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Mrs. Paul Noecker Collection

Identifier: RH-A-1262

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the letters of John C. Forbes, a Civil War veteran and native of Rome Township, Bradford County, PA. Forbes served successively with the 50th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers and 15th New York Engineers from September 9, 1861 until his second discharge in June 1865. A veteran of both the Siege of Fort Pulaski and the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam, Forbes’ service mainly involved the construction of fortifications, earthworks, or infrastructure projects.

While professionally trained as a carpenter, Forbes also contributed to the running of a family farm located in Rome, Pennsylvania. Following the Civil War, Forbes moved to Michigan (1873) in order to look for work, which he appears to have found in Fife Lake Township, Grand Traverse County, MI. Forbes would spent the next eight years in Michigan, before returning to Pennsylvania and his family in 1881. Many of the correspondences with his wife, Lydia J. Forbes, depict a relationship in which John Forbes’ lengthy absences from home left his wife in sole charge of the daily operation of the farm and running of the household.

A number of journals and account books detail Forbes’ wartime and farm experiences, respectively, and provide a reflection of how Civil War veterans adjusted to the post-War economy and society.


  • Creation: 1777-1881



.75 Cubic Feet

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Physical Description

This collection is approximately .75 cu ft, and consists of two boxes. The condition of the letters is mostly very good, and with continued preservation and careful handling should remain in good condition. However, a several letters have become quite frail and the text is difficult to read, due to the faded ink and pencil. The few photographs contained in the collection are in very good condition and should remain so, with careful handling. The journals and ledgers are in fairly poor condition, mostly due to the aged and cracked leather binding on many of the items. Also, the text has become increasingly difficult to read due to the fading of the ink and pencil. Any metal clips or nails were removed and replaced with plastic archival paper clips. All items have been placed in acid-free archival folders.

Despite the poor condition of some of the items, with careful handling and continued preservation, the items should remain in their present condition and should remain useable.

Mrs. Paul Noecker Collection Finding Aid
Andrew Archey
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490