Leach Family Papers

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Leach family, (Morgan L. Leach, 1821-)
Leach family papers
Date [inclusive]
0.25 Cubic feet , 8 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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Biography of the Leach Family

Jeshurun and Theoda Huntington Leach were married around 1818 and moved from Clarence, Niagra County, New York to Montgomery, Hamilton County, Ohio where Jeshurun had migrated earlier. In 1825 they settled in Oakland Oakland County, Michigan, but were persuaded by Theoda's family to return to New York in 1827. By 1838 they had returned to Ohio, making their home in Margaretta.

After Jeshurun Leach's death in 1841, Theoda and two of her sons, DeWitt Clinton Leach and Morgan L. Leach, moved to Michigan to live. Morgan Leach worked in the peddling trade before becoming a physician.

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Scope and Contents note

The Leach family papers consist of photocopies of letters, and a ledger/scrapbook belonging to Morgan Leach. The early letters (1810-1827) discuss the hardships of pioneer life, the swift deaths brought on by disease, and the loneliness of separation from families left behind. The later correspondence discuss business and land transactions, teachers' wages, and various aspects of small town life. Clinton's letters to his parents in 1841, when he went from Margaretta, Ohio to Grand Blanc, Michigan include detailed description of the places he traveled through and the cost and means of transportation at the time.

Morgan Leach's ledger records the credit accounts of his customers between 1845 and 1851 when he worked as a peddler. The ledger was later used as a scrapbook for newspaper clippings of letters he wrote to the Clinton County Republican while serving in the Civil War while he was serving with the 1st Michigan Cavalry. He described the hardships of camp life, the cold damp weather, and the lack of adequate provisions (blankets, overcoats, etc.) which contributed to widespread disease and death. He commented on the encouragement and hospitality shown by both Northerners and Southerners. Often expressing his political views, Dr. Leach recounted the battle of Winchester in April, 1862 when he was ambushed and presumed dead while tending to patients on a Union train. The final two letters discussed the low morale of the troops in 1862 resulting from the retreat of the Union army to Washington D.C. and the poor war effort. Warning that the Union could lose the war, Leach advocated recruiting and arming blacks and all able-bodied white males.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections

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

Revision Description

  June 2000

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 Ray C. Williams, 1971-05-12.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States. Army. Michigan Cavalry Regiment, 1st (1861-1866).


  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks

Geographic Name(s)

  • Clinton County (Mich.)
  • Grand Blanc (Mich.)
  • Margaretta (Ohio : Township)
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865

Personal Name(s)

  • Leach, D. C., (DeWitt Clinton), 1822-1909
  • Leach, Jeshurun Huntington, 1799-1841
  • Leach, Morgan L., 1821-
  • Leach, Theoda Huntington, 1799-1872
  • Williams, Ray C.


  • Frontier and pioneer life
  • Winchester, 3rd Battle of, Winchester, Va., 1864

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Collection Inventory













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Transcripts of letters in Scrapbook 


Ledger/Scrapbook 1861-1862 


 October 7, 1861 - December 25, 1861 


 January 20, 1862 - September 6, 1862 


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