William F. Colton diaries

William Colton was a Civil War soldier in the Pennsylvania Cavalry whose post-war activities took him to St. Louis, Louisiana, Mexico, Kansas and Utah. Colton served as secretary, auditor, and treasurer of the Louisiana and Missouri River Railroad Company in the early 1870s. After leaving Louisian...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Colton, William Francis 1841-1921 (Creator)
Collection:William F. Colton Diaries
Collection Number:Am.10246
Format: Manuscript
Language:English
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Physical Description: 0.33 Linear feet 0.33 linear feet, 5 volumes
Summary: William Colton was a Civil War soldier in the Pennsylvania Cavalry whose post-war activities took him to St. Louis, Louisiana, Mexico, Kansas and Utah. Colton served as secretary, auditor, and treasurer of the Louisiana and Missouri River Railroad Company in the early 1870s. After leaving Louisiana, Colton was appointed as secretary to the president of the Kansas and Pacific Railway. He later served as a tax agent, assistant to the Land Commissioner, and formed a partnership in a lumber business in Kansas. Colton left Kansas for Utah in the early 1880s, when he was appointed secretary and cashier for the Eureka and Colorado Railroad for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railway. Colton also served as the secretary and treasurer for the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, and as assistant secretary and cashier for the Rio Grande Western Railway Company. William F. Colton's diaries describe campaign operations with the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry and the Army of the Cumberland in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Colton discusses the preparation of his company for deployment, and the daily life in the camp, including details about the food supply and their activities as scouts. He writes about foraging for food with the company, describes the weather and landscape, and notes any major battles, shifts in troop movements, or injuries. In May of 1864, he notes the fact that he shot himself in the foot, and chronicles his recovery from this injury. He describes the battlefield at Chickamauga and the capture of war prisoners. He shares news of the assassination of Lincoln, and writes about the end of the war. During his service in the Army, he also chronicles his visits home during leaves of absence, notes letters sent and received, and keeps accounts and regiment lists. His post-war journal entries chronicle his family life, his marriage, the birth of his children, and his employment with numerous railroad companies in Kansas, Louisiana, St. Louis, and Utah. His diaries of travel throughout the Western United States and Mexico contain topographical accounts of the landscape, notes about vegetation, wildlife, weather, and small maps showing his travel route. He describes various types of wood available and discusses the mines he visits in California, Colorado, and Mexico. He writes about the people he meets, and discusses his wife and children. The last few years of his life are described in a few short lines each year about his health and travels.