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Horatio Pitcher Civil War Letters and Memorabilia Collection

Identifier: MsC1171

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Scope and Contents

The Horatio Pitcher Civil War Letters and Memorabilia Collection contains documents and artifacts from Horatio Pitcher's time as a Quartermaster in Maine. His letters document his experience as a soldier fighting for the North during the Civil War. This collection also contains documents that described and instructed Pitcher on how to do his job, accompanying these items there are also personal artifacts such as photos and letters. When Pitcher was in Washington he was able to snag a signature of Abraham Lincoln's son, William Lincoln.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1850-1879

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Horatio Pitcher was born in the town of Monroe, Maine, January 23, 1839, the son of Horatio Gates and Anna Leonard Pitcher, both of Puritan stock. The family moved to Bangor, Maine, when Horatio was a small boy and there he acquired his early education in the public schools and later attended academies in Maine and Massachusetts. He was for a time a student at Oberlin College, Ohio.

After completing his studies he turned his attention to the grocery business, following this line of work until 1861 when at twenty-two years of age he enlisted in the First Regiment of the Second Maine Volunteer Infantry. After the Battle of Bull Run he was made quartermaster sergeant, serving in this capacity until after the Penninsular campaign, when he received a commission as quartermaster of the Eighteenth Maine Volunteers. In 1864 he was ordered to Albany, New York, to buy horses for the army. He continued thus until the close of the war when he was mustered out with a creditable military record at Bangor, Maine, in the spring of 1865, having served through the entire Civil War. After receiving his discharge, Mr. Pitcher went to Savannah, Georgia, where he conducted a mercantile business for several years. He then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where in partnership with his brother he engaged in the same business until 1868. In that year he came on a trip to Iowa to see the west. After investigating the advantages and resources of northwest Iowa, he bought a section of government land in Cherokee county, paying two dollars and fifty cents per acre. This is still owned by the family and is located near Aurelia.

At that time Cherokee county was a frontier district, with miles of unbroken prairie and the nearest market at Denison sixty miles to the south. The next year, 1869, brought the railroad and many settlers. The township was organized and named Pitcher in honor of one of the first settlers.

Mr. Pitcher returned to Boston for several years, but finally came to Iowa to establish his home. Throughout the succeeding years he carried forward the work of improving and developing his property, adding to his holdings until he owned 720 acres, also a farm of 200 acres in Minnesota.

Mr. Pitcher was united in marriage to Elizabeth Hersey of Bangor, Maine, in 1877. They were the parents of four children, three of whom are living at Aurelia.

Politically he was a Republican and served as supervisor, as a member of the school board, and held a seat in the state legislature at Des Moines in 1881, besides giving active cooperation to many movements for the public good. Living in Pitcher township for forty-nine years he was respected and honored by an extensive circle of friends. Through years of declining health his interest in his home and community, its churches and schools never lessened. His greatest contribution to life was his courage, never allowing discouragement to find lodgement within himself and sustaining many others through trying hours. He died April 11, 1927, at the age of eighty-eight years.



4.0 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection is made of up Civil War Letters and Memorabillia relating to Horatio Pitcher.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by Jane M. and Richard W. George in 2021.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)