Schenck Family
Papers, 1856-1911, bulk 1856-1873

SC22493

Quantity 5 boxes (2.0 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Collection trade with Stephen Resnick, Dealer, Cazenovia, New York, January 2000
Processed By: Fred Bassett, Senior Librarian, Manuscripts and Special Collections, February 2000; revised December 2013

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Genealogy and Family History Note:

The Schenck family documented in these papers were descendants of Jacob (1773-1856) and Maria (Lott) Schenck (1775-1849), who settled in the Town of Granby, Oswego County, New York, about 1811. The family homestead was located in the village of Oswego Falls, which was later incorporated into the City of Fulton. According to public records and published genealogical accounts, Jacob and Maria Schenck had at least nine children. Among them was John Schenck (1794-1869), the oldest son. He was married first to Mary Ann Hyde (1795-1832), who bore at least three children. John and his second wife, Hannah Perkins (1804-1887), whom he had married in 1834, had at least six children: Elizabeth Lee (1835-1916), Martin Bryant (1838-1911), Marcus Perkins (1839-1912), Mary Amelia (1840-1904), Mercy Ordelia (1843-1873), and Alice Augusta (1848-1927). John Schenck and his family also resided in Oswego Falls. When John separated from Hannah in 1851, he moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa; Hannah and the rest of the family remained in Oswego Falls.

Peter Schenck (1796-1869), the second son of Jacob and Maria Schenck, married Eliza Daggett (1804-1848) in 1826. They had at least eight children: Laura (1827-1852), Charles (1829-1898), Henry (1831-1893), Mary (1833-1877), Ellen (1836-1858), Herman (18391862), Edward (1842-1920), and Amelia Lucinda (1846-1898). Peter and his family resided in the Town of Granby.

Scope and Content Note:

The papers of the Schenck family of Fulton, New York, consist chiefly of personal letters between various family members from 1856 to 1873. Letters of particular interest are those related to the Civil War written by Martin, Edward and Herman Schenk. Martin's letters, addressed mostly to his sister Mercy, detail his service in Company D of the 147th New York Infantry Regiment; he wrote about his position as a commissary clerk in an army hospital as well as news about fellow soldiers. Edward, a cousin of Martin and Mercy, also served in Company D the 147th Infantry Regiment.  His letters indicate he spent most of his time on garrison duty in Washington, D.C. Herman Schenck, brother of Edward, also wrote a few letters to Mercy regarding his experiences in military service. Herman served in Company I of the 3rd New York Cavalry Regiment. In addition, there are a few more letters related to the Civil War addressed to Mercy from various friends and relatives: Chester Cooper of Battery B of the 1st New York Artillery; Nathan Reynolds of the 21st New York Independent Battery, Light Artillery; and Nelson Palmer of Company A, 184th New York Infantry Regiment.

Letters written by various members of the Schenck and allied families also reveal that some of them pulled up stakes in Fulton and moved to other parts of the country, most notably, Hudson, Michigan; and Cedar Falls, Iowa. Mercy Schenck and her sister Mary were among those who had moved west after completing their schooling in Fulton. Their letters indicate they pursued careers in teaching. It appears they taught in the Hudson, Michigan, public school from circa 1868 to 1870, and thereafter at the Soldiers' Orphan School in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The letters of the Schenck family otherwise detail the routine experiences of everyday life at the family homestead in Fulton as well as that of those who resettled in Michigan and Iowa. Social visits with friends and relatives, community events, and religious activities often are mentioned in the letters along with news about births, deaths, and matters of health and well being

In addition to letters, the papers include a number of documents related to Martin Schenck's military service during the Civil War: a volunteer enlistment application; a soldier's power of attorney; and an absentee ballot affidavit. Also included is a signed order from Lafayette Baker of the War Department, dated May 11, 1865, that was dispatched to Martin Schenck, while serving as officer in charge of the Central Guard House in Washington, D.C., at the time. The order pertained to a young man named Garrett who was detained relative to the assassination of President Lincoln.

Other ancillary papers include photographs, poetry and verse, and newspapers about the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley. The newspapers concerning William McKinley also include articles relative to the ascension of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency. 

Box and Folder List:


Box Folder Description
1 1 Transcripts of Civil War Letters of Martin Schenck
1 2 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1862 (7 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, Camp Chace, Va., October 2, 1862
  2. To Mercy Schenck, Camp Morris, October 2, 1862, Sunday, 7 o'clock [sic – possibly October 12, 1862]
  3. To Mercy Schenck, Camp Morris, October 31, 1862
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Camp Morris, November 2, 1862
  5. To [Mercy Schenck?], Aquia Creek Landing, Va., December 6, [1862?]
  6. To Mercy Schenck, Falmouth Station, in front of Fredericksburg, Va., December 24, 1862
  7. To Mercy Schenck, Fredericksburg, Va., December 28, 1862
1 3 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1863 (7 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, [D.C.], April 1, 1863
  2. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., May 29, 1863
  3. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., June 4, 1863
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, [D.C.], June 8, 1863
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1863
  6. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1863
  7. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., July 24, [1863?]; includes an illustration of Amory Hospital, 7th Street, Armory Square, Washington, D.C.
1 4 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1863 (7 items)
  1. To Friends, Washington, D.C., July 28, 1863
  2. To Mother [Hannah P. Schenck], Washington, D.C., July 29, 1863
  3. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., August 22, 1863
  4. To [Elizabeth and Levi Brackett], Washington, D.C., September 2, 1863
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., September 6, 1863
  6. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., September 27, 1863
  7. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, [D.C.], October 4, 1863
1 5 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1864 (8 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., February 7, 1864
  2. To Sister Lib [Elizabeth Brackett], Washington, D.C., February 17, 1864
  3. To Brother Mark [Marcus Schenck], Washington, D.C., June 7, 1864
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., June 12, 1864
  5. To Sister Lib [Elizabeth Brackett], Washington, D.C., June 19, 1864
  6. To Brother Mark [Marcus Schenck], Washington, D.C., July 9, 1864
  7. To Sister Lib [Elizabeth Brackett], Washington, D.C., July 30, 1864
  8. To Marcus Schenck, Washington, D.C., August 12, 1864
1 6 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1864 (9 items)
  1. To [Marcus Schenck], Washington, D.C., September 8, 1864
  2. To Marcus Schenck, Washington, D.C., September 22, 1864
  3. To Marcus Schenck, Central Guard House, Washington, D.C., September 29, 1864
  4. To Marcus Schenck, Central Guard House, Washington, D.C., October 31, 1864
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., November 10, 1864
  6. To Marcus Schenck, Washington, D.C., November 13, 1864
  7. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., November 13, 1864
  8. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., November 18, 1864
  9. To Mary A. Schenck, Washington, D.C., November 27, 1864
1 7 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1865 (6 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., February 10, 1865
  2. To Alice Schenck, Washington, D.C., May 23, 1865
  3. To Mary A. Schenck, [Fulton, N.Y.], July 19, 1865
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Fulton, N.Y., November 24, 1865
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Fulton, N.Y., November 25, 1865
  6. Incomplete letter, ca 1863-1865
1 8 Martin Schenck, Letters, 1866-1867 (5 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., [May 31, 1866]
  2. To Lib [Elizabeth Brackett], Washington, D.C., June 17, 1866
  3. To Marcus (Mark) P. Schenck, Washington, D.C., June 17, 1866
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., June 20, 1866
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Fulton, N.Y., August 12, 1867
1 9 Military Service Records of Martin Schenck, 1864-1865 (4 items)
  1. Enrollment form, September 4,1864
  2. Soldiers Power of Attorney form, November 8, 1864
  3. Absentee ballot affidavit, November 8, 1864
  4. Order from Lafayette Baker of the War Department regarding a young man named Garrett being engaged as a witness in the assassination case, May 10, 1865, with envelope addressed to Officer in charge of Central Guard House
1 10 Portraits of soldiers in uniform (carte de visite), ca. 1862-1865 (3 items)
  1. [Martin Schenck?], (J. Ford Morris, Photographic Gallery, N. 5 First Street, Fulton, Oswego County, N.Y.)
  2. [Martin Schenck?], (Whitehurst Gallery, 434 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.)
  3. James H. Brackett [inscription], (Carte de Visite by Slagle, 312 Penna. Avenue, near 11th St., Washington, D.C.)
2 1 Helen A Kellogg, Letters, 1856-1865 (3 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck Mason. Effingham Co., Illinois, January 31, 1856 with letter to Marcus Schenck
  2. To Mercy Schenck, Barrington Station, [Illinois], October 7, 1862
  3. To Mercy Schenck , Jefferson, Cook Co., Illinois, August 27, 1865
2 2 Mary A. Schenck, Letters, 1865-1866 (5 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, [Hudson, Mich.], October 1, 1865
  2. To Mercy Schenck, [Hudson, Mich.], November 2, 1865
  3. To Martin Schenck, [Hudson, Mich.], February 27, 1866
  4. To Mercy Schenck, [Hudson, Mich.], March 11, 1866
  5. To brother, Blissfield, [Mich.], April 1, 1866; with envelope addressed to Mercy Schenck; fragment
2 3 Mary A. Schenck, Letters, 1866 (5 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, Hudson, [Mich.], May 6, 1866
  2. To Marcus, Schenck, [Hudson, Mich.], June 12, 1866
  3. To Mercy Schenck, [Hudson, Mich.], July 1, 1866
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Hudson, [Mich.], August 1, 1866
  5. To Martin B. Perkins (uncle), Hudson, Mich., August 27, 1866
2 4 Mercy O. Schenck, Letters, 1865-1873 (5 items)
  1. To Mary A. Schenck, Granby, [N.Y.], January 7, 1864/5
  2. To Martin Schenck, [n.p.], August 9, 1865
  3. To brother and sister, Hudson, [Mich.], December 9, 1868
  4. To [Elizabeth and Levi Brackett], Cedar Falls, Iowa, [ca. 1872-1873]
  5. To little Jimmie,[Jimmie Brackett] Cedar Falls, [Iowa], January 11, 1873
2 5 Allie (Alice) Schenck, Letters, 1868 (2 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, May 24, 1868
  2. To Mercy Schenck, March 4, [1868]
2 6 Elizabeth “Libbie” L. (Schenck) Brackett, Letters, ca. 1868 (3 items)
  1. To sister [Mercy?], undated
  2. To Mercy Schenck, [Algona, Iowa], March 16, [186-?]
  3. To Mercy Schenck, May 26, 1868
2 7 Carroll [?] to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1858-1860 (3 items)
  1. To Cousin Mercy, n.p., n.d.
  2. To Cousin Mercy, Toledo, [Ohio], March 29, 1858
  3. To Cousin Mercy, Toledo, [Ohio], March 20, 1860
2 8 Edward Schenck to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1862-1863 (7 items)
  1. To Cousin Mercy, Falmouth, [Va.], December 24, 1862 (illustration of U.S. Capitol building on attached envelope)
  2. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., March 10, 1863
  3. To Cousin Mercy, Armory Square Hospital, [Washington, D.C.], March 29, 1863
  4. To Cousin Mercy, Armory Square Hospital, [Washington, D.C.], May 9, 1863
  5. To Cousin Mercy, U.S. General Hospital, Armory Square, Washington, [D.C.], September 15, 1963
  6. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., September 29, [1863]
  7. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., November 3, 1863
2 9 Edward Schenck to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1864-1866 (8 items)
  1. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., January 8, [1864]
  2. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., June 30, 1864
  3. To Cousin Mercy, Central Guard House, Washington, D.C., December 1, 1864
  4. To Cousin Mercy, Central Guard House, Washington, D.C., January 26, 1864
  5. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., March 13, 1865
  6. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., September 3, 1865
  7. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., May 14, 1866
  8. To Cousin Mercy, Washington, D.C., August 16, 1866
2 10 Herman Schenck, Letters, 1861-1863 (8 items)
  1. To Mercy Schenck, camp without name yet, near Pooleville, Maryland, [autumn 1861]
  2. To Hannah Schenck, Camp Bates, Pooleville, [Md.], [autumn 1861]
  3. To Mercy Schenck, Camp Bates, Pooleville, [Md.], January 14, 1862
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Capitol, Washington, D.C., April 23, [1862?]
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., May 26, 1862
  6. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., November 29, [1862?]
  7. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., February 9, [1863?]
  8. To Mercy Schenck, Washington, D.C., February 11, [1863?]
2 11 Nelson Palmer to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1864-1866 (7 items)
  1. Broadway House, February 21, 1864
  2. [Washington, [D.C.], September 17, 1864
  3. [Washington, D.C.], December 2, 1864
  4. 184th Regiment New York Infantry, Harrison's Landing, [Va.], December 19, 1864
  5. No. 1 Fulton St., [Washington, D.C.], March 19, 1865
  6. [Old Fort Comfort, Va.], April 23, 1865
  7. Kent, Portage Co., Ohio, February 4, 1866
2 12 W.C. [Chester] Cooper to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1864-1865 (4 items)
  1. Petersburg, Va., August 3, 1864
  2. Fort Duane, Va., September 4, 1864
  3. Nottoway Court House, Va., April 27, 1865
  4. Arlington Height, Va., May 28, 1865
3 1 Sadie Kate Greene to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1863-1864 (8 items)
  1. Sabbath Evening, [ca. 1863-1864]
  2. Home, Monday afternoon, [postmark, Sterling, N.Y., August 5]
  3. Sterling, [N.Y.], Tuesday Evening, September, [22, 1863?]
  4. Sterling Center, [N.Y.], Saturday P.M., Home, 1864
  5. Sterling, [N.Y.}, Saturday Eve., March 12, [1864]
  6. Sterling, [N.Y.], Friday Evening, March 25, 1864
  7. [Sterling, N.Y.], Home, Monday June 13, [1864]
  8. [Sterling, N.Y.], Wednesday June, 22, [1864]
3 2 Sadie Kate Greene to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1864-1865 (7 items)
  1. Sterling, [N.Y.], September 11, 1864
  2. Sterling, [N.Y.], October 9, 1864
  3. Sterling, [N.Y.], December 4, 1964
  4. Sterling, [N.Y.], Sabbath Eve., March 9, 1865
  5. Sterling, [N.Y.], Saturday Eve., March 18, 1865
  6. Home, Monday Afternoon, May 26, 1865
  7. Perch River, Jefferson Co., [N.Y.], June 26, 1865
3 3 [Nathan] M. Reynolds to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1865 (2 items)
  1. On Board Steamer Joseph Pierce, February 5, 1865
  2. Head Quarters, 21st N.Y. Battery, In the field, April 2, 1865
3 4 Herman B. Simmonds to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1865 (7 items)
  1. Canandaigua, [N.Y.], February 22, [1865]
  2. Canandaigua, [N.Y.], August 2, 1865
  3. Canandaigua, [N.Y.], August 6, 1865
  4. Canandaigua, [N.Y.], September 10, 1865
  5. Canandaigua, N.Y., October 22, 1865
  6. Canandaigua, N.Y., October 25,1865
  7. Canandaigua, N.Y., November 8, 1865
3 5 Herman B. Simmonds to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1866-1868 (7 items)
  1. Canandaigua, [N.Y.], January 7, 1866
  2. Canandaigua, N.Y., April 1, 1866
  3. Canandaigua, N.Y., May 11, 1866
  4. Canandaigua, N.Y., May 27, 1866
  5. Canandaigua, N.Y., June 22, 1866
  6. Batavia, [N.Y.], July 24, 1866
  7. Chicago, Cook Co. Illinois, December 11, 1868
3 6 George B. Simmonds to Mercy Schenck, Letters, 1865 (3 items)
  1. Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday August 19, [1865]
  2. Cleveland, Ohio, October 3, [1865]
  3. Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday October 5, 1865
3 7 [Martin] B. Perkins, Letters, 1862-1870 (7 items)
  1. To [Hannah] Schenck, Hudson, [Mich.], July 14, 1862
  2. To [Hannah] Schenck, Hudson, [Mich.], June 1, 1864
  3. To Mercy Schenck, Saratoga Springs, [N.Y.], August 6, 1868
  4. To Mercy Schenck, Saratoga Springs, [N.Y.], August 8, 1868
  5. To Mercy Schenck, Hudson, Mich., April 15, 1870
  6. To Mercy Schenck, Hudson, Mich., August 1, 1872
3 8 Theodore [?] to Mercy O. Schenck, Letters, 1871 (4 items)
  1. Hudson, Mich., September 3, 1871
  2. Hudson, Mich., September 17, 1871
  3. Hudson, Mich., October 1, 1871
  4. Hudson, Mich., October 15, 1871; manuscript map of Chicago enclosed
3 9 Theodore [?] to Mercy O. Schenck, Letters,  1871-1872 (4 items)
  1. Hudson, Mich., October 28, 1871
  2. Hudson, Mich., December 5, 1871
  3. Hudson, Mich., April 15, 1872
  4. Hudson, Mich., June 2, 1872
4 1 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1862-1864 (5 items)
  1. Sarah E. Works, Lamsons,[Onondaga Co.], N.Y., October 28, 1862
  2. [Julia] R. Marvin, Camillus, N.Y., August 6, 1863
  3. Esther H. Schenck, Cedar Falls, [Iowa], February 10, 1864
  4. Loimma [?], Sunday Evening, September 18, [1864]
  5. Loimma [?], Fulton, [N.Y.], Sunday Eve. October 2, [1864]
4 2 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1865 (4 items)
  1. Ordelia Schenck, Algona, Iowa, March 5, 1865
  2. Hattie Schenck, Cedar Falls, [Iowa], April 22, [1865]
  3. Jennie Smith, Syracuse, [N.Y.], May 7, 1865
  4. Abigail Bond, Pavilion, Genesee Co., N.Y., June 29, 1865
4 3 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1865 (5 items)
  1. Nellie [?], Pavilion, N.Y., July 6, 1865
  2. Laura J. Wilbur, [n.p.], September 4, 1865
  3. Julia R. Marvin, Buffalo, [N.Y.], September 11, 1865
  4. Julia R. Marvin, Buffalo, [N.Y.], October 18, 1865
  5. J.C. Lampman, Baltimore, Barry Co., Mich., October 27, 1865
4 4 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1866 (4 items)
  1. Elias Bond Wayne, Milford, Ohio, February 10, 1866
  2. Flora [?], [n.p.], February 16, 1866
  3. A.E. Lasher, Fulton, [N.Y.], February 16, 1866 (invitation enclosed)
  4. Palmer Perkins, Portland, Mich., August 2, 1866
  5. Palmer Perkins, Portland, Ionia Co., Mich., August 22, 1866
4 5 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1867 (2 items)
  1. Anna H. Perkins, Fairdale, [Mich.], June 3, 1867
  2. Fred Schenck, Rochester, [N.Y.], August 25, 1867
4 6 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1868 (6 items)
  1. Frances E. Fuller, South Granby, [N.Y.], July 18, 1868
  2. G. J. Perkins, Hudson, Mich., August 2, 1868
  3. [Isaac] Schenck, Cedar Falls, [Iowa], November 8,1868
  4. C. Van Dorn, [n.p.], November 11, 1868
  5. Anna H. Perkins, Ilion, [N.Y.], November 26, 1868
  6. C.C. Schenck, Toledo, [Ohio], December 18, 1868
4 7 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck, 1869-1872 (5 items)
  1. Mary Hulet, Kansasville, Racine Co., [Wis.], March 20, 1869
  2. [Mary] Hulet, Kansasville, Racine Co., [Wis.], May 12, 1869
  3. Harry Smale, Ellicott Valley, Ohio, November 4, 1870
  4. George B. Woodworth, Hudson, [Mich.], January 7, 1872
  5. [Isaac Schenck], Cedar Falls, [Iowa], July 30, 1872
4 8 Letters to Mercy O. Schenck,, n.d. (7 items)
  1. Laura [?], Corry, Penna., Tuesday Evening
  2. Laura [?], Corry, Penna., Thursday
  3. Hattie Perkins, [Hudson, Mich., July 25, 18-?]
  4. Jennie [?], Thursday afternoon
  5. Schuyler [?], n.p.
  6. Mate Kelley, n.p., Monday Evening
4 9 Letters from H.H. Bostwick, Pension and Bounty Land Office, Auburn, N.Y., to John Schenck, Palatine, Cook Co. Illinois, March 10 and May 6, 1858 (2 items)
4 10 Poetry and Verse (8 items)
4 11 Miscellaneous (9 items)
  1. Letters to Mercy O. Schenck from H.B. Lansing, Secretary, Office of Public Schools, Hudson, Michigan, August 12 and 22, 1868
  2. Promissory note: Lewis Lampman to Mercy Schenck, April 7, 1869
  3. Note on the meaning of some personal names
  4. 2 calling cards
  5. 3 envelopes
    Newspapers (folio)
5 1 Meridian Daily Journal, v. 51, no. 109, November 6, 1911, Meridian, Conn. (obituary of Martin B. Schenck)
5 2 New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, v. 50, no. 2077, April 21, 1865
5 3 Washington Weekly Chronicle, v. 1, no. 50, April 23, 1865
5 4 New York Weekly Tribune, v. 24, no. 1234, May 6, 1865
5 5 Daily Morning Chronicle (Washington, D.C.), v. 3, no. 149, April 26, 1865
5 6 Daily Morning Chronicle (Washington, D.C.), v. 3, no. 155, May 3, 1865
5 7 Daily Morning Chronicle (Washington, D.C.), v. 3, no. 173, May 24, 1865
5 8 The Fulton Patriot, v. 62, no. 16, April 22, 1898
5 9 Oswego Falls Observer, v. 20, no. 25, September 20, 1901 includes “Hannibal Department”
5 10 The Post Standard, semi-weekly edition (Syracuse, New York), v. 73, no. 72, September 9, 1901
5 11 The Post Standard, semi-weekly edition (Syracuse, New York), v. 73, no. 74, September 16, 1901
5 12 The New York Times, v. 50, no. 16, 127, September 14, 1901
5 13 The World, v. 42, no. 14635, September 15, 1901 (New York, N.Y.)
5 14 Pictorial extra from unidentified newspaper of Syracuse, New York (includes feature story on Theodore Roosevelt)
Last Updated: June 2, 2014