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WRIGHT (CHARLES L.) PAPERS

(Mss 4785)

Inventory

 

Contents of Inventory

Summary

Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

List of Subgroups and Series

Series Descriptions

Index Terms

Container List

List of Boxes by Subgroup and Series

 

Summary

Size.                                        2 linear feet.

Geographic locations.            St. James Parish, La., Lake Charles, La.; Michigan; Mississippi; Giles County, Va.

Inclusive dates.                      1884-1970.

Bulk dates.                             1907-1934.

Language.                               English.

Summary.       Personal and business papers including letters, correspondence, photographs, financial records, and printed items, especially relating to Wright’s involvement with the Excelsior Cypress Company, Timberton, St. James Parish, La.

Source.                                    Donated, 2000.

Access.                                   No restrictions.

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


Citation.                                  Charles L. Wright Papers, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Stack designation.                  32:134; OS:W



Biographical/Historical Note

Charles L. Wright (1867-1951) worked in various capacities in the lumber industry in Michigan, Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. He was born in Oakland (now Wayne) County, Mich. Wright began his career in lumber mills at the Interior Lumber Company on the upper peninsula of Michigan in 1891. He and the former Jennie Crotty (d. 1938) were married the same year.

By 1896, Wright was a shipping agent for Interior Lumber, and in 1897, the Wrights moved to Giles County, Va., where Interior Lumber Co. built a new mill. Between 1898 and 1900, Wright moved to Harvey, La. to work at the Louisiana Cypress Timber Co. Between 1900 and 1905, Charles Wright and his brother Harry established their own sawmill in Noxapater, Miss. This mill was run by Harry Wright and was in operation until about 1926. Cecil Wright (Charles’ and Harry’s brother) also worked at the Noxapater mill. The Wrights built a railroad siding, constructed the mill, built houses for themselves and the mill employees, a boarding house, and a company store.

In 1906, Joseph Rathborne (d. 1923), owner of Louisiana Cypress Timber Co. and believed to be on the board of directors of Interior Lumber Co., assigned Charles Wright the task of building the Excelsior Cypress Mill and the company town of Timberton in St. James Parish, La. Wright became 2nd vice-president of Excelsior Cypress. The mill began operating in 1907 and harvested approximately 11,700 acres of cypress in the adjacent area before closing in 1923. The mill buildings and equipment were salvaged and the town of Timberton reverted to swamp.

In 1918, Wright moved from Timberton to Neta Plantation, a 467-acre farm near Romeville, St. James Parish, La. The Wrights had two children: Charles Kenneth Lafayette Wright (1897-1991), known as Kenneth, and Ruth Evelyn Crotty Wright (1900-1993). Charles Wright was also Timberton’s postmaster. After Excelsior Cypress closed in 1923, Charles and Jennie Wright moved to Canton, Miss. Charles Wright was president of Dealers Lumber Company there until a few years before his death. Wright was a life-long Mason and attained the 32nd degree while at Timberton and served as Worshipful Master at the Canton Lodge.


After Charles and Jennie Wright moved to Canton, Kenneth Wright farmed Neta Plantation, operated a sugar mill, and was an assistant parish agricultural agent. By the 1930’s because of the Depression, he was having great difficulty making a living on the plantation. In 1935, after turning Neta over to the Federal Land Bank, Kenneth and his family (wife Elmer, daughter Beverly Ann, and son Charles) moved to Nashville, Tenn., where he worked in a creamery. Kenneth Wright returned to Neta in the early 1940’s, but left for good in 1942. He operated ice cream plants in Nashville and Metairie, La., and after retirement, moved in with his daughter in Farmville, La., where he died.

Ruth Wright attended Silliman College in Clinton, La., Mississippi Synodical College in Holly Springs, Miss., and spent two terms at a business school in Lake Charles, La. After business school, she and her roommate from Silliman, Lillian Carroll, opened the Rose Gift Shop in the Alvin Hotel in Baton Rouge. The gift shop lasted only a few months, and Ruth Wright moved with her parents to Canton, Miss. She married Leon Ollie Wright in 1927 and their only child, L. O. Wright was born in 1929. Ruth and Leon Wright owned Wright Appliance Co. in Canton and lived there until 1985. Ruth Wright left Canton to be near her son in Savannah, Ga.

Charles Wright’s brothers, Harry and Cecil, along with their brother-in-law, George Tibbits (married to Edith Wright), all worked in the timber industry. They worked at the Interior mill in Michigan and Harry joined Charles at the Interior mill in Virginia and later at the Louisiana Cypress mill in Harvey, La. George Tibbits and his sons Arthur, Charles, and Lewis also came to Harvey and all worked with Charles Wright at various times. George Crotty, Jennie Wright’s stepbrother, came to Louisiana, as well, and worked at the Morley Cypress Co. and later at the Standard Oil (now ExxonMobil) Refinery in Baton Rouge.

Scope and Content Note

Personal and business correspondence and letters, financial and legal papers, printed items, and photographs of Charles L. Wright and family and the Excelsior Cypress Co. Correspondence and letters consist of those between Wright and his children and friends, his supervisors at Excelsior Cypress, associates in the lumber industry, and business partners. Financial and legal papers consist of those relating to the operation of Neta Plantation, Wright’s personal income tax returns, insurance policies, clerk of court’s documents and correspondence relating to two lawsuits, power of attorney over matters at Excelsior Cypress Co., and documents concerning the operation of Excelsior Cypress Co. and company-owned businesses in the town of Timberton, La. Printed items consist of copies of newspaper clippings about Wright’s family and friends, greeting cards, invitations, brochures, hunting licenses, business cards, booklets, items dealing with Wright’s tenure as Timberton’s postmaster, and various other personal items. Photographs consist of those of Wright and his family and friends, scenes of Timberton and the Mississippi River, and the buildings, machinery, and operations of Excelsior Cypress Co.

List of Subgroups and Series



Subgroup 1. Charles L. Wright Family Papers

Series I. Correspondence and Letters, 1898-1942; 1970 (Box 2 and 6)

Series II. Financial and Legal Papers, 1913-1926 (Box 2)

Series III. Photographs, 1891-1935 (Box 4 and 5)

Series IV. Printed Items, 1884-1951 (Box 1, 3, and 6)

Subgroup 2. Excelsior Cypress Co. Records

Series I. Correspondence and Letters, 1906-1927 (Box 3)

Series II. Financial and Legal Papers, 1904-1924 (Box 3 and 6)

Series III. Photographs, 1907-ca. 1914 (Box 5)



Series Descriptions

Subgroup 1. Charles L. Wright Family Papers

I. Correspondence and Letters, 1898-1942; 1970

Letters between Kenneth Wright and Charles Wright about family matters and difficulties farming during the Depression; letters between Charles Wright and

Ruth Wright and Lillian Carroll about family and school matters and the opening of a gift shop; letters to and from Charles Wright and family members

and friends including thank-you notes, holiday greetings, death notices, and  livestock; a series of letters concerning the sale of property in Donaldsonville,

La.; letters dealing with Masonic issues; correspondence concerning a failed attempt at opening a dealership for Piedmont automobiles; a letter from Bessie

Colomb to Ruth Wright concerning the death of Bessie’s brother, Dr. Henry Octave Colomb, Sr.; and letters from the Baton Rouge Rice Mill Syndicate and

River Farm Bureau Rice Growers Cooperative to Charles Wright concerning the availability of seed, when to harvest rice, and news about the rice market.

            II. Financial and Legal Papers, 1913-1926

Correspondence and clerk of court documents pertaining to Charles L. Wright v. Joe Scott and C. L. Wright v. Sydney Pate; title search, farm transactions, and

ledger sheets of Neta Plantation; a rice-growing partnership agreement; federal income tax returns; Louisiana tax assessment lists; and correspondence

concerning repair of a railroad spur for use at Neta Plantation.


III. Photographs, 1891-1935

Images of Wright’s family and friends; scenes along the Mississippi River; the  Romeville high schools; Noxapater Lumber Co.; and dedication of the

Jerusalem Masonic Temple in New Orleans, La. Photographs identified by the donor.


IV. Printed Items, 1884-1951

Photocopies of a poem, advertisements, pages from the family Bible, death and  marriage notices, and a page from a National Women’s Christian Temperance

Union pamphlet; Wright’s business cards; article about the Morley Cypress  Co.; pass to the 1920 Rex Mardi Gras ball; hunting licenses; brochures; civil

service examination for postmaster; Wright’s postmaster’s certificate; U. S. Post Office charts and receipts; The Lacy Timber Digest; Christmas cards;

death notice cards; announcements; Masonic lodge membership cards; booklets; a catalog containing Wright’s field notes; automobile insurance

policies; U. S. Census of Agriculture Farm Schedule; a questionnaire from the YMCA; and certificates of Charles Wright’s membership in various

organizations.



Subgroup 2. Excelsior Cypress Co. Records

I. Correspondence and Letters, 1906-1927

Correspondence concerning repairs to a railroad spur and the sale of equipment  by Excelsior Cypress Co.; letters to and from Charles Wright and his associates

in the lumber industry concerning the business atmosphere during World War I and the lumber industry in general; letters to and from Joseph Rathborne

concerning timber lands, mill production, lumber grading, and financial matters; letters from R. C. Hawkins to J. E. Windham concerning the possibility of Excelsior Cypress purchasing their land; and a letter to the Louisiana Department of Labor concerning the legality of compelling workers to remain at Excelsior Cypress Co.


II. Financial and Legal Papers, 1908-1924

Notice to share holders, trial balance, and stock sheet from Excelsior Cypress; past due accounts from the Excelsior Saloon; power of attorney allowing

Charles Wright to handle affairs of Excelsior Cypress; hand-drawn plat of  Excelsior Cypress land; promissory notes from Interstate Trust and Banking

Co.

III. Photographs, 1907-ca. 1914

Mounted and black and white photographs of the town of Timberton, La. and Excelsior Cypress Co. buildings, machinery, and operations. Photographs identified by donor.


Index Terms

Materials about these topics are found in the subgroups and series, which are indicated by their number.


Agricultural, cooperative—Louisiana:                                                    Subgroup 1, Series I

Agricultural laborers:                                                                             Subgroup 1, Series I, II, and III

Agriculture—Statistics:                                                                          Subgroup 1, Series II

Baton Rouge Rice Mill Syndicate (La.):                                                 Subgroup 1, Series I

Depression--1929--United States:                                                        Subgroup 1, Series I

Excelsior Cypress Company:                                                                Subgroup 2, Series I-III

Farm income—Louisiana:                                                                     Subgroup 1, Series I and II

Farm life—Louisiana:                                                                            Subgroup 1, Series I-III

Farm management:                                                                                Subgroup 1, Series I and II

Farmers—Louisiana:                                                                             Subgroup 1, Series I-IV

Forest production—Louisiana:                                                              Subgroup 2, Series I-III

Freemasonry—Louisiana:                                                                     Subgroup 1, Series I, III, IV

Log transportation—Louisiana:                                                             Subgroup 2, Series I-III


Loggers:                                                                                               Subgroup 2, Series I and III


Lumber trade—Louisiana:                                                                     Subgroup 2, Series I-III


Lumbering—Machinery:                                                                       Subgroup 2, Series I-III

Neta Plantation (La.):                                                                            Subgroup 1, Series I-III

Professional education of women—Louisiana:                                       Subgroup 1, Series I

Rice—Planting—Louisiana:                                                                   Subgroup 1, Series I and II

Rice trade—Louisiana:                                                                          Subgroup 1, Series I and II

River Farm Bureau Rice Growers Association (La.):                              Subgroup 1, Series I

Rural families—Louisiana:                                                                     Subgroup 1, Series I-III

Sawmills—Mississippi—Noxapater:                                                     Subgroup 1, Series I and III

Women-owned business enterprises—Louisiana:                                   Subgroup 1, Series I

 

Container List

Location          Box     Folder             Contents

Subgroup 1. Charles L. Wright Family Papers

I. Correspondence and Letters, 1898-1942; 1970

32:134             2          1-11                 n.d., 1898

2          2                      1907-1917

2          3                      1918-1922

2          4                      1923

2          5                      1924

2          6                     1926

2          7                      1931

2          8                      1932

2          9                      1933

2          10                    1934

2          11                    1935-1942

2          12                    1970

OS:W              6          1                      1914


Location          Box     Folder             Contents

II. Financial and Legal Papers, 1913-1926

32:134             2          3                      1913-1914

2          14                    1914-1917

2          15                    1918-1919

2          16                    1920-1921

2          17                    1922-1924

2          18                    1925-1926

Location          Box     Folder             Contents

III. Photographs, 1891-1935

32:134             4          1                      Ca. 1891-ca, 1918: Charles and Jennie Wright at Neta Plantation; Kenneth (under 1916 Hudson) and Elmer Wright; Neta                                                            Plantation home; C. L. Wright at time of marriage, 1/5/1891; robbing beehives of honey; Wright home in New Orleans,                                                             1906; Ruth Wright, 1906; Ruth Wright on steps of Silliman Institute; Wright’s 1916 Hudson Super Six on Pretty Creek                                                             Bridge, Clinton, La.

4          2                      1912: Torras Crevasse at Morley, La.

32:134             4          3                      Ca. 1916: Y&MV train at Timberton Junction; “colored” houses on Neta Plantation; two views of Neta Plantation from the                                                            Mississippi River.

4          4                      1922: postcard from Mr. Peet to Charles L. Wright.

4          5                      1935: Aftermath of storm at Ferriday, La.

4          6                      n.d.: Wright’s cattle in yard at Timberton; “Kenneth [Wright] on his big steel mule” at Timberton; Charles Wright’s home in                                     Timberton.

4          7                      n.d.: George Tibbits photographs (not from  Timberton). Cypress logs on the bayou; steam skidder in the swamp; liquor                                                still; “donkey boy” with rifle.

4          8                      n.d.: Romeville High School girls basketball team; first Romeville High School; second Romeville High School.

4          9                      n.d.: Three steamboat photographs. Hale, V. L. Watson, and Imperial.

4          10                    n.d.: “Aunt Viney, Colomb’s cook at Romeville;” Colomb children.

5          1                      n.d.: Dedication at Jerusalem Temple, New Orleans, La.

Location          Box     Folder             Contents

IV. Printed Items, 1884-1951

32:134             1                                  1884: Houghtaling’s Hand-Book of Useful Information; 1912: Law for the Conservation of Game Birds, Deer, Fur-                                                            Bearing Animals, Game Preserves, Fresh Water Common Fish, Fresh Water Game Fish, Fisheries, Streams and                                                            Diamond Back Terrapin; 1919-1943: Masonic lodge membership cards; n.d.: Graton & Knight Mfg. Co. catalogue with                                                            Charles Wright’s field notes.

3          1                      1913: Instructions for taking the postmaster’s examination and trial examination.

32:134             3          2                      1914: U. S. Post Office rate table; receipt for shipping insurance for a table cloth; copy of  newspaper clipping of J. C.                                                              Rathborne’s death.

3          3                      1916: Louisiana hunting licenses; instructions for postmaster’s examination.

3          4                      1917-1918: Application for automobile registration; automobile insurance policies; certificate: “Member of the Council of                                                Defense for the Parish of St. James;” balance sheet and brochures from Piedmont Motor Co.

3          5                      1919-1951: Hunting license; reprint of article about the Morley Cypress Co.; Wright’s business cards; invitation to the Rex                                                Mardi Gras ball; The Lacy Timber Digest; pass to the Louisiana Postal Conference Convention; death notice cards and                                                reprints of newspaper articles for Joseph Rathborne; registry dispatch receipt; U. S. Post Office Supply order; copy of                                                  advertisement announcing sale of bonds in Dealers Lumber Co.; copies of obituaries for Colomb family members and Jennie                                                and Charles Wright.

3          6                      n.d.: Christmas cards; announcement of the availability of gravel for road building; YMCA questionnaire; photocopies: page                                                from pamphlet by the National Women’s Christian Temperance Union; poem; births, deaths, and marriages from the family                                                Bible; page from Jennie Wright’s cookbook; newspaper articles about Wright children’s achievements; Estelle Colomb’s                                                marriage notice; article on Dr. Charles Gelbke’s 50th year as a doctor.

OS:W              6          2                      1913: 32nd degree Mason’s certificate.

6          3                      1921: Postmaster’s certificate.

6          4                     1923: Certificate from the Ancient Arabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

Location          Box     Folder             Contents

I. Correspondence and Letters, 1906-1927

32:134             3          7                      1906-1908

3          8                      1910-1912

3          9                      1913-1914

3          10                    1916-1918

3          11                    1919

3          12                    1920-1922

3          13                    1923-1927

II. Financial and Legal Papers, 1908-1924

32:134             3          14                    1908

3          15                    1913-1918

3          16                    1923

3          17                    1924

OS:W              6         5                      n.d.: Hand-drawn plat of Excelsior Cypress Co. lands.


III. Photographs, 1907-ca. 1914

32:134             5          2                      1907: Timberton Hotel just after completion. Charles Wright at extreme left, Joseph Rathborne at extreme right.

5          3                      1909-ca.1914: 1909 postcard of Excelsior Cypress mill; exterior photographs of Excelsior Cypress mill; “gator in the mill                                                pond;” Timberton Post Office; possibly sawmill employees and wives; Timberton School; 1912: Excelsior Cypress skidder                                                at work; stacks of lumber blown over, Timberton, La.; dry kiln fire at Timberton; left to right: Milton LaBau, C. L. Wright,                                                Ruth Wright, Jenny Wright, Kenneth Wright, Mr. Patten; Ruth Wright; storm damage to lumber stacks; back of the                                                        Timberton lumber yard.

5          4                      n.d.: Lumber at Excelsior Cypress.

Location          Box     Folder             Contents

III. Photographs, 1907-ca. 1914 con’t.

32:134             5          5                      n.d.: Views of Timberton, La.

5          6                      n.d.: Charles Wright checking inventory.

5          7                      n.d.: View of Excelsior Cypress mill across log pond; Excelsior Cypress Co. mill: shipping shed at left, sawmill and planning                                                mill at right.

5          8                      n.d.: Sawmill interior, Timberton, La.; planning mill interior, Timberton, La.

5          9                     n.d.: Rail shipping shed, Timberton, La.; cypress logs in pond, Timberton, La.

 

List of Boxes by Subgroup and Series

Box Number               Contents                                                         Subgroup and Series

1                                  Printed Items                                                    1 IV

2                                  Correspondence and Letters                             1 I

Financial and Legal Papers                                1 II

3                                  Printed Items                                                    1 IV

Correspondence and Letters                             2 I

Financial and Legal Papers                                2 II

4                                  Photographs                                                     1 III

5                                  Photographs                                                     1 and 2 III

6                                  Correspondence and Letters                             1 I

Printed Items                                                    1 IV

Financial and Legal Papers                                2 II