The McLain correspondence contains ten letters and one newspaper clipping, an obituary and remembrance of Samuel McLain (1828-1910). Samuel wrote four of the letters in which he described his feelings about the war, religious camp meetings, and the hardships of life and prospecting in the West.
Charles McLain wrote five letters, one with a note from Sam on the back, mainly to family members in Ohio. Like Sam, Charles discusses the war and describes the perils of life in the West. In his letter of March 5, 1865, he advised his father and his brother John against moving west, especially since they were doing so well raising tobacco. Charles dates his letters from many different cities, including Leavenworth City, Kansas, Elkhorn City, Nebraska, and Ophirville, California.
The first letter in the collection, dated March 6, 1862, is from cousin Nancy Miller to John McLain, Sam and Charles' brother who lived in Ohio.