Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William Larimer Collection, 1889-[1910]

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, August 2012

Summary Information
Title: William Larimer collection
Creator: Larimer family and Gallagher family
Inclusive dates: 1889-[1910]
Bulk dates: 1889-1908
Extent: 46 items
The William Larimer collection contains letters, postcards, and newspaper clippings related to William Henry Harrison Larimer; his parents, William Larimer and Rachel McMasters Larimer; his sister, Rachel Larimer Mellon; his daughter, Ann Larimer; and his son-in-law, George H. Gallagher. The letters concern courtship, travel in Kansas and Missouri, and other topics.
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:

2001. M-4163.4.

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:

William Larimer Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items, newspaper clippings, and postcards placed at the end.


William Henry Harrison Larimer was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 9, 1840, the son of General William Larimer (1809-1875) and Rachel McMasters. William H. H. Larimer left school at the age of 12 and moved to Kansas with his father in 1855. In 1858, they moved to Colorado, where they built the first house in what is now Denver. William H. H. Larimer left Colorado in 1859 and worked in the freight industry, moving cargo around the western territories. After 1867, he lived in Kansas and Texas, where he worked in the lumber and cattle industries and from 1871-1876, he operated a hotel in Independence, Kansas. In 1887, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he became a partner in a livestock firm. He and his wife Mattie married on February 22, 1871, and had two children, Henry and Ann. Ann Larimer married George H. Gallagher, a business manager for a theatrical company, around 1900. William H. H. Larimer died on May 25, 1910.

William H. H. Larimer's sister, Rachel Larimer, married James Ross Mellon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the brother of Andrew W. Mellon. In the 1860s, James R. Mellon worked with his brothers in the real estate and coal business. He was a banker and railroad executive, but was mainly interested in his family's coal and timber investments.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The William Larimer collection contains 46 letters, postcards, and newspaper clippings related to William Henry Harrison Larimer; his parents, William Larimer and Rachel McMasters Larimer; his sister, Rachel Larimer Mellon; his daughter, Ann Larimer; and his son-in-law, George H. Gallagher. The letters concern courtship, travel in Kansas and Missouri, and other topics.

James R. Mellon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wrote 8 letters to William H. H. Larimer, his brother-in-law, between June 10, 1889, and July 23, 1890. He commented on family news, finances, real estate, and potential construction projects in Kansas City, Missouri.

George H. Gallagher wrote 5 letters to Ann E. Larimer (March 27, 1899-February 10, 1901); he also wrote 4 letters to her parents, William H. H. and Mattie Larimer (May 7, 1899-July 14, 1899) and received 1 letter from Mattie Larimer, which included a message from Ann (postmarked May 2, 1899). Most letters pertain to the Larimers' reaction to, and concerns about, their daughter's engagement; Gallagher expressed his desire to gain their approval. After the marriage, he wrote his wife about his travels in Oklahoma and Missouri (February 9, 1901). Ann Larimer Gallagher wrote 4 letters to her parents, including 3 concerning her travels in Europe during the spring of 1905.

William H. H. Larimer wrote 15 letters to his daughter and son-in-law (August 24, 1903-July 17, 1908), sometimes enclosing newspaper clippings. His letters concern finances, advice for his daughter, and news from Kansas City, Missouri; Mattie Larimer contributed to his letter of April 2, 1907. Larimer also wrote 4 letters to Mattie in June 1905 (3 items) and July 1907 (1 item) and 2 letters to his sister Rachel and his brother-in-law, James Mellon (November 30, 1907; July 5, 1908). Larimer's letters to his wife pertain to his travels in Kansas and the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

Additional items include a printed letter from the Larimer-Stagner-Peironnet Live Stock Commission Company to their customers (January 1, 1905) and an undated postcard with a drawing of the "first house in Denver," which General William Larimer, William H. H. Larimer's father, constructed in 1858. The collection includes 2 newspaper clippings: an article about pioneers' reminiscences in old age, with information about William H. H. Larimer ("Talk with and Old Timer," June 17, 1895), and Larimer's obituary from the Kansas City Journal-Post (May 25, 1910).


  • Mellon Brothers Real Estate
  • "The Barker," Omaha, Nebraska (illustrated)
  • "The Montana," Anaconda, Montana (illustrated)
  • The Larimer-Stagner-Peironnet Live Stock Commission Company, Kansas City, Missouri (illustrated)
  • USMS Philadelphia (illustrated)
  • Carl-Leon Hotel, Independence, Kansas (illustrated)
Subject Terms

    • Courtship--United States.
    • Europe--Description and travel.
    • Frontier and pioneer life--United States.
    • Indians of North America--Oklahoma.
    • Kansas City (Mo.)
    • Kansas--Description and travel.
    • Mellon family.
    • Missouri--Description and travel.
    • Oklahoma--Description and travel.
    • Pittsburgh (Pa.)
    • Real property--Missouri.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Denver (Colo.)
    • Hotels--United States.
    • Gallagher, Ann Larimer.
    • Gallagher, George H.
    • Larimer, Mattie.
    • Larimer, William Henry Harrison, 1840-1910.
    • Mellon, James R.
    Genre Terms:
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Postcards.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   15, Small Collections  
    William Larimer collection [series]
    Folders   13-18  
     June 10, 1889-July 17, 1908, and  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The James G. Birney papers contain a letter from William Larimer to James G. Birney (January 23, 1846).

    The Denver Public Library has a collection of Larimer family papers.


    Ingham, John N. Biographical Dictionary of American Business Leaders. Westport (Conn.): Greenwood Press, 1983.

    Mellon, William Larimer. Reminiscences of General William Larimer and of His Son William H. H. Larimer, Two of the Founders of Denver City. Lancaster (Pa.): The New Era Printing Company, 1918.