Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / McArthur Family Papers, 1780-1949, n.d. (bulk 1790-1890)

McArthur Family Papers, 1780-1949, n.d. (bulk 1790-1890)

16 linear feet.

Catalog Number:M116

Series List:


Agency History / Biographical Note:
The collection centers on two generations of the McArthur family of Limington, Maine. Arthur McArthur, Sr., was born January 14, 1790, the ninth of eleven children of John McArthur (1745-1816), a native of Perth, Scotland, and the third settler of the town of Limington, and Mary Miller McArthur (1753-1835). McArthur, Sr., was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1810 after prepatory study at Fryeburg Academy. He completed his legal studies with Cyrus King, half-brother of the first governor of Maine, at Saco in 1815. McArthur, Sr., was a farmer in Limington (1817-1874) and U.S. pension agent for the State of Maine. In 1829, he married Sarah Prince Miltimore (1805-1881), daughter of the Rev. William Miltimore of Falmouth, Maine. They had six children: Arthur, Jr., (1830-1862), William (1832-1917), Catharine (1834-1864), Duncan (1837-1854), Charles (1839-1894), and Malcolm (1841-1886). McArthur, Sr., died on November 29, 1874.

Arthur, Jr., (Bowdoin 1850) taught school and travelled in the South and Midwest before settling in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, as a teacher and lawyer in 1859. He enlisted in the Confederate Army, served as a major in the 6th Louisiana, and was killed in battle at Winchester, Virginia, on May 25, 1862.

William(Bowdoin 1853) served with the 8th Maine and rose to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General. Although he was a lawyer like his father, he never actively practiced law. William succeeded his father as pension agent, served as a member of the Maine House (1867) and Senate (1869), was postmaster of Limington (1866-1907), and ran the family farm until his death in 1917.

Catharine, the only daughter, was graduated from Mount Holyoke Seminary in 1853 and taught school in Maine and Flint, Michigan (1860-1863). She died in 1864 soon after taking a position at Gorham Academy.

Duncan went to sea at 15 on board the ship "A.B. Thompson" and drowned after falling overboard during a violent storm on the return voyage from Havre, France, on March 1, 1854.

Charles, a Bowdoin non-graduate (Class of 1863) travelled to California as a young man. He later married and practiced law in Kansas and Missouri.

Malcolm, the youngest, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1865, was captain of the 17th Infantry, United States Army, and spent his career as a frontier officer in the Dakota and Montana territories. His troops, under the command of Major Reno, were among the first on the scene of the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Scope and Content:
This collection contains correspondence (1780-1949 and undated), including Civil War letters from Arthur, Jr., and William; family documents and diaries; Civil War military records, mostly containing the muster rolls, payrolls, courts martial adjutant reports and other material relating to the 8th Maine (ca. 500 items); student records of Malcolm during his time at West Point; and the pension records kept by Arthur, Sr., and William. Miscellaneous records include Revolutionary War rosters; lists of bounty lands; War of 1812 rosters, including the list of officers and crew of the ship "U.S. Adams," which was blown up at Hampden, Maine, on September 3, 1814. Also included are the Rev. William Miltimore's sermons (1800-1836 and undated); family financial records; miscellaneous legal papers and documents; court dockets (1854-1881); photographs, including a series of stereographs of earthquake damage in Jamaica; and ephemera. The principal family correspondents are: Arthur, Sr., his wife Sarah Miltimore McArthur, and their six children Arthur, Jr., William, Catharine, Duncan, Charles, and Malcolm.The McArthurs of Limington, Maine ... by Elizabeth Ring cites many of the collection's letters.

Finding Aid/Index: Alphabetical card index of correspondents with associated numbered chronological list available. The index excludes the majority of the outgoing correspondence from Arthur McArthur, Sr., his wife and children.

Cite as: McArthur Family Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288