John Monteith papers [microform]: 1797-1885
Summary Information
Title: John Monteith papers [microform]
Creator: Monteith, John, 1788-1868
Inclusive dates: 1797-1885
Extent: 4 microfilms
Abstract:
First president of University of Michigan, 1817-1821, Presbyterian minister in Detroit, Blissfield, Michigan, and Elyria, Ohio; professor at Hamilton College; correspondence, diaries, sermons, speeches, and papers of other family members.
Call number: 852041 mf286c—mf289c
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff. Updated by Lilly Carrel, January 2017.

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection of original materials was the gift of Caroline Monteith (donor no. 347) and Mrs. George Stevens (donor no. 1179). Other materials were transferred from the library of the University of Michigan.

Access Restrictions:

The microfilm collection is open to research. Access to the original materials is restricted for preservation purposes.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, John Monteith papers [microform], Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

John Monteith was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on August 5, 1788. He graduated in 1813 from Jefferson College (name later changed to Washington and Jefferson). He continued his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating from there in 1816. Responding to a call to preach the gospel to the Protestant citizens of Detroit, Monteith moved to the Michigan Territory soon after graduation. In 1817, Monteith and the Reverend Father Gabriel Richard, Catholic Bishop of Michigan, along with other individuals began in Detroit the school which would become the University of Michigan. The name given for their institution was the Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania. Monteith served as first president with Father Gabriel Richard as vice president. During the five years that Monteith spent in Detroit, he also founded the First Protestant Society of Detroit (which became First Presbyterian Church); he also organized Michigan's oldest Presbyterian Church in Monroe; and he helped organize the Detroit library society.

In 1820 Monteith married his first wife, Sarah S. Granger. After only five months of marriage, Sarah died while visiting her family in Ohio. Monteith married his second wife, Abigail Harris, of Florence, Ohio in August 1821. Abigail traveled with John to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where he had been appointed to the chair of ancient languages. He later taught in Cambridge, New York and Germantown, Pennsylvania. Abigail was deeply religious and worked with her husband caring for an Academy in Cambridge, NY. In 1832 the Monteith’s moved to Elyria, Ohio, where Abigail cared for a young ladies boarding school in addition to raising the couple's nine children (only four survived).

In 1845, Mr. and Mrs. Monteith moved to Blissfield, Michigan to continue their religious missionary work. John served as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church and Abigail hosted prayer meetings and educational lectures in their home. The Monteith’s stayed in Blissfield for ten years, then returned to Elyria. John Monteith died on May 27, 1868 and Abigail died in 1880.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The John Monteith microfilm collection consists of correspondence, diaries, sermons, and papers of other family members. The originals of these materials are also available at the library; to best preserve the originals, access is limited to the microfilm copies.

The correspondence includes letters from Monteith to members of his family and others discussing current events, his work, travel, places visited, temperance reform, slavery, and bank failures. There are also letters to/from Monteith's wife, Abigail, his daughter, Sarah, his sons George, John Jr., Charles, and Edwin, and scattered letters from other relatives and friends. George's letters cover his service as an officer in the Fourth Michigan Infantry during the Civil War. Besides the letters there are diaries kept by Monteith (1815-1838), notes on his library, sermons and a volume of sermon outlines, speeches, notes on class lectures and other subjects, personal account books, a notebook (1820) containing Chippewa-English vocabulary, student notes (1797-1798) taken by Alexander Monteith at Dickinson College. In addition, there is a manuscript play written by John Monteith Jr. entitled, "The Raging Firelands," and a biography of Abigail Monteith, written by her son, Edwin (1859).

Of special interest is the annual report, Nov. 1818, of John Monteith to governor and judges of Michigan Territory concerning the University of Michigania.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Banks and banking -- Michigan.
  • Blissfield (Mich.)
  • Ojibwa Indians -- Michigan.
  • Detroit (Mich.)
  • Elyria (Ohio)
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan.
  • Antislavery movements -- United States.
  • Temperance -- United States.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Women -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Mexican War, 1846-1848.
  • Spouses of clergy -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Clergy -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • African American women -- War.
  • Military camps.
  • Military officers.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Account books.
  • Diaries.
  • Sermons.
  • Daguerreotypes.
  • Photographs.
  • Tintypes.
  • Women's resources.
  • Catholepistemiad (Detroit, Mich.)
  • Dickinson College.
  • Hamilton College (Clinton, N.Y.)
  • Monteith, John, 1788-1868.
  • Presbyterian Church -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 4th (1861-1864)
  • University of Michigan. President.
  • Monteith, John, 1788-1868.
  • Monteith family.
  • Monteith, Abigail Harris, 1801-
  • Monteith, Alexander.
  • Monteith, Charles.
  • Monteith, Edward H.
  • Monteith, Edwin Harris.
  • Monteith, George, 1840-
  • Monteith, John, 1833-1918.
  • Monteith, Sarah S.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence [series]
Roll   1  
1817-1851
Roll   1  
1852-1853
Roll   1  
1854-1855
Roll   1  
1856-1857
Roll   1  
1858-1859
Roll   1  
1860-1861
Roll   1  
1862-1885
 
Diaries [series]
Roll   1  
1808-1819

(original and copy)

Roll   1  
1819-1821

(original and copy)

Roll   2  
Fragments of diaries
Roll   2  
1815, 1818-1819
Roll   2  
1822-1838
 
Parish Memorandum of Admissions [series]
Roll   2  
Baptisms 1817-1820
Roll   2  
Marriages 1818-1827
 
Sermons [series]
Roll   2  
1815-1816
Roll   2  
1816
Roll   2  
1817
Roll   2  
1818-1822
Roll   2  
1831
Roll   2  
1845-1847
Roll   2  
1847-1848
Roll   2  
1848-1849
Roll   2  
1850
Roll   2  
1850-1851
Roll   3  
1851
Roll   3  
1852
Roll   3  
1853
Roll   3  
1854-1858
 
Other papers [series]
Roll   3  
Addresses
Roll   3  
Miscellaneous notes, including First Annual Report of the University of Michigania November 16, 1818 and John Monteith's commission to the U.S. Christian Commission, May 17, 1864 1818-1864
Roll   3  
Bible notebook
Roll   3  
Copies of documents containing Monteith signature
Roll   3  
Latin exercises
Roll   3  
Vocabulary of Chippewa language
Roll   3  
Catalog of books in Monteith's library
 
Account books
Roll   3  
1813-1844
Roll   3  
1848-1853
Roll   3  
Obituary notice and will of John Monteith
Roll   3  
Works about John Monteith
 
School notebooks of Alexander Monteith
Roll   3  
1797
Roll   3  
1798
Roll   3  
Biography of Abigail Monteith written by her son, Edwin H. Monteith

(donor no. 3926)

 
"The Raging Firelands" [series]
Roll   4  
Papers relating to "The Raging Firelands" by John Monteith, Jr.; including "Reminiscences of Elyria, Ohio" by Mrs. Mary Beebe Hall 1900
 
Manuscript, "The Raging Firelands"
Roll   4  
Chapters 1-5
Roll   4  
Chapters 6-10
Roll   4  
Chapters 11-15
Roll   4  
Chapters 16-20
Roll   4  
Chapters 21-25
Roll   4  
Chapters 26-30
Roll   4  
Chapters 31-35
Roll   4  
Chapters 36-40
Roll   4  
Chapters 41-45
 
Typescript, "The Raging Firelands"
Roll   4  
Chapters 1-10
Roll   4  
Chapters 11-20
Roll   4  
Chapters 21-30
Roll   4  
Chapters 31-40
Roll   4  
Chapters 41-45
 
Photographs [series]
Roll   4  
Portraits of Monteith and members of the Monteith family
Roll   4  
Photograph, taken by Matthew Brady, of the Civil War staff of General Fitz John Porter, showing George Monteith