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Nixon and Williamson family papers

Call Number: RH MS 1116


The Nixon and Williamson families as well as the Chapman and Cooper families had ties to Edwardsville, Wyandotte County, Kansas; to Wamego, Pottawatomie County, Kansas and to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas. This collection of the families' papers date from 1849-1961 and consists of letters, certificates, journals and photographs.


  • Creation: 1849 - 1961


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History ofthe Nixon and Williamson Families

Robert Nixon was born in Omogh, Ireland, in 1828 and came to the United States in 1844 where he studied at the University of Chicago Department of Law and became a lawyer. In 1866 he married Ellen Isabella (Nellie) Chapman of Edwardsville, Kansas. Nixon and his wife had 4 children: a son, William James Nixon, born in 1870 and three daughters: Minnie Isabella Nixon, born 1867; Jessie May Nixon Shively, born 1872; and Florence Elizabeth Nixon, born in 1875. Robert Nixon died in 1880 in Wamego, Kansas. Nellie Chapman Nixon died in 1930 in Schroyer, Kansas.

In 1898, Florence Elizabeth Nixon married Orah K. (O.K.) Williamson (1873?-1936). O. K. Williamson attended the University of Kansas where he captained the football team in 1894. They had two daughters, Elizabeth (Mrs. Lester) Allen, born in 1900 and Virginia (Mrs. Carl E.) Cooper, born in 1909.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Nixon family papers include documentation of Robert Nixon's naturalization, his attendance at the Law Department of the University of Chicago and his certification by the Illinois State Supreme Court for him to practice law. The collection also includes some letters and travel notes of a trip taken through Kansas in 1871.

The Chapman family papers include a letter from Nellie Chapman Nixon's Uncle Ben (B.W. May) shortly after the Civil War and a photograph of Harvey Spencer during the Civil War. There are also typed notes of the Chapman family genealogy.

The Williamson family papers include letters to O.K. Williamson when he captained the KU football in the early 1890s, business and personal correspondence, newspaper clippings and a photograph of him as a young man.

The Cooper family papers are comprised of three journals, all three of which were written by John Wesley Cooper (born 1842), a teacher, who wrote in his "Journal to 1876" of the schools and institutes he taught. There are also family genealogies the Cooper family and the families of Albert H. Warren, Charles Collins, Kendal J. Pattey, Edward R. Crapper, and Peter Quillin families. In his "Family Journal 1876" to 1899, he described the daily Cooper family activities. Cooper also began a "Common Place Book" in 1869.

Additionally, there are two letters from Chadwick family members, who may have ties to the Williamson family, during the Civil War. At some point, it seems an effort was made to sort out the histories of the intertwined Nixon, Chapman, Williamson and Cooper families, as there are handwritten notes of family history and genealogy throughout the collection.

Physical Location

RH MS 1116

Physical Location

RH MS Q283

Custodial History

This collection was passed onto Elizabeth and Charles Goslin by the previous owner of their house, the Williamson family.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Elizabeth and Charles Goslin, 1988

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Nixon and Williamson Family Collection
Nixon and Williamson family papers
Finding aid prepared by mab, 2008; revised by skt, 2010; revised by cmh, 2011; Finding aid encoded by mab, 2008; revised by skt, 2010; revised by cmh, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Nixon and Williamson Family Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1116, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States