Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Thomas S. Jesup Collection, 1812-1917

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, December 2009

Summary Information
Title: Thomas S. Jesup collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1812-1917
Bulk dates: 1812-1858
Extent: 0.25 linear feet
The Thomas S. Jesup collection contains official letters of Jesup, a major during the War of 1812 and later quartermaster general of the United States Army. The letters relate to his career as adjunct to General William Hull at Detroit and to his time stationed in New Orleans.

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:

1936-1998. M-288, M-290, M-545, M-763, M-1363, M-1368, M-1438, M-1610, M-1662, M-1665, M-3474.

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:

Thomas S. Jesup collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized chronologically with undated items at the end.


Thomas Sydney Jesup (1788-1860) was born in Virginia to Ann O'Neill and James Edward Jesup. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Kentucky, where they rented a farm. His father died four years later, leaving the family in poverty. Thomas Jesup began his military career in 1808 as a second lieutenant in the 7th Infantry. At the beginning of the War of 1812, he served as adjutant general to Brigadier General William Hull, commander of the northwestern army. He was taken prisoner at the surrender of Detroit, but was exchanged shortly after and served with distinction as a major in the battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Lundy's Lane, where he was wounded. In 1818, President Monroe appointed Jesup quartermaster general with the rank of brigadier general, a position he held for 42 years. Jesup was an able administrator, who instituted a number of important reforms in the quartermaster department during his tenure and is credited with making military management more systematic and coordinated throughout the army. He was also in charge of procurements, supply transportation, and construction of roads, posts, and military buildings, for which he instituted strict systems of accountability.

Jesup lead an offensive against a faction of Creek Indians on the Georgia-Alabama border in 1836. Because of his success there, President Andrew Jackson gave him command of the United States troops during the Second Seminole War. Frustrated with the developments of the Van Buren Indian removal policy, Jesup resigned his position and was replaced by Colonel Zachary Taylor. Jesup returned to Washington, where he resumed his duties as quartermaster. He organized supply lines for the war with Mexico and made a number of trips to the battlefront in 1846 to ensure that his plans were followed. Jesup continued to supervise the army's supply operations closely, until his death in 1860.

Jesup married Ann Heron Croghan in 1822; they had 8 children: Charles Edward, Lucy Ann, Eliza Hancock, Mary Serena Eliza, Jane Findlay (later wife to A.S. Nicholson), Elizabeth Croghan, William Croghan, and Julia Clark.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Thomas S. Jesup collection (46 items) contains the official correspondence of Jesup, who was a major during the War of 1812 and later quartermaster general of the United States Army. The early letters relate to his career as adjunct to General William Hull at Detroit. These six items document Jesup's parole and exchange after being taken prisoner in the War of 1812. They include communications with British Major General Isaac Brock (1769-1813); John Mason (1766-1849), the American company general of prisoners; Thomas Barclay (1753-1830), agent of the British government; Lewis Cass (1782-1866), Brigadier General of the American Army; and Major General Andrew Jackson (1867-1845).

The remainder of the items relate to Jesup's work as quartermaster general and military leader. The collection holds two notable post-war letters from the period when Jesup was stationed in New Orleans. These are addressed to Secretary of State James Monroe, and concern hostile Spanish maneuverings in the West Indies in the summer and fall of 1816. Jesup also received an invitation to William Henry Harrison's inauguration ball (March 4, 1841), and a letter from Lewis Cass (February 20, 1850). A printed general order dated May 1, 1817, documents Jesup's promotion from major of the 1st Infantry to lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Infantry. Another important item written by Jesup is his March 11, 1822, letter to William McRee, in which he described his reorganization of the military in Washington. Other notable letters include a William H. Winder letter of May 16, 1849, which concerns the 1814 Battle of Bladensburg; and an undated six-page letter written by Jesup giving a firsthand account of the capture of the Seminole Indian chief Osceola (1804-1838), who was captured on October 21, 1837, on Jesup's order when he arrived at Fort Payton for truce negotiations.

Documents in this collection include a receipt of shares for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, bought by Jesup (1830 and 1832), and two documents that are dated after Thomas Jesup's death. One is Jesup's daughter Jane Jesup Nicholson's 1881 passport, which includes a physical description of her. The other item is a 1917 check in payment to Julia Clark Jesup, another of Jesup's daughters.

Subject Terms

    • Barclay, Thomas, 1753-1830.
    • Bladensburg, Battle of, Bladensburg, Md., 1814.
    • Brock, Isaac, Sir, 1769-1812.
    • Cass, Lewis, 1782-1866.
    • Detroit (Mich.)
    • Hull, William, 1753-1825.
    • Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845.
    • Mason, John, 1766-1849.
    • Monroe, James, 1758-1831.
    • New Orleans (La.)
    • Osceola, Seminole chief, 1804-1838.
    • Prisoners of war--United States.
    • United States. Army--Promotions.
    • United States. Army--Reorganization.
    • United States. Army. Quartermaster's Dept.
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    • United States--History--War of 1812--Prisoners and prisons.
    • West Indies.
    • Winder, William Henry, 1775-1824.
    • Jesup, Thomas Sidney, 1788-1860.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Correspondence, Drafts, and Documents [series]:
    Box   1 Folder   1
      August 17, 1812-September 3, 1816
    Box   1 Folder   2
      September 8, 1816-November 2, 1821
    Box   1 Folder   3
      March 11, 1822-October 19, 1825
    Box   1 Folder   4
      October 27, 1827-March 21, 1839
    Box   1 Folder   5
      March 4, 1841-November 30, 1837
    Box   1 Folder   6
      December 24, 1837-June 26, 1917
    Box   1 Folder   7
    5  Undated Items
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The following Clements Library collections contain items concerning Jesup:

    • Lewis Cass papers: Letters dated July 15, 1834; December 3, 1843; January 9 and July 2, 1836.
    • Jacob Brown papers: Letter dated June 14, 1818.
    • Mexican War collection: Letter dated April 14, 1847.
    • David Bates Douglass papers: Letter dated September 5, 1814.
    • Winfield Scott papers: Letters dated November 18, 1814; December 23, 1825; May 6, 1844.

    The Huntington Library Manuscripts Department's Janin Family Collection holds papers of Thomas Sydney Jesup and his daughter Julia Clark Jesup.


    Skelton, William B. "Jesup, Thomas Sidney." American National Biography Online. February 2000.