Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William Disney Letterbook, 1859-1870

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, September 2009

Summary Information
Title: William Disney letterbook
Creator: Disney, William, 1832-1899
Inclusive dates: 1859-1870
Extent: 1 volume
This letterbook contains the copied outgoing correspondence of Cincinnati lawyer William Disney between 1859 and 1870. These items cover the period when he was the correspondence secretary of the Guthrie Greys militia during the Civil War, and his post-war career as a lawyer.
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:

1991. M-2752.2.

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.

Preferred Citation:

William Disney Letterbook, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


William Disney was born in 1832, to David Tiernan Disney and Sarah Carter, outside of Cincinnati. William Disney married Francis Pugh Hart (1842-1903) in 1872; they had seven children: May, Richard Ewing, Agnes Caldwell, Sarah M., Annabelle C., William S, and Samuel Hart. William died in 1899.

Prior to the Civil War, William Disney, a Cincinnati attorney, was Corresponding Secretary of the patriotic militia, the "Guthrie Greys." During the war, from early in 1861 through mid-1864, the Greys served in Cincinnati as the 7th Ohio Militia and then entered the U.S. service as part of the 137th Ohio Infantry. Disney, then 32 years old, received a commission as Captain of Company I. The 137th Regiment did not see much action during its 100-day service. After the war, Disney remained in Cincinnati and resumed his legal practice.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Disney letterbook contains transfer copies of Disney's outgoing correspondence beginning in 1859, when he was correspondence secretary in the Guthrie Greys (pages 8-40). The letters include some interesting information on the Guthrie Greys in the two years before the Civil War, and a few letters from Disney while in the 137th Ohio Infantry. These letters mostly concern the status of volunteers under Disney's command, accounts for ordnance stores, and other routine administrative information (pages 60-82).

The bulk of the volume consists of post-war letters concerning Disney's legal practice, debt collection, and his investments. Along with other miscellaneous client letters, are four letters sent to Memphis and Cincinnati from a former farrier, Ed Whitehead, who was advertising his newly developed pavement type. The letterbook opens with a complete name index.

Subject Terms

    • Capital investments--Ohio.
    • Cincinnati (Ohio)
    • Collecting of accounts--Ohio.
    • Law--Ohio--History.
    • Lawyers--Ohio--Cincinnati.
    • Ohio--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Ohio--Militia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Ohio--Militia--Ordnance and ordnance stores.
    • Pavements--Design and construction.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Equipment and supplies.
    • United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 137th (1864)
    • Whitehead, Ed.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letterbooks.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    William Disney letterbook,  1859-1870 [series]