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(Mss. 1137, 1752)




Revised by

Kate James




Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana





Contents of Inventory



Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

List of Series

Series Descriptions

Index Terms

Container List                                                                                                                         


Use of manuscript materials.  If you wish to examine items in the manuscript group, please fill out a call slip specifying the materials you wish to see.  Consult the Container List for location information needed on the call slip.


Photocopying.  Should you wish to request photocopies, please consult a staff member before segregating items to be copied.  The existing order and arrangement of unbound materials must be maintained.


Publication.  Readers assume full responsibility for compliance with laws regarding copyright, literary property rights, and libel.


Permission to examine archival and manuscript materials does not constitute permission to publish.  Any publication of such materials beyond the limits of fair use requires specific prior written permission.  Requests for permission to publish should be addressed in writing to the Head, LLMVC, Special Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803-3300. When permission to publish is granted, two copies of the publication will be requested for the LLMVC.


Proper acknowledgment of LLMVC materials must be made in any resulting writing or publications.  The correct form of citation for this manuscript group is given on the summary page. Copies of scholarly publications based on research in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections are welcomed.






Size.                0.3 linear feet


Geographic     Wilbraham, Massachusetts; New Lisbon, Ohio; Carrollton, Ohio; and

locations.         New Orleans, Louisiana.



dates.              1830-1917 (bulk 1866-1871)


Language.       English


Summary.       Personal papers of Judge Edwin Thomas Merrick of New Orleans, chief

                        justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 1855-1856.  The papers consist

                        of bills, letters, receipts, newspaper clippings, and one printed volume.

                        The letters describe his life as a student and lawyer in Ohio, while the

                        bills, receipts, and newspaper clippings reflect his personal and

                        professional life in Louisiana, chiefly during Reconstruction. The printed

                        volume is an address given by Merrick on the Louisiana Purchase to the

                        Illinois State Bar Association. 


Organization. Papers arranged chronologically.


Access.           Original newspaper clippings are not to be accessed.  Use microfilm instead.


Copyright.       Physical rights are retained by the LSU Libraries.  Copyright of the original materials is retained by descendants of the creators of the materials in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


Citation.          E.T. Merrick Papers, Mss. 1137, 1752, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.


Stack               C:45; 99:M




Biographical/Historical Note



Edwin Thomas Merrick was born July 9, 1808 to Thomas and Ann Merrick of Wilbraham, Massachusetts.  He had a younger brother, William Winston. His father died while Edwin was still a boy, and he went to live with his uncle, Samuel Brewer, in Springfield, Mass.  At the age of nineteen he entered Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham and graduated in 1832. While in the academy he began the study of law in the office of William Knight, and after his graduation he went to New Lisbon, Ohio, where he completed his law studies in the office of his uncle, Alonzo L. Brewer.  After passing the bar examination in 1833, he began practicing in Carrollton, Ohio.  He went into partnership with William E. Russell a year later in New Lisbon, Ohio.


Merrick set up a law practice with James H. Muse in Clinton, La. in 1838.  In 1854 he was elected judge of  the seventh district, which included East and West Feliciana Parishes. He was elected chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1855 on the Whig ticket and served until 1865 when he was removed from office after being debarred under Reconstruction. One of his most famous decisions (1856) was that in Succession of Daniel Clark (11 Louisiana Reports, 124), involving the legitimacy of Myra Clark Gaines, the plaintiff. 


His law license and homes, seized in the Civil War, were later returned to him.  He was the author of several books, including Laws of Louisiana (1879), The Administration of Justice (1893), and The Revised Civil Code of the State of Louisiana (1925).


He married Caroline Elizabeth Thomas of Cottage Hall Plantation, East Feliciana Parish, in 1840, and they had four children.  Their second son, Edwin Thomas Jr., joined his father in the law practice Merrick & Merrick.


Merrick died January 12, 1897 at his home in New Orleans.



Scope and Content Note


The E.T. Merrick Papers contain items both from his early life as a student in Massachusetts and a lawyer in Ohio to his later life as a Supreme Court Justice in Louisiana and afterwards.  Materials in this collection are bills, letters, newspaper clippings, a printed volume and receipts. The letters, written from 1830-1838, describe his life as a preparatory school student in Massachusetts, a law student, and his early cases in Ohio, as well as personal matters relating to his family and friends.  The financial papers (1855-1871, 1917, n.d.) form the majority of the collection and consist of bills and receipts for taxes, repairs, books, merchandise, produce, medical care, school tuition, and other personal, family and household items, chiefly for the early years of Reconstruction.  The printed items (1874, 1876, 1904) consist of newspaper clippings and a printed volume.  They reflect his life as a lawyer in private practice after serving as a State Supreme Court Justice.  The newspaper clippings are from The Daily Picayune (New Orleans) and New Orleans Democrat.  The printed volume is  a copy of a speech by Merrick entitled The Louisiana Purchase: a paper delivered before the Illinois State Bar Association, May 25th, 1904. 


Newspapers available on microfilm in the LLMVC at Mf: 138 and Mf:893.



List of Series


Series I. Letters, 1830-1838

Series II.  Financial Papers, 1855-1871, 1917, n.d.

Series III. Printed Items, 1874, 1876, 1904.


Series Descriptions

Series I. Letters, 1830-1838

The letters record Merrick's early life in Ohio and Massachusetts. They were written to Merrick's mother, Ann Merrick, and his brother, William Winston Merrick.  Twelve of the letters were written from Ohio while Edwin Merrick was living and working as a law student, then as a practicing lawyer. In these, Merrick describes his life in Ohio, including social events and the winters there, and his court cases. One case Merrick mentions involves the theft of potatoes.  The Merrick family’s financial and personal affairs are also discussed.  Two letters from 1830 record his activities as a student in Wilbraham, Mass.

Series II. Financial Papers, 1855-1871, 1917, n.d.

Comprised of bills and receipts for repairs, paint, professional fees, newspaper subscriptions, tuition, books, magazines, stationary, medical and dental care, dry goods, groceries, furniture, carpet, glassware, taxes, office rent, and miscellaneous.

Series III. Printed Items, 1874, 1876, 1904.

The Daily Picayune (May 19, 1874) newspaper clipping contains an article describing a robbery of about $200 worth of household items at Merrick’s house in New Orleans.  A newspaper clipping from the New Orleans Democrat  (July 25, 1876) describes various political news, including the presidential race of Hayes vs. Taft, Louisiana Congressional races and an editorial about Reconstruction.


Due to fragility of newspaper originals, use microfilm instead. Newspapers are available on microfilm in the LLMVC at Mf: 138 (Picayune) and Mf:893 (New Orleans Democrat).

The printed volume is a copy of a speech given by Merrick entitled The Louisiana Purchase:  a paper delivered before the Illinois State Bar Association, May 25th, 1904.


Index Terms


Illinois State Bar Association.                                                    Series III

Judges—Louisiana—New Orleans.                                          Series II, III

Law partnership—Ohio.                                                           Series I

Lawyers—Louisiana.                                                                Series II, III

Lawyers—Ohio.                                                                       Series I

Lisbon (Ohio)—Maps.                                                             Series I

Louisiana—Politics and government—1865-1950.                    Series III

Louisiana Purchase.                                                                  Series III

Merrick, Ann.                                                                           Series I

Merrick, Edwin Thomas, 1808-1897.                                       Series I, II, III

Merrick, William Winston.                                                        Series I

Mississippi River—Description and travel—19th century            Series I

New Lisbon (Ohio)—Maps.                                                     Series I

New Orleans (La.)—History—19th century.                             Series II, III

Preparatory school students—Wilbraham (Mass.).                    Series I

Reconstruction.                                                                         Series III

Russell, William E.                                                                    Series I

Trials (Robbery)—Ohio.                                                           Series I

Winter—Ohio.                                                                         Series I



Container List


Stack Location







Series I. Letters








Series II. Financial Papers
















1869-1881, 1917, n.d.




Series III. Printed Items




The Louisiana Purchase: a paper delivered before the Illinois State Bar Association, May 25th, 1904





newspaper clippings, 1874-1876



* Due to fragility of newspaper originals, use microfilm instead.  Newspapers are available on microfilm in the LLMVC at Mf: 138 (Picayune) and Mf:893 (New Orleans Democrat).