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Randolph (John H.) Papers

(Mss. 355, 356)


Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Subgroup and Series Descriptions

Index Terms

Container List



Size: 3 linear feet (1081 items).

Geographic locations: Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas.

Inclusive dates: 1834-1889.

Languages: English, French.

Summary: Financial records, legal records, and correspondence of John H. Randolph. Most of the papers deal with plantation and household management, property sales, and farming concerns. Although the papers are primarily financial and business in nature, there are occasional personal items.

Related: Liddell Papers (Mss 531).

Citation: John H. Randolph Papers, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries.

Biographical/Historical Note

                         John H. Randolph
1813     Born March 24, in Lunenburg Co., Virginia, to Peter and Sallie
1819     Family moves to Wilkinson Co., Mississippi.
c. 1824  Sallie Randolph dies in Mississippi.
1832     Peter Randolph dies in Mississippi.
c. 1836  Algernon Sidney Randolph (John's older brother) dies.  John is
         appointed executor of the estate.
1837     Marries Emily Jane Liddell (daughter of Moses Liddell).
1841     Moves to Iberville Parish, La., and resides at Forest Home
1855     Purchases Nottoway Plantation.
1856     Moses Liddell dies.  John and St. John Liddell are appointed
         co-executors of the estate, and Emily receives a large
1858     Goes into partnership with Franklin Hudson and purchases half of
         Hudson's Blythewood Plantation.
1859     Moves into newly completed Nottoway mansion.
1863     Moves with Hudson to Washington Co., Texas, where they farm
         until after the Civil War.
1863     Algernon Sidney Randolph (John's oldest son) is killed fighting
         for the Confederate Army during the siege of Vicksburg.
1871     Purchases the remaining half of Blythewood Plantation from
         Hudson and also purchases Bayou Goula Plantation.
1883     Dies Sept. 8, at Nottoway.
1889     Nottoway Plantation is sold.

John Hampden Randolph (1813-1883), Louisiana planter, was born March 24, 1813, in Lunenburg County, Virginia, the fourth of six children of Peter and Sallie Randolph. Peter Randolph was a judge in the Virginia Court of Appeals. In 1819 he moved his family to Wilkinson County, Mississippi, where he practiced law until 1823 when he was appointed as a circuit court judge.

John Randolph began his career as a cotton planter in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. In 1837, he married Emily Jane Liddell, the daughter of Moses Liddell, a judge, planter, and representative in the Mississippi State Legislature. Randolph served as executor of the estate of his oldest brother, Algernon Sidney Randolph, who died circa 1836.

In 1841 Randolph moved to Iberville Parish, Louisiana, where he had purchased Forest Home Plantation from Dr. Henry A. Doyle. He first planted cotton but soon switched to sugar cane. When he began sugar production in 1844, he formed a partnership with Charles A. Thornton, who provided money, slaves, mules, and oxen in exchange for part of the crop. The partnership ended in 1848.

During the 1850s Randolph started purchasing a great deal of land, including property in Iowa and Wisconsin. Mostly he purchased land near Forest Home, notably a section on the Mississippi River that he named Nottoway. At the death of Moses Liddell in 1856, Emily Randolph received a large inheritance. In the same year, construction began on an elaborate Nottoway mansion, completed in 1859.

In 1858 Randolph went into partnership with his neighbor Franklin Hudson and purchased half of Hudson's Blythewood Plantation. During the Civil War the partners took their slaves and valuables to Washington County, Texas, where they farmed for the duration of the war on land rented from J. K. and Robert Metcalfe.

During the postwar era Randolph continued to increase his land holdings. In 1871, he purchased Bayou Goula Plantation in a bankruptcy auction and also purchased the other half of Blythewood Plantation from Hudson. After acquiring this property, Randolph began to sell parts of his holdings. In 1872 he sold Blythewood Plantation to his son Moses Liddell Randolph and Forest Home Plantation to his son John Hampden Randolph, Jr., and his son-in-law Lovick V. Feltus. Two years later Forest Home was resold to him. J. W. Burbridge and Company, a New Orleans commission house that had operated as Randolph's factor since the 1850s, purchased Bayou Goula from him in 1873 and Forest Home in 1879. At the time of Randolph's death in 1883, Nottoway Plantation and some swamp land were all that remained of his estate. Emily Jane Randolph sold Nottoway in 1889.

Emily Jane Randolph died in 1904. She was survived by ten children: Moses Liddell; John Hampden, Jr.; Ella; Emma Jane; Mary Augusta; Annie Caroline; Julia Marceline; Cornelia; Peter Everett; and Sallie Richardson. The Randolph's oldest son, Algernon Sidney, was killed during the Civil War.

For more information, see "John Hampden Randolph, a Louisiana Planter" by Paul Everett Postell in The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, v. 25 (1942), 149-223. This article is a later version of Postell's 1936 LSU thesis, "John Hampden Randolph, a Southern Planter," which includes photographs from Forest Home and Nottoway.

Scope and Content Note

The John H. Randolph Papers are primarily concerned with plantation management, and financial records form the bulk of the manuscript group. Beginning in 1834, the papers document Randolph's cotton farming near Woodville, Mississippi. After he moved to Louisiana in 1841, there are extensive records of his accounts and legal affairs. Papers document real estate sales and purchases of land in Iberville Parish, Louisiana (Nottoway Plantation, Bayou Goula Plantation, Forest Home Plantation and Blythewood Plantation); in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana (Troy Plantation); in Davenport and Scott County, Iowa; and in La Pointe, Wisconsin. Land surveys of the area surrounding Randolph's plantations in Iberville Parish are included.

Payments to hired hands (day laborers, a field hand, and overseers) are recorded in ledgers, notebooks, and contracts. There are bills and delivery receipts for household furnishings (chairs, lamps, rugs, spittoons, etc.), kitchen utensils, food, liquor, tobacco, whale oil, and coal. Other purchases documented are men's and women's clothing, stationery, and building supplies (glass, cement, shovels, wood, marble, etc.). Records include receipts and notes on parish, federal, and Confederate taxes.

There are ledger sheets on commercial accounts that Randolph kept with the commission house of Burbridge and Adams (1850-1854) and subsequently with J. W. Burbridge and Company (1854-1880) documenting the proceeds from his crops and the money paid to various firms for goods purchased. Plantation notebooks record production of cotton and sugar.

There are some slave records, including sales contracts, slave insurance, and records of their duties and production. Included also are post- war contracts with freedmen workers. There are some papers on family history and speech notes concerning the White League (one group of notes in English from 1872 and one in French from 1874).

Materials relating to the Estate of Algernon S. Randolph (John's brother) of which John Randolph was executor, cover the years 1834 through 1859, and largely deal with financial arrangements and property in Texas. John Randolph's partnership with Charles A. Thornton, who financed the cultivation of sugar on Forest Home Plantation, is documented by partnership agreements, account ledgers, debt records, and receipts (1844-1850). Some papers relate to Moses Liddell, Randolph's father-in-law, and deal primarily with Randolph's role as co-executor of Liddell's estate. Papers pertaining to Randolph's partnership with Franklin Hudson (1858-1871) include agreements between the partners, material relating to the operation of Blythewood Plantation, and records of their farming venture in Washington County, Texas (1864-1866). There is a small amount of material (1883-1889) relating to Emily Jane Randolph's management and sale of Nottoway Plantation after John Randolph's death, and there are a few letters to her from her nephew Frank Richardson, dealing mostly with family history.

Subgroup and Series Descriptions

  • Subgroup I. John H. Randolph, 1823-1890 (835 items)
    1. Financial, 1836-1883 (603 items)

Bills and receipts for money paid on notes, services rendered, and goods bought and shipped. In the late 1850s and early 1860s these show a substantial amount of household furnishings purchased and shipped to Nottoway. Records include Randolph's accounts with the commission house of Burbridge and Adams and subsequently J. W. Burbridge and Company. Various financial books and ledgers for payroll, accounts, debts, general expenses, and expenses in building the Nottoway mansion. One account book for a plantation worker, Ned Farm, and his family. Other financial records include school expenses of Carolina Griffin (Moses Liddell's granddaughter), tax records and receipts, promissory notes, and Southern Mutual Insurance Company's stock statements. (Some material housed in Oversize.)

    1. Legal, 1823-1890 (119 items)

Property titles and deeds, and surveys of Randolph's property holdings. Contracts for the mansion building and for the sale of a slave. Legal records of court case in which Emily Jane Randolph sued John Randolph for her inheritance from her father's estate. A postwar loyalty oath, legal actions on debts, and property lists. (Property surveys are housed in Oversize.)

    1. Correspondence, 1839-1879 (82 items)

General business correspondence and a few personal letters, notably one dated April 4, 1865, from his son Hampden [John Hampden, Jr.], who was serving in the Confederate Army. Correspondents include James J. Graves, John R. Liddell, James R. Gayle, Charles D. Stewart, the General Land Office, T. L. Lyon, F. D. Richardson, J. K. Metcalfe, "Aunt Susan," Richard T. Archer, Brown and Sully, M. Gillis, O. Mayo, and J. W. Burbridge and Company.

    1. Miscellaneous, 1834-1883 (31 items)

Two notebooks record cotton harvesting in Mississippi and include comments on weather, daily activities, slave clothing, cotton-picking races and finances. Three notebooks with a broad range of entries including daily activities, prices, shopping lists, debts, crop production, and weather. Papers documenting family history and John Randolph's obituary written by Frank Richardson. Speech notes on the Reconstruction politics of the White League (one in French and one in English). A list of slaves' duties during the sugar harvest and a list of post-war freedmen workers. A file of child's drawings (taken from the Ned Farm account book, which had fallen apart; a few drawings remain in the account book folder because they were on the same pages as the account records). (Some material housed in Oversize.)

  • Subgroup II. Estate of Algernon S. Randolph, 1834-1859 (136 items)
    1. Financial and Legal, 1834-1859 (131 items)

Bills, receipts, inventories, fees, letter of administration, legal settlements, and an account book. (Some material housed in Oversize.)

    1. Letters, 1854-1858 (5 items)

Letters to John Randolph concerning A. S. Randolph's land in Texas.

  • Subgroup III. Partnership with Charles A. Thornton, 1844-1850 (29 items)

Partnership agreements, account ledgers, debt records, and receipts.

  • Subgroup IV. Moses Liddell, 1841-1858 (22 items)

Receipts, notes, contracts, railroad stock certificates, a slave title, an estate payment notebook, and a will.

  • Subgroup V. Partnership with Franklin A. Hudson, 1858-1871 (106 items)
    1. Financial, 1858-1871 (84 items)

Bills, receipts, tax records, inventories, expenses, and account records. (Some material housed in Oversize.)

    1. Legal, 1858-1871 (9 items)

Partnership agreements, property agreements, Hudson's mortgage to Randolph, and a contract with freedmen laborers.

    1. Correspondence, 1861-1870 (13 items)

Business correspondence mostly dealing with financial obligations.

  • Subgroup VI. Emily Jane Randolph, 1880-1889 (24 items)
    1. Financial, 1883-1889 (17 items)

Records of an account with T. D. Miller and Company and a payroll and account ledger from after John Randolph's death. (Some material housed in Oversize.)

    1. Letters, 1880-1886 (7 items)

Letters from Frank L. Richardson.

Index Terms

Bayou Goula Plantation (La.)
Blythewood Plantation (La.)
Cotton growing--Mississippi
Forest Home Plantation (La.)
Hudson, Franklin A., fl. 1858-1871
Iberville Parish (La.)--History--19th century
Liddell, Moses, d. 1856
Nottoway Plantation (La.)
Plantation owners--Louisiana
Plantation owners--Mississippi
Plantations--Louisiana--Iberville Parish
Randolph, Algernon Sidney, d. ca. 1836
Randolph, Emily Jane, d. 1904
Randolph, John Hampden, 1813-1883
Richardson, Frank L.
Southern Mutual Insurance Company
Sugar growing--Louisiana
Thornton, Charles A., fl. 1841-1848
Troy Plantation (Catahoula Parish, La.)
White League

Container List

designations  Box       Folders   Contents
         John H. Randolph, 1823-1890 (Subgroup I)
              Financial, 1836-1883 (Series 1)
A:10 1 1-13   Bills and Receipts, 1837-1883, n.d.
       14     Promissory Notes, 1836-1865 
       15-17  Tax Records and Receipts, 1857-1879
       18     Carolina Griffin, 1845-1854
       19     Southern Mutual Insurance Co. Stock Statements, 1858-1862 
       20-21  General Financial, 1839-1875
       22     Ned Farm Account Book, 1839-1858
       23     Account Book, 1862-1865
       24     Account Ledger, 1881-1882
       25     Payroll Ledger, 1880
       26     Expense Book, 1847-1853
       27     Expense Book, 1853-1863
       28     Mansion Construction Expense Book, 1857-1858
              Legal, 1838-1881 (Series 2)
A:10 2 29-32  Property Titles and Deeds, 1840-1879
       33     Contracts, 1855-1865
       34     Emily Jane Randolph vs. John H. Randolph, 1872 
       35     General Legal, 1838-1881
              Correspondence, 1839-1879 (Series 3)
       36-38  General Correspondence, 1839-1879
       39     Letters from J. W. Burbridge and Co., 1851-1857
              Miscellaneous, 1834-1883 (Series 4)
       40     Cotton Record Book, 1834-1836
       41     Cotton Record Book, 1841-1844
       42     Plantation Notebook, 1852-1856
       43     Plantation Notebook, 1866-1868
       44     Plantation Notebook, 1868-1869
       45     Child's Drawings, no dates
       46     Family History and Obituary, 1877-1883
         Estate of Algernon S. Randolph, 1834-1859      (Subgroup II)
              Financial and Legal, 1834-1859 (Series 1)
       47-50  General Financial and Legal, 1834-1859
       51     Account Book, 1836-1851
              Letters, 1854-1858 (Series 2)
       52     General Letters, 1854-1858
         Partnership with Charles A. Thornton, 1844-1850 (Subgroup III)
              Financial and Legal, 1844-1850.
A:10 3 53     General Financial and Legal, 1844-1850
         Moses Liddell, 1841-1858 (Subgroup IV)
              Financial and Legal, 1841-1858.
       54     General Financial and Legal, 1841-1857
       55     Payment Notebook, 1851-1858
         Partnership with Franklin A. Hudson, 1858-1871 (Subgroup V)
              Financial, 1858-1869 (Series 1)
       56-58  General Financial, 1858-1869                  
              Legal, 1858-1870 (Series 2)
       59     General Legal, 1858-1870
A:10   60     General Correspondence, 1861-1870
         Emily Jane Randolph, 1880-1889 (Subgroup VI)
              Financial, 1883-1889 (Series 1)
       61     Account and Payroll Ledger, 1883-1885
       62     Account with T. D. Miller and Co., 1888-1889
              Letters, 1880-1886 (Series 2)
       63     Letters from F. L. Richardson, 1880-1886
         John H. Randolph, 1823-1890 (Subgroup I)
              Financial, 1850-1880 (Series 1)
OS:R   64     Bills and Receipts, 1858-1878
       65     Account with Burbridge and Adams, 1850-1854
       66-68  Account with J. W. Burbridge and Co., 1854-1880
              Legal, 1849-1871 (Series 2)
       69     Property Titles and Deeds, 1849-1871
       70     Insurance Policies, 1853, 1862
              Miscellaneous, 1834-1883 (Series 4)
       71     General Miscellaneous, 1834-1883
         Estate of Algernon S. Randolph, 1834-1859    (Subgroup II)
              Financial and Legal, 1836-1841 (Series 1)
       72     Account Ledgers, 1836-1841
         Partnership with Franklin A. Hudson, 1858-   1871 (Subgroup V)
              Financial, 1865-1871 (Series 1)
OS:R   73     General Financial, 1865-1871
         John H. Randolph, 1823-1890 (Subgroup I)
              Legal, 1823-1890 (Series 2)
OS:R   74     Property Surveys, Survey Notes and Partial Printed Map of
              Texas, 1823-1890
              Survey Map, 1855, "Southeastern District, LA." (Photocopy).
         John H. Randolph, 1823-1890 (Subgroup I)
              Legal, 1885 (Series 2)
Vault  75     Survey Map, 1855, "Southeastern District, LA." (Fragile;
              photocopy in folder 74).