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|Size||2.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2800 items)|
|Abstract||Farish Carter was a planter, land speculator, and entrepreneur of Scottsborough Plantation, near Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Ga., and owner of a plantation at Coosawattee, Murray County, Ga. Carter married Eliza McDonald, sister of Charles J. McDonald (1793-1860), and had five children: Mary Ann (d. 1844), Catherine (d. 1851), James Farish (b. 1821), Samuel McDonald, and Benjamin Franklin (d. 1856). The collection is primarily business Papers, 1830-1860, and some family correspondence. Most papers relate to Carter's buying, selling, and renting land in Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee; his financial interest in New Hope, a sugar plantation in Louisiana; his part ownership of the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company, a textile mill in Columbus, Ga.; his buying, selling, and hiring out of slaves; his investments in railroads, banks, gold mining, steamboats, toll bridges, ferries, mills, and other ventures; and his and his sons' operations of plantations in Georgia and Alabama.|
|Creator||Carter, Farish, 1780-1861.|
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Farish Carter was born in South Carolina on 24 November 1780, the son of James and Letitia Martin Carter. James Carter was killed by the British during the siege of Augusta in September 1780, two months before his son was born.
Farish Carter attended the academy of the Reverend Hope Hull in Washington, Georgia. He became a merchant in Sandersville and during the War of 1812 served as United States Army contractor for Georgia. With the resulting profits, he bought a plantation at Scottsboro, four miles south of Milledgeville, and another estate, Bonavista, on the Oconee River. By 1845, he owned 33,293 acres and 426 slaves in Baldwin County alone. Rock Spring or Coosawattee, his north Georgia plantation and summer home (in Murray and Gilmer Counties), purchased during the Cherokee removal, encompassed over 15,000 acres and produced a wide range of goods--tobacco, wool, livestock, grains, and other foodstuffs. Carter also controlled a Louisiana sugar plantation for several years, circa 1830-1835.
With many partners and companies, Carter conducted extensive land speculations, shifting westward with the frontier, and including the acquisition of former Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw possessions, and eventually holdings in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Indiana, and Illinois.
Carter invested the income from agricultural and land ventures in a variety of enterprises. He owned interests in grist mills, marble quarries, and a woolen mill in north Georgia; a cigar factory with slave children as laborers; toll bridges and ferries throughout Georgia; and steamboats on the Ocmulgee, Oconee, Altamaha, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. He held large blocks of stock in Georgia banks and railroads and financed gold mining in north Georgia and North Carolina. His slaves were leased to railroads and to individuals.
Carter tried to develop textile mills to utilize the cotton produced on his plantation, especially during the 1840s when cotton prices were low. He helped to establish a short-lived mill at Tom's Shoal on the Oconee in the 1830s and became part owner of the Coweta Falls Factory (1844), the first textile mill within the city of Columbus. There, in 1845, Carter began constructing another six-story factory, where he planned to use slave labor. However, disputes over water rights, the near failure of Coweta Falls, and rising cotton prices led him to keep his slaves in the field, and the Carter Factory remained empty until the Civil War began and its first owner died.
Farish Carter married Eliza McDonald on 26 April 1811. Mrs. Carter was the sister of Charles J. McDonald (1793-1860), who was governor of Georgia from 1839 to 1843. Eliza McDonald and Farish Carter had five children: Mary Ann (d. 1844), Catherine (d. 1851), James Farish (b. 1821), Samuel McDonald, and Benjamin Franklin (d. 1856). Mary Ann married a Mr. Davis in 1844, and died a few months later. Catherine married a Dr. Furman, had two sons, and died in 1851. Her two sons, John and Farish, were raised for the next six years by her parents, and then returned to live with their father. James married Mary [Powell?] and had one child, Mary. James's first wife apparently died in the early 1850s and he married Bettie [surname unknown] in about 1855. Samuel married Emily Colquitt, daughter of Walter Terry Colquitt (1799-1855), and had several children. Benjamin did not marry and died in 1856.
Farish Carter died on 2 July 1861.
(See John S. Lupold, "Farish Carter," Dictionary of Georgia Biography, Kenneth Coleman and Charles Stephen Gurr, ed., vol. 1, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 198?)Back to Top
This collection primarily documents the business activities of Farish Carter 1830-1860. Most of the papers relate to Carter's buying, selling, and renting land in Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. Much of the collection consists of Carter's correspondence with his partners in land companies or with agents who sought out or managed lands for him. Other papers concern management of a sugar plantation in Louisiana; buying, selling, and hiring out slaves; operation of a small cotton mill in Columbus, Georgia, the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company; and Carter's other interests in Columbus, the Water Lots Company and the Variety Works. Carter's involvement in legal controversies about ownership of land and slaves in Florida and about his administration of the estate of George W. Murray are documented in the correspondence and in the financial and legal papers.
In the later part of the correspondence are letters from Carter's wife giving news of his home plantation and letters from his sons describing operations of their plantations in Alabama and in north Georgia. Some of Carter's other business interests are indicated but not thoroughly documented--investing in railroads, owning a toll bridge, searching for gold in northern Georgia, owning an interest in a marble quarry, owning steamboats. Only a small part of the correspondence gives family news.Back to Top
Chiefly business correspondence of Farish Carter. The earliest items are scattered business letters, 1812-1824. Letters of 1825 include four letters from Joel Crawford about family matters and mutual business. To one of Crawford's letters is attached a letter from Peter F. Jaillet distressed over the brutality of a Mr. Moran to one of Jaillet's slaves, and asking advice. Other notable letters are from Josiah B. Furman, Charleston, S. C., dated 18 July 1825, about buying the ship "Maid of Orleans" and fitting her out for the cotton trade, and several from Simon Whitaker, Coopers Bridge, Ga., about Carter's toll bridge, livestock, and crops there.
A number of letters during this period and extending into the 1830s relate to the company formed by Farish Carter, Dr. Charles Williamson of Tallahassee, Florida, and Seaton Grantland of Milledgeville, Georgia, to purchase, claim, or preempt lands in Florida and Georgia. Richard Keith Call was one of the agents for this company. There are also letters from James Webb and from Thomas Baltzell of Webbville, Florida, to Williamson about lands in Florida.
Letters from Thomas Butler & Co., commission and general merchants of Savannah, Ga., concern the selling of Carter's cotton and Carter's purchases of groceries and general merchandise.
Primarily business correspondence of Farish Carter along with a few family letters of Carter and his wife. There are letters about management of New Hope Plantation, Bayou Salle, Franklin, Louisiana. Many letters discuss purchase, sale, and rental of land in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Other letters concern Carter's gold mining interests; management of his north Georgia plantation at Coosawattee; a lawsuit in which Carter was involved in Florida; management of the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company; and other aspects of Carter's business.
In 1830 through 1835 are letters concerning New Hope Plantation, Bayou Salle, Franklin, Louisiana. Carter's partner in ownership of New Hope, John Sherwood Thomas, wrote to Carter from New Hope about conditions and planting there. In 1833 are letters of Littleton Atkison reporting on the sale in Franklin, La., of Negroes and land owned by Carter. In a letter of 5 June 1833, Martin Thomas (brother of John Sherwood Thomas), wrote about his management of New Hope Plantation.
Letters from J. H. Walker of Webbville, Florida, to his uncle Farish Carter concern his management and rental of Carter's lands in Florida and his efforts to sell Carter's company's Chattahoochee lands and other Florida properties. Letters from Seaton Grantland in 1836 discuss a private bill introduced by Grantland in the U. S. House of Representatives that would allow Carter and Grantland to enter lands in Florida. Letters from Richard H. Long of Marianna, county seat of Jackson County, Florida, about Carter's Florida properties and legal affairs in Florida begin in 1835 and continue throughout the subseries.
Letters from Littleton Atkison in 1833 and 1834 informed Carter about properties of interest to Carter, especially in Louisiana, Alabama, and Cherokee and Choctaw lands. Letters from Stephen Harriman Long (1784-1864) from Decatur, Allatoona, and Marietta, Georgia and from Thomas R. Huson of Marietta between 1838 and 1843 concern their association in purchasing Cherokee lands in Georgia and Tennessee.
In 1836 begin letters from LeRoy M. Wiley of Charleston, S.C., one of the principals of Wiley, Baxter, and Carter, a company apparently formed to pursue land and mining interests. A few letters from Wiley to Carter appear in the papers in nearly every year between 1836 and 1856. The later letters were written from New York. In a long letter of 29 May 1837, Wiley described his ideas about the U. S. Bank, money, and gold mining in Georgia and North Carolina. Other letters discuss railroads, banks, and other business ventures, as well as buying and selling land.
After 1839, there are also letters about the business of the land speculating partnership of Boyce, Carter, and Hines. Ker Boyce of Charleston, S. C., and Richard K. Hines of Milledgeville, Ga., wrote to Carter as did Samuel Williams of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who worked as an agent for the firm.
A letter from Caleb Gurz, apparently an overseer on Carter's north Georgia plantation, dated 20 January 1838, reports on planting and conditions at Coosawattee. From this time forward, letters from various tenants or overseers headed Coosawattee, Rock Spring, or Spring Place appear often. Letters from A. M. Turner at Coosawattee to Carter continue intermittently from 1839 until 1859. Benjamin Poore, who wrote from Coosawattee on 21 April 1840 had written to Carter from Indian Hill Farm, Newburyport, Massachusetts on 13 and 21 December 1839 about sending skilled white workmen to Georgia and joining Carter in business there.
Beginning in 1843, there are many letters about a lawsuits over land and Negroes in Florida in addition to continuing letters about land and other business. A. T. Bennett was Carter's opponent in the cases. Letters about these lawsuits continue until 1855. These letters came from Richard Long of Marianna, Reuben Thornton of Tallahassee, George Baltzell, William A. Kain, Caraway Smith, and William A. Long of Apalachicola, Florida, Hines Holt of Columbus, Georgia, J. A. L. Lee, and others. Legal papers related to the cases are filed in Series 2, Financial and Legal Material.
James A. Whiteside wrote to Carter from Milledgeville, Decatur, and Nashville, Tenn., in 1845 about Carter's steamboat, which operated on the Tennessee River, about the railroad in Tennessee, and other business. In 1846, Whiteside wrote to Carter from Nashville, Tennessee, and from Augusta, Ga., about the progress of the railroad to Chattanooga and about securing mail contracts for the railroad.
Throughout the 1840s, Carter received letters from his nephew John B. Baird, who was apparently managing Carter's business interests in Columbus, Georgia. In the early 1840s, the letters generally concern collecting money owed Carter. Beginning in 1845, most of the letters are about the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company, a small cotton mill of which Carter was part owner. There are also letters from John H. Howard, from J. C. Leitner, manager of the Coweta Falls Company, and from others to Carter about the company.
A letter dated 8 April 1846 from Mary Carter and Carter's son James F. Carter in Union Springs, Ala., to Farish Carter in Milledgeville reports on their life in Alabama. Beginning in 1849, there are letters from James Carter to Farish Carter which describe his planting and management of his plantation. These letters report in detail on the status of the crops and always mention the health of the people on the plantation. These letters do not refer to his wife but do report on "little Mary Carter," apparently James's daughter who apparently lived near James with her grandparents, the Powells.
Scattered throughout the subseries are letters concerning buying and selling slaves and the problems of managing slaves. Carter's lawsuit in Florida, for example, involved slaves. Thomas Butler wrote from Savannah, 2 June 1832, and LeRoy M. Wiley wrote from New York, 11 November 1844, about runaway slaves. Between 1850 and 1853, N. B. Powell wrote several letters about selling slaves, hiring them out, moving them from one place to another, and the problem of "ungovernable" slaves.
Also found throughout the subseries are a few letters about prices and sale of cotton. Among these are letters which Charles Hartridge of Savannah wrote to Carter between 1837 and 1859 and a letter dated 6 February 1840 from Ker Boyce in Charleston, S. C., which described problems involved in shipping cotton to Liverpool.
Other items of particular interest in this subseries include letters throughout the period from Carter's brother-in-law Charles J. McDonald on business and family matters, some letters in 1836 about the bank at Milledgeville, Georgia, a letter of 11 June 1836 from Littleton Atkison about Indian attacks in Walker County, an account dated 1845 of a robbery of Farish Carter's home in Murray County written by a convict in the State Penitentiary, and an agreement dated 14 December 1849 between Bedney McDonald and his uncle Farish Carter as to his moral conduct while in the California gold fields (although there is no indication in the papers of whether McDonald actually went to California).
Business and family correspondence of Farish Carter, his wife Eliza Carter, and his sons James, Samuel, and Benjamin Carter. There are only three letters of 1859, one of 1860, three of 1861, and one of 1864; the bulk of the letters in the subseries are dated 1851-1858. During these years Mrs. Carter wrote frequently to her husband while he was away from the plantation. She copied and sent to him letters others had sent him and she kept him informed of plantation activities, including news of house servants and field hands. There are also letters from Samuel McDonald Carter and his wife Emily Colquitt Carter, daughter of Walter Terry Colquitt, who were living at Coosawattee, about their family and about the plantation they were managing. Benjamin F. Carter also lived at Coosawattee during some of this period and wrote from there to his parents. James Carter wrote from Chunennugger, Alabama, reporting on his plantation there.
In addition to family letters, letters about Carter's business interests, old and new, continue to appear in this subseries. There are letters in 1851, for example, from James A. Whiteside in Chattanooga, Tennessee, about selling Carter's and Ker Boyce's lands there. There are also letters from John B. Baird and others about the financial problems of the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company and copies of two letters from Farish Carter in 1851 to the directors of the company with instructions on the course of action to follow to regain solvency. Throughout the subseries, there are letters about buying and selling land, buying and selling slaves, and borrowing and lending money. Many of Carter's business associates who wrote the letters in Subseries 1.2 also wrote letters found in this subseries: LeRoy M. Wiley, Ker Boyce, Charles James McDonald, Thomas R. Huson, Hines Holt, J. A. L. Lee, Charles Hartridge, William A. Long, Richard H. Long, and J. H. Howard, for example.
Between 1851 and 1855, there are letters from Richard H. Long and others about the lawsuit filed by A. T. Bennett against Carter in Florida. Bennett had left Florida by 1852 and was in New Orleans.
New business interests in this period include the Water Lot Company and Variety Works of Columbus, Georgia. Letters from Walter Terry Colquitt, Columbus, in 1851-1853, deal with these companies and other business matters between Colquitt and Carter.
Additional items of particular interest in this subseries are a letter dated 18 March 1851 from John H. Gresham of Macon about starting up a steam powered mill there; a letter dated 27 February 1852 from J. E. Evans, Presiding Elder (no denomination mentioned) desiring to send a missionary to the mill workers; a letter dated 15 February 1853 from Benjamin F. Carter at Coosawattee describing his plantation work and the hiring of child labor for work in his tobacco factory; a letter dated 13 February 1854 from Andrew J. Hansell, Marietta, Georgia, about the effects of an ordinance passed at Marietta "against Negroes hiring their own time" or living on lots to themselves; a letter dated 25 December 1854 from Charles James McDonald, Marietta, about marriage customs among his slaves and family and business matters; and letters of 1855 from Nicholas A. Long and Richard H. Long of Marianna describing conditions in their part of Florida.
Undated family and business correspondence, including some fragments of letters, of Farish Carter, Eliza Carter, Benjamin Carter, and Samuel Carter.
Arrangement: by type, then chronological.
Unbound financial and legal materials. Letters which are essentially receipts are filed here. Other business letters are filed in Series 1, Correspondence.
Bills for purchases and other business dealings between Farish Carter and James Rousseau, Seaton Grantland, Charles Williamson, and others. Included are receipts and accounts of the firms of Carter and Norris, Carter and McDougald, and Carter and Kendrick. Notable items include a bill of sale for a slave sold by James Rousseau to Farish Carter, 20 July 1812, and a list of bills of four suppliers to the contractor of Baldwin Volunteers, dated 1812.
Bills, receipts, accounts, and legal papers of Farish Carter and a few bills and receipts of James, Samuel, and Charles McDonald. Throughout the subseries are bills for supplies, items related to borrowing and lending money. Also included are slave bills of sale, 16 September 1821 and 24 September 1821; suggestions for changes in the deed of John Sherwood Thomas to Farish Carter for land in Louisiana, 24 February 1821; an agreement between Farish Carter and David Bowen for Bowen to manage Carter's plantation in Baldwin County on the Oconee River, 4 December 1828; and an agreement between Farish Carter and John Sherwood Thomas concerning ownership and management of New Hope Plantation, Louisiana, 1 October 1829.
Bills, receipts, accounts, and legal papers of Farish Carter and of the firms of Wiley, Baxter, and Carter and Carter, Grantland, and Williamson. There are many bills for groceries and other supplies purchased from Thomas Butler, from G. Champlain & Co., from John Manning, from the Penitentiary, and from others in Georgia as well as a "Copy of bills of sundry goods purchased by G. B. Thomas for the use of the New Hope Plantation, 1828-1833," (20 pages).
Other papers relate to the business of New Hope Plantation. In a legal document dated 9 January 1830, John Sherwood Thomas swore that a certificate of character for a slave was genuine and that the slave introduced into the parish was the same for which the certificate was given. In the file for 1833 are found some bills of New Hope Plantation. In 1835 are legal papers relating to arbitration of a difference between Carter and John Sherwood Thomas. There are accounts with Littleton Atkison, who apparently was acting as Carter's agent in many of his business interests, including New Hope Plantation.
This subseries also contains materials which relate to Carter's land dealings in Florida. There is, for example, an advertisement dated 17 July 1830 for sale of land in Florida by Carter and Seaton Grantland as survivors of Carter, Williamson and Grantland. There is also a tax receipt dated 15 June 1830 for Carter, Grantland, and the estate of Williamson for taxes in Jackson County, Florida.
Also included in this subseries are accounts with Thomas Butler of Savannah, with William Gaston, and others for sales of cotton.
Bills and receipts for supplies and for hire of slaves, accounts between Carter and his business associates, papers relating to legal disputes, and other financial and legal papers of Farish Carter. Notable among these are a bill from Carter to a boat company dated 15 May 1840 for hire of 11 slaves; an invoice dated July 1840 of real estate purchased for and on account of Carter, Boyce, Long, and Huson; bills of the Penitentiary to Carter for supplies and repair work; and an agreement between Carter and Shadrick Tootle dated 1 November 1841 for Tootle to live on and be overseer at the house, near Coosawattee, known as Martin's Stand.
Bills, receipts, accounts, and legal papers of Farish Carter, of his business associates, and of companies in which Carter had an interest.
From 1843 to 1857, there are many papers relating to the administration by Carter and M. I. Kenan of the estate of George W. Murray. These include bills and receipts of the estate and later papers reflecting a legal controversy over the estate.
During this period, Carter had several business interests in Columbus, Georgia. Although there is considerable correspondence in Series 1 about the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company, there are only a few papers here of that company. The most notable of these is a copy dated 5 March 1845 of the "Rules and Regulations to be observed by all persons in the employment of the Coweta Falls Manufacturing Company."
There are more papers here of the Water Lot company and the Variety Works in Columbus. There are legal Papers, receipts, and accounts showing sales of the Water Lots. There is also an account for 1847 of the Water Lot Company with each of it members--Carter, J. H. Howard, John B. Baird, and Walter Terry Colquitt. There is a division of Variety Works and Alabama lands among Baird, Carter, Colquitt, Spencer, and Brooks, dated 1854.
A few papers document Carter's business with railroads in Georgia. Papers of 5 August and 15 August 1846 show freight rates on the Central and Macon and Western Railroads. A paper of 2 November 1850 gives Carter's terms for hiring slaves to work on the Milledgeville and Gordon Rail Road. Also included is a certificate dated 12 July 1854 of Carter's railroad bonds in the Agency Marine Bank.
The financial and legal papers for these years clearly document the variety of Carter's business interests: in an agreement of 1 November 1843, Carter contracted with William Moran to superintend the ferry across the Oconee River adjoining Milledgeville; J. A. Whiteside gave Carter a receipt in 1845 for $1,000 to be used to purchase and run a steam boat on the Tennessee River above Muscle Shoals; and Carter agreed on 29 December 1847 to allow the firm of Tate, Atkison, and Roberts to quarry marble on his land in Gilmer County in return for a share of the profit.
A few legal papers relating to Carter's Florida suits appear here. Among these are interrogatories and responses in the cases of Carter vs. A. T. Bennett (1845) and A. T. Bennett vs. Carter (1847). Papers relating to Carter's suit against the estate of Brockenbrough, also in Florida, appear in 1851.
A few bills and receipts of Mrs. Eliza Carter, James Carter, and Samuel Carter.
Undated bills, receipts, accounts, legal Papers, maps of Farish Carter and Mrs. Farish Carter.
Items which are clearly legal papers are filed together in folder 113. These include papers related to the Murray estate and a fragment of Farish Carter's will.
Three undated maps are filed in folder 114: a map of the Ocilla Country showing township and range numbers and with lots marked and numbered, a map of land between the Appalacheecola [sic] River on the east and the Choctahachee River on the west showing as far north as Marianna and as far south as Cape St. Blass with townships and ranges numbered, and a map of the west bank of the Oconee River from head of Carter's Islands to Barrow's Ferry.
Processed by: Linda Sellars, July 1990
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