Skip to main content

John Dinsmore, Jr. Papers

Identifier: MSN/EA 0503

Scope and Contents

The greater part of the Dinsmore collection, some 1200 items, consists of Rockingham County court records, retained by Dinsmore during his years as a member of the judiciary. These records range in date from January 1797 to November 1813. The majority are either writs of attachment or writs of execution issuing from minor civil suits, especially debt cases. All are signed by Dinsmore in his capacity as justice. Many of the writs of attachment are accompanied by bills, promissory notes, or other records relevant to the case; in some instances these are still affixed to the writs. Such attendant documents are also typically signed by Dinsmore. Most of the writs bear endorsements, often by the sheriff or officer to whom the document is directed, and some bear calculations of damages and court costs. There are also a small number of papers pertaining to criminal cases. Other, less extensive series in the collection include: land records (21 items, including 10 deeds to parcels of land acquired by John Dinsmore, Jr.); financial records (50 items, mostly account sheets and receipts); records issuing from Dinsmore's position as a proprietor of the Londonderry Turnpike (42 items, mostly receipts, 1805 to 1810); and papers relating to the settlement of Dinsmore's estate (44 items, 1814 to 1822). These latter include inventories of Dinsmore's real and personal estates, and an estate ledger kept by the executor, Dinsmore's eldest son, James (1788-1872).


  • Creation: 1782-circa 1920
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1782-1822


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

John Dinsmore, Jr. was born in Windham, Rockingham County, New Hampshire in January 1759, the son of John Dinsmore (1721-1793) and Martha McKeen (1723-1803). The Dinsmore (or Dinsmoor) family was of Scotch-Irish descent. The elder Dinsmore was a man of local influence, serving Windham as clerk, town meeting moderator, and selectman; he was also a justice. The younger Dinsmore likely served in the Revolutionary War before marrying Susannah Bell (1759-1807) and settling at Windham, on the family estate. The couple had at least seven children, born in the years 1788 to 1805. For more than fifteen years, from the 1790s, Dinsmore served Rockingham County as a justice of the peace. Perhaps after his wife's death in 1807, Dinsmore relocated to Londonderry, Rockingham County, where he operated an inn. In 1809 he married Mary Rogers, with whom he had two more children. He died on 15 April 1814 and was buried at Windham.


1.67 Linear Feet (4 containers; approximately 1470 documents)

Language of Materials



The personal papers and court records of the New Hampshire farmer, innkeeper, and justice of the peace John Dinsmore, Jr. (1759-1814). The greater part of the collection consists of Rockingham County court records.


The collection is arranged into nine series, as follows: 1) Dinsmore Family Genealogy; 2) Land Records; 3) Financial Records; 4) Londonderry Turnpike Records; 5) Survey Records; 6) Indentures; 7) Court Records; 8) Estate Papers; and 9) Miscellaneous. Within each series, documents are arranged topically and thereunder chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Dinsmore Papers were acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in three increments. Approximately 200 documents were purchased via eBay from Nancy Howell of Sacramento, California in an auction of 29 November 2005. A second lot of 500 documents was purchased from Howell in June 2006. A third lot of around 950 documents was purchased from Howell in November 2010. Arranged and described 2008-12, by George Rugg and Mairead O'Malley. Finding aid 2009-12, by George Rugg, Jacob Baska, and Mairead O'Malley.

John Dinsmore, Jr. Papers
Jacob Baska
July 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556