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Guide to the Cheney - Minard Family Papers
Wyles Mss 8  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Cheney - Minard Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1813 - 1976
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1842-1885)
    Collection Number: Wyles Mss 8
    Extent: .8 linear feet (2 document boxes)
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
    Physical Location: Del Sur
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Cheney - Minard Family Papers. Wyles Mss 8. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. John R. Franklin, 1978.


    (The following is derived from a memorandum written by Mrs. John P. Franklin, great-great niece of Clara Cheney, for the Goleta Historical Society.)
    Clara Jane Cheney was born in Groton, New Hampshire, August 15, 1822, the last of seven children. She went to the country school in her area, then to Hebron Academy where she was exposed to the classics, literature, and the French language.
    In her journals and other writings from 1852 to 1860 Clara recorded her activities as a seamstress, staying in the home of various families in adjoining towns, cutting and sewing (by hand) dresses and clothes for the families. In 1860, November 15, she married Samuel Henry Minard, a widower, in Bristol, New Hampshire. They went to New York the same week and embarked on the steamer, "North Star" for California. After a rough passage, they landed at Aspinwall, took a train for Panama and arriving four hours later, transferred to the steamer, "Senoria" and reached San Francisco December 15, 1860. They then went to San Jose where her sister, Roxana Foster was living. The Fosters assisted them in finding property to rent, where they settled into a little house and Samuel Minard became a truck driver. Clara interested herself in her neighbors, the church, and the politics of the moment. She was unabashedly homesick for her old home and the friends of her youth, noting every letter and communication from the area.
    Samuel Minard died in June 1875 leaving Clara adequately provided for. She continued her writing including some poetry for a rally for President Grant, and in Pacific Grove, where she lived for a time, she kept records of the Pacific Grove Chautauqua. The Chautauqua Movement had originated at Lake Chautauqua, New York in 1874 as a summer retreat for the training of Sunday School teachers. It soon grew into an educational and cultural movement that included academics, music, art, humanities and physical education. Numerous independent Chautauqua assemblies were established throughout the country based upon the ideal of the original. Additionally, in an effort to reach those who could not attend these Chautauqua Assemblies," traveling circuits" or tent Chautauquas sprang up around 1907 and continued until the 1930s.
    Clara Cheney was the sister of Roxana Cheney Foster (Mrs. Isaac Giles Foster) of Goleta, California, aunt to Lucy Ann Foster Sexton (Mrs. Joseph Sexton) of Goleta, and great-aunt of Mr. Horace Sexton of Santa Barbara.
    She died at 84 in a home for the elderly in San Jose.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Primarily the writings of Clara Jane Cheney-Minard, the collection includes her journals, correspondence poems, and re-copied essays, among other things. Most of her writing focuses on personal and family-related matters such as her descriptions of nature, descriptions of school, thoughts and reflections conveyed to family members about life in San Jose, weather, health, and friends. There are some passing references to famous issues and events of the Civil War era, for example, mentions of Emancipation, Gettysburg, surrender of Lee, and the Lincoln assassination.
    There is also what is described as a "Minie ball" from Gettysburg. Its place in the collection is not further explained in the documents. Its size and shape, however, do not seem to match the description derived from several sources on Civil War arms and munitions. In 1848 a French officer, Captain Claude Minie, invented the Minie bullet, often termed a "minnie ball." Cylindro-conical (not round) with three grooves, it was small enough to drop down the bore, and its hollow base was expanded into the grooves by the gas of firing.