Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Isaac Story Papers, [1811]-1818

James S. Schoff Collection

Finding aid created by
Shannon Wait, February 2011

Summary Information
Title: Isaac Story papers
Creator: Story, Isaac, 1783-1852
Inclusive dates: [1811]-1818
Extent: 64 items
The Isaac Story papers contain military documents and letters relating to Captain Isaac Story, who served as commander of a volunteer company of infantry attached to the battalion of artillery, 1st brigade, 2nd division of the Massachusetts Militia.
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:

1974. M-1687.

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:

Isaac Story Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The items are arranged chronologically, with undated materials placed at the end.


Isaac Story was born on March 2, 1783, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the son of Elisha Story and Mehitable Pedrick. He married Sally Bowen on April 7, 1813. During the War of 1812, he served as a captain in a volunteer company of infantry attached to the battalion of artillery, 1st brigade, 2nd division of the Massachusetts Militia. They were stationed at Marblehead and they strengthened and garrisoned Fort Sewall. Story died December 29, 1852.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Isaac Story papers contain the military documents and correspondence of Story, a captain in the Massachusetts Militia during the War of 1812. The collection contains 64 items, spanning ca. 1811-1818. The two earliest documents, which may date from 1811, are a receipt for food and wine marked "Company Dr," and a sheet marked "Orderly Sergt Account" that lists the names of men and the money they owe for "nonappearance."

The collection then skips to 1814, which it documents thoroughly; approximately half of the papers were created in this year. The most common documents are orders, which appear at the general, brigade, battalion, division, and company level. Orders are fairly basic, and mainly provide instructions on where to appear and when, whether to wear a uniform and bring a knapsack, and other simple instructions. At times, the orders express an awareness of the challenges presented by an undisciplined and untested militia force. A division order, dated July 9, 1814, notes that "as the Guards must be composed of men who have not had much opportunity of seeing actual service, it may happen from inexperience that some unsoldierlike conduct may take place but is guarded against as much as possible." A brigade order, signed by Ebenezer Bancroft asserts that "a well organized & disciplined Militia" precludes the need for "a large standing army in time of peace" (September 17, 1816).

Additional documents record the purchase and use of supplies, such as a receipt for canteens (June 1814) and a bill for plumes used in soldiers' hats (October 5, 1816). Several items shed light on the soldiers commanded by Story, including requests for discharges, excuses for absences, and a certification of training. Also present is a set of articles signed by 34 soldiers under Story, which lay out details of uniforms, arms, training, discipline, and expenses.

Subject Terms

    • Danvers (Mass.)
    • Marblehead (Mass.)
    • Massachusetts. Militia. Division, 2nd.
    • United States. Army--Drill and tactics.
    • United States--History--War of 1812.
    Genre Terms:
    • Orders (military records)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   1  
    Isaac Story papers [series]
    Folder   1  
     [1811]-June 1, 1814
    Folder   2  
     June 17, 1814-July 9, 1814
    Folder   3  
     July 12, 1814-July 25, 1814
    Folder   4  
     August 12, 1814-September 18, 1814
    Folder   5  
     September 21, 1814-October 4, 1814
    Folder   6  
     November 18, 1814-April 26, 1815
    Folder   7  
     June 17, 1815-October 30, 1815
    Folder   8  
     February 22, 1816-November 6, 1816
    Folder   9  
     April 18, 1817-September 21, 1818, and undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    General orders dated July 18, 1814, and September 6, 1814, and a field inspection document are housed in Oversize Manuscripts.

    Related Materials

    The Clements Library has several additional items that pertain to the Massachusetts Militia during this period: