The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid


Navarre-Williams Family Papers, 1815-1980s



Size: 1.5  lin. feet

Provenance: Helen Williams Lang inherited the material in this collection from her father and mother and, probably in a few cases, from her father’s first cousin Gabrielle Navarre Houk.  She donated part of this collection to The Ward M. Canaday Center of The University of Toledo Libraries in 1983.  In 1989, Helen Lang’s daughter, Judy Lang, donated the remainder of the collection to The Canaday Center.   

Access: open

Related Collections: 

Copyright: As copies of Federal records, copyright probably does not apply to entries in this volume. The original application files are part of Record Group 15, Records of the Veterans Administration, in the National Archives.  Researchers bear full legal responsiblity for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.


Completed by:  Processed by Paul M. Gifford April 1986, and Nola Skousen, September 1989


Reformatted by: Arjun Sabharwal, September 2009




            This collection consists of material relating to the family of Alexis (Alexander) Navarre (1800-1868) and his descendents.  The Navarre family was among the earliest settlers of Oregon Township, and was prominent in the history of northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.  The collection includes deeds, other land and property documents, marriage and religious records, tax receipts, school memorabilia, a few Civil War and Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) documents and letters, newspaper clippings, and photographs.


            These papers would be useful to the researcher interested in the early settlement of Oregon Township and Toledo, in land tenure among the early French-Canadian settlers, and in 19th century life in and around Presque Isle.


            There are no restrictions on access to, or use of, this collection.


Scope and Content Note


            Toledo has long held Peter Navarre (1788-1874) in esteem as a symbol of the city’s beginnings and as a hero of the War of 1812.  Members of the large Navarre family also were among the original settlers of Monroe and Detroit, Michigan.  This collection is significant as documentary evidence of one of the best-known families in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio.


            Original copies of warranty deeds comprise a large part of the collection.  Although the chain is broken in some cases, the deeds (and mortgages) document the transfer of title between owners.  The deeds concern three nearby tracts, all in the northwest corner of what is now the City of Oregon.  The first is a sixty acre parcel, originally part of the Navarre Tract, sold by Alexis (Alexander) Navarre, brother of Peter, to his brother James in 1840.  The second is a twenty-eight acre parcel, originally part of a tract granted to an Ottawa woman, Pe-tau.  This parcel has remained in the hands of descendants of Mary Elizabeth (Navarre) Williams, daughter of Alexis Navarre, ever since.  The third tract is a five acre parcel owned by Peter Momany, great-grandfather of the collection’s donor.


            Although the deeds themselves are duplicated in the records of the Lucas County Recorder, other documents sometimes accompanying the deeds -- loans and receipts -- are not.  These additional documents are valuable as evidence for methods of selling land in 19th century Lucas County.


            Other documents are legal and financial records, including 19th century tax receipts.  One document, the marriage certificate of James (Jacques) Navarre to Catherine Couture, deserves special notice.  Signed by Father Gabriel Richard, early religious and intellectual leader of territorial Detroit, it was probably printed on Richard’s press, the second one in the frontier city.


            Another significant part of the collection are the photographs.  Many of these were taken by Cleo Keller, a friend and neighbor of the Navarre and Williams families; they provide good informal views of late 19th century life.  There are also tintypes and ambrotypes dating from the Civil War.

            Also of interest are a few Civil War letters that describe events in camp, mention the capture of a Colonel, and discuss the practice of paying for a substitute to serve in the army.


Box-Folder Inventory


Box     Folder Description


  1                                Marriage and Religious Records

                1                              Marriage Certificate: Jacques Navarre-Catherine Couture,

                                                   20 Feb. 1815

                                                Marriage Announcement: Guy K. Houk-Gabrielle Navarre,

                                                   30 Jun. 1897

                                                Confirmation Certificate: Elmer Lang, 23 Apr. 1916 (with

                                                   photographs of Lang and Pastor Schuh)

OVERSIZE #1                      Marriage License: Exivia Navarre-Anna McCarty,

                                                   22 Jan. 1871

OVERSIZE #1                      Baptismal Certificate: Elmer Lang, 30 Mar. 1902


                2                  Estate Records

                                                Will: James Navarre, 1855

                                                Quitclaim: James Navarre, 1858

                                                Will: Catherine Navarre, 1858


                                    Land Records

                3                              1830s

                                                            Pe-tau (Indian woman) to Marquis Baldwin,

                                                               23 Feb. 1836 (1896 copy)

OVERSIZE*                          Stephen G. Austin et al. to James Navarre,

                                                               7 Nov. 1837

                4                              1840s

                                                            Alexander and Mary Ann Navarre to James Navarre,

                                                               27 Jul. 1840

                                                            (Bill of Sale) Alexander Navarre to James Navarre,

                                                               27 Jul. 1840

                                                            (Property) Francis Navarre to Exivier Navarre,

                                                               9 Sep. 1841

                                                            Lucas County to Daniel F. Cook, 11 Jan. 1848

OVERSIZE*                          Marquis Baldwin and wife to John Fitch, 18 Oct. 1844

                5                              1850s

                                                            (Lease) James Myers to Antoine Berdioux,

                                                               18 Mar. 1853

                                                            John Fitch to Warren Salsbury, 13 Jul. 1853

                                                            Alexander Navarre to James Navarre, 17 Jun. 1854

                                                            Sheriff, Lucas County, to Alexander J. Navarre,

                                                               25 Mar. 1859

                                                            Stephen and Harriett Arquett to Peter Momany,

                                                               23 Apr. 1859




Navarre-Williams Family Papers



Box   Folder


  1                                (Land Records)

                6                              1860s

                                                            Alexander J. Navarre to Exivia Navarre, 24 Aug. 1860

                                                            Jonathan Wynn et al. to Cadwalader M. Williams,

                                                               4 Sep. 1865

                7                              1870s/80s

                                                            Exivia D. and Anna Williams to Cadwalader M.                                                                        Williams, 23 Aug 1871

                                                            (Quitclaim) C. M. and Elizabeth Williams to Exivia D.                                                             Navarre, 28 Mar. 1874

                                                            (Mortgage) Cadwalader M. and Elizabeth Williams to

                                                               James Dupont, 3 Sep. 1880

                8                              1900s

                                                            (Mortgage) Peter Momany to Peter B. Bogart,

                                                               8 Oct. 1900

                                                            Cadwalader M. and Elizabeth Williams to Thaddeus

                                                               Williams, 2 Jan. 1912 (with copy)

                                                            (Life lease) Thaddeus and Rena Williams to

                                                               Cadwalader M. and Elizabeth Williams, 2 Jan. 1912

                                                            (Receipt) Nora Smith to Thaddeus Williams,

                                                               23 Jan 1912

                                                            (Receipt) Alta Liedel to Thaddeus Williams,

                                                               23 Jan 1912

                                                            (Real estate option) Cad M. and Elizabeth Williams to

                                                               Thaddeus Williams, 4 Mar. 1919

                                                            (Real estate option) Thaddeus and Rena Williams to

                                                               Walker Montgomery, 4 Mar. 1919

                9                              1930s/40s

                                                            Thaddeus Williams to Rena A. Williams, 12 May 1930

                                                            C. Archie Williams to Helen W. Lang, 16 Aug. 1948


                10                Other Legal Records

                                                Summons, to Alexander Navarre et al., Lucas County

                                                   District Court, 10 Apr. 1857

                                                Citation, Alexander Navarre et al, next of kin to Catherine

                                                   Navarre, Lucas County Probate Court, 19 Jun. 1858

                                                Chattel mortgage, Exivia Navarre to Arbuckle & Ryan,

                                                   28 Dec. 1879

                                                                                    Louis Dupont, Peter Momany et al. vs. Mary E. Rhodes et al.

                                                   Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, 8 Jun. 1897


                                    Financial Records

                11                            Bills and receipts, 1832-1893

                                                Tax receipts

                12                                        James Navarre, 1838-1855

                13                                        Alexander Navarre, 1842-1868




Navarre-Williams Family Papers



Box   Folder

  1                                (Financial Records)

                                                (Tax Receipts)

                14                                        Alexander J., Exivia, and David Navarre, 1856-1916

                15                                        Miscellaneous, 1851-1857


                                    Civil War/Grand Army of the Republic

                16                            Certificate of Muster (1981) and GAR memorabilia

OVERSIZE #1                      Discharge, Cawallader (sic) M. Williams, 21 Jul 1865


                17                Letters, 1856-1898


                18                School related items


                19                Biographies

                                                “Autobiography (sic) Cadwell A. Williams”

                                                Drafts of autobiography, Helen W. Lang


                20                Research and Speech Notes


                21                Newspaper clippings


               22                 Miscellaneous

                                                Inventory of “Relics”


                                                            Peter Navarre’s portrait

                                                            Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876

                                                Boody house menu, Washington’s Birthday, 1912

                                                Calling cards

                                                            Robert C. Navarre, U.S. Lighthouse Keeper

                                                            Mrs. C. M. Houk

                                                Programs (2) for dedication of the Navarre Monument,

                                                   4 July 1914

                                                Essay: “A Body That Cannot Contain Itself”

                                                Obituary (handwritten speech) for Mrs. Elizabeth Kenan

                                                   Houk, 1903



                23                            C. Archie Williams and Helen Williams Lang

                24                            Elmer Lang

                                                Individuals and Small Groups

                25                                        (1 of 2)

                26                                        (2 of 2)

                27                            Groups

                28                            Places

                29                            Tintypes

                30                            35mm Slides (copies of Cleo Keller photographs)

                                                see Oversize listing in Appendix




Navarre-Williams Family Papers


Box     Item


                                    Photograph Albums and Scrapbooks

                31                            Photograph Album/Music Box, ca. 1860s/70s

                32                            Scrapbook: “The Girl Graduate,” Helen Williams, 1920-23

                33                            Scrapbook: Greeting Cards and Postcards, ca.1910s/20s


                34                            Scrapbook: Picture Cards, 1884-early 1900s

                                                see Oversize listing in Appendix




Navarre-Williams Family Papers





                                    Marriage and Religious Records

                                                Marriage License: Exivia Navarre-Anna McCarty, 22 Jan. 1871

                                                Baptismal Certificate: Elmer Lang, 30 Mar. 1902


                                    Civil War

                                                Discharge, Cawallader (sic) M. Williams, 21 Jul 1865



                                                Boody House Barber Shop, ca. 1910s

                                                Boody House Office, ca. 1910s

                                                Dinner Party [ca. 1920s?]

                                                Military group

                                                Homer Ramey

                                                woman, 1934


                                                Cased ambrotypes and tintypes, 1850s-70s




                                                taken by Cleo Keller

                                                            Individuals (one section)

                                                            Groups (three sections)





                                                            numbered (see 35mm slides; folder 29)




                                    Photograph Album, 1860s/70s



                                    Photographs: Individuals (4 ea)



                                    Photograph Album, 1860s/70s





Last Updated: 1/3/12