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Oscar D. Ladley Papers

Identifier: MS-138

Scope and Content

The Oscar D. Ladley Papers consist primarily of letters written to his mother and sisters in Yellow Springs, Ohio, telling of his Civil Was experiences, and later, his life as a frontier army officer. Also included are some Civil War military records. The collection is arranged into 2 series.

Series I, Correspondence, contains letters written to and from Oscar Ladley, his mother, Catherine Ladley (see also MS-117), and his two younger sisters, Mary and Alice Ladley. Oscar wrote mainly about his experiences in the Civil War and later, his life as a frontier Army officer in the Dakota Territory. Ladley's mother and sisters wrote of friends and events back home in Yellow Springs, Ohio, politics, friends in the Army, marriages, deaths and activities at Antioch College. The correspondence in this series is arranged chronologically within each file folders and covers the years 1857-1880. All Civil War-era letters from this series (159 items) have been digitized and are available online in Wright State University's Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar):

Series II, Military Records and Papers, contains a collection papers concerning Ladley's Civil War service. Included are his commission papers, some routine quartermaster's reports, copies of orders and announcements. The documents in this series span the Civil War years, 1861-1865.


  • Creation: 1857-1880


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Oscar Derostus Ladley

Oscar Derostus Ladley was born about 1837 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the eldest child of Rev. Derostus F. Ladley and Catherine (Griffiths) Ladley. Oscar had two younger sisters: Mary (born about 1844) and Alice (born about 1846). Derostus Ladley served as a minister in several Ohio towns before moving his family to Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1852. Oscar attended Antioch College from 1853 to 1857. After leaving school, Oscar took employment in Columbus but returned to Yellow Springs in 1858, where he worked as a clerk in a dry goods store.

On April 23, 1861, less than two weeks after the Civil War began, Oscar enlisted. He served his first 90 days as a private in Company E, 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Then, he re-enlisted for three years, serving in Company G, 75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 75th fought at a number of minor battles, as well as at Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Oscar eventually reached the rank of captain in April 1864. He was mustered out at Jacksonville, Florida, in January 1865.

Oscar returned to the U.S. Army as a career in 1867. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 22nd United States Infantry. He was stationed at Fort Sully in the Dakota Territory for about 7 years. From 1874 onward, he had a number of assignments, including: New Orleans; Madison Barracks in New York; Fort Wayne and Fort Mackinaw in Michigan; Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory; and Fort Lewis in Colorado.

In February 1877 in Washington, DC, Oscar married Clementine Eulalia Davidson, a young woman whom he had met a few years earlier while stationed in New York. They had at least one child, a daughter named Clementine, who was born about 1879 in Michigan and married Edward Olmsted in 1901.

Oscar died of pneumonia on January 11, 1880, near Farmington, New Mexico. He is buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas. Oscar's wife Clementine died in 1924.


1 linear feet

Language of Materials



Oscar D. Ladley was a career army officer who fought in the Civil War with Company G, 75th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was later assigned to Fort Sully in the Dakota Territories. His papers consist primarily of letters written to his mother and sisters in Yellow Springs, Ohio, telling of his Civil Was experiences, and later, his life as a frontier army officer. Also included are some Civil War military records.

Statement of Arrangement

The papers are arranged into two series:

  1. Series I: Correspondence
  2. Series II: Military Records and Papers

Acquisition Information

The papers of Oscar D. Ladley Papers were donated to Wright State University Special Collections and Archives and Special Collections in 1980 by Ladley's great grandnieces and grandnephew (descendants of his sister Mary Ladley Carr): Corrine Odiorne Pelzl, Eve Odiorne Pelzl, and Ken Odiorne. The collection was accessioned in October 1982.

Related Material

MS-117 Derostus F. Ladley Papers

MS-155 Ladley/Carr/Totten/Harris/Odiorne Families Photographs

MS-161: Louise Odiorne Papers


The letters of Oscar D. Ladley have been published in Hearth and Knapsack: The Ladley Letters, 1857-1880 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1988), edited by Carl M. Becker and Ritchie Thomas. A copy of this publication can be found in the archives reading room under call number E525.5 75th .L33 1988.
Guide to the Oscar D. Ladley Papers (MS-138)
Finding aid prepared by Archivist, 1982; and Revised by Lisa Rickey, April, 2014.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • April 2014: The finding aid was revised.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA