Benjamin L. Wiley papers, 1817-1946
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Brief Description: Correspondence, military records, and financial and legal material document the life of Civil War veteran Benjamin L. Wiley. The Correspondence Series consists mainly of family letters to Ben or his wife, Emily Davie Wiley, with the bulk of the letters during the years 1853 to 1878. Of note are letters from Emily to Ben while he was serving in the Civil War. Also included in the Correspondence Series are family letters (1817-1822) to Winstead Davie (Ben Wiley's father-in-law) and general business letters to Ben Wiley, who was in business in Union County before becoming a successful farmer in Jackson County. Wiley was also active in Republican party politics (he ran for state office twice), and the series contains some political letters. Military Records contains some Mexican War items, but the bulk of material is from the Civil War period, tracing Wiley's movements in and out of the service from 1861 to 1865, including special orders, letters, and receipts.
Held at:
Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
605 Agriculture Dr.
MC 6632
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618-453-2516
Fax: 618-453-3451
Email: speccoll [at]
Record Series Number: 1/6/MSS 099
Created by: Wiley, Ben L.
Volume: 7.0 Boxes
Acquired: 00/00/1986.
Arrangement: Arranged into four series:  (1) Personal, (2) Business, (3) Legal, and (4) Historical
Biographical Note for Wiley, Ben L. : Ben Ladd Wiley was born in Smithfield, Ohio on March 25, 1821. In 1845 Wiley moved to Vienna, Illinois to be with his brother John where he taught school and worked as a carpenter. In 1847  Wiley enlisted in United States Army to fight in Mexico and was enlisted until 1848 when he left the service to return to Vianna. In 1849 Wiley settled in Jonesboro, Union County and worked for Winstead Davie as a clerk, worked as a carpenter, and at the Jonesboro Gazette. In 1850 he married Emily Davie, and three years later became a traveling salesman for the Davie's family. A year after that Wiley set up a real estate business with Colonel Lewis T. Ashley in Anna and began a partnership with Paul Frick, "Wiley & Frick", and sold hardware, argricultural implements, tools, etc. In 1856 Wiley ran and lost for a congressional seat on the Republican ticket, and went on to work for Lincoln in the senate election. In 1859 Wiley became a lawyer in Illinois and moved his family to a farm in Makanda and two years later he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the fifth Illinois Calvary Regiment, but resigned citing ill health and family issues in 1862. A year later he was able to return to his post, being discharged in 1865. After his military service, Wiley was appointed to the board to select a site for an insane asylum in Union County. In 1876 he ran again for congress, and was again defeated. He died in 1890.
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted access.
Subject Index
Illinois - History - 1865
Illinois - History - Civil war, 1861-1865
Mexican War, 1846-1848.
United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865
Vicksburg (Miss.) - History - Civil War, 1861-1865
Wiley, Ben L.
Genres/Forms of Material
United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Songs and music
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright.  Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection.  Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.
Acquisition Notes: Transfer  The Ben L. Wiley Papers is an artificial collection acquired from the University Museum and other sources over a period of years.  The first transfer was in 1986 and the last receipt of material was 2008.
Related Materials: VFM 977
PreferredCitation: [Item], Benjamin Wiley Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.