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Erwin Watkins-Simeon Whiteley papers

Identifier: VAULT-Ayer-MS-3024


Erwin Watkins and Simeon Whiteley worked for the Office of Indian Affairs in the 1870s and 1860s, respectively. While the Watkins papers contain mainly official government reports and correspondence, the Whiteley papers consist of mostly personal correspondence accompanied by several photographs, three maps, and two issues of a Wyoming newspaper. The Watkins papers include: incoming correspondence and instructions from the Commissioners of Indian Affairs and other officials, copies of Watkins reports regarding his agency visits and investigations, and papers relating to travel arrangements and assignments. The Whiteley papers include: outgoing letters to his wife, Jane Whiteley, from Denver in 1863, some official correspondence, and miscellaneous letters after Whiteley's departure from government service. There is also a copy of Jane Whiteley's account of her trip by stagecoach to Denver in the fall of 1863 to join her husband.


  • Creation: 1863-1920
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1863-1878


Biographical / Historical

Erwin Watkins and Simeon Whiteley worked for the Office of Indian Affairs in the 1870s and 1860s, respectively. Following military service as an officer in the Civil War, Watkins was appointed an Indian Inspector in 1875. In that capacity he visited various tribes throughout the western states and territories reporting on their conditions to the Office of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. Following his resignation in 1878, he returned to Michigan and pursued several different lines of work. Simeon Whiteley, on the advice of Gov. John Evans, was commissioned as an Indian agent to the Colorado Middle Park Indian Agency in 1862, later named the White River Agency. He resided in Denver until 1865 serving both as Indian agent and as editor of a daily newspaper called the Commonwealth. Returning to Racine, Wisc. he established the Whiteley Insurance Agency.


6 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 2 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers organized by type of material: orders, reports, communications, papers, photographs. Arranged chronologically within each category.

Ownership and Custodial History

Forms part of the Edward E. Ayer Manuscript Collection (Newberry Library).

Processing Information Note

Photographs include: Simeon Whiteley, Gov. John Evans, and Major J.W. Powell's camp near the Green River. Maps, newspapers, some photographs and Jane Whiteley's account in oversize portfolio.

Formerly known as Ayer MS 964a.

Catalog Record Only
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States