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"Grandmother's Letters," by Louisa B. Simpson

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: RH MS P983


Photocopy of typescript of stories about a young woman growing up in territorial and Civil War-era Kansas.


  • Creation: 1847 - 1864


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biography of Louisa B. Simpson (1846-1933)

Louisa Brooks Prentiss was born March 15, 1846 in Coventry, New York, the daughter of Dr. Sylvester Bemis Prentiss (1817-1892) and his first wife, Louisa (Brooks) Prentiss (1818-1846). Louisa's mother died soon after her birth, and sometime in 1846 or 1847 the family moved to Jackson, Georgia for her father's health. Dr. Prentiss remarried to Mary N. Converse (1825-1865) in 1847.

Sylvester Prentiss became more opposed to slavery over time while living in the South and decided to move his family to Kansas Territory soon after it opened to Euro-American settlement. They settled near Lawrence, Kansas and became involved in the free state cause.

Louisa Prentiss married William A. Simpson in 1864. They had six children, four girls and two boys, who according to census records were named E. Kate, Louisa H., Mary P., William P., Elizabeth A., and Henry L. The family moved to Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas around 1880.

Louisa B. (Prentiss) Simpson died in 1933 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas.

[Information retrieved from, census records, and collection materials.]


1 folder : Photocopy of typescript, 54 pages ; Folder measures 22 x 37 cm.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The typescript includes several sections or chapters, starting with the author's early childhood in Georgia. The author moved to Kansas in 1855 because her father, a physician and surgeon, wished to join the Free State cause. She describes her first winter there and the kind of food they ate. She describes the scenery and plants; encounters with snakes; and being removed to Lena, Illinois because of concerns about "Border Ruffians" attacking the family home due to her father's politics.

Simpson was back in Kansas Territory by 1857 and went to school in Lawrence before eventually going to live with her grandparents and attend school in Salem, Ohio. She again returned to Kansas and describes Quantrill's Raid of 1863 and Price's Raid of 1864, as well as the first Fourth of July celebrated in Lawrence. She also describes her marriage to Simpson just before he left with the military to scout out Sterling Price and his men.

There are pencil illustrations included throughout the text. The author specifically mentions S.N. Simpson [Samuel Newell Simpson (1826-1915)] and her encounters with Native Americans and African Americans in both Georgia and Kansas, including enslaved African Americans.

Physical Location

RH MS P983

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, John Root, 2021.


Guide to the Louisa B. Simpson Collection
"Grandmother's Letters," by Louisa B. Simpson
Finding aid prepared by mwh. Finding aid encoded by mwh.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
"Grandmother's Letters," by Louisa B. Simpson, RH MS P983, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

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

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States