Repository: St. Louis Mercantile Library Special Collections
Title: M-370: German Sisters Captivity Letter
Date [inclusive]: 1875-01-20
Extent: 1 letter
Dimensions note: Quarto on folded folio sheet
Location note: Vertical Files.
Abstract: This retained manuscript copy of an autograph letter by Thomas Neill to the sisters Sophia and Catherine German, was an attempt to secure their release from Cheyenne Indians that had captured the girls.
Historical note: John and Lydia German, as well as their seven children, were moving by wagon via the Smoky Hill Trail to Colorado when they were attacked by a hostile Cheyenne war party. Both parents and three of the seven children were killed and scalped. Four girls were taken captive. The two youngest girls, Addie and Julie, aged 5 and 7 respectively, were rescued in a military raid in November 1874.
After the rescue of the two youngest girls, a letter was written, addressed to Sophia, aged 12, and Catherine, aged 17, by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Neill. The letter advised the sisters to read it to Grey-Beard or Stone-Calf to secure the sister's release and for the Cheyennes to submit themselves to the mercy of the government. The sisters were rescued in March 1875 and reunited with their sisters at Fort Leavenworth.
Scope and Content note: This collection consists of one retained manuscript copy of the letter that Thomas Neill wrote to the German sisters. The letter is 2 pp. Additional information is contained within the collection as well; two photocopied articles about the Indian captivity, as well as the manuscript dealer's bibliographic notation.
Controlled Access Headings:
Conditions Governing Access note: This collection is open for research. Due to the rare and fragile nature of this resource, access to the collection’s materials must be reviewed by library staff. Please contact the Library at 314-516-7247 for more information.
A digital reproduction of the letter is available on the UMSL Digital Library.
Conditions Governing Use note: Due to the rare and fragile nature of this resource, reproduction of the collection’s materials must be reviewed by library staff. Please contact the Library at 314-516-7247 for more information.
Copyright Information: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Fee Services: Fees associated with staff research time, cost recovery in reproductions processing time and materials, and licensing may apply.
Preferred Citation note: The preferred citation for this collection is "From the collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at UM - St. Louis."