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William Gorrill Collection - MS 446 mf
The William Henry Gorrill Papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in November 1985, with the cooperation of R. Bruce Way, Tiffin, Ohio. Additions to the collection have been made periodically since 1985, with the continued assistance of Mr. Way, as well as that of Marion Gorrill and William Gorrill Swigert of California. The collection, which dates predominately from 1857 to 1923, consists largely of correspondence, diaries, and photographs documenting Gorrill's activities as a lawyer in Wood County; his trip West and settlement in Oakland, California; his marriage to Addie Walker; and his death from tuberculosis in 1874.
No restrictions exist on the use of this collection for research purposes. The collection was processed and finding aid prepared by Ann Bowers in June 1989.
William Henry Gorrill was born in Bowling Green, Ohio, on January 30, 1841, to William and Sarah (Morse) Gorrill. He attended law school at the University of Michigan and graduated in 1862. He worked for a short time in the office of Asher Cook and then formed a partnership with Edward Bissell of Toledo, Ohio. Because of failing health brought on by tuberculosis, he traveled west in 1869 and eventually settled in Oakland, California. To help fund the trip West, he wrote extensive letters which were published in the Toledo Commercial and Toledo Blade about his travels which included observations on the land and its inhabitants. On December 12, 1871, he married Adelaide Walker, whom he had met while in Toledo. They had three children: one son, William Henry, and twin daughters, Addie and Carrie. While in California, he worked as a contracting agent for the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio; he then formed, with his brother Charles, the Pacific Bridge Company. He served as its President until his death on September 12, 1874.
The William Henry Gorrill Papers are an extremely valuable resource which provide documentation on Wood county, the legal profession, travels through the West, and life on the west coast during the 1850s through the mid 1870s. William Henry was a prolific and witty writer as well as a keen observer of both human nature and the physical environment. Perhaps because of his failing health, he lived each day to the fullest he could and richly documented, through his letters and diaries, all of his activities.
William Henry Gorrill's correspondence comprises the bulk of this collection, with the largest series being his letters to Addie Walker Gorrill, 1865-1874. In these letters he discusses his daily life, political views, court cases, his trip west and settlement in California, the establishment of the Pacific Bridge Company, and his courtship of Addie and subsequent marriage. He also writes extensively and on similar topics to his brother Charles (1870-1872), his sister Jennie (1865-1871), and the wife of his law partner, Sarah Bissell (1869-1873). More scattered correspondence exists between Addie and other family members, and Charles Gorrill with his sisters and brothers.
Located both with the correspondence and in the clipping scrapbooks are the published letters William H. wrote while traveling west in 1869. These letters provide detailed observations of his trip, including various means of transportation he utilized, descriptions of the land, the climate, and the various communities through which he passed, and his views of the settlers, emigrants, and the Indians. Of interest to note is that both his public and private views are available to the researcher through this extensive correspondence.
Adding still more observations and detail to the information located within his letters, are the entries in his diaries, which date from 1867 to 1870, and 1874. Although sometimes difficult to read, his entries provide details similar to those documented in his letters as well as the prices of various commodities. Occasionally he draws pictures in the diaries; especially true within the 1869 diary documenting the trip west.
Also included in this collection are photographs of the Gorrill family and various relatives; scrapbooks in which he kept clippings from local newspapers (mostly poems and humorous items); a few of his legal writings and a July 4, 1865 speech given at Bowling Green, Ohio; and legal papers from his estate as well as that of Lewis Walker.
Photocopies of most of the letters and diaries have been made to enhance the legibility of the writing.
ADDIE (WALKER) GORRILL CORRESPONDENCE
Arranged by name of correspondent and chronologically
Largely includes letters written by William H. Gorrill to Addie during their courtship, his move to California, and their subsequent marriage. Also includes two letters written by Addie to William, as well as letters written between Addie and various family members.
WILLIAM H. GORRILL CORRESPONDENCE
Arranged by name of correspondent and chronologically
Includes correspondence from W. H. to his brother Charles; his sister Jennie; and the wife of his law partner Sarah Bissell. Also includes letters to W. H. from his father, William; his brother Charles; and from the Toledo Blade (one written by David Ross Locke).
WILLIAM H. GORRILL PUBLISHED LETTERS
Arranged by name of newspaper and chronologically
Includes letters written by Gorrill documenting his trip west which were published in the Toledo Commercial and the Toledo Blade.
CHARLES GORRILL CORRESPONDENCE
Arranged by name of correspondent and chronologically
Includes letters written to Charles by his brothers and sisters and various other correspondents.
Arranged by name of estate and chronologically
Includes legal papers regarding the estate of William H. Gorrill and the estate of Lewis Walker.
1870, 1907-1950s, n.d. (scattered)
Includes files on the Gorrill family, the Swigert family and the Walker family.
BRIDGE COMPANY PAPERS
(1867), 1872-1874, 1894
Arranged by name of company and chronologically
Includes drawings of the Smith Bridge and a note by Gorrill and the establishment proceedings of the Pacific Bridge Company. Technical drawings of bridges and trusses cataloged separately as MMS 1932-1943.
WRITINGS AND SPEECHES OF WILLIAM H. GORRILL
1865, 1869, n.d.
Includes a July 4th speech given at Bowling Green, Ohio, a letter on the Mormons published in the New York World, and miscellaneous legal writings and notes. Also includes a paper on woman suffrage which was written either by Addie or William H.
DIARIES OF WILLIAM H. GORRILL
1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1874.
Diaries include extensive entries especially noting his legal activities in Wood County, his trip west, and his settlement in California.
DIARY OF CHARLES GORRILL
Includes one diary written by Charles Gorrill with entries mostly dealing with the bridge company business.
SCRAPBOOKS AND CLIPPINGS
No discernible arrangement.
Includes two volumes and one oversize volume used mostly as scrapbooks of clippings. Clippings generally are poems and humorous writings. The oversize account ledger includes a written account of Gorrill's trip to Findlay, Carey, and Dayton taken in 1858, and one ledger includes his published letters from his trip west. Also included is a file of loose clippings taken from the scrapbooks as well as an obituary of Thomas A. Gorrill and a memorial poem for Libby Swigert.
Arranged by family.
Includes mostly undated photographs of the Gorrill family and the Walker family. Also includes an album with photographs of various family members and friends of the Gorrills.
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, 1865
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, Jan-June 1866
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, July-Dec 1866
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, Feb-June 1867
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, July-Dec 1867
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, Jan-June 1868
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, July-Dec 1868
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, Jan-June 1869
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, July-Dec 1869
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, Jan-June 1870
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, July-Nov 1870
- Correspondence to Addie Walker from W. H. Gorrill, Jan-Nov 1871
- Correspondence to Addie Gorrill from W. H. Gorrill, 1872-1873
- Correspondence to Addie Gorrill from W. H. Gorrill, 1874, n.d.
- Correspondence from Addie Gorrill to W. H. Gorrill, Aug. 15, 1874, n.d.
- Correspondence between Addie Walker (Gorrill) and her father, 1859, 1874
- Correspondence between Addie Walker (Gorrill) and other family members, 1863, 1867, 1874, 1879, n.d.
- Correspondence to Addie Gorrill from son, William (copies), 1899, 1900, 1909, n.d.
- Correspondence to Addie Gorrill from W. S. Thurston regarding property in Toledo, 1893, 1895, 1898-1899
- Correspondence to Addie Walker (Gorrill) from various correspondents, 1868, 1869, 1874, 1894, 1895, 1898, 1899, 1902
- Correspondence from Addie Gorrill to Warren Olney Sept 22, 1898
- Correspondence to Lewis Walker from various family members (brother to Addie), 1875-1904 (scattered)
- Correspondence to D.C. Walker (Addie's father), from his daughter Jennie Walker, Mar 11, 1904
- Correspondence from W. H. Gorrill to brother, Charles Jan-Dec 1870
- Correspondence from W. H. Gorrill to brother, Charles Jan-May 1871
- Correspondence from W. H. Gorrill to brother, Charles June 1871-Feb. 1872, n.d.
- Correspondence from W. H. Gorrill to Smith re. bridge contract, May 5, 1871
- Correspondence from W. H. Gorrill to sister, Jennie 1865-1871
- Correspondence from William Gorrill, Sr. to W.H. and Charles, 1871, 1874, n.d.
- Correspondence from Charles Gorrill to brother, W. H. Gorrill, Oct 1869-Oct 1870, 1871, 1874
- Correspondence from various correspondents to W. H. Gorrill (one from brother Robert), 1869, 1871
- Correspondence to W. H. Gorrill from Toledo Blade (includes one signed by David Ross Locke), 1869
- Correspondence from W. H. Gorrill to Sarah Bissell (one to Wm Bissell, law partner), 1869-1873
- Letter from W. H. Gorrill to Mary Jane Gorrill (cousin) Oct 21, 1860
- Correspondence to Charles Gorrill from brother, Robert Jan-April 1871
- Correspondence to Charles Gorrill from sister, Hattie n.d.
- Correspondence to Charles Gorrill from sister, Jennie and brother-in-law Benjamin Eberly, 1870-1872, (scattered)
- Correspondence to Charles Gorrill from sister, Anna 1871, 1874
- Correspondence to Charles Gorrill from various correspondents, 1871-1872, 1874
- Partial letter from W. S. Thurstin to W. H. Gorrill (?) n.d.
- W. H. Gorrill's letters to the Toledo Commercial 1868-1869
- W. H. Gorrill's letters to the Toledo Blade 1869-1871
- Legal documents-estate of William H. Gorrill 1874-1877
- Legal documents-estate of Lewis Walker 1884-1918
- Compendium for William Henry Gorrill Papers, by Susanne Todd, 2001 (available in original form only, Box 3, folder 22)
- William H. Gorrill (son of W. H. Gorrill): correspondence regarding his father, 1907, 1908, 1923
- File on Swigert family, c. 1870, n.d.
- Genealogical information on Walker family, 1930s, 1950s
- Smith Bridge Company-note by Gorrill, drawings (oversize), (1867)
- Pacific Bridge Company-proceedings, 1872-1874, 1894
- Legal writings and miscellaneous notes of W. H. Gorrill, n.d.
- W. H. Gorrill's letter to the New York World on the Mormons, Oct 30, 1869
- W. H. Gorrill's printed July 4th speech given at Bowling Green, July 4, 1865
- Paper on woman's suffrage by Addie Gorrill (?) n.d.
- W. H. Gorrill diary, 1867
- W. H. Gorrill diary, 1868
- W. H. Gorrill diary, 1869
- W. H. Gorrill diary, 1870
- W. H. Gorrill diary, 1874
- Charles Gorrill diary, 1873
- Ledger of clippings and writings of W. H. Gorrill, 1857-1860s
- Ledger of clippings (articles written to Commercial and the Blade of Gorrill's trip west), 1868-1871
- Loose clippings taken from ledgers (poems and humorous articles), 1850s-1870s
- Clippings: obituary of Thomas A. Gorrill and poem in memory of Libby Swigert, n.d. and a bank note (1851)
- Photograph album (includes photos of members of following families: Thurstins, Gorrills, McMahans, Potters, Newton, Barr), n.d.
- Photographs: William H. Gorrill, n.d.
- Photographs: Immediate family members of William H. Gorrill, n.d.
- Photographs: Thurstins and (Aunt) Lib Hitchcock, n.d.
- Photographs: Wm. Bissell (Gorrill's law partner), n.d.
- Photographs: Walker family members, n.d.
- Photograph: 1872 Law Class of University of Michigan, 1872
- Photonegatives: copy negatives of items from the collection used in articles, n.d.
- Account ledger which includes clippings and writings of W. H. Gorrill, 1841-1842; includes account of traveling to Findlay, Carey and Dayton in 1858 (clippings and writings), 1850s-1860s
- Technical drawings of Smith Bridge Company bridges and trusses cataloged separately as MMS 1932-1943. Original drawings filed under these numbers.
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