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Collection Scope and Content Note


A collection of business diaries, letters, rental agreements, deeds, abstracts of title, contracts, promissory notes, tax receipts relating to the establishment and development of a 55,000-acre frontier estate in McLean, Livingston, Ford, Piatt, Coles, Champaign, Iroquois, Vermillion, Woodford, LaSalle, and Macon Counties, Illinois, and a 5,000-acre estate in Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Calhoun, and Cass Counties, Iowa, by Matthew T. Scott, Jr., of Lexington, Kentucky, acting in conjunction with various members of the Scott family and James Robbins, Stephen Swift, George W. Brand, William H. Latham, Richard and Joel Higgins, James Suydam, Courtney Pickett, and Samuel P. Humphreys. Earliest papers dated 1831 include two letters written by Rev. Lewis W. Green as a student at Yale and at the Theological Seminary, Princeton, to Willis Green of Danville, Kentucky. Notebooks and papers dating from 1852 describe in detail entries of land from the Federal Government, purchases from private individuals, purchase and sale of land warrants, development of tenant farms in McLean County, costs of breaking prairie, construction of houses, fences, well digging, planting of fruit trees, purchase of farm equipment, seed, stock, hiring of farm hands, and records of crop yields. Also, information on development of Chenoa, the partnerships between Scott and others, financial agreements, tax difficulties, land sales, and rental agreements.

The collection includes three long series of letters from agents who managed the land for Mrs. Scott after her husband's death, showing problems of farm development, management, and tenant-landlord-agent relationships. Corporate papers, bylaws, charters, deeds, leases, statements of dividends, contracts and agreements with local labor unions and the Standard Oil Company, relate to the business of the McLean County Coal Company, Bloomington, Illinois, 1866-1928. Also, letters concerning the work of Mrs. Scott with the D.A.R., 1909-1913.

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