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RG2928.AM:  Truman Freeland, 1852-1938

Papers:  1870-1938

Garfield County, Neb.:  Farmer; surveyor

Size:  2 reels of microfilm


Truman Freeland was born on February 22, 1852, in Rock Island County, Illinois, and received his early education in Illinois schools. He left his childhood home at the age of eighteen, coming to Nebraska in 1870, where he helped construct the first bridge across the Platte River near Columbus. Freeland first settled in Howard County, but in the fall of 1872 moved to Garfield County, taking a claim about four miles from Burwell, Nebraska.

Freeland was employed by the U.S. Government during the survey of Custer and Loup Counties and provided the cedar logs that were used in the construction of Fort Hartsuff. He also served as the first mail carrier in Garfield County, bringing the mail from Grand Island. At one time he also operated a small trading post near Willow Springs.

On February 3, 1874 he married Almira Jane Russell, a native of Vermont. The couple adopted two children, Melvina and Earl. Mrs Freeland taught in the first public school in Garfield County. She died on August 22, 1907. The following year Mr. Freeland married Mrs. Ida White. They were the parents of two sons, Jesse and Elmer. Truman Freeland died on September 29, 1938, at his home in Burwell.


This collection of the papers of Truman Freeland consists of diaries, correspondence, and a manuscript history of Garfield County, Nebraska, and is arranged in four series on two reels of microfilm. Series 1 contains diaries and some notes on events kept by Truman Freeland from 1870-1877. Some are handwritten; others are typed. The typewritten versions are similar, though not always identical, to the handwritten drafts. The first four items in this series can be found on Reel 1. These were microfilmed in 1970. The five other items in this series of diaries, filmed in 1987, are on Reel 2. Some, but not all, of the material on the first reel is duplicated on the second one. Researchers should check all versions of the diaries covering the dates in which they are interested.

Series 2 consists of a draft of a history of Garfield County with biographical sketches of early settlers, written by Freeland in the early 1930s. Series 3 contains letters to Freeland from Carolyn Ware Jones who, together with her husband and children, were the first white settlers in Garfield County. Also included in this series is correspondence with Freeland’s mother and his son Earl. The miscellaneous correspondence contains letters concerning the adoption of the Freeland children in the 1890s. The last series contains a number of poems by Truman Freeland that he had printed and distributed to friends as New Year’s greetings.

The material on Reel 1 was loaned for microfilming in 1970. The material on Reel 2 was loaned for microfilming in 1987.


Series 1 – Diaries, 1870-1877

Reel 1


  1. Diary, 1872, July 1-Aug. 14 [handwritten]

  2. Diary, 1872, July 1-Aug. 14 [typewritten]

  3. Other incidents in government surveying [handwritten]

  4. Diary, 1875, Jan. 1 – 1876, Nov. 26 [handwritten]

Reel 2

  1. Diary, 1870, Apr. 30-Nov. 5 [handwritten]

  2. Diary, 1870, Apr. 30 – 1876, Nov. 27 [handwritten]

  3. Diary, 1870, Apr. 30 – 1876, Aug. 18 [handwritten]

  4. Summaries of events, 1875, Sept. – 1876, Nov.

  5. Incidents of 1877

Series 2 – History of Garfield County

  1. Handwritten text of a history of Garfield County, Nebraska, with biographical sketches

Series 3 – Correspondence, 1873-1938

  1. Jones, Carolyn Ware, 1931-1932

  2. Freeland, Earl, 1914-1916

  3. Freeland, Mary A., 1873-1909

  4. Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1898-1938

Series 4 – New Year’s Addresses, 1892-1904

  1. 1892-1904



Freeland, Truman, 1852-1938

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska — Garfield County

Garfield County (Neb.) — History


APD/pmc   05-27-1987

Revised kfk   07-17-1996; 08-05-2003

Encoded TMM   04-01-2010