Lyman Family Papers, 1846 to 1883

Overview of the Collection

Lyman Family
Lyman Family Papers
1846 to 1883 (inclusive)
1.0 cubic feet, (1 box)
Collection Number
The Lymans were a family of early Oregon settlers who were active in missionary, educational and literary activities. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence between member of the Lyman family and their friends between the years of 1846 to 1883.
Pacific University, Archives
Pacific University Archives
2043 College Way
Forest Grove, OR
Telephone: 5033521400
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

The Lymans were a family of early Oregon settlers who were active in missionary, educational and literary activities. The elder Reverend Horace Lyman was born in 1815 in East Hampton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Williams College and obtained a graduate degree from Andover Theological Seminary in 1846. He left for the West Coast under the auspices of the American Home Missionary Society. Together with his wife, Mary Denison of Vermont, he made the long journey to San Francisco by ship. After spending about one year teaching in San Jose, California, fellow Congregationalist missionary George Atkinson invited him to Oregon. The Lymans arrived in Portland in 1849, founding the city's First Congregational Church there. Horace Lyman served as the church's first pastor, and also founded another church and school near Dallas, Oregon. In 1857, the Lymans moved to the town of Forest Grove on the invitation of Sidney H. Marsh, who was the president of Pacific University. Reverend Lyman taught ancient history, mathematics, English literature and rhetoric there for about twenty years. Mary Denison Lyman died in 1874, and Reverend Lyman followed her in 1887.

Horace and Mary Denison had several children. William Denison Lyman, was born in 1852. He graduated from Pacific University in 1873 and taught there from 1877-1887. He later became a professor at Whitman College and published several books. The bulk of William Denison Lyman's papers are preserved at Whitman College.

Another son, Horace Sumner Lyman was born on December 18, 1855. A childhood malady required him to use crutches throughout his life. After graduating from Pacific University in 1878 with a classical education, Horace S. Lyman went to study at Oberlin College, and then returned to Portland, Oregon. He worked as a pastor, an author, and an educator. Among his writings were the four-volume "History of Oregon" and portions of "The History of Oregon and its Indian Wars." He was a newspaper editor in Portland from 1885-1889. After 1889, he lived on a farm in Clatsop County and served as its superintendent of schools. He died after a short illness on December 22, 1904. Additional papers of Horace Sumner Lyman can be found in the Denver Public Library Archives.

The Lymans had two other recorded children: Sarah, born about 1851; and Mary Frances, born about 1858. Sarah appears not to have married and her occupation is unknown. Mary Frances graduated from Pacific University in 1878 and married, becoming Mary Frances McCoy.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence between member of the Lyman family and their friends between the years of 1846 to 1883. The papers appear to have come to Pacific University via the estate of the elder Reverend Horace Lyman; nearly all the material is addressed either to him or his immediate family members. Many of the personal letters demonstrate the efforts by various family members in Vermont, Massachusetts and Michigan to stay in touch with their far-off relatives in the Oregon territory. Some of them also illuminate what living conditions were like in Oregon during the mid-nineteenth century. One notable letter from an unidentified woman in Salem comments on race relations between black and white community members during the Civil War. Other letters testify to the difficulties in securing work and funding for educational and missionary activities on the frontier. Some aspects of student and faculty life at Pacific University in the 1860s-1880s are likewise apparent in the letters. In addition to the letters, the collection also includes several printed ephemeral items and photographs of family members.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Lyman Family Papers, Pacific University Archives, Forest Grove, Oregon.

Restrictions on Use

Pacific University owns the copyright to some, but not all, of the materials housed in its archives. Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of Pacific University is retained by Pacific University and requires its permission for publication. Copyright status for other collection materials varies. 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 owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Future Additions

No accruals are expected.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Lyman, Horace
Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Adam, William L. to Horace Sumner Lyman
1 2
American Home Missionary Society to Reverend Lyman
Consists of one letter signed by Secretary Milton Baelyor (1864), and one letter signed illegibly by multiple officers (1882)
1864, 1882
1 3
Ann (niece) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 4
A. Roberts Clothier, Merchant Tailor and Hatter. Receipt.
1 5
Atkinson, George H. to Reverend Lyman
1 6
Atkinson, Edward M. to Reverend Lyman
Concerning the estate of Mr. Hyde.
1 7
Beecher, Willis S. to to Reverend Lyman?
Circular letter from the Auburn Theological Seminary.
1 8
Benton, L.A. to to Reverend Lyman
1 9
Bodwell, Lewis to Reverend Lyman
Concerning the church and the slavery issue in Kansas.
1 10
Cassy to Mary Denison Lyman
1 11
C.H. Myers, Plumber, Gas and Steam Fitter. Invoice to Reverend Lyman
1 12
Clark, Horace M. to Reverend Lyman
1 13
Coburn, Hilda?, probably to one of the Lyman daughters
1 14
Corbett, Henry Winslow (Pacific University Treasurer) to Reverence Lyman
Includes letter and ledger of Reverend Lyman's account.
1 15
Creegan, C.C. (Secretary of the New York Home Missionary Society) to Reverend Lyman
1 16
Denison, Edward H. (brother) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 17
Denison, William? and Caroline (brother and sister-in-law?) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 18
Duncan, John T. to Mary Denison Lyman
1 19
Duncan, John T. Jr., to Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman
1 20
Dwinell, J.E. to Reverend Lyman
1 21
Eaton, Mary S. to Sarah Lyman
1 22
Eells, Myra and Myron, to Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman
1 23
Ella? to Mary Denison Lyman
1 24
Forrey?, Mrs. A.E. to Reverend Lyman
Concerning a marriage proposal from Reverend Lyman, who was at this time a widower.
1 25
Geer?, Lucy H. (niece) to Reverend Lyman
1 26
George, Mrs. C.E. to Mary Denison Lyman
1 27
Griffith & Deal (Law, Real Estate & Exchange Office), to Reverend Lyman
1 28
Griff?, Reverend H. to Reverend Lyman
1 29
Guernsey, J.H. (nephew) and his wife Mary, to Mary Denison Lyman
1 30
Guernsey, Lucy (niece) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 31
Hetzler, P.C. (District Superintendent of the American Bible Society) to Reverend Lyman
1 32
Higley, Erastus, to Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman
Letter inscribed with a poem, "The Consolation," on the occasion of the Lymans' departure for Oregon.
1 33
Himes, George H. (Printer in Portland), to Reverend Lyman
1 34
Kellorn, John H. (Principal of Munro Academy) to Reverend Lyman
Written on the blank leaf of a pamphlet from Munro Academy, Elbridge.
1 35
Lee, J.D. to Reverend Lyman
1 36
Lyman, Addison (brother) to Reverend Lyman and Mary Denison Lyman.
1 37
Lyman, A.J. (cousin) to Reverend Lyman.
Accompanied by handwritten notes related to Horace Lyman's "Lecture on Oregon."
1 38
Lyman, Eunice (cousin) to Sarah or Mary Frances Lyman.
1 39
Lyman Family in East Hampton, Massachusetts, to Reverend Lyman and his family.
Letters from various Lyman family members in East Hampton, frequently written together on the same sheets, to Reverend Lyman and his family. Correspondents include: Daniel Lyman (his father), Lauren Lyman (his brother), Daniel Lyman (his brother?), Daniel W. Lyman (his nephew), Payton W. Lyman (his nephew), Sarah Lyman (his niece), Henry L. Lyman (his nephew) and A.S.? Lyman.
1 40
Lyman, Horace (the Reverend). Outgoing letters.
Outgoing mail to: his wife, Mary Denison Lyman; and to George H. Atkinson regarding Greek Letter societies at Pacific University.
1 41-42
Lyman, Horace Sumner. Outgoing letters.
Mostly consists of letters to his parents and siblings. Multiple letters are addressed from Oakland (California), Oberlin College, Riceville, Walla Walla, and White Salmon (Washington).
1 43
Lyman, James (brother) to Reverend Lyman
1 44
Lyman, Josiah (brother) to Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman.
One letters includes transcribed recommendations for Josiah Lyman's invention, the "Protracting Trigonometer."
1 45
Lyman, Margaret (niece) to Reverend Lyman and (wife/cousin) to Horace Sumner Lyman
Margaret Lyman appears to have been the niece of Reverend Lyman and was married to her cousin Horace Sumner Lyman.
1 46
Lyman, Mary Frances to her parents Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman
1 47
Lyman, Mary Denison. Incoming letter, unsigned, regarding race relations in Salem.
1 48
Lyman, Mattie Clark (daughter-in-law) to Reverend Lyman
1 49
Lyman, Payson (nephew) to Reverend Lyman
See also the file for "Lyman Family in East Hampton, Massachusetts"
1 50
Lyman, Sarah E. (cousin) to Mary Frances Lyman
Also see the "Lyman Family in East Hampton" folder for an additional letter.
1 51
Lyman, Sarah to her parents, the Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman, and to her sister, Mary Frances
1 52
Lyman, William Denison. Outgoing letters.
Chiefly letters to his parents, Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman; also a letter to Sidney Harper Marsh (President of Pacific University); to his sisters Mary Frances ("My darling Mimi") and Sarah.
1 53
Marsh, Sidney Harper to Reverend Lyman
Includes an account ledger of house construction materials.
1 54
Matthews, Jacob to Reverend Lyman
1 55
Mendenhall, J.C. (Washington County District Clerk). Receipt.
1 56
Norris, Isabelle J. to Sarah Lyman
1 57
Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. Letter Fragment.
1 58
Pacific University students. Petition to form a literary society.
1 59
Pearson, Edward Harrison (cousin) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 60
Peck, Mrs. A. J. to Reverend Lyman
1 61
Peck, E.L. to Reverend Lyman
1 62
Perkins, Lola Guernsey (sister) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 63
Pope, Charles W. and George Abernathy to Mr. W. Geyer
1 64
Post, Henry D. (nephew) to Reverend and Mary Denison Lyman
1 65
Post, Hoyt G. (nephew) to Mary Denison Lyman
1 66
Powell, G.J. to the Lyman Family
1 67
Robb, J.S.? to Reverend Lyman
1 68
Roberts, William to Reverend Lyman
1 69
Rogers, Jane B. to Reverend Lyman
1 70
Sites, O.F. to Reverend Lyman?
1 71
Smith, Judson to Horace Sumner Lyman
1 72
Smith, C.J.? to Reverend Lyman
1 73
Sons of New England. Invitation and ticket to the New England Festival in Portland, to Reverend Lyman.
1 74
Spencer, Sarah L. to Reverend Lyman
Apparently concerning a marriage proposal from Reverend Lyman, who was at this time a widower.
1 75
Taylor, John W. (nephew) to Reverend Lyman
1 76
Unidentified letters and fragments
1 77
United States Sanitary Commission to Reverend Lyman
1 78
Wells, E.A. to Reverend Lyman
1 79
White, W.C. to Reverend Lyman
1 80
Wm. Garretson & Co. to Reverend Lyman
Accompanied by a pamphlet advertisement: "The Bible Looking-Glass: Reflector, Companion and Guide."
1 81
Young, D.B. to Reverend Lyman
1 82-85
Empty Envelopes
At some point before the current arrangement of this collection, the letters were separated from their envelopes. Because of the difficulty in reuniting the two, we have placed all of the envelopes together in this sub-series.

Pamphlets, clippings and other printed fragments, 1872-1880Return to Top

Includes: Washington Stock Exchange "Regular Call" listing, completed in manuscript (1883); "$1,200 needed now, and $3,000 this year from us. To the Congregation Churches and Ministers of Oregon and Washington" (1883); "Dr. Probert's Malarial Remedy" (1880); "Fifteenth Annual Report ... American Home Missionary Society; General Association California" (1879); and others.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 86

Photographs, circa 1865-1900Return to Top

Portraits of Reverend Horace Lyman, Horace Lyman Jr., William D. Lyman, and Mary F. Lyman McCoy. Includes a carte-de-visite and cabinet cards; in albumen print and silver gelatin print formats.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 87
Circa 1865-1900

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Congregational churches
  • Forest Grove, Or.
  • Missionaries--Oregon
  • Pacific University
  • Universities and colleges--Oregon

Personal Names

  • Lyman, Horace
  • Lyman, Horace Sumner, 1955-1904
  • Lyman, Mary Denison

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence