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Guide to the Ostrom Stephen Lont Diary

MSN/EA 8004

 

Collection Summary

Title: Ostrom Stephen Lont diary
Dates: 1860
Collection No.: MSN/EA 8004
Creator: Lont, Ostrom Stephen, 1821-1893
Extent: 1 volume
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A manuscript diary for 1860 kept by a doctor named Ostrom Stephen Lont, from Mazeppa, Wabasha County, Minnesota. Accompanying the diary are around 40 unidentified carte-de-visite portrait photographs and two Lont family bibles.

Selected Search Terms

Wabasha County (Minn.) -- History
Minnesota -- History -- Sources
Minnesota -- Social life and customs -- Sources

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: Ostrom Stephen Lont Diary, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Lont diary and accompanying photographs were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2005, from Michael Brown Rare Books of Philadelphia (cat. 38, item 47). The two Lont family bibles were gifted to the Libraries in 2012 by Joyce Nolan of Walnut Creek, California. Finding aid 2009-2012, by George Rugg.

Biographical Note

There is a brief biography of Ostrom Stephen Lont in the History of Wabasha County: together with biographical matter, statistics, etc. . . . , Chicago, 1884: "Dr. Ostrom Stephen Lont [birth name Stephen Ostrom Lont] was born at Lebanon, Madison County, New York, in 1821. He dwelt there with his parents [John F. Lont (1796-1845) and Beulah Ostrom (b. 1799)] till eighteen years of age, where he received in the common schools the rudiments of an education. He early became imbued with the idea that the practice of medicine opened to a man wide opportunities for benevolence, and . . . he entered the office of Dr. V. H. Van Vleck, at Hamilton, New York, to perfect himself by combined study and practice for his chosen profession."

"Having no means he was compelled to pay his way while studying by waiting upon his preceptor, working in the harvest field, and performing any odd service that came to his hand. So closely did he apply himself that he was licensed to practice at the end of two years study, with Dr. Van Vleck. It is said that the Botanical Medical Society of New York issued his license, and when the Physio-Medical College of Cincinnati was founded by that society he received a diploma. He had at that time been practicing medicine four years, having begun when he was about twenty-three years old, at West Burlington, Otsego County. There he continued to practice until the late 1850's when he removed to Chester, Wabasha County, Minnesota, a village located about 65 miles south southeast of Minneapolis, on the north branch of the Zumbro River, on the border of Wabasha and Goodhue Counties. Here he patented 160 acres in June of 1858 and went about practicing medicine in this area . . . ."

"For two or three years during the Civil War, Dr. Lont dwelt on a farm in Chester, Wabasha County, Minnesota, and with this exception his home has been in the village of Mazeppa since his arrival to Minnesota. He had a pleasant home on First street, facing the river, where he and his faithful helpmeet dwelt in contentment . . . . Their marriage occurred on Christmas day, 1850. Mrs. Lont was christened Melissa A., and is a sister of W. D. Angell, a Mazeppa druggist. She was supposed to have been from back east, from Otsego County, New York . . . . Mr. & Mrs. Lont adopted and reared to maturity an orphan boy, Willis A., born Rogers, who got employment in a mill at Prague, in Minnesota. The couple then furnished a home to Harry E. Jamieson, who probably remained with his foster-parents till their old age."

"Dr. Lont . . . . was a staunch temperance advocate and in theology he was a modern Spiritualist. In early life he denied and vehemently combated the idea that slavery was a divinely appointed institution. He is said to have helped organize the Liberty Party in New York State, and continued there to labor for freedom until the Republican Party succeeded it . . . . From 1861 to 1864 he served as supervisor in Chester, and was instrumental in relieving that town of a draft. He had been two years chairman of the Mazeppa town board, four years village justice, and served six years in the latter capacity at Chester and Mazeppa townships. He had been twice elected president of the Wabasha County Medical Society." Lont died in 1893.

Scope and Content Note

The diary is a single, leather bound volume (14 cm.) of 88 leaves, with 172 pages of manuscript entries in Lont's hand. The first leaf bears the inscription "O. S. Lont's Diary 1860 / Mazeppa / Wabasha Co / Minnesota". The volume contains regular daily entries running from 1 January to 31 December 1860. Individual entries are brief, seldom exceeding 50 words and sometimes consisting of fewer than ten. Lont writes of the weather and other natural phenomena, of patients treated, of social activities and work around his property. In September Lont travelled to Madison and Otsego counties, New York, where he spent the remainder of the year; the latter part of the diary chronicles this trip.

An album containing 41 carte-de-visite portrait photographs and two tintypes, unidentified and undated (but most circa 1860-1890), was purchased with the diary. Nothing of the relationship between the two is known. There are also two Lont family bibles, gifted to Notre Dame by descendants of Lont in 2012.

Arrangement Note

The photographs associated with the Lont diary are held with the North American Manuscript Collections' photographic files (Folder MSN/EA 8004-04-P).

Container List

  • Diary. Ostrom Stephen Lont, 1860. (MSN/EA 8004-01-B).
    • Printed book. The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments . . . . Hartford: Hudson and Co., 1818. (MSN/EA 8004-02-B).
      Inscriptions on two rear endpapers of the volume indicate the birthdates of eight Lont family members, 1822 to 1845.
      • Printed book. The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments . . . . New York: The American Bible Society, 1828. (MSN/EA 8004-03-B).
        An inscription on what is now the front pastedown of the volume reads: "Beulah Lont this Bible was given to her by her Father Stephen Ostrom". Beulah Lont (b. 1799) was Ostrom Stephen Lont's mother. The book also contains about 14 pages of enclosures, with written and clipped information about the Lont family. Some of the inscriptions are in the hand of Ostrom Stephen Lont.
        • Photographs, circa 1860-1890. (MSN/EA 8004-04-P).
          41 carte-de-visite portraits and two tintype portraits.
          The photographs were originally housed in an album which accompanied the diary when it was purchased by Notre Dame.