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Abraham R. McIlvaine correspondence


Held at: Wallace Township Archives [Contact Us]P.O. Box 670, Glenmoore, PA, 19343

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Wallace Township Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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Abraham Robinson McIlvaine (1804-1863) was a farmer and United States Congressman from Pennsylvania. He was in office from 1843-1849 and befriended future president Abraham Lincoln during Lincoln's only term in Congress.

Abraham was born to James McIlvaine and Mary Robinson in Ridley, Delaware County, Pennsylvania in 1804. His family moved to the property that would later be known as Springton Manor Farm in Glenmoore, Chester County, Pennsylvania after his father purchased it in 1818 to raise Merino sheep. Abraham took over the running of the farm and built the Manor House in the 1830s, shortly after he married Anna Garrison Mulvaney. His political career began as a state legislator in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1836-1837.

Six years later, Abraham was elected to the 28th, 29th, and 30th United States Congresses, serving from March 1843-March 1849 as the Representative from Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District. Abraham was the chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of War for the 28th Congress (March 1843-March 1845). During the 30th Congress (March 1845-March 1847) he became good friends with future president and fellow Whig Party member Abraham Lincoln, who at the time was the Representative from Illinois' 7th district.

When Abraham McIlvaine did not receive a nomination for a fourth term in 1848, he finished out his current term and returned to his family at Springton Manor Farm. He converted it from a sheep farm to a grain farm, and later to a dairy farm. He also had grape vines on part of the property which he used to make wine, and became involved with the iron industry. Still a leader in his community following his political career, Abraham became president of the Agricultural Society of Chester and Delaware Counties, and vice president of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Society. He died in 1863 at Springton Manor.


Christensen, Lynn. "A Pennsylvanian Farming Legacy: Springton Manor Farm, an Original William Penn Estate." August 2012. Accessed February 25, 2014.

Davidson, Jane L. S. "Eggs, Stone Fences & Buckwheat: Springton Manor Farm's Agricultural Heritage." Accessed on February 25, 2014.

"McIlvaine, Abraham Robinson." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (Database). Accessed February 25, 2014.

This collection consists entirely of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, between Abraham McIlvaine and various family members, 1836-1857. Represented are his wife, Anna Garrison Mulvaney McIlvaine; his mother, Mary Robinson McIlvaine; 'Mim', who may be another family member, or one of the aforementioned people; and others. There are 556 letters, spanning Abraham McIlvaine's career as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a United States congressman and chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of War, and his post-political life. At least some of McIlvaine's outgoing letters from 1843-1849 discuss his activities in Congress. This time period was significant for the United States due to the annexation of Texas in 1845, the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and other issues of contention during pre-Civil War America. Other letters in the collection relate to Springton Manor Farm. The letters are roughly sorted by correspondent, and some of them have been photocopied.

On long term loan from the Friends of Springton Manor.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Wallace Township Archives directly for more information.

Wallace Township Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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