Skip to main content

Colver family papers

Identifier: Ax 126

Scope and Contents note

The Colver family papers contain 8 letters from Samuel Colver to his wife and children, 1861-1888; and 5 letters from Lewellyn Colver to his parents, written from Ft. Klamath, 1865-1867, when he was in Company I, 1st Oregon Infantry. Three Lewellyn Colver letters are to Oliver C. Applegate, 1869-1870. The papers include historical and genealogical notes by Nellie Rose Jones, granddaughter of Samuel Colver. Also included are the reminiscences of O.A. Stearns, including information on Samuel Colver.


  • circa 1860-1888


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

Samuel Colver was born on September 10, 1815, in Union Co., Ohio, the son of Samuel and Rachel (Curry) Colver. Early in life he studied law at Plymouth College in Plymouth, Marshall Co., Indiana. Afterward, he served as a Texas Ranger and served with General Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto; he later served as an Indian scout, still in Texas. He returned to Ohio, where he traveled the countryside performing a mesmerism show. In 1850, he and his brother Hiram moved their families from Ohio to Oregon via the Oregon Trail. Colver served as an Indian Agent in the Rogue River Valley, where he was a signer of the Table Rock Treaty that effectively ended the Modoc Indian War. He also served as a US Marshall. Samuel and Hiram founded the small community of Phoenix, Oregon, which still exists today southeast of the city of Medford. (The Samuel Colver home in Phoenix, Oregon was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 25, 1990.)

Samuel Colver was married to Huldah, who was born in Ohio in 1823. They had two children. Their eldest daughter Isabel, was born in 1850 on the journey to Oregon. Their son Lewellyn served in the 1st Oregon infantry, Company “I,” in 1865, and was killed in 1884 by a man who mistook him for a burglar. Isabel died in 1886, and in 1887 Samuel Colver, grief-stricken over the loss of both his children, was confined for a month to an asylum. He died rather mysteriously in 1891; he had been missing for several weeks and his horse was found dead near a lake. Huldah Colver died in 1907.


1 linear feet (2 containers) : 2 manuscript boxes

Language of Materials



Samuel Colver (1815-1891) came to Oregon in 1850, where he served as an Indian Agent and U.S. Marshall, and helped found the community of Phoenix, Oregon. The Colver Family Papers contain correspondence among family members, and some letters to Oliver C. Applegate, 1869-1870. The papers include historical and genealogical notes, and reminiscences of O.A. Stearns, including information on Samuel Colver.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Letters; Nellie Rose Jones materials; and O.A. Stearns materials.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected items are available online in the Colver family papers in Oregon Digital.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Colver Family papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Rose M. Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA