Click the images below for bigger versions:
Templeton, Joseph
Manuscript Archive of the Rev. Joseph Templeton and family, of St. Louis, Missouri, including correspondence, land documents, business, legal and personal papers, dated 1810s- 1910s.

Archive consisting of 166 letters (313 pages), plus approximately 560 pieces of paper ephemera, manuscript and some printed items, of which about ⅓ concerns land and properties (deeds, grants, property maps, taxes, etc) mostly in St. Louis, and elsewhere, and with about ⅔ being other business, legal, and personal papers (household and daily expenditure receipts, repairs and services receipts, insurance policies, rent receipts, estate papers, loans, etc.), all dated between the years 1819-1911.

$ 3000.00 | Contact Us >
The Rev. Joseph Templeton was born at Wheeling, Virginia, about 1805. He studied at Washington & Jefferson College, Class of 1835. He was stated to have been acceptable in society, respectable in studies, active in all religious movements, a complete and very popular man. At school he studied theology, obtained licensure and ordination somewhere in the south, and seems to have preached first at Delmonica, Georgia, and traveled as an evangelist as far as New Orleans. Returning, he settled as pastor at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and did not confine himself closely to his charge, but frequently and with astonishing success, held large meetings over all that part of the state and gathered great multitudes into the churches. He appears to have been pastor at Hopkinsville, at which, and also in a neighboring church, the accessions amounted to hundreds, and the whole country swept with a tide of religious feeling, he had no peer in the country.

Rev. Templeton married Eleanor Sharp, daughter of Fidelio C. Sharp, Esq., a man of great wealth and influence. Together the couple had at least five children.

From the Presbytery of Muhlenburg he was dismissed to that of St. Louis, where he was received, October 15th, 1844. There he edited a religious paper, supplying churches at the same time. Templeton was listed in the 1845 St. Louis City Directory as pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 6th & St. Charles Streets (later called the Central Presbyterian Church), founded in 1844. Rev. Templeton helped to organize this church. The 1850 Census shows Templeton in St. Louis, at Delta Home, by himself, listed as 45 yrs old. In 1849 the Rev. Templeton joined the editorial staff of the St. Louis Herald. By 1860 Census, his wife and children are found living with him in St. Louis' 1st Ward. He had personal and real estate of $ 6000 each.

Through the money which came into his hands by marriage, Templeton was drawn into business speculation, which gradually absorbed his mind and time and engrossed all his energies, withdrawing him from the duties of the ministry. His Presbytery arraigned him in 1859 for this and graver charges. He frankly admitted and bitterly lamented the charge of secularity but persistently denied the others. He was suspended from the ministry and communion of the church. Returning to Kentucky with his children, he spent the rest of his days at Hopkinsville with his mother-in-law, a devotedly pious woman.

His physical system soon became wholly unstrung and he was confined to an invalid's chair, and his time was taken up in pious meditation, conversation, Bible reading, and prayer.  Rev. T. C. Tate, still his devoted friend, wrote an affecting account of these habits to the Presbytery of St. Louis, which then, believing that the graver charges had been unfounded and the penalty excessive, promptly reinstated him in the church and ministry, October 14th, 1875. However, Rev. Templeton died that very day and was buried at Riverside Cemetery, Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky.

The vast majority of materials in this archive dates from the period of the 1840s-1860s, with smaller sections from the 1830s, and the time period of 1900-1911 (a later generation of the Templeton family). Of the 166 letters, 11 of them are incomplete. There are no envelopes; however many of the letters are folding letter sheets.

The archive contains slightly over 725 separate items, with mostly all related to the Reverend Joseph Templeton and family from the 1810s to the 1910s.  The majority of the archive is focused on Templeton's dealings in land and real estate in St Louis from the 1840s and 1860s, during a time when he appears to have left the ministry and became a businessman, and was handling the estate of his father-in-law Fidelio C. Sharp, who was a wealthy lawyer and large land owner. 

The over 550 pieces of paper ephemera consists of documents relating to Templeton's extensive land and real estate dealings,  including invoices and deeds primarily related to building houses, land purchases, rentals, mortgages, along with travel related items.  There are several manuscript plats and surveys drawn of the area including one that shows the Mississippi River. Additionally, there are items related to well-known St Louis residents of the period.

The 166 letters include both business and personal correspondence. A number of them are several pages long.  Many of the letters have interesting content including discussion related to the Civil War and its onset around 1861.  Of the 166 letters, the vast majority includes incoming correspondence to the Rev. Joseph Templeton (87 letters), with a number of these being written by Fidelio C. Sharp (15), Isaac Landes (15), Robert McKee (22), Alexander Sampson (2), and E. J. Sharp (2). Others were written to Templeton by various business associates. There are also 16 outgoing letters written by Templeton that are included in this collection. Fidelio C. Sharp also writes a couple of letters to his uncle Col. F. C. Sharp. The letters written by Alexander Sampson are interesting in that he was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, and one of the leaders of the mob that attacked Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois. There are also several handwritten sermons and notes for sermons by Templeton along with religious essays

A biography of Fidelio C. Sharp, Templeton's father-in-law, states that, "Although a man of limited education, he was one of the most profound lawyers, in his specialty; of all his contemporaries....As a "land lawyer" he was probably without an equal in the Christian County bar. In those days there was considerable trouble regarding land titles, involving much litigation, and to this branch of the legal profession he gave the closest attention, familiarizing himself with its every detail. In land suits, the side upon which Fidelio Sharp appeared was usually the winner." Thus, there is much of the way of "land" material in this archive, as Templeton acted as executor of Sharp's estate.

Sample Quotes from the letters:

Norfolk, Virginia, 10 Aug 1836

"My Dear Sir [Joseph Templeton],

A few days since your polite epistle came to hand, and with much pleasure I have complied with your request, and now send you this sheet containing such and answer as I deem proper, though it may not be satisfactory. There are not many schools in this place for the size of it; consequently all schools are well sustained.  Classical schools are few I know of but two, one is by a gentleman a worthy member of our church, the other by an Episcopalian parson.  The former is limited select and is full, the latter I imagine from its size overflows.  Mr Duncan lately removed from here to Randolph Macon College has a large and profitable classical school...

As to a Female Academy here, a gentleman remarked after having read your letter, a person well qualified, who would make it a prominent profession, could realize more than twelve hundred dollars per annum by a female school in the higher branches of science.  A female high school taught by a gentleman would be popular and profitable..."                                                        J. D. Matthews

Greensboro, Dec 4th, 1838 [addressed to Rev. Joseph Templeton at Dahlonega, Georgia]

"My dear Brother

It has been exceedingly gratifying to us to hear of your acceptableness to the people up there and of your usefulness and hope that you will conclude to remain there and make full proof of your ministry.  The troubles thro which you have passed ought not to discourage you.  They will in the end I have no doubt act to the furtherance of your usefulness, the folly, to say nothing of the wickedness of the people of Cassville in arresting you and that other brother will operate against the missionary cause by deterring any from the north from entering that field.  You are now acclimated and will not be liable to any more attacks.  The Presbytery will probably do something in relation to that affair at its next meeting.  I shall be holding anyone to a strict accountability who charges another member of the Presb. or a Licentiate with abolitionism.

The committee at Athens are very anxious I understand for you to remain and occupy that ground.  I had a conversation with Dr McDowell in relation to you and that field and he expressed a strong desire for you to remain.  He says that it will be easier to obtain men for Texas than for the Cherokee Country.  You are now known and your influence in that region will increase every year...

Those brethren urged me very much to remove to Midway to become the general agent of the Oglethorpe University.  It is a very important work but I did not feel it to be my duty to undertake it..." Francis Bowman

Laurenceville, June 24th, 1841

"Dear Brother Templeton,

Yours of the 14th Inst from Zanesville was received by last evening's mail. I hasten to reply to your several interrogatories. The condition of the churches in Geo is much the same as in other regions at the present day.  All is comparatively lifeless, little spirituality, the pursuit of vanities and worldly pleasures gains more attention than the cause of Christ.  We have heard very recently of what is usually denoted a revival of religion in one or two places, Macon and Washington and one or two other places.  But I suppose they are only excitements in the ME churches, my soul is sick of such revivals. 

Bro Capeles has left Macon and Bro Hoyt I think is about to succeed him. Others will be vacant - And I am told it is thought it will be a very difficult matter to obtain a minister on whom they will harmoniously unite. With Capeles leaving M. is connected a gloomy succession of events, first he and his wife disagreed, reports says she used him very unkindly, report now says he used her very unkindly.  Their difficulties at length became public and were investigated by the church - he resigned his charge, which resignation was accepted.  Mr C. was about to leave for Philad. when Mrs C. was taken sick within some ten days thereafter she expired, died they say of neurosis, so ends this mysterious and most lamentable affair...

Things are tolerably still in the Cherokee country at present.  Carter it is said will leave Marietta this summer or autumn.  I believe all have deserted him.  Rev J.W. Waddell will I presume settle there.  He has recently visited and preached for them, he left a few days since...The church in Cherokee is still rent but there begins to be symptoms of returning reason about some of them whom Carter defended..."                                                                                                             John S. Wilson

Lexington, April 25th, 1850

"Dear Uncle.....Many very many are starting for California across the plains - business is good, property advancing handsomely & a very pretty prospect opening up to business pushing shrewd energetic young men. I think if my two will be satisfied to remain here they will do well."  F. C. Sharp

July 16th, 1861

"Rev. Joseph Templeton

Soon after hostilities broke out on account of the unhappy differences between the North and South which were once so happy in each other's love and confidence but since I have had no reply...I am opposed to this war because I think that remedy for secession will create a worse state of feeling between the hostile sections than existed before and will ever be used as a greater cause for separation than that formerly used, in other words the cure is worse than the disease, I am for the old flag, the old constitution, the old landmarks and for the strictest enforcement of the laws of the land which have been enacted and agreed to for the protection of all the people in every section and of every species of property, recognized by the federal compact..."                                 S. F. Dunlap

Hopkinville, Kentucky Oct 6, 1861

"Rev. J. Templeton,

Our mails has been interrupted by reason of the occupation of the Confederate Troops of the Nashville Railroad. The mails from & to S. Louis go by way of Henderson now. How long this will be the case I am not prepared to say in as much as Hopkinsville is now occupied by Confederate Troops and will be probably till the war is over and it is likely that our mail facilities will all be cut off...2000 and upwards of confederate troops are camped here at the fairgrounds and more are coming.  The few Federals who were here in camp "absquabulated" [sic] as soon as they heard of the confed's coming.  They left in 'double quick."  The Confeds are making the Union men give up their Lincoln guns every day.  They are scouring the country and bringing in the arms daily..."                   J.C.Mc