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O'Fallon family papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-2729

Scope and Contents

The papers include correspondence, photographs, and other papers documenting activities of United States Indian Agent Benjamin O'Fallon and his extended family. Most correspondence consists of letters to Benjamin O'Fallon, concerning Indian affairs in Missouri Territory and throughout what is now the western United States, as well as Missouri politics during the transition from territory to statehood; correspondents include Henry Atkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, William Clark, John C. Calhoun, Henry Leavenworth, John O'Fallon, and Zachary Taylor. The papers also include material relating to O'Fallon's daughter Ellen O'Fallon Smith and her husband Francis J. Smith; Smith's parents, Reuben Smith and Susan Horine Smith; and Susan Horine Smith's father Jacob Horine and grandfather Thomas Madden. The Smith and Horine family papers consist of correspondence and documents including land grants signed by President James Monroe, deeds and other land transactions in Missouri, marriage contracts, estate records, and three bills of sale for slaves purchased by Jacob Horine in 1810 and 1820. The collection includes approximately seventy photographs, including two daguerreotypes but largely dating from the later nineteenth century; these are mostly unidentified portraits of members of the O'Fallon, Smith, Cooper, and Vaughan families of Missouri and California. The papers also include an oil painting by Benjamin O'Fallon's grandson A.D.M. Cooper showing the O'Fallon Mill in Jefferson County, Missouri; and a pistol and powder horn.


  • 1803-1910


Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 2 (pistol and powder horn): Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The O'Fallon Family Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from William Reese Co. on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2011.


Organized into three series: I. Photographs, circa 1845-1910. II. Correspondence, 1810-1841. III. Other Papers, 1803-1903).


2.05 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Benjamin O'Fallon

Benjamin O'Fallon was born in Kentucky in 1793 to physician James O'Fallon and Frances Eleanor Clark. Following James O'Fallon's death that same year, Frances Clark remarried twice, first to Charles Thruston and then to Dennis Fitzhugh, and had four more children. Benjamin O'Fallon and his older brother John were raised in part by their uncle, the explorer William Clark, in St. Louis. Clark established Benjamin O'Fallon in business as a young man, and in 1817, in his capacity as Governor of the Missouri Territory, appointed O'Fallon "Agent for Indian Affairs for the tribes on the Mississippi above the Oisconsin within the Missouri Territory." In 1819 President James Monroe appointed O'Fallon “Indian Agent on the Missouri.” O'Fallon made an expedition to the Yellowstone River in 1825 to treat with tribes at Council Bluffs, and then resigned from his position in early 1827 due to ill health. In 1823 O'Fallon married Sophia Lee (1806-1882); they had six children: Frances O'Fallon Cooper (1830-, married David Middleton Cooper), John O'Fallon (1832-), William O'Fallon (1836-1921), Charles O'Fallon (1838-1912), Emily O'Fallon (1840-1915), and Ellen O'Fallon Smith (1841-1914, married Francis J. Smith). O'Fallon died at his home outside St. Louis in December 1842.

O'Fallon-Smith-Horine Family

Ellen O'Fallon, Benjamin O'Fallon's youngest daughter, married Francis J. Smith (1827-1877) in 1860. Smith was the son of Reuben Smith (1786-1828) and Susan Horine (1805-1835); Susan Horine was the daughter of Jacob Horine and Margaret Madden. Francis J. Smith served as a Lieutenant in Company F, 2nd Regiment Missouri Mounted Infantry in the Mexican War, and later as captain of a cavalry unit in the Confederate army. Ellen and Francis Smith had three children: Albert Sidney Johnston Smith (born 1869), Anita Frances Fitzhugh Smith (born 1872), and John O'Fallon Pope Smith (born 1874). By the 1880s, much of the extended O'Fallon family, including Sophia Lee O'Fallon, Ellen O'Fallon Smith, Emily O'Fallon, William O'Fallon, and Frances O'Fallon Cooper had relocated to San Francisco and San Jose, California.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are chiefly based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the O'Fallon Family Papers
by Beinecke staff
October 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

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