Natchez-Area Manuscript Collections

The Mississippi River is one of the predominant geographical features of the United States. It simultaneously divides and links the country, demarcating the east from the west while serving as the artery of communication through which has passed the enterprise and the soul of the nation. The Mississippi River has defined the contours of the lands it drains and given shape to the culture, the economy, and the politics of the communities that draw sustenance from it.

For this reason, when LSU history professor Edwin Adams Davis began in 1935 systematically to collect the papers of the families that settled and prospered in the region and the records of the plantations and businesses they built and maintained, he gave no thought to distinguishing among those who were divided by the almost artificial political boundaries of the states. His interest was in documenting and preserving the rich history and culture of the Lower Mississippi Valley. Over the years, the department he founded at LSU has developed into one of the premier repositories for such materials in the nation.

In 1985, Louisiana State University renovated the original library building on its Baton Rouge campus specifically to house its growing collections of manuscripts and rare books. The Department of Archives and Manuscripts was renamed the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC), highlighting the scope of its mission to collect and preserve. It was combined administratively with the collection of printed materials related to the history and culture of the region, creating an integrated center for research.

Preserved in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU are more than 5,000 manuscript groups, totaling 25,000 linear feet in extent. The collections include the papers of individuals and families; the records of plantations, merchants, and financial institutions; and the records of political, social, and labor organizations. The most important of these collections relate specifically to the families and enterprises in the Lower Mississippi Valley, from Memphis to New Orleans, and are especially strong in the Natchez, St. Francisville, and Baton Rouge areas. This guide concentrates on collections relating to Natchez and Adams County, Mississippi, as well as to the four Mississippi counties surrounding Adams County: Amite, Franklin, Jefferson, and Wilkinson. All were part of the original Natchez District of the Spanish period, and together they form the southwestern corner of the state, bordering Louisiana on two sides of a triangular geographical area.

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McGehee, J. Burruss (John Burruss). Papers, 1816-1951. 18.5 linear ft, 64 volumes. Location: 8:3-12, P:5-6, OS:M. Plantation owner in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and Wilkinson County, Mississippi.Correspondence, business records, and printed items reflect the business ventures in agriculture, railroads, and real estate of John Burruss McGehee, his father, Judge Edward McGehee and his son, James Stewart McGehee. Early papers contain references to slaves and the destruction of Bowling Green Plantation by Union troops. Personal papers and photographs provide a family history and the genealogy of the McGehee and Stewart families. Mss. 1111, 1156, 1157.

McGehee, James Stewart, 1860-1945. Collection, 1724-1929 (bulk 1862-1880). 5 ms. vols. Location: H:1. Planter and businessman of Wilkinson County, Mississippi, and St. Louis, Missouri. James' grandfather, Edward McGehee, owned Bowling Green Plantation in Mississippi, and was president of the West Feliciana Railroad. Collection contains typewritten copies of McGehee family papers including reminiscences, biographical sketches, genealogical notes, diaries, and obituaries. Includes an account of the Veal family, a family of slaves associated with the McGehees. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 326.

McGehee, James Stewart, 1860-1945. Papers, 1826-1912 (bulk 1903-1904). .25 linear ft. Location: C:26, OS:Mc, VAULT:21, VAULT MRDF 6. Planter and businessman of Wilkinson County, Mississippi. His grandfather, Edward McGehee, owned Bowling Green Plantation in Mississippi and was president of the West Feliciana Railroad. Papers include family letters, McGehee's autobiography, the history of a slave family, and financial documents. Includes items related to the destruction of Bowling Green Plantation in Mississippi by Union and African American troops. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2302, 2789.

McMurran, Alie Austen, d. 1899. Journal, 1856-1889 (bulk 1856-1878). 1 v. Location: G:18. This typescript copy of the journal of Alice "Alie" Austen McMurran recounts her marriage in Maryland and subsequent life in antebellum Natchez, Miss.; her life in Natchez and Maryland during the Civil War; political and social events at the close of the war; and family affairs in Mississippi and Maryland during the three years after the war and sporadically recorded through 1878. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4304.

McMurran, John T. and family. Papers, 1820-1895. 0.2 linear ft. Location: S:121. Planter, lawyer, and state senator of Natchez, Mississippi. Correspondence and business and legal papers of John McMurran, his wife, and their daughter, concern travel, social life, and the administration of the Woodlands and Killarney plantations. Letters mention judgeships in Mississippi, the funeral of Henry Clay, the sale of the plantation of a mulatto politician, the effects of Reconstruction, and problems of plantation management during Reconstruction. Also included are estate papers of William B. Griffith and papers of William T. Griffith while a student at Oakland College, Mississippi. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 3, Reel 18. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1403.

McMurran-Austen Family Papers, 1846-1878; 1942, undated (bulk:1856-1868). 0.6 linear feet. Location: U:298, OS:M. John T. McMurran family of Melrose in Natchez, owners of Louisiana plantations, son John, Jr., married Alie Austen of Maryland. Primarily correspondence related to family matters, the Civil War, home life, politics, plantation operation, and attitudes toward federal forces. Newspapers clippings, cartes de visites of family members, a household inventory, J. T. McMurran, Jr.'s discharge from the Confederate army in 1862, and military passes are also present. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4795.

Mercer, William Newton. Papers, 1789-1936 (bulk 1827-1874). 2 linear ft., 2 microfilm reels. Location: U:1, UU:79-81, VAULT:1, OS:M, MSS.MF:M. Surgeon and planter of Adams County, Mississippi; Louisiana; and Illinois. Collection includes slave records, diaries, business and personal correspondence, and financial documents. Correspondence includes letters from Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Butler. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 6061 and 5322: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reels 9-10, and Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series I, Part 3, Reels 1-3. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 292, 1051, 1233, 1364.

Mercer, William Newton. Slave List and Inventory, 1846-1848. 2 items. Locations: Misc.:M, OS:M. Plantation owner of Adams County, Mississippi. A booklet titled "List of Negroes" lists the names and ages of slaves, and in some cases the names of parents and other family members at William Newton Mercer's Buckhurst, Ellis Cliffs, Ormande, and Laurel Hill plantations (1846-1848). Lists date from 1846 with later notations in 1847 and 1848. Also included is an inventory of clothing distributed to sailors aboard the USS Jamestown (ca. 1845-1847). Inventory is signed by Master Wilmer Shields who later served as the manager of Mercer's plantations. Mss. 5210.

Merrill, A. P. and Aylett Buckner. Papers, 1787-1870 (bulk 1830-1860). 0.5 linear ft., 1 volume. Location: U:228, M:19, OS:M. A. P. Merrill of Natchez, Mississippi, was a physician and the cashier of the Agricultural Bank. Aylett Buckner settled in Natchez around 1830, where he was an attorney, cotton factor, and director of the Commercial Bank of Natchez. Collection primarily consists of financial and legal papers of Merrill, Buckner, and Jane Dunbar Ferguson, a planter of Washington, Adams County, Mississippi. Other items include plats of the property of Abner Green and the deed to Patesi Plantation and its slaves. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 598.

Metcalfe, S. W. Letter, 1819 Sept. 15. 1 letter. Location: Misc. S.W. Metcalfe writes from Washington, Miss., to her husband, Dr. James Metcalfe, in Natchez commenting on the health of their son John, the conduct of their servants, and food shortages in Washington and Natchez during a yellow fever epidemic. The letter was annotated at a later date by John Metcalfe. Mss. 4056.

Referenced in Guides: Medicine, Natchez, Mississippi

Minor family. Papers, 1774-1914 (bulk 1774-1891). 24 items, 1 printed volume, 1 microfilm reel. Location: T:35, OS:M, MSS.MF:M. Planters of the Concord Plantation and governor of the Spanish district of Natchez. Collection includes correspondence related to plantation and family matters in Mississippi and Louisiana; a sugar producer's license; a printed item signed by President John Adams; and a will. Includes land titles for and personal correspondence of the Stephen, William J., and Henry C. Minor families of Natchez and Terrebonne Parish. Some letters in Spanish and French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 859, 947.

Minor family. Photograph collection, 1885, undated. 6 unique copy prints, 9 35mm negative strips. Location: MISC:M, E:65. William J. Minor was a sugar planter of Terrebonne and Ascension Parishes, Louisiana. His father, Stephen Minor, owned a plantation and a home in Natchez, Mississippi. Ayres P. Merrill was the U.S. Minister to Belgium. Collection contains formal portraits of William J. Minor, John Minor, Mrs. Minor (probably the wife of William J. Minor), and Ayres P. Merrill II. Included are photographs depicting Oakland, the Minor family home, and Elmscourt, the Merrill family home, also in Natchez. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3173.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Natchez, Mississippi

Minor, John. Account book, 1815-1823. 1 volume [on 1 microfilm reel]. Location: MSS.MF:M. Executor of the estate of his brother, Stephen Minor. Journal listing the income received from cotton and other produce on Concord Plantation, Adams County, Mississippi; Waterloo Plantation, Ascension Parish, Louisiana; and Lake Plantation, Concordia Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1035.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

Minor, Katherine Surget. Letter, 1867 Dec. 5. 1 item. Location MISC:M. Katherine Surget Minor was a native of Natchez and wife of Natchez plantation owner John Minor. The Minor and Surget families owned several plantations in Louisiana and Mississippi. Letter to C. E. [Charles E.] Leverich expresses Minor's dissatisfaction with an employee of the Freedman's Bureau and with economic conditions during Reconstruction in Mississippi. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4867.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Natchez, Mississippi

Minor, William J. and family. Papers, 1779-1898, 1941 (bulk 1830-1870). 410 items, 37 volumes, 1 microfilm reel, 70 microfiche. Location: U:229, H:2, MSS.MF:M, VAULT:1, OS:M, MICROFICHE 2729. Sugar planter of Southdown and Hollywood Plantations in Terrebonne Parish and Waterloo Plantation in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Minor was president of the Agricultural Bank of Natchez, Mississippi. Collection includes plantation records; banking papers; and personal correspondence of the Stephen, William J., and Henry C. Minor families of Natchez and Terrebonne Parish. Some letters in Spanish and French. Some items available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reels 1-4. Some items available on microfiche. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 519, 594.

Minor, William J. Papers, 1845-1862, undated. 18 items, 2 printed volumes. Location: U:229. Sugar planter of Southdown and Hollywood Plantations in Terrebonne Parish and Waterloo Plantation in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Minor was president of the Agricultural Bank of Natchez, Mississippi. Letters chiefly concern racing, management and breeding of thoroughbred horses, and the horses Lexington, Lecomte, and Pryor. Letters mention Duncan F. Kenner, Colonel Adam L. Bingaman, and others, referring to their horses, betting, racing news, and items in the sporting journal SPIRIT OF THE TIMES. Letters also comment on yellow fever and cholera outbreaks, and the political environment. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 859.

Mississippi River Map Collection, ca. 1858-1878. 19 items, 1 manuscript volume, 4 CD ROMS and 1 microfilm reel. Location: OS:M, M:29, Mss.Mf:M., AA:(CD-ROM shelf). Loose manuscript maps of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to Jefferson Parish and land along the river, showing land parcels, landings, land ownership, and changes in the course of the river, and a bound volume of cut and pasted in maps of the Mississippi River from above Vicksburg to New Orleans, showing land parcels, land ownership, and landings. Included in the volume are pieces of Marie Adrien Persac's NORMANS CHART OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER FROM NATCHEZ TO NEW ORLEANS IN 1858. These maps depict the Mississippi River from above Vicksburg to New Orleans, showing land parcels, land ownership and plantation names, and landings For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4818.

Mitchell, A. S. Receipt, 1864 December 5. 1 item. Location: Misc.:M. Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Office of Superintendent and Provost Marshal of Freedmen in Natchez, Mississippi. Receipt deposited for safekeeping by a freedman. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3032.

Mitchell, A. S. Letter, 1864 November 18. 1 item. Location: Misc.:M. Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Office of Superintendent and Provost Marshal of Freedmen in Natchez, Mississippi. Letter discusses the possibility of ex-slaves leasing plantation lands for their own personal use. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4734

Mitchell, A. S. Lieutenant Colonel. Receipt, 1865 March 15. 1 item. Location: Misc:M. Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Office of Superintendent and Provost Marshal of Freedmen in Natchez, Mississippi. Receipt for a dog tax from the City of Natchez, Mississippi, to A. S. Mitchell. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3644.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Natchez, Mississippi

Muggah-Glover-Guyther. Family Papers, 1844-1896, 1906 (bulk 1844-1852). 14 items. Location: UU:168. The Muggah, Glover, and Guyther families lived in Natchez, Mississippi and Pattersonville, Louisiana. Papers nclude correspondence, photocopies of newspaper clippings, and photographs. Correspondence consists mostly of letters between women discussing marriage, family life, domestic obligations, religion, social events, and customs. Mss. 4790.

Murphy, Patrick. Papers, 1853-1937 (bulk 1860-1885). 739 items, 69 volumes. Location: U:297-298, H:4, OS:M. Catholic layman, bridge builder, and building contractor of Natchez, Mississippi, and St. Joseph, Louisiana. Personal and business papers including contracts, specifications, plans, memoranda, and accounts for building; statements for construction materials; and personal letters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 309.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Business, Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez City wage vouchers, 1865. 2 items. Location: Misc.:N. Vouchers drawn on City of Natchez municipal fund, approved by federal occupation officers, show wages paid to hospital workers and policemen. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2918.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez Fencibles. Constitution and list of members, 1827-1830. 22 pages. Location: Misc:N. First military company to be organized in Natchez. The secretary of the company was William Vannason and I. J. Hughes probably served as company's captain. 'Captains Copy' of the Constitution of the Natchez Fencibles, probably belonging to I. J. Hughes, containing a manuscript amendment to the Constitution signed by Vannason. It also contains manuscript signatures of members. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 958.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez Guards. Receipt book, 1837-1843. 1 vol. Location: G:17. Receipt book containing receipts signed by members of the Natchez Guards for muskets received from the quartermasters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1330.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Nautilus Insurance Company. Account book, 1847. 1 manuscript volume, 1 CD-ROM. Location: MISC:N, AA: (CD-ROM SHELF). Company based in New York. William A. Britton was an agent for the company in Natchez. He was a partner in W. A. Britton & Co., a banking firm with interests in New Orleans. Account book, kept by Britton, contains lists of names of life insurance policy holders, beneficiaries, amounts of insurance purchased, premiums, and fees paid to doctors for examinations. Some entries pertain to insurance on the lives of slaves. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 3, Reel 18. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 923.

Newman and Hanchelle. Account book, 1776 Feb. 27. 2 leaves. Location: Misc.:N, Vault MRDF 3, Vault:16. Merchants of Natchez, Mississippi. Two fragmentary sheets from an account book of Newman and Hanchelle giving names of purchasers, dates of purchases, merchandise purchased, and charges for items. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 946.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Natchez, Mississippi

Nolan, Philip, 1771-1801. Papers, 1791-1800. 3 items. Location: Vault. Native of Belfast, Ireland, and contraband trader in the Louisiana Territory and Texas. Nolan was closely associated with General James Wilkinson and may have been reared in his family. A letter to Nolan by General Wilkinson from Frankfort, Kentucky, relates Wilkinson's misfortune and requests Nolan's assistance. A letter from Nolan to Bernard Lintot pertains to Nolan's financial status and his wish to marry Lintot's daughter. Included is a list of horses sold by Nolan to individuals in Natchez. This collection is restricted due to fragility. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 859.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Norman, E. B. and N. Philip. Collection, 1833-1969 (bulk 1929-1960). 1,994 items, 225 volumes. Location: 77:60-62; O:71-80; OS:N; 98:;102; VAULT:44, 88; MAP CAGE: MAP CASE 1, DRAWER 8. E. B. Norman was a resident of Alexandria, Louisiana; Dr. N. Philip Norman was a resident of New York City. Collection contains photographic prints, books, periodicals, newspapers, correspondence, copper plates, framed maps and pictures, blueprints, and other records concerning steamboats, the navigation of the Red River and lower Mississippi River. They relate to Louisiana parishes and regions, travel in the South, and General Banks' Red River Campaign. Periodicals include 'Waterways Journal' (1932-1967); Waterways Magazine (1942-1951); Steamboat Bill, the journal of the Steamboat Historical Society of America (1961-1969); and S & D Reflector, published by the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen (1964-1969). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1084, 2458, 2578.

Norwood, George, b. 1847. Papers, 1797-1901. .3 linear ft. Location: E:7. Planter and miller of East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, who served on the police jury of the seventh ward for many years. He married Stella Currie, daughter of Malcolm M. Currie, a planter and former senator from Franklin County, Mississippi. Papers of George and Stella Norwood and related families include deeds and land grants in East Feliciana Parish and Franklin County, Mississippi. Correspondence and cotton trade records from Clinton to Port Hudson are included. Also included are the papers of Thomas W. Scott, judge of East Feliciana Parish, that pertain to the settlement of the estates of James Winter, William J. Boatner, James H. Cason, and G. W. Jelks. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 677.

Page, S. P. Letter, 1847 May 26. 1 letter. Location: Misc. S.P. Page in Natchez, Miss., writes Samuel White in Walton, N.Y., reminiscing about their youthful association in Walton and describing sights unique to Natchez: the long growing season, mosquitoes, work done by slaves, differences between slaves in the city and in the countryside, the refinement among some planters, and the poor state of public education. Mss. 3913.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Pease, Gamaliel. Deed, 1821. 1 item. Location: Mss. 1198. Deed for land purchased from Josias H. McComas of Washington, Adams County, Mississippi. Misc. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1198.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Peirce-Haralson-Rumble. Family Papers, 1809, 1820-1931, undated. 0.5 linear feet. Location: 45:25, OS:P. Correspondence, legal papers, miscellaneous items, and genealogical materials documenting the lives of members of the Peirce, Haralson, and Rumble families, during their residence in Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. The vast majority of correspondence involves communication between women discussing news of family and friends, domestic relations, marriage, and social activities. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4771.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mississippi

Percy, J. H. (John Hereford). Papers, 1717-1978 (bulk 1905-1956). 2.5 linear ft., 23 manuscript volumes. Location: 48:3-4, OS:P. Author of The Percy Family of Mississippi and Louisiana, 1776-1943. Papers consist of genealogical research materials including correspondence, genealogy notes, family histories, transcriptions (mostly typescripts) of historical documents, and manuscript volumes created, compiled, and collected by J. H. Percy. Most genealogy research materials are related to Percy's creation of his book. There are also some business papers related to Percy's real estate, banking, development, and insurance activities in Louisiana and Mississippi. Mss. 4759.

Pinson, Nancy. Papers, 1820-1890. 1 linear ft. Location: C:62. Planter of Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Correspondence and business papers of the Daniel B. Pinson family. Papers are comprised of bills and receipts for taxes, goods and services, and medical and dental treatments. Letters refer cotton trade, cholera, and family matters. Also included are statements from cotton brokers in New Orleans; contracts with freedmen; a slave list; and a letter mentioning that excitement over the slave riot subsided (June 21, 1853). Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reels 13-14. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 828, 1255.

Planter's Bank. Records, 1835, 1843-1844. 2 ms. vols. Location: M:14. Discount Credit Book,(January 1-October 9, 1835), and a Note Blotter, 1843-1844. Part of the COMMERCIAL BANK OF NATCHEZ COLLECTION. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 708.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Natchez, Mississippi

Prichard, Walter, 1887-1965. Collection, 1804-1950 ca. (bulk 1804-1897). 196 items. Location: C:11-12. Professor of History, LSU. Collection contains the papers relating to the cotton trade, the career of Thomas Bolling Robertson, a politician and jurist, and Jane Dunbar Ferguson, a planter of Washington, Mississippi. Papers concern the Louisiana political activities of Robertson, the friction between the French and Americans in Louisiana, and yellow fever in New Orleans. Family letters of Ferguson discuss travel from New Orleans to New York, education, family matters, and Natchez acquaintances. Papers also contain with transcriptions, research notes, and footnotes by Prichard. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2509.

Pritchard, R. Letter, 1863. 1 item [typed transcription]. Location: Misc.:P. Resident of Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Letter to Captain I. N. Chambey, Jackson, East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, concerning the purchase of thread for warp from the factory and its shipment to Mr. Flower in Bayou Sara. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Natchez, Mississippi

Quitman, John Anthony, 1798-1858. Letter, 1821 December 20. 1 item. Location: Misc.:Q. Natchez, Mississippi lawyer, soldier, politician, and planter. Letter to E. L. Hazelius, written from Natchez, Mississippi, discussing his reasons for leaving his former home in Ohio, his impressions of Mississippi and Natchez, and his professional prospects. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3218.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

Quitman, John Anthony, 1798-1858. Papers, 1823-1872, 1919. 145 items, 12 vols. Location: B:8, OS:Q, H:10, 99:. Natchez, Mississippi lawyer, soldier, politician, and planter. Personal and family papers include record books, correspondence, broadsides and other printed documents, and diaries. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1403, 1431, 1471, 1595, 1793.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

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