Language Translation
  Close Menu

Robert Wesley McBride

Robert W. McBride Papers
L 288, V 251, OB 6, OBC 4
2 mss. boxes, 2 vols., 2 ov. folders
Manuscript Section, Indiana Division
Indiana State Library

Reprocessed by: Christina Baich, March 2006


Biographical Note:

Robert Wesley McBride was born on January 25, 1842, in Richland County, Ohio. His parents were Augustus and Martha A. (Barnes) McBride. At age 13, Robert moved with an uncle to Iowa. In 1859, he began teaching in the Iowa public schools. He returned to Ohio in 1862 and enlisted in the 7th Ohio Independent Squadron of Cavalry, more commonly known as the Union Light Guard. This squadron became bodyguard for President Abraham Lincoln, serving as mounted escort of the President until his assassination. McBride was discharged in September 1865.

After the Civil War, McBride returned to his first profession, teaching, and worked in Ohio and Indiana public schools. In 1866, he moved to Indiana and settled in Waterloo, DeKalb County. Over the next year, he studied law and was admitted to the bar (April 1867) and began practicing in Waterloo (September 1867). On September 27, 1868, he married Ida S. Chamberlain.

In 1882, McBride was elected Judge of the 35th Judicial Circuit, which comprised DeKalb, Noble, and Steuben counties. He held this post for six years. In June 1890, McBride moved to Elkhart, Indiana. After losing his bid for a seat on the Indiana Supreme Court to Judge J. A. S. Mitchell, he was appointed by President Harrison to a commission to investigate matters on the Puyallup Indian Reservation in Tacoma, Washington. However, Justice Mitchell died suddenly and McBride was appointed to fill his seat in December 1890. McBride immediately returned to Indiana to accept the post. He left the Supreme Court bench when his term ended in January 1893 and moved to Indianapolis to resume the practice of law. He was also the Vice-President of the Wheelway League, an association that created and maintained a bicycle path (“wheelway”) on the canal towpath between Indianapolis and Broad Ripple in 1896.

In 1904, McBride became counsel for the loan department of the State Life Insurance Company. Months before his death, he wrote Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, in which he told of glimpses he got almost daily of President Lincoln during the last sixteen months of the Civil War. He died on May 15, 1926.


Banta, Ray E., comp. Indiana Authors and their Books, 1816-1916. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1949.

Taylor, Charles W. Biographical Sketches and Review of the Bench and Bar of Indiana. Indianapolis: Bench and Bar Publishing Co., 1895.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection contains some correspondence and a large number of speeches of Robert McBride. There are also some papers regarding the Union Light Guard as well as a pamphlet written by McBride and several drafts of his manuscript for Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln. A small amount of legal papers and papers relating to the Waterloo Rifle Company and Wheelway League are also included. Various membership and appointment certificates are included in the large collection as well as the oversized folders.

The volumes are a record book in which McBride wrote a regimental history of the Union Light Guard and tracked the soldiers who served in the regiment and who attended reunions and a meeting book for the Waterloo Rifle Company that includes meeting minutes (1880-1886) and the company’s constitution.

The collection is organized into Correspondence, Speeches, Union Light Guard manuscript and papers, and other business-related papers.  Each series is organized chronologically.

Box and Folder Listing:

Box 1. Correspondence, 1863- 1925, undated & Speeches, 1892-1922
1. Correspondence, 1863-1890
2. Correspondence, 1900-1905
3. Correspondence (copies), 1900-1905
4. Correspondence, 1923-1925
5. Correspondence, n.d.
6. Correspondence (copies), n.d.
7. Speeches, 1892-1895
8. Speeches, 1905-1912
9. Speeches, 1913
10. Speeches, 1914
11. Speeches, 1915
12. Speeches, 1916
13. Speeches, 1917-1919
14. Speeches, 1920
15. Speeches, Mar.-Aug. 1922
16. Speeches, Sept.-Dec. 1922
Box 2.  Speeches, 1923-1924, undated, Manuscript, & Other papers
1. Speeches, 1923
2. Speeches, 1924, n.d.
3. Speeches, n.d.
4. Union Light Guard, 1908-1919, n.d.
5. Manuscript of Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1926
6. Manuscript of Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln with preface by Albert J. Beveridge, 1926
7. Manuscript of Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln with publisher’s notes, 1926
8. Legal papers, 1886-1890, n.d.
9. Certificates, 1865-1896
10. Waterloo Rifle Company papers, 1879-1883, n.d.
11. Wheelway League papers, 1896-1897
12. Miscellaneous papers, 1867-1909
251-1 Record book written by McBride containing a regimental history, list of soldiers, and signatures
                of individuals attending the reunions of the Union Light Guard
251-2 Meeting book of the Waterloo Rifle Company of DeKalb County, Indiana
Folder 3. Certificates, 1863-1896
1863 Sept. 1 Certificate appointing McBride Third Sergeant in Company A of the 48th Regiment of
                                 the Ohio Volunteer Militia
1879 Apr. 10 Certificate appointing McBride a Notary Public in DeKalb County, signed by Governor
                                James D. Williams
1879 Sept. 15 Certificate appointing McBride Captain of the Waterloo Rifles, a company of the Indiana
                                 Legion duly organized at Waterloo in DeKalb County, signed by Governor James D. Williams
1881 Nov. 17 Certificate appointing McBride Captain of the Waterloo Rifles of Waterloo, Indiana,
                                signed by Governor Albert G. Porter
1882 Nov. 16 Certificate appointing McBride Judge of the 35th Judicial Circuit, signed by Governor
                                Albert G. Porter
1884 June 23 Certificate appointing McBride Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Regiment, Indiana Legion,
                                signed by Governor Albert G. Porter
1890 Dec. 17 Certificate appointing McBride Judge of the Supreme Court of Indiana, signed by
                                Governor Alvin P. Hovey
1891 Jan. 6 Certificate appointing McBride Judge of the Supreme Court of Indiana, signed by
                                Governor Alvin P. Hovey
1896 Feb. 29 Certificate from Indiana State Department certifying the Articles of Association for
                                The Wheelway League
Folder 12.  Certificates, 1888-1889
1888 Aug. 6 Certificate appointing McBride Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Regiment, Indiana Legion,
                                signed by Governor Isaac P. Gray
1889 Apr. 17 Certificate appointing McBride Colonel of the 3rd Regiment Infantry, Indiana Legion,
                                signed by Governor Alvin P. Hovey

Collection Information:

Size of Collection:
2 manuscript boxes, 2 volumes, 2 oversized folders
Collection Dates:
Mrs. J. P. Hoster, 9 September 1941 and February 1954
Access: This collection is open for research.
Reproduction Rights:
Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.  Possession of a reproduction from an Indiana State Library collection does not constitute permission for use.
Language Materials are entirely in English
Alternate Formats:
Related Holdings:
I 923 L736m, Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln


Search the Indiana State Library's Online Catalog.