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Ninian Edwards letters

Identifier: VAULT box-Ayer-MS-401


Six letters, Mar. 7, 1813 - Apr. 4, 1814, from Ninian Edwards to Kentucky governor and soldier Isaac Shelby, regarding War of 1812-related Indian attacks in the Illinois Territory and the state of defenses there. 1813 letters discuss mounted volunteer companies raised by Edwards, British intentions regarding the upper Mississippi, Indian attacks on settlers in the U.S. Saline and elsewhere, etc. Warning of an impending Indian-British offensive on Illinois Territory, Edwards' 1814 letters list the numbers of warriors in each tribe available for such a campaign, protest the untimely withdrawal of regular troops from the region, and request the military assistance of Kentuckians.


  • Creation: 1813-1814


Biography of Ninian Edwards

Lawyer, governor of Illinois Territory, and U.S. senator and governor of the state of Illinois. Born in 1775 in Maryland, and educated at Dickinson College, Ninian Edwards moved in 1795 to Kentucky, where he practiced law and entered state politics. President Madison appointed Edwards governor of the new Illinois Territory in 1809 and he held office until 1818, when the territory became a state. During the War of 1812, Edwards was active in securing the defense of Illinois against Indian incursions. He raised and personally supported mounted militia companies to patrol the perimeters of settlement and led an offensive against the Indians near Peoria in 1812. Following service as a U.S. senator, 1818-1824, and as governor, 1826-1830, Edwards died of cholera in Belleville, Ill., July 20, 1833.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)

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Ownership and Custodial History

Forms part of the Edward E. Ayer Manuscript Collection (Newberry Library)

Bibliographic References

Butler, R. L. Checklist of mss. in the Ayer Coll., 401.

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Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States