Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-MSS
Location: LH-MSS

(Description ID: 595161)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Lydia Norton Russell Chase Slocum


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

Correspondence from Lydia Norton Russell Chase Slocum to her daughter Lydia Beach of Princeville, Illinois between the years 1841 and 1869. The correspondence was preserved by descendants of Lydia Beach and donated to the Center by Barbara Frost Wallace of Antioch, California and Margaret Nicely of Bellevue, Ohio.

Biographical Sketch
Lydia Norton Russell Chase Slocum, born 1777 and a native of New Canaan, Massachusetts, married John Russell in 1797. She migrated with him to Graham, Ontario County, New York around 1801. In 1813, she was left a widow with five children. She later married James Chase, having one child, Lydia (Beach), before his death. In 1828, she migrated to Clyde, Sandusky County, Ohio to be near her children from her first marriage: Cynthia Russell McPherson, Norton Russell, and Judge William S. Russell. Daughter Rowena Swartout remained in New York and James Russell died at the age of ten. In 1840, she married Isaac Slocum whom she survived by eighteen years. Her daughter, Cynthia, had married William McPherson. They were the parents of General James Birdseye McPherson. The Russells, McPhersons, and Nathan Birdseye were among the first pioneers of Green Creek Twp., Sandusky County, Ohio. Lydia died in 1876 at the age of 99 years.

Scope and Content
The collection consists primarily of the correspondence of Lydia Norton Russell Chase Slocum to her daughter, (Mrs. Lester Orville) Lydia Beach of Princeville, Peoria County, Illinois. The ten letters, dating from 1841 to 1869, provide information on the activities of the McPherson and Russell families of Sandusky County, Ohio. Of special note are Lydia's comments about her grandson, Major General James Birdseye McPherson. They offer rare insights into his early character as well as the family influences that shaped his life. The collection also contains several Clyde newspapers and news clippings with items of local interest and obituaries of McPherson-Russell family members. Typed transcripts of the letters were provided by Margaret Nicely. Additional transcripts for some of the letters were produced by the Hayes Presidential Center.

Ac. 5155, 5449
19 items


  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 21 February 1841
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 19 June 1843
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 3 March 1846
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 2 February 1857
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 27 July 1845
  • Lydia Slocum to Lt. James B. McPherson: 15 September 1858 (photocopy of letter in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division)
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 2 May 1859
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 21 August 1864
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 20 December 1864
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 1 March 1868
  • Lydia Slocum to Lydia Beach: 28 June 1869
  • William R. Swartout to Norton Russell: 30 March 1876 (photocopy)


  • Clyde Enterprise: 28 July 1881
  • Clyde Sentinel: 14 October 1876
  • Clyde Sentinel: 6 May 1876
  • Miscellaneous news clippings

Artifacts Transferred to the Museum

  • Quilting pieces