John T. Farnham Collection

Collection Summary

Title: John T. Farnham Collection
Call Number: MS 94-08
Size: 0.25 linear feet
Acquisition: Purchased from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, 1985. Additional materials donated by William G. Andrews, 2008.
Processed By: JEO, 9-24-1993; JEF, 11-13-1998; MN, 1-30-2012
Note: None
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research..



Content Note

Five diaries written by Farnham, dating from January 1, 1861 to March 31, 1866, make up the major part of this collection. These diaries include entries on daily life prior to, during and after the Civil War. Farnham writes about his experiences in the Civil War as a Union soldier in “Gray’s Sharpshooters” from New York. The entries give his perspective on camp life, Civil War battles, and events of the day. After the Civil War, the entries recount his activities in his native Brockport, New York. Also included are photocopies of the articles Farnham wrote for the Brockport Republic newspaper during the Civil War.


John T. Farnham was a resident of Brockport, New York. He was born March 24, 1842, and was a printer prior to and after his volunteering for the Union army in 1862. Farnham served in the Civil War in “Gray’s Sharpshooters” from New York. He proved very well-read and open-minded to new experiences by his diary entries.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 FF 1-6 Diaries of John T. Farnham, 1861-1866.
Series 2 Box 1 FF 7 Newspaper Articles by John T. Farnham, 1862-1864.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Diaries

Box 1 FF 1 Diary, January 1, 1861 until December 31, 1861. Diary includes much on daily life, weather, and Farnham’s health. Items of note are several “war-meetings,” mention of Lincoln’s inauguration, and battles in the war.
Box 1 FF 2 Diary, January 1, 1862 to June 12, 1863. Entries including volunteering for the Union army on August 20, 1862. Primary subjects are descriptions of camp life, news of war, and fighting by unit. Also included are notes on health condition, letters to and from home, dates written on gravestones, including dates of birth and death, addresses of people, soldiers or otherwise, met on the campaign.
Box 1 FF 3 Contents of pocket in the diary in FF 2. Includes newspaper clippings listing Charles Farnham’s death of typhoid fever while a Union soldier; a roll call of “Gray’s Sharpshooters” with penciled-in notes on fellow soldiers’ status (killed, wounded, or deserted); and several other clippings, calling cards and documents.
Box 1 FF 4 Diary, July 13, 1863 to February 14, 1864. Entries primarily center on the weather, his health and camp life. Highlights include a trip to Washington, D.C., in October where he spots President Lincoln at the White House, and a man shot for desertion on December 18. The diary after February 14 consists of list of clothing supplied by army and their cost, names and addresses of other soldiers, and debts owed to and from fellow soldiers.
Box 1 FF 5 Diary, March 1, 1864 until May 31, 1864. Entries cover camp life and his work as a clerk. Includes troop moments and entries during early May on participating in the battle of Fredericksburg including the aftermath on the town. The last section of the diary includes a written list of casualties and deaths in the Gray’s Sharpshooters division.
Box 1 FF 6 Diary, June 22, 1865 to March 31, 1866. This diary contains notes on life in Brockport, New York, and life after the war including town events, meeting old acquaintances, employment, etc. The last section of the diary includes a list and estimation on capital to begin raising cotton.

Series 2 ‒ Newspaper Articles

Box 1 FF 7 Newspaper articles, September 11, 1862 to July 14, 1864. John T. Farnham wrote these articles for the Brockport Republic during the Civil War. Photocopies.