The Bennetts and the Morrills were related pioneer families in Silver City, NM. Cornelius Bennett was a town founder, and served as a school trustee and probate judge. John B. Morrill was a councilman, and operated the general store J.B. Morrill and Co.
The collection contains chiefly photographs, along with legal documents, correspondence, and family memorabilia. Cornelius Bennett materials consist of family correspondence and photographs, tax receipts, stock certificates, and indentures. Other legal documents relate to his partnerships in the following companies: Bennett Bros. & Co.; J.T. Bennett & Co.; Bennett, Van Wagenen & Co.; and Bennett and Bailey. Also included are documents relating to the local Masonic Lodge.
The Morrill family materials include correspondence, family photographs, and legal papers of husband and wife Charles Morrill and Nettie Bennett Morrill; John B. Morrill and Lettie Bennett Morrill, and their son, Charles B. Morrill. Photographs depict individuals, along with group activities. Some photographs are identified, such as the L.C. Cattle Co. Both formal studio portraits and casual exterior snapshots are included. Subjects include mining operations and Silver City scenes, notably a parade, the Butterfield Stage, and the interiors of Morrill's general store, Porterfield's Drug Store, and the Morrill Opera House, along with actors in costume. A Silver City madam's album contains photographs of the ladies engaged in activities outside the house, such as riding horses with cowboys. Miscellaneous items include materials concerning other Silver City founders, deeds to property, and a manuscript copy of an 1879 petition to the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of New Mexico to repeal the charter incorporating the town.