Who was General James Wilkinson?

General Wilkinson was an interesting man – I have lost myself for just a few minutes this morning reading about his life.  Our new project this week is the U.S., General James Wilkinson’s Order Book, 1796-1808.  In 1796, upon the death of General Wayne, President Washington promoted Wilkinson to Major General of the Legion Army – this is after General Wayne had attempted to have him court martialed!  Are the records we are keying as interesting as the stories told about General Wilkinson?  You’ll have to download an image set or two to find out.

The handwriting on the Order pages I have seen is beautiful and the typing on the Index Entries isn’t bad either.  This is a small project and it will go quickly.  Please review the project instructions and field helps carefully.  Here are a few tips:

1. Dates on the Order pages are only being keyed if they are in the header at the beginning of the Order.  If you encounter dates as you read through the order these should not be keyed.

2. For Index Entries key only the names that appear above the dotted line.  For the Order page we are capturing all of the names on the record – except for duplicates.

3. If you encounter a record with no names it should be classified as a Cover page form type.

4. If you encounter multiple ranks enter both separated by a comma.

5. Have fun. 🙂

Happy keying!

Image sets will be made available in the next 1-2 hours.

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Just had to share this order entry from 10th Nov 1798:

The General requests the Gentlemen in Commission to forbear the bad example to the soldiery of drinking and rioting after dark, decent mirth is commendable but tumult and noise do not accord with that Regularity and order, which constitute the foundations of military excellence – The General has and always will point his labours, and his Studies, to the honor and the Interest of his profession, happy in the effects may Justify the confidence and co-operation of his subordinates, without which he is sensible, his exertions will not prove so promptly and compleatly succesful, as the Public service may require – bound however by the highest obligations of National trust, and of personal honor, he will certainly exert every means in his power, to promote the great end of his appointment and he has too strong a reliance on the Patriotism principle and good sense of his Officers to doubt the Result.

I am finding this project very interesting (the orders) just because of statements like the above–there is some really good info about military life and planning in the orders. Question: there are many variations on how ranks are written and most are not in the drop down dictionary. Captain, Capt, Captn–do I write exactly what is written? Lieutenant isn’t in the list, and the abbreviations of Lt and Lieut are not either. The project directions say nothing about rank except for the double named ranks like Lieutenant Colonel.


We key the ranks as seen, overriding the list when necessary.

Paul, that is what I have been doing, just wanted to make certain that was correct. Thanks.

Another question: on the Orders pages, there may be one or more sections with names to transcribe, but other sections on the same page that have the location and date but no names to transcribe. I can’t mark that piece as cover page without it overriding the other sections. Do I just skip those “sections” and only index sections on one page that have names to index?


There are cases where you really need that header, even when there are no names in the page, in some cases records span images. And the names are on the next page.

Here’s one. If you fail to key the header there is no way to associate the names on the second image with the correct date in processing.

G.O Head Quarters
Fort Defiance October 2d: 1797

The great irregularities committed by sundry
persons trading with the Indians, by the purchase of
their Corn, Clothing & Jewels, & of stolen Horses, makes it
necessary to the presentation of peace and good order, & to
retrench the expenditure of the Public provisions, to
forbid any person other than the natives settling within
the Reservations for Military Posts established at the treaty
of Greenville unless under the written permission of the
Commander in Chief, the Commanding Officers of Posts
are hereby required & strictly enjoined (due Notice having
been just given) to drive out all other persons from
the limits before mentioned, & to suffer no settlement
to be made within the same but in conformity to this
Order. —— Messrs

[image 2]

Messrs Anderson and Winston are permitted
to reside near Fort Miamis, Messrs McDougall & the
Hunts at this Post, And Mr McDougall only at the old
Tawa Towns. —–

@ Paul-
so I just say blank for the name in this instance you provide? Makes sense. Now what I ran into was a page that had about 4 orders, one was from the prev page, two had the location and date but no names at all, and the 4th started another order and had a name. I will go in and make each one have a blank name. If this isn’t right, would you leave a message here. Thanks.

@Dana, you can actually create sections with no records beneath them.

I wish that I could have done some of these as I live in the area of NW OH just a 1/2 hour from the former Ft Defiance and Fort Miamis is in my city of Maumee, OH.
It must have been a small image set as it is all done already.
I am retired military and I prefer to key military images, when possible.


It was about 1000 sets that were consumed voraciously by keyers.

There are still about 800 left that need reviewing.

These, and some others previously named, do not show up on my availability list to download!

@ Craig, the most likely reason you can’t see the to be reviewed sets is because you are not yet a reviewer.

There is an automatic invitation that will kick in after enough of your records have been reviewed.

But there is something of a backlog in review, and we do need reviewers. If you feel confident, you can send an email to Support, laying out your case as to why you should have review privileges turned on manually. (IE: “I read all the directions and check the wiki, and I proofread my work before submitting, etc”)

the email is worldarchivessupport@ancestry.com