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Samoan land commission records, [microform]. 1887-1895
Ormsbee, Ebenezer Jolls, 1834-1924.
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  Microfilm 292  Microfilm  Microforms Room 

Personal Author : Ormsbee, Ebenezer Jolls, 1834-1924.
Title : Samoan land commission records, 1887-1895 [microform].
Physical Description : 30 folders.
Summary :

A portion of the Ebenzer Jolls Ormsbee papers covering the years Ormsbee spent in Samoa as U. S. Land Commissioner. The collection consists of Series II, Samoan land commission records (MSC 34:4-33). The records of Ormsbee as land commissioner in Samoa include copies of correspondence with the U.S. Department of State, particularly Secretaries of State James G. Blaine, John W. Foster, and Walter Q. Gresham; Assistant Secretary of State William F. Wharton; and Frank Partridge, a Vermonter who was solicitor for the Department of State. The letters discuss the work of the commission, the fact that the task defined by the 1889 treaty which was to have taken two years was probably going to take much longer, and some dissatisfaction of the commission expressed by the Natives' Representative, Arthur E. Claxton. There is also a copy of a letter from King Malietoa of Samoa, March 2, 1892. The correspondence of the last four months, December 1892-March 1893, concerns Ormsbee's resignation and the subsequent hesitation on the part of the State Department and the president to accept it because of the possible affect on the work of the commission. There are also reports, memoranda, and public notices (1892-1893) of the land commission made up of Ormsbee and the English and German commissioners Bazett M. Haggard and T. Greiner. An office diary kept by Ormsbee, January 1892-February 1893, describes work of the commission, enumerates claims processed and the outcomes, and includes clippings from the Samoa Times reporting on the commission.

In addition to official papers, there are photographs and many copies of speeches about Samoa that Ormsbee and his wife, Frances, gave upon their return to the United States in 1893. There is also a personal diary Ormsbee kept during his tenure in Samoa that occasionally mentions work or social activities but is mostly a record of the weather. As well, there is an essay and notes written by the Ormsbee's adopted daughter, Carrie Wyckoff Ormsbee. Correspondence mentions Robert Louis Stevenson, and there is an 1892 luncheon invitation to the Ormsbees from him, as well as two typed copies of a speech or essay by Stevenson's mother, Mrs. Thomas Stevenson, dated July 8, 1892.

Reproduction Note : Microfilm Middlesex, Vt. : Department of Public Records, State of Vermont, 2007. 4 microfilm reels; 35 mm.
Location of originals : Vermont Historical Society Library. 60 Washington Street, Barre, VT 05641-4209.
Source : Forms part of the Ebenezer Jolls Ormsbee Papers.
Personal Subject : Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894.
Geographic Term : Samoan Islands Foreign relations United States.
Samoan Islands Description and travel.
Samoan Islands Social life and customs.
Added Author : Ormsbee, Frances, 1838-1916.
Ormsbee, Carrie Wyckoff.
Blaine, James Gillespie, 1830-1893.
Foster, John Watson, 1836-1917.
Gresham, Walter Quintin, 1832-1895.
Wharton, William Fisher, 1847-1919.
Partridge, Frank C. (Frank Charles), 1861-1943.
Claxton, Arthur E.
Malietoa Laupepa, King, 1841-1898.
Haggard, Bazett Michael.
Greiner, T.
Stevenson, M. I. (Margaret Isabella), 1829-1897.