Tag Archives: American County Histories

Accessible Archives Adds Last Two Regions to American County Histories Database

Part VI: Central States and Part VII: Midwest
States Available Soon

Malvern, PA (January 27, 2015)Accessible Archives, Inc.®, an electronic publisher of full-text primary source historical databases, has announced the expansion of its American County Histories collection. The addition of the Central and Midwest regions will further the massive undertaking that began with the Mid-Atlantic states and now encompasses the New England, Southeast, Southwest and West regional collections. Included Central states are Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Midwest covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Published primarily between 1870 and 1923, county histories are a cornerstone of local historical and genealogical research. They provide historians and genealogists with regional overviews and general community conditions. Ancestor research often yields collateral information about neighbors, friends and associates. Additional areas include government, medical and legal professions, churches, industries, schools, fire departments, cemeteries, transportation, and local and regional geological conditions. For an overview of non-traditional uses and original sources, please see our whitepaper on the topic.

As with all Accessible Archives databases these volumes will be carefully imaged and each article keyed and XML-tagged rather than using dirty OCR. Instead of plowing through as many as 50 separate sites with untagged images and multiple formats the user can search not just the only site with nationwide coverage in a unified manner, but is able to cross search through multiple related databases, as well.

Tom Nagy, COO of Accessible Archives, commented, “We’re very proud and, frankly, quite relieved to be nearing the end of this commitment. County histories are used on a daily basis in many libraries, but leafing through the individual volumes is a time-consuming effort. As the foremost digitized source for nationwide coverage of county histories we are gratified to be able to aid users as they conduct searches across a county, a state or the entire country in a matter of minutes rather than hours, days or weeks.”

In its role as exclusive sales and marketing agent for Accessible Archives, Unlimited Priorities LLC® helped expedite this project by providing technical and production assistance and product development while also arranging multiple license agreements and sourcing all content.

About Accessible Archives, Inc.

Founded in 1990, Accessible Archives utilizes computer technology and a team of conversion specialists to provide vast quantities of archived historical information previously available only in microformat, hard copy or as images. Diverse primary source materials reflecting broad views across American history and culture have been assembled into comprehensive databases. Developed by dedicated instructors and students of Americana, these databases allow access to the rich store of materials from leading books, newspapers and periodicals then current. Accessible Archives will continue to add titles covering important topics and time periods to assist scholars and students at all academic levels. Accessible Archives has retained Unlimited Priorities LLC as its exclusive sales and marketing agent.


Tom Nagy, COO
Accessible Archives, Inc.
Iris L. Hanney, President
Unlimited Priorities LLC


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Books for the Troops in World War I

The books found in our American County Histories collections are a wonderful source of information about local issues prior to the 1920s. This story — How Yakima Helped Distribute Books to Soldiers and Sailors was prepared by librarian Miss Eleanor S. Stephens for The Honor Roll 1917–1918–1919 in the Washington (State) collection.

How Yakima Helped Distribute Books to Soldiers and Sailors

As early as June, 1917, the American Library Association decided, at its annual meeting at Louisville, Kentucky, to take an active part in supplying reading matter to soldiers and sailors. In August, 1917, the Association received the official request from the Secretary of War asking that the A. L. A. undertake the work in cooperation with the Fosdick Commission. The A. L. A. then began to collect books and magazines throughout the nation with the assistance of the Public Libraries. Portland was the first distributing center for the Northwest and in the summer of 1917, some 200 books and magazines were collected by the Yakima Public Library and forwarded to Portland for distribution.

The camp library is yours - Read to win the war (1917)

The Camp Library is Yours (1917)

Although there were many gifts of fine books, the volumes donated were largely fiction. The workers realized that they needed funds with which to purchase specialized technical books, and the work had grown so that buildings for the Camp libraries and money to pay salaries of the librarians were wanted. The A. L. A. decided that it would institute a nation-wide campaign for one million dollars, which money would be used to carry on the work they planned. If every community in which there was a public library would raise five cents per capita the fund was certain to be raised in full. To this end the Library Board of the Yakima Public Library asked the following persons to serve as leaders in the local campaign: Wilbur Crocker, W. S. Bronson, F. F. W. Jackson, James Leslie, Mrs. C. E. Keeler, Miss Anna Whitney, Mrs. F. J. Mynard, W. L. Steinweg and Charles Lombard, with Robert Rundstrom as campaign manager and Eleanor Stephens as publicity manager. Through the efforts of these workers 781 people donated $900 toward the $1,500,000 that was raised October, 1917, for war library work.


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The History of Monterey and San Benito Counties

This volume, History and Biographical Record of Monterey and San Benito Counties And History of the State of California Containing Biographies of Well-known Citizens of the Past and Present, can be found in California County Histories in American County Histories: The West.

This volume stands out because it includes a wealth of information about history California itself before moving on to a detailed chronicle of Monterey and San Benito Counties including impressions of the Native Americans living in the region before and during the European settlement of the area.

Introduction (Excerpted)

Few states of the Union have a more varied, a more interesting or a more instructive history than California, and few have done so little to preserve their history. In this statement I do not contrast California with older states of the Atlantic seaboard, but draw a parallel between our state and the more recently created states of the far west, many years younger in statehood than the Golden State of the Pacific.

J.M. Guinn

J.M. Guinn

When Kansas and Nebraska were uninhabited except by buffaloes and Indians, California was a populous state pouring fifty millions of gold yearly into the world’s coffers. For more than a quarter of a century these states, from their public funds, have maintained state historical societies that have gathered and are preserving valuable historical material, while California, without a protest, has allowed literary pot hunters and speculative curio collectors to rob her of her historical treasures. When Washington, Montana and the two Dakotas were Indian hunting grounds, California was a state of a quarter million inhabitants; each of these states now has its State Historical Society supported by appropriations from its public funds.

California, of all the states west of the Mississippi river, spends nothing from its public funds to collect and preserve its history.

To a lover of California, this is humiliating; to a student of her history exasperating. While preparing this History of California I visited all the large public libraries of the state. I found in all of them a very limited collection of books on California, and an almost entire absence of manuscripts and of the rarer books of the earlier eras. Evidently the demand for works pertaining to California history is not very insistent. If it were, more of an effort would be put forth to procure them.

The lack of interest in our history is due largely to the fact that California was settled by one nation and developed by another. In the rapid development of the state by the conquering nation, the trials, struggles and privations of the first colonists who were of another nation have been ignored or forgotten. No forefathers’ day keeps their memory green, no observance celebrates the anniversary of their landing. To many of its people the history of California begins with the discovery of gold, and all before that time is regarded as of little importance.

J. M. Guinn
Los Angeles, February 1, 1910.


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A Southern Address for Veterans Day

This was the beginning of An Address of Welcome on Veterans’ Day at the Florida Chautauqua on March the 13th, 1909. The context is important here. This was mostly an address to the still living Confederate veterans of the Civil War and should be read in that context.

The speaker, John L. McKinnon of Walton County, Florida, was no academic historian, nor did he write in a scholarly manner. Much of his book, History of Walton County, reads as someone giving you oral history as you sit with the story teller in rockers on a front porch.

Fellow Comrades:

Our commander, General Pasco, in having me speak the welcoming words today, gave me to understand, that it did not require the commanding voice of oratory, nor the persuasive speech of eloquent words, neither was it necessary to dip one’s tongue in the fountain of the Muses, to welcome a confederate soldier.  But, says he, “it needs only the simple language of the heart, just true heart words.”

It was only then, I felt I might be able to make you feel at home with us, on this occasion, as my heart is always in tune with, and in sympathy for the Confederate soldier. For I know well of his motives, his grievances, his sacrifices. To some here, your bent forms, your empty sleeves, your halted steps coming down these aisles, may be suggestive of uncouthness. But to us, who remember the cause through which these came, they are grace, beauty and love. Your persecuted cause, that the world now calls “The Lost Cause,” made resistless appeals to your manhood.

To be sure, it sifted out the insincere and cowardly, but it left you a force of men the stronger for the winnowing. And brought out all that is noble and most daring in you. It struck open the deeps in your souls. No men could have been more sincere in the righteousness and justice of a cause, than you were in the one you espoused. Then shall we say of a truth, ours is a “Lost Cause?” “Nothing is settled until it is settled right.”

We know our grievances were settled by the power of the sword, and time has shown us how very unjust and unsatisfactory the arbitrament of the sword has been in the past. Now, near half a century has passed, and the problems of those days are the unsolved problems of today. “Courage yet,” writes James Renwick, the soul of the Cameronian Societies in the days of the Covenant and Killing Times. “Courage yet, for all that has come and gone. The loss of men is not the loss of the cause. What is the matter tho’ we all fall? The cause shall not fall.”

We see a rock in mid ocean, with its modest form high above the dashing waves, as a beacon light to those who would navigate treacherous seas; inviting the storm tossed ones to take rest on its firm foundations. We see the waves of every sea leaping upon and lashing it. And in the course of time, we find this beacon rock wasting itself away, beating back the angry waves. This rock is not lost, it is resting there on its granite bed, while the waves roll on; and maybe some day when the waters recede from the earth, or in some cosmic disturbances it may be the first to lift its broader form to bring light and give protection around.

So, too, in a political or governmental sense, we see a little Republic, born out of contentions and disturbances, modestly lifting itself up and taking its place among the Nations of the world. It, too, has a firm foundation on which to build–a constitution that eliminated the evils and interjected the good found in other governments. With a splendid code of laws enacted, guaranteeing self government. Yet this little Republic had hardly taken its place on the roll of Republics, before the Nations about began to leap upon and continued to pound upon it, until it wore itself out driving them back.

And my fellow comrades, you are here today as the representatives, the exponents of that little Republic–as the resultant–the residuum, if you please, of all that pounding. And your ardent support, all these years to the overpowering government, speaks in noble terms of your patriotism–your loyalty to the same. We feel that we voice the heart sentiments of every one here, when we say, in defending this little Republic, we did nothing that we are ashamed of, one that needs an apology for. None but the coward or degenerate sons would dare say less.

We know that we deserve as much respect from the world at large, for standing by our convictions, as those do who opposed us and will be satisfied with nothing less. We acknowledged that we were overpowered, or whipped if you please, but not debauched. The agonies that we know of–the blood that we saw flow, must stand for something. As the years roll on, in the course of human, events, there may come a time in our governmental affairs, when “Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other”–when “truth crushed to the ground shall rise again.”

When the principles of State Sovereignty of Liberty (and not chattel slavery as some would have believe) that were so dear to us, and for which we fought and gave the best blood in our land, shall come to the front, assert themselves, and make this old Republic–so long as God will have it stand–by far the best government on the globe. Fellow Comrades–we do welcome you here with all our hearts, and to all the good things in our town; and hope through all the years that are going to be yours in this world, we may find you able to come up here annually, that we may have sweet fellowship one with another.

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.

Source: History of Walton County  – Pages 384-389
Top Photo: Confederate veteran reunion, 1917 — Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve.

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A Look Inside: The Indians of the Pike’s Peak Region

Irving Howbert’s book, The Indians of the Pike’s Peak Region was reissued long after his death with a very special addition. That is the wonderful foldout print of the Indians seen, in part, above. This picture was taken by Clarence Coil, of Colorado Springs. The original print hangs over the door in the office of Mr. Floyd Brunson, operator of Stewarts Commercial Photographers, Inc.

When the picture was taken, circa 1913, most of the people in the lineup were well known to the citizens of the Pike’s Peak region. While this photograph is not particularly germane to the text of this book, it is very germane to the time the book was written. Scenes like the one pictured do not occur any more except around a movie studio. This picture is completely authentic, and hence, we think, of interest to any student of American history. A high resolution version of the image can be seen here. The end of this post contains a key to identifying the known individuals in the photograph.

This volume can be found in our American County Histories: Colorado.


For the most part this book is intentionally local in its character. As its title implies, it relates principally to the Indian tribes that have occupied the region around Pike’s Peak during historic times.

The history, habits, and customs of the American Indian have always been interesting subjects to me. From early childhood, I read everything within my reach dealing with the various tribes of the United States and Mexico. In 1860, when I was fourteen years of age, I crossed the plains between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains twice, and again in 1861, 1865, and 1866; each time by ox- or horse-team, there being no other means of conveyance. At that time there were few railroads west of the Mississippi River and none west of the Missouri. On each of these trips I came more or less into contact with the Indians, and during my residence in Colorado from 1860 to the present time, by observation and by study, I have become more or less familiar with all the tribes of this Western country.

From 1864 to 1868, the Indians of the plains were hostile to the whites; this resulted in many tragic happenings in that part of the Pike’s Peak region embracing El Paso and its adjoining counties, as well as elsewhere in the Territory of Colorado. I then lived in Colorado City, in El Paso County, and took an active part in the defense of the settlements during all the Indian troubles in that section. I mention these facts merely to show that I am not unfamiliar with the subject about which I am writing. My main object in publishing this book is to make a permanent record of the principal events of that time.


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