St. Louis Public Radio News
9:21 am
Thu May 28, 2009

Preservationists complete work on Civil War-era archives

St. Louis – Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced the completion Wednesday of a massive effort to preserve key court archives from the post-Civil War era.

The St. Louis Circuit Court documents date from 1866 through 1868, and give a glimpse of a nation recovering from war.

Among the cases preserved was that of a slave owner who sued a ship captain for transporting a runaway.

There are also records of people who sought divorces over adultery and venereal disease, and even a lawsuit over fire insurance from showman "PT" Barnum.

After more than a century of neglect, the records were restored and digitally scanned. They'll eventually go online.

The post Civil War project was part of a wider effort to preserve and make public court documents dating back to the late 1700s.