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RG4533.AM:  Silas Allen Strickland, 1830-1878

Papers and scrapbooks:  1855-1907

Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska:  Lawyer; legislator

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


Silas Allen Strickland, son of Samuel Millard Strickland, was born in Rochester, New York, on September 17, 1830.  Samuel Strickland died when Silas was one year old, leaving the child in the care of his mother.  At the age of seven Silas was sent to live with his brother-in-law in Rochester.  He attended school in Rochester until he was twelve, when he went to live with his uncle, a Methodist minister in Gaines, New York.  Strickland worked on a farm during the summer, and attended district school in the winter.  His mother married a wealthy farmer, enabling Silas to return to Rochester and enter the Rochester Collegiate Institute.  A year later, Strickland entered the academy at Scipio, New York.  He next began teaching school at Pendleton, studying law when time permitted.  In two years, he saved enough money to enter the law firm of Fillmore, Hall and Haren, prominent lawyers in Buffalo, New York.  Strickland was admitted to the bar of New York in 1850, but accepted employment as assistant paymaster during the enlargement of the Erie Canal in Buffalo.  He was then employed by various railroads:  Lake Simco, Huron & Ontario; Ohio & Mississippi; Louisville & Nashville; and the Tennessee & Alabama.

In 1854, Strickland migrated to Nebraska, arriving in Bellevue in 1854.  The following year he was admitted to the bar of Nebraska, subsequently becoming a member of the first law firm in Nebraska, Bowen and Strickland.  That same year he was appointed the District Attorney for the First Judicial District.  In 1856, Strickland was elected to the lower house of the Territorial Legislature on a Democratic ticket as a representative of Douglas County.  During the session he was instrumental in securing the division of Douglas County into Douglas and Sarpy Counties.  Due to the absence of H.P. Bennett, the Speaker of the House, Strickland assumed these duties temporarily until the end of the session.  In 1859, Strickland was elected to the Speakership by his colleagues.  During this session he fought for anti-slavery legislation.  The bill was passed but vetoed by Governor Black in 1860.  In that same year, Strickland was elected to the Territorial Council, the upper house.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Strickland resigned his seat on the Council to aid in forming the First Nebraska Regiment.  Upon formation, he enlisted as a private in Company H of that Regiment and was elected to the rank of First Lieutenant.  He was appointed adjutant by Colonel Thayer.  After the battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, Strickland resigned his commission.  While attending a meeting to raise troops in Cincinnati, Ohio, he re-enlisted in the 50th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in that Regiment by Governor Todd of Ohio.  In the battle of Perryville, Strickland assumed command of the Second Division of the 23rd Army Corps when the brigade and division commanders were killed in action.  He served through the entire Atlanta campaign.  He fought at Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville in Tennessee.  He was brevetted Brigadier General on March 27, 1865.

Upon the conclusion of the war, Strickland returned to Nebraska and resumed the practice of law.  When Nebraska was admitted as a state in 1867, Strickland was appointed United States District Attorney.  He held this office until 1871, when he was elected a member and president of the State Constitutional Convention.

General Silas Allen Strickland was a successful lawyer and political figure.  He was one of the founders of the Grand Army of the Republic in the state of Nebraska, and was divisional commander of the department.  He died in Omaha, March 31, 1878, and was survived by his wife, Mary, and his daughter, Katie B. (Mrs. J.B. Haynes).


This collection consists of two boxes of papers relating to the life and career of Silas Allen Strickland.  The bulk of the collection is made up of scrapbooks containing clippings about politics, religion, poetry and other subjects of interest to Strickland.  Also included in the collection are correspondence, military documents, certificates, legal notebooks, biographical information and miscellany.  The materials in the collection date from approximately 1855 to 1907.

Box 1


    1. Correspondence, 1861-1878

    1. Military documents, 1862-1865

    1. Certificates (includes promotion records and pension notice for Mrs. Strickland)

    1. Legal notebooks

    1. Biographical material from a speech given by J.B. Haynes and a report given at the reunion of the 50th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

    1. Biographical material including clippings, obituaries, etc.

    1. Scrapbook 1 – News clippings relating to Strickland

    1. Scrapbook 2 – Politics and history of the period

    1. Scrapbook 3 – Literary essays and poetry

Box 2


    1. Scrapbook 4 – Politics and religion    

    1. Scrapbook 5 – Politics

    1. Scrapbook 6 – Politics

    1. Scrapbook 7 – Politics and religion

    1. Miscellany, including a prayer book, invitations, legislative bills, etc.


Subject headings:

Grand Army of the Republic — Nebraska

Lawyers — Nebraska

Nebraska — Politics and government

Politicians — Nebraska

Strickland, Silas Allen, 1830-1878

U.S. History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Personal narratives


DJR/TT/ab             11-10-1967

Revised TMM        06-06-2019