Morris Birkbeck was one of the founders of the English Settlement in Edwards County, Ill. The Birkbeck Papers contain an original 1822 deed signed by Morris Birkbeck, selling a parcel of land in Edwards County to James Forest Jackson. Also included is a photocopied 1774 letter from an M. Birkbeck (probably Morris' father) to "William and Ma: Fairbank," describing his travels through the colonies visiting friends, and some land he purchased in North Carolina. In addition, the collection contains an annotated calendar of Morris Birkbeck correspondence, listing seventy-five letters, and a list of land tracts entered at the Kaskaskia Land Office by Morris Birkbeck, with a map detailing their locations.
The photocopied letter was donated to the Survey by Nancy Thomas of Richmond, England, in 1960. The calendar of letters was obtained by Walter Colyer in 1908 from Richard Birkbeck, Morris Birkbeck's grandson, and by the Survey in 1917 with Colyer's permission. Colyer also obtained the list of land tracts from the Kaskaskia Land Office Book of Applications and Receipts.