Ella Benedict collection  1865-1869
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection (0.75 linear feet) is made up of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and ephemera related to multiple generations of the Parker, Thorington, and Nash families, particularly James Thorington (1816-1887), his daughter Ella, and Ella's daughter Louise.

The bulk of the collection consists of letters and newspaper clippings once housed in a 147-page scrapbook (now disassembled). Louise Nash Sanger compiled the volume and occasionally made notes on the materials, sometimes including brief biographical or contextual information. She contributed additional genealogical information, such as family death registers. The earliest materials include prayers written by Asa Rogers in the early 1800s and correspondence regarding the Parker family. One letter from Jonathan Parker to his sister Mary warns her about an unknown man, possibly her future husband, James Thorington (February 1, 1842).

Many scrapbook items relate to James and Mary Parker Thorington and their children, particularly Ella, Jessie, and Monroe. Ella received letters from members of her immediate family and from aunts, cousins, and friends, who provided family and local news from Davenport, Iowa, and other locales. Monroe Thorington discussed his experiences while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in the early to mid-1870s. Some of his acquaintances wrote to the Thorington family after his death at Fort Keogh, Montana Territory, in 1878. Members of the Thorington family also wrote to Ella about their lives at Aspinwall (Colón), Panama, where the elder James Thorington served as United States consul.

Other materials from the late 19th century relate to the family of Francis B. and Ella Thorington Nash, including many letters to their daughter Louise. Louise's correspondents included "Flora" and "Brette." Flora lived in Staten Island, New York; several items, including telegrams, pertain to her death. Brette wrote about life in Florence, Nebraska, and later discussed his life in New York City, where he became an adherent of the Bahá'i faith. Louise received additional letters from aunts, uncles, and other family members and acquaintances, often concerning personal news such as family news and deaths. Louise Nash Sanger and other family members collected newspaper clippings relating news of births, marriages, and deaths in the Parker, Thorington, and Nash families, including those of James Thorington's children and grandchildren. Some articles pertain to palmistry and to Ella Thorington Nash's instructional lectures in cooking, which she gave in Chicago in the late 19th century. One group contains printed letters from members of the Thorington family living in Panama. Additional scrapbook materials include fine pencil drawings of unidentified homes and incomplete family death registers.

Loose (non-scrapbook) items include letters and telegrams related to members of the Thorington and Nash families, and genealogical registers tracing Sanger family ancestors into the early 18th century. A small number of military commissions pertain to the career of Henry Sanger in the mid-19th century. The collection includes poems, an engraved portrait of James Thorington, invitations, programs, and a manuscript map of a quartz mine. Other items of note are a clipping from a Davenport paper regarding the capture and death of John Wilkes Booth (April 28, [1865]) and a letter from "Burdett" to an unidentified recipient about a journey from Galena, Illinois, to Mackinac Island (August 5, 1844).

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