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RG3771.AM:  Charles Marples, ca. 1824-1876

Papers (on microfilm):  1857-1876

Minnesota; Saline and Gage Counties, Neb.:  Farmer; Civil War soldier

Size:  1 reel of microfilm containing 43 items


Charles Marples was born near Baslow, England, in 1824 or 1825. Family members believe that he came through Canada to Minnesota, where he settled in the early 1850s. While visiting Ray County, Missouri, Marples met sixteen-year old Hannah Jane Isley, who went by the name of Jane. They were married on May 11, 1857, and settled in Faribault County, Minnesota, where Charles helped establish the town of “Marples,” now known as Minnesota Lake.

When Charles was drafted to serve in the Civil War in 1864, Jane managed the family farm. After his return, Charles, Jane, and their five children moved back to her family home in Ray County, Missouri. In May of 1867 Charles, John Isley, his brother-in-law, and another companion traveled the Oregon Trail and stopped in Denver to investigate land prospects. The Marples settled near Pleasant Hill, Saline County, Nebraska, while John located in Clatonia Precinct, Gage County. Eventually all of Jane’s family joined the Marples and John Isley in Nebraska. Three more children were born to Charles and Jane in Saline County.

Impressed with the land in southern Gage County, Charles bought a homestead in the “Wild Cat”/Blue Springs area in 1874 and the family moved there in 1875. While Jane was pregnant with their ninth child, Charles died on April 22, 1876. His last child was born three months later. In November of 1876 Jane married Nick Norris and they remained on the family homestead. They died in Blue Springs; Nick in 1925 and Jane in 1931.


This collection, consisting of 43 items on one reel of microfilm, is arranged in two series: 1) Correspondence, 1857-1876; and 2) Legal Documents, 1865 and 1874-1876. This material relates to the life of Charles Marples, a farmer in Minnesota and Nebraska, including his experience crossing the plains while searching for promising farm land in 1867.

Series 1 consists of correspondence, 1857-1876, most of which is written to and by Charles and Jane Marples while living in Minnesota. Several letters were written by Charles to Jane while he served at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, during the Civil War. These letters instruct Jane in the running of the farm while he is away. Of particular interest are three letters written by Charles in 1867. Composed by Charles during a trek from Ray County, Missouri, to Denver, these letters describe the conditions he faced along the trail. A letter dated May 19, 1867 was written “near Ft. Kearney.” Typescripts of several of the letters, when available, have been filmed immediately after the original letters. The legal documents of Series 2 include a furlough application, 1865; land deeds and supplementary documents, 1874-1875; and a typescript copy of the will of Charles Marples, 1876.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1857-1875

Reel 1

Correspondence, 1857-1875 (35 letters)

Series 2 – Legal Documents, 1865-1876

Furlough Application, 1865

Land deeds and supplementary documents, 1874-1875

Will (typescript copy), 1876



Frontier and pioneer life — Minnesota

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska

Fort Kearny (Neb.) — History

Gage County (Neb.) — History

Homesteaders and homesteading — Nebraska

Marples, Charles, ca. 1824-1876

Minnesota — History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Personal narratives

Overland journeys

Saline County (Neb.) — History


AIF/kfk   11-1996

Revised KFK   01-2004

Encoded TMM   07-01-2010