traveled east to New York, where he met and married Serena Eliza Livingston, daughter of J. R. Livingston. Together, they had seven children. The family moved to New Orleans in 1824, where Croghan worked first as postmaster, and then, in 1825, as inspector general of the U.S. Army, a position he kept until 1845. Croghan often gambled and was perpetually in debt. To pay off his debts, he worked, for a time, managing construction near Mammoth Cave on a lot owned by his brother, Dr. John Croghan. He escaped a court martial for repeatedly requesting double payments for his wages, and left New Orleans to fight in the Mexican War. After contracting cholera in Monterrey, Mexico, he returned to New Orleans and died soon after in 1849.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Correspondence series holds the family and business papers of George Croghan. The earliest item is a brief letter from Christopher Clark to Francis Meriwether, May 26, 1794, regarding land. The items from 1814 to 1840 are primarily official missives to Croghan, when he served in military and governmental capacities as a major, postmaster, and inspector general. These concern enlistments, operational expenses, and debts. Beginning in 1837, many of the letters are addressed to George's brother, Dr. John Croghan, including 27 letters written by George. Another personal item is a brief letter from Croghan to his mother, dated 1837.

The Documents and Financial records series consists primarily of Croghan family land purchases and transactions in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky. An item from May 28, 1817, contains a small map of a plot of Kentucky land being sold. Other documents include receipts for baggage transportation; an account for the income and expenses of the New Orleans Post office, dated 1825; and a number of debtors’ notes and bank receipts that document his money problems from 1825 until his death.

The Printed Material series contains three items: a memorial pamphlet printed by Croghan Bank, Fremont, Ohio, honoring Colonel Croghan for his heroism at Fort Stevens, with a portrait of Croghan as a young man; an informational circular, addressed to Dr. John Croghan (1846), from Lyman C. Draper, advertising his book, Lives of the Pioneers, a biography of prominent pioneers of Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the western borders of Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia; and a brief from the Edmonson Circuit Court on George Croghan's petition for the removal of Nicholson and others as trustees of the Mammoth Cave estate, 1902.

Subject Terms

    • Fortification--West (U.S.)
    • Frontier and pioneer life--West (U.S.)
    • Indians of North America--Commerce.
    • Kentucky--History.
    • Mexican War, 1846-1848.
    • United States. Army--Military life.
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    • Croghan family.
    Genre Terms:
    • Briefs (legal documents)
    • Deeds.
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Promissory notes.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Correspondence [series]
    Box   1 Folder   1
     May 26, 1794-November 10, 1821
    Box   1 Folder   2
     April 17, 1824-August 26, 1837
    Box   1 Folder   3
     December 21, 1837-April 14, 1843
    Box   1 Folder   4
     October 10, 1843-April 13, 1846
    Box   1 Folder   5
     April 29, 1846-August 8, 1847
    Documents and Financial Records [series]   

    Six Croghan family papers documents are located in oversize manuscripts (see "Additional Descriptive Data" section below for a complete list).

    Box   1 Folder   6
     April 28, 1797-February 24, 1809
    Box   1 Folder   7
     March 1, 1810-March 30, 1816
    Box   1 Folder   8
     May 26, 1817-December 30, 1833
    Box   1 Folder   9
     February 7, 1835-August 14, 1837
    Box   1 Folder   10
     August 14, 1837-August 21, 1841
    Box   1 Folder   11
     October 6, 1841-December 12, 1855
    Box   1 Folder   12
    Printed Material [series]
    Box   1 Folder   13
     August 2, 1813-January 1, 1846
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    Six Croghan family papers documents are located in oversize manuscripts:

    • Deed granting land on the Virginia State Line to Patrick Simpson by military warrant, signed by Kentucky Governor James Garrand; September 12, 1791.
    • Copy of indenture transferring land from William and Lucy Croghan to the heirs of [Nathaniel Mafrie] for the sum of ten dollars; August 1821.
    • Copy of indenture transferring land in Louisville, Kentucky, from Daniel McCallister and his wife to John Croghan; April 20, 1831.
    • Testimony of John Doe on the demise of John Croghan vs. Benjamin McFarland and Others: plat and report; September 1848.
    • Copy of indenture between George Croghan, Serena E. L. Croghan, and John R. Livingston, regarding the property of Serena E. L. Croghan; January 1845.
    • List of lands in the disposal of George Clark [of] Lexington; [1800s].

    Two maps were separated from this collection and are in the Clements Map Division:

    Related Materials

    The following collections in the Clements Library include additional Croghan-related materials:

    • The Michigan collection contains two George Croghan related items.
    • The Lucius Lyon papers contain two letters from G. Croghan to Lyon, dated February 18 and October 20, 1837.
    • The Winfield Scott papers contain a letter from George Croghan to Winfield Scott, dated October 4, 1830.

    Thomas, Samuel W. "Croghan, George", American National Biography Online . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.