L. Tom Perry Special Collections
Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
1 box (5 linear inches)
Guthrie, Samuel, chemist; born Brimfield, Mass., 1782; son of Samuel and Sarah Guthrie; attended College of Physicians and Surgeons, N.Y.C., 1810-11, Univ. of Pa., 1815; married Sybil Sexton, 1804, four children, Alfred, Edwin, Harriet, and Cynthia. Moved from Sherburne (N.Y.) to Sackets Harbor, N.Y., 1817, practiced medicine, set up experimental chemistry laboratory; said to have invented an effective priming powder called "percussion pill" and punch lock for exploding it which together made the flintlock musket obsolete; devised process for rapid conversion of potato starch into molasses, 1830; made "chloric ether" by distilling chloride of lime with alcohol in copper (later proved to be chloroform). Author:The Complete Writings of Samuel Guthrie(collection of letters and comments), 1832. Died Sackets Harbor, Oct. 19, 1848. Collection contains correspondence, patents, legal documents, genealogies, newspaper articles, obituaries, and historical accounts by or about Samuel Guthrie and other members of the Guthrie family. The correspondence between Samuel Guthrie and his daughter Harriet Guthrie Chamberlain concern personal and family matters and describe Samuel's patents on chloroform and the percussion cap. Items by Alfred Guthrie include information about the steamboat inspection and regulation in the United States and a detailed account of his brother Edwin's war experiences during the war with Mexico (1845-1848). Other materials also relate to the westward movement of the 1840's, the Anti-Mason party, and the presidential election of 1828 and inauguration of 1829.