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Papers, 1796-1887.

Author: John CoffeeWilliam BarnettJohn BrahanBenjamin A ClementsWilliam CockeAll authors
Edition/Format:   Archival material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The John Coffee Papers, 1796-1887, consist of business, legal, and family letters and limited correspondence, as well as an account book, legal and fiscal documents, diaries, surveyor's notebooks, copied printed material, memorandum books, and transcriptions of a limited number of letters and diary passages.
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Genre/Form: Account books
Bills
Bills of lading
Contracts
Diaries
Invoices
Letterheads
Letters
Prospectuses
Receipts
Surveys (land)
Named Person: Benjamin Hawkins; Andrew Jackson Hutchings; Andrew Jackson; John H Weakley
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: John Coffee; William Barnett; John Brahan; Benjamin A Clements; William Cocke; Alexander Donelson Coffee; John Donelson Coffee; Mary Coffee; Robert M Cunningham; James W Exum; Thomas Freeman; Benjamin Hawkins; Andrew Jackson Hutchings; Andrew Jackson; James Jackson; William R King; John M McKinley; Hunter Peel; Israel Pickens; Benjamin Franklin Reynolds; Charles L Savage; John H Weakley; Maunsel White; Bedford and Mackey.
OCLC Number: 77893558
Reproduction Notes: transcribed.
Description: 2 cubic ft. (6 archives boxes).

Abstract:

The John Coffee Papers, 1796-1887, consist of business, legal, and family letters and limited correspondence, as well as an account book, legal and fiscal documents, diaries, surveyor's notebooks, copied printed material, memorandum books, and transcriptions of a limited number of letters and diary passages.

Series I, which is nearly half of the collection, consists of letters to John Coffee (and copies of a few he wrote) mainly concerning business matters, especially in conjunction with surveying the lands of the northern district of the Miss. Territory which, in 1819, became the northern part of Ala. Coffee was deeply involved in the early settlement of Huntsville, Ala. and Florence, Ala. as well as the "running the lines" of the Indian nations and Ala.-Miss. boundary. The letters reflect the preparations for and execution of the surveying projects, the formation of land sales companies, and, by 1821, when Coffee's plantation was beginning to produce, the cotton market.

Other topics include the expansion of the postal route, economic conditions, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Creek Indian negotiations, river boat activity, Ala. politics, Andrew Jackson, slavery, University of Ala., and the nullification issue in the early 1830s. Principal correspondents include New Orleans (La.) cotton brokers Bedford and Mackey, John Brahan, Benjamin A. Clements, William Cocke, Alexander D. Coffee, Robert M. Cunningham, James W. Exum, Thomas Freeman, Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Jackson Hutchings, Andrew Jackson, James Jackson, John M. McKinley, Israel Pickens, Benjamin F. Reynolds, Charles L. Savage, John H. Weakley, and Maunsel White of New Orleans.

Letters to John Coffee from Andrew Jackson, 1816-1828, are transcripts made from the Jackson papers in the Library of Congress. Topics discussed include surveying projects, the buying and selling of Indian lands, national politics, Henry Clay, and requirements for land settlement.

The letters to John Coffee from James H. Weakley, who was the manager of Coffee's Huntsville (Ala.) Surveyor's Office, are dated from 1817-1833. Weakley discusses office matters, including land sales, surveyors' assignments, and the Indian lands. A small collection of miscellaneous and undated letters and papers include receipts, invoices, and a bill of lading. Topics include medical advice, slavery, taxes, and cotton trading. Correspondents include J.H. Eaton, Bedford and Mackey, Charles S. Savage, James Jackson, Samuel Hogg, and B.W. Mahan.

Series II is Coffee's diaries which span the dates 1815-1828. They contain entries describing some of his surveying trips including the one initiating the survey of the Ala. and Miss. line. He notes expenses, the weather, health problems, and, occasionally, Indian matters. Transcripts accompany some of the diaries.

The Coffee memorandum books (1818-1828) include a surveyor's book which contains an undated confidential land report. The memorandum books contain notes about surveyors and their districts, work schedules, money loaned, and list of accounts with James Jackson.

Series III is the collection of primarily unbound business records, 1796-1866, documenting many of Coffee's financial interests (1796-1833) and, after his death, those of his family's (1834-1866). The papers include invoices and receipts for goods and services used in running Coffee's plantation, including the medical attention given to both family members and slaves. An account book, spanning the years 1811-1825, is from a Coffee's mercantile business. The substantial financial records documenting the Coffee family's cotton production, 1820-1866, include receipts, bills of lading, and letters from cotton brokers discussing the cotton market. Principal correspondents include Maunsel White, Andrew J. Hutchings, Alexander D. Coffee, and Fearn and Donegan and Co. The collection of land company accounts, 1796-1829, include prospectuses advertising the land companies Coffee was involved in, an occasional plat map, and share certificates. The companies are Cotton Port, Cypress Land Company, Marion Land Company, Muscle Shoal Land Company, and York Bluff Company. The group of miscellaneous papers contains records of Coffee land purchases, for himself as well as others, contracts, surveying costs, deeds, promissory notes, and an occasional plat drawing. Many documents are undated.

The collection of tax receipts, 1820-1832, document John Coffee's tax payments on property and goods he owned in Lauderdale Co., Ala.

The financial records, dated 1817-1861, document the personal and business affairs of Andrew Jackson Hutchings, the orphaned son of James H. Hutchings. They include invoices and receipts for goods, services, taxes, tuition, cotton sales and other matters dealing with the operation of a substantial estate.

Series IV is the nine surveyor's notebooks that belonged to Coffee's son, Andrew. They contain surveyor's notations and plat drawings of land in Dallas Co., Ala. and Autauga Co., Ala. in 1844.

Series V, the Coffee family papers, 1834-1887, includes letters written to Coffee's son John Donelson Coffee (who was working for the postal service) and Andrew Jackson Hutchings. Topics discussed include the postal service, land deals, and, to a very limited degree, family matters.

Series VI is a collection of material copied from 1818-1845 newspapers. Topics discussed include public land sales and the history of many towns in northern Ala., proposed road improvement between Nashville, Tenn. and Grindstone Ford, Miss. Territory, and the building of the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur Railroad (1832), and the Cypress Creek (Ala.) Armory (1823).

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