Treiber Family Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Treiber family, (John Treiber, 1839-)
Treiber family papers
Date [inclusive]
0.1 Cubic feet , 7 folders

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing,Michigan".

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Biographical Note

John Treiber was a wanderer. Born in Germany in 1839, he moved to America with his parents around 1848. As a sailor, he traveled to Europe, Mexico, South America, India, and the Far East. He later worked as a lumberjack and briefly owned a lumber boat, which was lost in a storm on Lake Michigan. He met his wife, Mary McCarty, while he was hiking across Michigan to visit a brother. Mary McCarty Treiber was born in western New York State in 1840 to Norwegian and Irish immigrant parents. When she was nine months old, her family set out for New Orleans, but her father died of yellow fever during the journey. Returning to New York, her mother eventually remarried and the family lived for about nine years in a Quaker community in the western part of the state. Around 1852 they immigrated to Kalamo township, Eaton County, Michigan, which was essentially still a wilderness at that time. When she met John Treiber, Mary McCarty was living with her younger brother, John, and she continued to do so for several years after her marriage because of Treiber's frequent absences. They finally settled in Carlisle, Eaton County, Michigan, and raised their five children there.

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Scope and Contents note

The Treiber papers consist of correspondence, family history, and teaching certificates. John Treiber's letters to his wife, which make up the bulk of the collection, were written in 1872 and 1873 when he was sailing on the Great Lakes and working as a lumberjack in Oconto, Wisconsin. Mary Treiber's letters from family and friends (1869-1889) discuss everyday matters such as sick babies, sharecroppers, and family activities. Correspondence from Marion Howell of Lansing describe life in the capital city in the 1880's. The family histories are of particular interest since they not only chronicle some of John Treiber's adventures, but describe pioneer life in Kalamo township, Michigan in the 1850's and the hardships of travel between New York and Michigan. The papers also contain two teaching certificates (1863, 1865) issued to Sarah Hitchcock, Mary Treiber's half-sister, authorizing her to teach in the towns of Dorr and Byron, Michigan. Also included are two photographs of John Treiber.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections November 1986

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Revision Description

  February 2013

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University Property Rights: Michigan State University

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Custodial History

Gift of Rosemary Holt, 1959-10-07. Transferred by Michigan State University Museum.

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Controlled Access Headings

Family Name(s)

  • McCarty family, (John Treiber, 1839-)
  • Treiber family, (John Treiber, 1839-)


  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Photographs

Geographic Name(s)

  • Byron (Mich.)
  • Carlisle (Mich.)
  • Dorr (Mich.)
  • Kalamo (Mich. : Township)
  • Lansing (Mich.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Hitchcock, Sarah
  • Holt, Rosemary
  • Howell, Marion
  • Treiber, John, 1839-
  • Treiber, Mary McCarty, 1840-


  • Agriculture -- Michigan
  • Education -- Michigan
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Michigan
  • Lumbering -- Wisconsin
  • Shipping -- Great Lakes (North America)

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Collection Inventory

Letters of John Treiber to His Wife 


 April 15-June 22, 1872 


 July 4-November 18, 1972 


 May 31-July 28, 1873 


 August 3-September 18, 1873 


Letters from Friends and Relatives February 24, 1869-January 27,1889 


Lide J.H. Peters (Illinois) February 24, 1869 


Marion Howell (Lansing, Mich.) January 22, (1885?) - May 29, (1887?) 


Martha Kipling Pope (Springfield, Tenn.) January 27, 1889 


"Sister Nettie" undated 


Sarah Hitchcock Papers (Kalamazoo, Mich.) August 11, 1872 


Sarah Hitchcock's Teaching Certificates and other items 1863, 1865 


Notes on Family History and Genealogy of John and Mary Treiber 


Photographs. John Treiber 1864-1867