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BRITTON (AUDLEY CLARK AND FAMILY) PAPERS

(Mss. 1403)

Inventory

 

Compiled by

Luana Henderson

2004

 

Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

 

CONTENTS OF INVENTORY

 

 

Summary

 

Biographical/Historical Note                       

 

Scope and Content Note

 

List of Series and Subseries

 

Series and Subseries Descriptions

 

Index Terms

 

Container List                                             

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

 

Size

 

1760 items, 14 v.

Geographic Locations

 

Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Germany, England

Inclusive Dates

 

1830-1929

Bulk Dates

 

1843-1912

Languages

 

English, French

Summary

 

Correspondence, business papers, financial records and family papers reflect banking, plantation operations, plantation life and social life in Natchez, Mississippi.

Access Restrictions

 

No restrictions

Reproduction Note

 

Copies must be made from microfilm when available.

Copyright

 

Physical rights and copyright are retained by the LSU Libraries.

Related Collections

 

Britton and Koontz Records, Mss. 747; W. A. Britton Account Book, Mss. 923

Citation

 

Audley Clark Britton and Family Papers, Mss. 1403, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack Locations

 

S:141-143; O:16

 

 

 

Also available as part of UPA microfilm 6061, “Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration,” Series B, Part 4, reel 1.

 

 

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE

 

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.

 

 

 

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

 

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.

 

 

 

LIST OF SERIES AND SUBSERIES

 

 

I.          Family papers, 1839-1929, n.d. (box 1, 2)

 

 

II.          W. A. Britton and Company papers, 1844-1845, n.d. (box 3, 4)

           

Subseries 1.

W. A. Britton papers, 1844-1845, n.d.

Subseries 2.

Daniel H. Downer, 1843-1845, n.d.

Subseries 3.

William McAlister, 1843-1845

Subseries 4.

Drafts and checks, 1843-1858

 

 

III.         Printed items and graphic material, ca. 1830-1935, n.d. (box 4)

           

Subseries 1.     

Photographs, (n.d.)

Subseries 2.     

Newspaper clippings, 1894, 1907, 1925, n.d.

Subseries 3.     

Illustrations, ca. 1830, n.d.

Subseries 4.     

Miscellaneous, (1895, 1897, n.d.)

 

 

IV.       Manuscript volumes, 1830-1884 (v. 1-14)

 

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.


 

 

 

SERIES AND SUBSERIES DESCRIPTIONS

 

 

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. Negotiable instruments, 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 negotiable instruments.

 

 

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

 

v. 1

1879-1880

Autograph books of Mary M Britton containing personal notes with signatures of friends and family.

v. 2

1880-1884

Autograph books of Mary M Britton containing notes, poetry and illustrations along with the signatures of friends and family.

 

Subseries 2.      Catalogue of books, n.d.

 

v. 3

n.d.

A catalog of books compiled by Audley C. Britton listing novels, books of historical, biographical and epistolary nature, and books of poetry and hymns.

 

Subseries 3.      Diary and memorandum books, 1844-1845, 1857

 

v.  5

1857

Diary, almanac and memorandum book kept by A. C. Britton contains brief notations of his arrivals and departures from New York, Boston and Philadelphia and his personal activities at the time (1857). The last few pages list individual cash accounts

v. 10

1844-1845

Memorandum book indicates letters written and received by George F.  Britton of New York; it also shows an account with W. A. Britton & Co. for the period of Dec. 1844-Feb. 1845

 

            Subseries 4. Index books, 1830-1845, n.d.

 

v. 6

1830-1831

Index for journal chiefly maintained by W. A. Britton Britton & Co. lists individuals and businesses accounts, includes seven loose sheets for John Henderson’s account.

v. 7

1831-1833

Index for journal chiefly maintained by W. A. Britton Britton & Co. lists individuals and businesses accounts, includes eight loose various accounts.

v. 8

n.d.

Alphabetical list of individuals.

 

Subseries 5.     Record books and ledger, 1830-1845, n.d.

 

v. 9

1842-1845

Account ledger of William McAlister includes an account for W. A. Britton & Co.

v. 11

1830-1832

Record book containing bank notes offered for discount, Vicksburg, Miss.

v. 12

n.d.

Record book maintained by W. A. Britton & Co. giving a numerical list of discounted bank drafts.

v. 13

n.d.

Record book of checks drawn on the account of W. A. Britton & Co.

 

             Subseries 5. Record books and ledger, 1830-1845, n.d. (cont.)

 

v. 14

n.d.

Record book of checks drawn on the account of James Sands of Mobile, Ala.; also lists accounts in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

v. 4

1843-1846

Book of check stubs for Mechanics’ and Traders’ Bank.


 

 

 

INDEX TERMS

 

(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.)

 

Terms

Series

 

 

Adams County (Miss.)—Economic conditions

I; II.1-2,4; III.3; IV.4-5

Adams County (Miss.)—History

I; II.1-4; III.1-4; IV.4-5

Air—pollution—England—19th century

I

Bankers—Mssissippi

I; II.1-2

Banks and banking 

I; II.1-4; III.3; IV.4-5

Britton and Koontz National Bank (Natchez, Miss.)

I; II.1; III.4

Britton, Audley Clark, 1822-1894

I; III.2; IV.2-3

Britton, Eliza Macrery, 1824-1907

I; III.2

Britton family

III.3

Britton, George F.

IV.3

Britton, Mary Macrery, 1863-1936

IV.1

Britton, Selah W., 1855-1929

I; III

Britton, William A.,

I; II.1

Cholera—Europe

I

City Bank (New Orleans, La.) 

II.4

Committee of Law and Order (Adams County, Miss.)

III.4

Commodities futures

II.1-2

Conner family

I

Conner, Lemuel P., Jr.

I

Cotton Trade

I; II.1

Daughters of the American Revolution--Natchez Chapter (Natchez, Miss.)

I

Davis, Varina, 1826-1909 

I

Downer, Daniel H. 

II.2

Egland—Description and travel—19th century

I

Eutaw Plantation (La.)

I

Forest landowners—Louisiana

I

Forest landowners—Mississippi

I

Freedmen—Mississippi

I; III.4

Gottingen (Germany)—Description and travel—19th century

I

Health resorts

I

Jefferson Military College (Miss.)

I

Livestock—Diseases

I

Macrery family

I; III.2-3

McAlister, William

II.3;IV.5

Mechanics and Traders Bank (New Orleans, La.)  

II.4; IV.5

Melvin James W.

I

Mississippi—History—Civil War, 1861-1865

I

Mississippi—Social life and customs—19th century

I; II.2

Natchez (Miss.)--Economic conditions

I; II.1

Natchez (Miss.)—History

I; II.1-4; III.1,4

Native American Party

II.2

New York—Description and travel

III.4

Newport Historical Society

I

Panola Plantation (La.)

I

Plantation life—Mississippi

I

Plantations—Louisiana

I

Plantations—Mississippi

I

Reconstruction—Mississippi

I

Rouget de Lisle, Claude Joseph, 1760-1836

III.4

Slaves—Mississippi

I

Stanton College (Miss.)—History—Pictorial works

I

State courts—New York

I

Stratton, Joseph Buck, b. 1815

III.1

United States—Politics and government—1841-1845

II.2

W. A. Britton and Co.

I; II.1-4; IV.4-5

Weaver, Gustine Nancy (Courson) Mrs., 1873

III.4

Westminster Abbey

I

Westminster Palace (London, England) 

I

Whig Party (U.S.)

II.2

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler—1850-1919

I

Yellow fever

I

 

 

 

 

CONTAINER LIST

 

Stack

Location

 

Box

 

Folders

 

Contents

 

 

 

 

Series I. Family papers, 1839-1929, n.d.

S:141

1a

1a-5d

Family papers, 1839-1883

 

1b

6a-9c

Family papers, 1885-1899

 

1c

10a-12b

Family papers, 1900-1929

S:142

1d

13a-14

Family papers, n.d

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Series II.  W. A. Britton and Company papers, 1844-1858, n.d.

S:142

2a

16a-19

Subseries 1.  W. A. Britton business papers, 1844-1845, n.d.

 

 

20a-20b

Subseries 2.  Daniel H. Downer, 1843-1845, n.d.

 

 

21

Subseries 3.  William McAlister, 1843-1845

 

2b

22-25d

Subseries 4.  Negotiable instruments, 1843-1858

S:143

2c

26a-29

Subseries 4.  Negotiable instruments, 1844, n.d.

`

 

 

 

 

 

 

Series III.  Printed items and graphic material,

ca. 1830-1925, n.d.

S:143

2c

30-31

Subseries 1.  Photographs, (n.d.)

 

 

34

Subseries 2.  Newspaper clippings, 1894, 1907, 1925, n.d.

 

 

32, 33, 36,

Subseries 3.  Illustrations, ca. 1830, n.d.

 

 

35

Subseries 4.  Miscellaneous, (1895, 1897, n.d.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Series IV.   Manuscript volumes, 1830-1884 (v. 1-14)

O:16

 

 

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.