Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
B. F. Tarr Letters, 1841-1848

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, December 2011

Summary Information
Title: B. F. Tarr letters
Creator: Lane family and Tarr, Edward F.
Inclusive dates: 1841-1848
Bulk dates: 1845-1848
Extent: 12 items
This collection is made up of 12 letters that New England native B. F. Tarr wrote to family members while living in Chillicothe, Missouri, in the 1840s. He described several aspects of life in Missouri, including differences between the South and other regions of the country, the health of his family, and his legal career.
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:

2002. M-4228.7.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

B. F. Tarr Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Born in the eastern United States, B. F. Tarr married Harriet A. M. Lane sometime before 1841. That year, the couple moved to Chillicothe, Missouri, where Tarr established a legal practice. They had two children, Catherine (b. 1842) and Horace (b. 1845), who temporarily lived with their uncle, Edward Tarr, in Wisconsin after Harriet's death in 1847. That year, Tarr re-established a dormant legal partnership with a man named Willard and began working a circuit around Chillicothe. Tarr's brother-in-law, Moses Lane, lived in Vermont and New Hampshire in the 1840s.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of letters that B. F. Tarr wrote to Moses Lane, his brother-in-law (6 items, October 29, 1841-February 25, 1848); Edward F. Tarr, his brother (3 items, January 25, 1846-July 11, 1848); and 3 other recipients (February 14, 1847-December 7, 1847) about his life in Chillicothe, Missouri.

Tarr's letters contain some of his observations about local farming practices and the differences between life in New England and in the South. His letter of December 10, 1845, contains a passage on the "spirit of improvement" among Northerners and slow industrial progress in the South. He often shared personal news, such as his intention to establish a legal practice and updates about his family's fragile health. His wife Harriet occasionally contributed to his letters until her death in 1847, and he reflected on his loneliness after his children moved temporarily to Wisconsin (April 16, 1847). Though he focused primarily on personal matters, he mentioned giving a speech after the American victory at Vera Cruz (April 16, 1847).

Subject Terms

    • Chillicothe (Mo.)
    • Frontier and pioneer life--Missouri.
    • Internal migrants--United States.
    • Missouri--Description and travel.
    • Tarr, B. F.
    • Tarr, Harriet A. M.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   17, Small Collections  
    B. F. Tarr letters [series]
    Folders   19-20  
     October 29, 1841-July 11, 1848