Collection Scope and Content Note
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The Chesnut-Ewalt papers contain correspondence, documents, and a biographical sketch related to the family of Reverend Thomas Chesnut. The collection includes late-19th-century correspondence by Chesnut's wife, Jane, to her children, as well as material documenting the Civil War service of William Ewalt, Chesnut's son-in-law.
The Chesnut papers contain five items directly related to Thomas Chesnut and his family. An early letter addressed to Jane Chesnut and "Dear Children" displayed parental concern for their welfare, driven by particularly strong religious views (December 17, 1834). Jane wrote three letters to her children showing her concern for their welfare and providing news of acquaintances and of her daily life in Urbana, Illinois (December 31, 1867; May 11, 1875; September 29, 1876), as well as one including a detailed description of a wedding she attended (December 31, 1886). The final item in the series is a four-page biographical "Sketch of the Missionary life of Rev. T. M. Chesnut," about his life in Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois. The sketch mentions his marriage to Jane Officer, as well as his decision to become a missionary and to bring his "little family" along on his travels. The essay also details specific projects and successes during his time as a missionary. The anonymous essay, sent from Evanston, Illinois and composed after Chesnut's 1872 death, was originally addressed to his daughter, Kate A. Ewalt of Shelby, Ohio.
- A discharge certificate for private William Ewalt of Company E, 64th Ohio Infantry Regiment (December 28, 1862)
- A discharge certificate for private William Ewalt of Company D, 163rd regiment, Ohio National Guard (September 10, 1864)
- A certificate commemorating the honorable military service of William Ewalt (December 15, 1864)
- Two pension certificates for William Ewalt (August 11, 1891 and July 29, 1913)
- A typed letter certifying that Ewalt's certificate of discharge was returned to him, as it was not required for his pension claim (December 3, 1912)