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RG3301.AM:  Isham Reavis, 1836-1914

Correspondence, etc.:  1862-1890

Falls City, Richardson County, Neb.:  Lawyer; judge

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


Isham Reavis was born near Beardstown, Illinois, on January 28, 1836, the son of Isham and Mahalie Reavis. He attended the Beardstown Common schools and completed his formal education at Illinois College in Jacksonville. After spending a time studying law, Reavis was admitted to the Illinois Bar and began to practice in his native Cass County. Less than a year later, in 1858 he departed for the west, arriving in Rulo, Richardson County, Nebraska. He soon went to Falls City where he was to remain for the greater part of his life.

Reavis established his law practice at Falls City and was elected district judge in 1867 and served in the Nebraska Legislature in 1869. President Grant appointed him as an associate justice of the Arizona Supreme Court in 1869 and he was to serve in this capacity for four years. Upon returning to Falls City in 1873, Reavis re-established his legal practice which he continued until his death in 1914.

Note:  See the article, “Isham Reavis, Pioneer Lawyer and Judge,” Nebraska History, vol. 54, Spring, 1973, pp. 1-54. The article includes a complete biographical sketch of Isham Reavis, as well as his reminiscences.


This collection consists of papers of Isham and Annie Dorrington Reavis, containing correspondence, 1870-1892, and miscellaneous material. The letters in the collection were received by Annie Dorrington Reavis from her husband, Isham Reavis, relating to his service as U.S. Circuit Judge in Arizona Territory, 1870-1873; from Henry Rice relating to his Civil War experiences, 1862-1863; and from J.W. Dorrington, relating to affairs in Yuma, Arizona, 1890-1892. The miscellaneous folder includes a printed pamphlet “An Incident in the life of Lincoln: His letter of November 5, 1855 to Isham Reavis,” and correspondence regarding the donation of the Reavis Collection.


Box 1


  1. Letters of Isham Reavis, 1870-1890

  2. Letters of Henry Rice, 1862-1863

  3. Letters of J.W. Dorrington, 1890-1892

  4. Miscellany, including “An Incident in the Life of Lincoln: His letter of November 5, 1855, to Isham Reavis”


Subject headings:

Arizona — History

Dorrington, John W.

Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865

Reavis, Annie Dorrington, 1845-1933

Reavis, Isham, 1836-1914

Rice, Henry

United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Personal narratives


DJJ/ht   08-15-1973

Encoded TMM   03-24-2011