BRITTON (AUDLEY CLARK AND FAMILY) PAPERS
Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections
Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library
Louisiana State University Libraries
Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University
CONTENTS OF INVENTORY
Also available as part of UPA
microfilm 6061, “Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great
Migration,” Series B, Part 4, reel 1.
Audley Clark Britton was a banker and planter of Natchez, Miss. He and his wife, Eliza Macrery (1824-1907) married in 1851, and together had four daughters, Selah W. (1855-1929), Eliza B. (1857-1926), Mary Macrery (1863-1936) and Ruth A. Britton (d. 1929). Audley’s brother, William A. Britton, was a partner in W. A. Britton & Co., a Natchez banking house with interests in New Orleans, La.; in addition, as an agent for the Nautilus Insurance Company of New York, he issued life insurance policies on slaves. Audley and William Britton joined with George M. Koontz in 1866 in consolidating their financial interests to organized Britton & Koontz Bank in Natchez, Miss.
Family letters and papers of the Audley Clark Britton and related William A. Britton families of Adams County, Miss., concern family matters, personal and social activities, plantation life, travel, health, cotton production, investments, banking transactions, bank stock, audits, commodity prices and trade.
I. Family papers, 1839-1929, n.d. (box 1, 2)
II. W. A. Britton and Company papers, 1844-1845, n.d. (box 3, 4)
III. Printed items and graphic material, ca. 1830-1935, n.d. (box 4)
IV. Manuscript volumes, 1830-1884 (v. 1-14)
I. Family papers, 1839-1929, n.d.
Family papers, mostly correspondence, of the Audley Clark Britton and related William A. Britton family relate to banking, financial matters, plantation life, personal activities, health, travel, and social life. Early papers (1839-1858) include correspondence, along with other receipts, accounts, and court documents relating to Joseph J. West, et al vs. William A. Britton (April12, 18, 1842). A letter to W. A. B. advises the destruction of all correspondence related to this case (Saturday morning, ca. 1842). One account is for clothing purchased by George F. Britton. (Dec. 16, 1843). Other letters relate the spread of cholera in Europe (Aug. 7, 1854), a description of England that includes depictions of Westminster Abby and Westminster Palace and remarks on art exhibitions and the air pollution produced by mining coal (Aug. 30, 1857).
A group of Civil War letters by James W. Melvin, overseer of Eutaw Plantation, Concordia Parish, La., relate to plantation management. He reports on the scarcity and cost of food and supplies; illnesses affecting slaves, giving symptoms and remedies; hiring of slaves by the Confederate Army (Nov. 20, 1862, n.d.); flooding (Jan. 1, Feb. 11, 1863). He describes an infection spreading amongst the livestock that may have also infected to some slaves (Oct. 1862). Other letters reflect civilian life during the Civil War, expressing fear of the Union army and measures taken to protect the plantation (Feb. 11, 17, March 13, 21, April 7, 16, July 8, Dec. 20, 1863). He also writes of the “negroes” leaving the plantation and the attempts to recover them (May 9, 1865). W. A. Britton letters comment on the dangers of traveling by steamer (Dec. 22, 1863, April 15, 1864) and the financial market (Aug. 12, 1864), and the cotton market (July 27, 1865, April 16, 1868); and Audley C. Britton writes that life was changed by the Civil War (June 19, 1866).
In later correspondence Albert Wheelock writes of his years in California, commenting on the repaid growth of San Francisco (May 4, 1875); Alfred Thayer writes from Germany, describing the town of Gottingen and student life (Aug. 21, Sept. 19, 1886; Feb. 2, 3, March 28 1887); and Britton family members describe their stays at hot springs health resorts (Sept. 20, 1886; 1890). Papers contain letters from Ella Wheeler Wilcox inviting the Britton sisters to visit (Sept. 14, 22, 1888), and an autographed copy of her poem, The Birth of the Opal (Aug. 16, 1888).
Lemuel P. Conner, Jr.’s early letters (1887-1888) are to Mary Britton prior to their marriage; his later letters concern the presence of yellow fever (Aug. 28, Oct. 21, 1905), and documents from the Mississippi Board of Health certify that the bearer has not been exposed to the disease (Aug. 2, 1899, n.d). Other letters by Lemuel P. Conner relate to cotton prices, personal finances, and family matters.
The majority of the papers after 1898 are those of Selah Britton and Eliza Britton. They consists mostly of personal correspondence, but also contain invoices and receipts for goods and services, letters concerning business transactions, a picture postcard of Stanton College, Natchez, Miss. (June 6, 1909), invitations, Selah Britton’s passport (June 6, 1903), and miscellaneous items related to the Newport Historical Society (1910-1915). A letter to Eliza gives a short history of the Britton family and property the family once owned in Newport, R. I. (Dec. 6, 1905). Additionally, papers include a document (192-) containing inventories of livestock, equipment, and timber at Black Hawk, Ashland and Panola plantations that were acquired by A. B. Learned, as well as descriptions, locations, and value of his other properties. Among these properties are plantations and timberland located in Concordia and Tensas parishes, La.; Jefferson and Claiborne counties, Miss.; Polk County, Florida; a sawmill and lumber business; and residences in Natchez, Miss. The inventory of the Black Hawk Plantation contains remarks on the plantation's ownership by Britton & Koontz and by the firm's partner, George W. Koontz.
Undated papers consists mostly of family correspondence, but include a list of New Orleans businesses with notes on their investment risks, a pass verifying that Selah Britton and family member were not exposed to yellow fever, and two notes to Eliza Britton from Varina Davis discussing her health and an invitation to visit (n.d). Printed material in this series consists of a St. Valentine’s Day card sent to Mary Macrery Britton (Feb. 20, 1882), bulletin for West End Institute announcing the academic term beginning Sept. 28, 1882 (n.d.), wedding announcement (Oct. 17, 1908), an invitation to the Natchez High School commencement exercises (1908), an invitation the Daughters of the American Revolution, Natchez Chapter, to commemorate the unfurling of the first U. S. flag on Mississippi soil, and a program for the exercises of the Jefferson Military College, Washington, Miss.
II. W. A. Britton and Company papers, 1844-1845, n.d.
Subseries 1. W. A. Britton business papers, 1844-1845, n.d.
Business correspondence of W. A. Britton relate to W. A. Britton & Co. and banking transactions, bank stock, audits, commodity prices and trade. Correspondence also contains letters pertaining to a civil suit against W. A. Britton & Co. disputing the value of currency issued.
Subseries 2. Daniel H. Downer papers, 1843-1845, n.d.
Correspondence of Daniel H. Downer, an associate of W. A. Britton & Co., concerns some business matters, but relates primarily to personal activities and social events. Mention is made of the growing political strength of Native American Party and the weakening of the Whig Party (April 10, 1844) and the rising value of domestic dry goods (Jan. 28, 30, 1844).
Subseries 3. William McAlister papers, 1843-1845
Papers of William McAlister consist of a promissory note payable at W. A. Britton & Co. (Oct. 17, 1845) and accounts for farming equipment and clothing.
Subseries 4. , 1843-1858
Bank drafts issued mostly by W. A. Britton & Co. (1843-1858) and cancelled checks drawn on City Bank of New Orleans, La. and Mechanics' and Traders' Bank of Natchez (1844) comprise these .
III. Printed items and graphic material, ca. 1830-1935, n.d.
Subseries 1. Photographs, n.d.
Photographs of Dr. J. B. Stratton (n.d.) and the Britton family home in Natchez, Miss. (n.d.).
Subseries 2. Newspaper clippings, 1894, 1907, 1925, n.d.
A movie review of The Awakening, obituaries for Audley C. Britton, Eliza Britton and Selah Britton and a clipping on the marriage of Andrew Macrery to Letitia Hagan.
Subseries 3. Illustrations, ca. 1830, n.d.
Illustrations include sketches of the Britton family mausoleum (n.d.), floral drawings hand painted by Mary Macrery (ca. 1830), three playing cards, and type specimens for bank notes (n.d).
Subseries 4. Miscellaneous, 1895, 1897, n.d.
Miscellaneous printed items consists of a broadside announcing an auction for property held by Britton and Kootnz National Bank in Natchez, Miss. (n.d.), a broadside distributed by the Committee of Law and Order in Adams County, Miss., reporting the murder of Paul Johnson, a planter, by Ed Carter, an African-American tenant farmer (n.d.), business cards, a printed copy of the poem The Marseilles Hymn [in French] by Joseph Claude Rouget de l’Isle entitled (n.d.), time tables for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (1895, 1897) advertisements for books, including The Gustine Compendium, and sightseeing tours in New York by the American Sight-seeing Coach Co. (n.d.).
IV. Manuscript volumes, 1830-1884
Subseries 1. Autograph books, 1879-1884
Subseries 2. Catalogue of books, n.d.
Subseries 3. Diary and memorandum books, 1844-1845, 1857
Subseries 4. Index books, 1830-1845, n.d.
Subseries 5. Record books and ledger, 1830-1845, n.d.
Subseries 5. Record books and ledger, 1830-1845, n.d. (cont.)
(Materials related to the persons, places, and things listed on the right may be found in the series and subseries, as represented by their respective numbers.)