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William M. Standard papers

Collection number: ahc.MSS1031

Scope and Content

This collection consists of diaries; correspondence; military records and certificates; newspaper clippings; land deeds; and ephemera pertaining to William M. Standard. The collection also contains a school essay written by Standard's great-great-grandson, Ron Currens, and a 1961 map of Civil War battlefields on which Currens marked the route his ancestor followed during the war.

Of particular interest are over 200 letters exchanged between Standard and his wife, Jane, as well as his children, George W., Perry J., and Almira, from 1862-1865. Standard wrote about his life as a soldier and described living conditions; troop movements; combat experiences; and the character and effectiveness of fellow soldiers and officers. He also wrote about foraging and his interactions with civilians in Confederate territory; how difficult it was for soldiers to get their pay and allowances; and the incidence and treatment of camp illnesses and battlefield wounds. He wrote candidly that he did not support the war and described his political convictions, particularly his opinions of Lincoln as president and George McClellan as a presidential candidate. Letters from Jane and the children describe life on the home front, including their struggles to maintain the farm and provide for themselves in Standard's absence; their efforts to send him money and clothing; their feelings about his service; and news of friends and other family members also serving in the Union Army.


  • 1846-1970, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

William M. Standard (1823-1881) was born in Johnson County, Illinois, and married Jane Ellis (1828-1892) on May 13, 1846, in Fulton County, Illinois. The couple had six children: George W.; Perry J. (1851-1911); Almira; Harriet (d. 1861); John P. (1869-1870); and Frank. Standard was a farmer, served briefly as a rural schoolteacher, and was elected sheriff of Fulton County, Illinois, in 1857.

Standard enlisted in the Illinois Volunteer Infantry on August 9, 1862, and was assigned to duty as first sergeant of Company A, 103rd Regiment. He mustered into active service with his unit on October 2, 1862, in Peoria, Illinois. Over the course of the war, the 103rd Regiment served in the 13th, 16th, and 15th Army Corps, Department of Tennessee, and saw action in many Civil War campaigns including the Siege of Vicksburg and the Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign. During the Atlanta Campaign, Standard's unit fought at many locations in Georgia, including Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Ezra Church, Jonesboro, and Lovejoy's Station. His unit participated in General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea and was part of the "Grand Review" in Washington, D.C., on May 24th, 1865. Standard was promoted to first lieutenant of Company A on February 23, 1865, with rank effective from January 15, 1865. He was discharged on June 21, 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.

Standard returned to Lewiston, Illinois, after the war. He purchased a hotel there which he renamed the Standard House. He served as proprietor of the Standard House until his retirement about two years before his death. He died in Lewiston on October 17, 1881, after an altercation with a government agent who accused him of illegally providing liquor to a hotel guest.


1.67 linear ft. (two document cases, one oversize box and one flat file)



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 2011

Related Archival Materials

Visual materials have been separated from the collection and are unprocessed. Please contact an archivist for access to these materials.


America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2012.

William M. Standard papers
Sue VerHoef
October 2012
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305