Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Conant-Edwards Family Papers

Manuscript Collection: MC118

Collection Summary

Creator: Conant family
Title: Conant-Edwards family papers
Dates: 1861-1866
Dates: (Bulk: 1861-1862)
Abstract: Correspondence, a printed document and photographs illustrate the lives of members of the Conant and Edwards families during the Civil War while stationed at Federal Army camps in the south.
Identification: MC118
Quantity: 19 items
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

James William Edwards was born about 1844 in Illinois. His parents, William and Ann Parks Edwards, were married in 1842; the Parks family was originally from Virginia and was related to Jefferson Davis. At age 19, James Edwards joined the 123rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry of the United States Army during the Civil War. Edwards participated in the Mississippi Campaign, had typhoid at Mobile, recovered and was sent to Fort Brown in Brownsville, Texas, to guard the border. He married Mary Elizabeth Conant, descendant of Robert Conant, first mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1871. John Howard Edwards, a donor of this collection is the grandson of James William Edwards.

Scope and Content Note

The Conant-Edwards Family Papers are comprised of correspondence, a printed document and photographs exemplifying soldiers' lives during the Civil War while stationed at Federal Army camps in the south. Correspondence consists of seven letters and three envelopes written from soldiers to their family members from the years 1861 and 1862. There is a letter from William B. Conant to his sister Emma which relates family news. Other correspondence includes a letter from soldier Otis B. Conant to his sister Emma, regarding her attendance in school, and five letters written to his uncle Parley G. Burton of Coldwater, Michigan. Two of the envelopes are addressed to Parley G. Burton and the third is a partial envelope addressed to a Mr. O.

Also included in the papers is an undated newspaper clipping announcing the death of Otis Conant at 24 years of age, shortly after returning home from service in the Sixth Michigan. Photographs in these papers include an image of James William Edwards, circa 1860s, in military uniform and seven photographs taken in Brownsville, Texas, in 1866 of soldiers, cannons, covered wagons, a steamboat landing, a pontoon bridge, Mexican ranch houses and a Mexican wood peddler.


Arrangement is chronological.


Restrictions on Access


Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Index Terms

Burton, Parley G.
Conant family
Conant, Emma
Conant, Otis
Conant, William B.
Edwards, James William--Photographs
Brownsville (Tex.)--Photographs
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military life
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military personnel

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Conant-Edwards Family Papers, MC118, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Leslie T. Hunt and John Howard Edwards, September 1964.

Processing Information

Processed by Lisa M. Lomas, 2012.



box folder
167.2 1 William B. Conant 1861 December 7
2 Otis B. Conant 1861-1862
3 Envelopes undated: circa 1861-1866

Printed Material

box folder
167.2 4 Newspaper Clipping undated: circa 1861-1866


box folder
167.2 5 James William Edwards; Brownsville, Texas 1866, undated