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|Size||2.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately Items:1200 items)|
|Abstract||Secretary-treasurer of the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company, which controlled 13 large sugar plantations; developer of a subdivision of New Orleans; and business representative of William Porcher Miles. Business papers and correspondence passed down to Gaudet, arranged in two series: 1) Financial and legal Papers, 1760-1927, about 800 items, relating chiefly to the ownership of Houmas Plantations in Ascension Parish and other Louisiana property, including deeds, mortgages, wills, claims, notes, receipts, agreements, and some correspondence among successive title holders and their legal and business agents. There are also lists of slaves and freedmen, agreements with Chinese laborers, plans for land drainage, and memoranda of cotton sales, sugar crops, and plantation stores. 2) Letters from William Porcher Miles at Houmas Plantations to Henry Eustis at New Orleans, 1894-1896, about 400 items, concerning cultivation and sales of sugar, his opposition to national legislation relating to the sugar market, Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company activities, state and national politics, civic and social events, and family and personal affairs.|
|Creator||Gaudet, James Amedee, 1861-1939.|
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James Amedee Gaudet (1861-1939) was the son of Amedee Michel Gaudet and Louis Ilsley. His father was a sugar planter and a member of the Louisiana state legislature. His mother was the daughter of John H. Ilsley, a justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Gaudet was secretary-treasurer of the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company; secretary-treasurer of the Miles Timber Company; and developer of Ingleside Heights, a subdivision of New Orleans. He was a business representative for William Porcher Miles and the Houmas Plantations.
William Porcher Miles (1822-1899) was born in Waterboro, S.C. He attended the Willington Academy in Abbeville District and the College of Charleston from which he was graduated in 1842. He first studied law, but then changed to the teaching profession and become assistant professor of mathematics at the College of Charleston, 1843-1855. He was elected mayor of Charleston in 1855, running against Know-Nothingism. In 1857, he was elected to Congress and championed slavery and succession until his withdrawal in 1860. During the Civil War, he served as representative from the Charleston District to the Confederate Congress. In 1863, Miles married Betty Beirne, daughter of Oliver Beirne, a wealthy planter in Virginia and Louisiana. After the Civil war, Beirne made him manager of the Houmas Plantations in Louisiana, which he had inherited from his friend John Burnside (d. 1881). Miles managed these plantations until his death in 1899.
John Burnside acquired the Houmas Plantation in 1858. It had been purchased by General Wade Hampton (1751?-1835) of South Carolina in 1812. His daughter and son-in-law, Caroline Martha and John Smith Preston (1809-1881), were sent out to manage the property and built Houmas House in 1840. They sold it to John Burnside in 1858, and Burnside bought several other plantations in the area. It is believed that he owned a total of 13 plantations in Ascension and Saint James parishes, including Houmas, Orange Grove, Conway, Clark, Riverton, Donaldson, Saint James, White Castle, and Armant. The term "Houmas Plantations" is sometimes used to refer to these plantations as a group. Houmas Plantation and Houmas House are located on the Mississippi River, near Burnside in Ascension Parish. Burnside managed to retain his plantations after the Civil War because he was a British subject.
(The section on William Porcher Miles is adapted from a sketch by Francis Butler Simkins in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 12.)Back to Top
This collection consists of two distinct sections. The first contains financial and legal documents, 1785-1927. The bulk of these documents fail are dated 1840-1882. From 1785 to 1848, documents are chiefly deeds and land grants relating to the Houmas Plantations. From 1849 to 1881, documents are chiefly promissory notes, acts of protest, or other items relating to the business affairs of John Burnside. Documents at the end of the series belonged to Oliver Beirne and William Porcher Miles and are chiefly tax returns and tax receipts.
The second series consists of letters, 1893-1896, from William Porcher Miles to Henry C. Eustis, a business associate, about the Houmas Plantations and the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company, politics, and family activities.Back to Top
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Chiefly papers concerning the ownership of Houmas Plantation and other Louisiana plantations. Included are deeds, bills of sale for land and slaves, and wills executed by Wade Hampton, William Conway, John Conway, Caroline M. Preston (daughter of Wade Hampton), and many others. Many of the documents are copies made at a later date; they are filed by the date of the original document. Burnside left his property to Oliver Beirne, who was the father-in-law of William Porcher Miles. Below is a chronological listing of some of the documents included.
1785:Deed, Alexander and John Anderson to Joseph Saumier.
1797:Deed, J. Maurice Conway to William Conway.
1805:Agreement among William Conway, David Clark, and Jean Ramiers Joachim.
1807:Will of William Conway.
1809:Copy of deed, William Conway to his son John.
1811:Deed, John Mills to Wade Hampton.
1817:Deed, John Mills to Wade Hampton.
1824:Deed of sale of Houmas Plantation by Wade Hampton to John Sims.
1825:Deed of sale of land, Mrs. Robert (Elizabeth Conway) Laws to Benjamin Winchester.
1827:Deed of sale of land, James Conway to M. D. Bringier.
1829:Mortgage against property of William Donaldson.
1832-1835:Deed, John Henderson to M. D. Bringier. Deed, Elizabeth Ann Conway Righton to Benjamin Winchester. Deed of sale, Charles de Armas to Wade Hampton. Deed of sale of a tract of land by Wade Hampton to William C. Kenner. Deed of sale, John Conway and Dominique Lamoux to Augustus S. Phelps. Copy of document concerning settlement of Wade Hampton's estate.
1836:Extract from will of William Conway, filed in case of Millandon v. McDonough. Other documents used in the same case.
1840-1841:Deed of sale by Laurent Millandon to Phillipson Millandon. Deed of sale of land and slaves from John Slidell to Laurent Millandon. Copy of deed of sale of land by Laurent Millandon to Manuel Julian de Lizardi. Copy of deed of sale of land by Jean Francois Saville to Abraham Francis Righter.
1842:Deed of sale of land, Joachim Kohn to Laurent Millandon (Orange Grove). Deed of sale of property by Laurent Millandon to Henry Phillipson.
1843:Document about sale of land by Henry Godfrey Schmidt to Elizabeth A. Conway, later involved in a law suit. Sale by H. B. Commack, assignee of Kohn, Daron and Company, bankrupts, to J. F. Preston.
1844:Deed of sale of interest in plantation and slaves, Alexander Gordon to Manuel Julian de Lizardi. Rectification of an error and deposit of documents by Victor Burthe, Charles Casimer Gardennes, and Millardon.
1846:Deed of sale of plantation and slaves by C. C. Gardennes to Manuel J. de Lizardi, and release of mortgage to L. Millandon (incomplete).
1847:Deed of sale of land, C. C. Gardennes to Philip Millandon. Sale of White Hall Plantation, Mr. and Mrs. John Penny to John S. Preston and John L. Manning.
1848:Deed of sale of land and slaves, Mary Hampton to John and Caroline Preston.
Beginning in 1849, John Burnside played a conspicuous part in the business transactions documented here. Many of the papers in this subseries relate to John Burnside and Company Some of these documents relate to Burnside's friend Oliver Beirne, and include several powers of attorney from Beirne to Burnside, who was to act for his friend in land purchase deals.
Another company that frequently appears in these papers is McStea, Value and Company, of which Nelson McStea was the principal figure. Both John Burnside and Company and McStea, Value and Company appear to have been involved in lending money to various individuals; many papers relate to suits ("protests") brought by the companies to collect money from defaulting debtors. Also included are numerous promissory notes. Below is a chronological listing of some of the documents included.
1849:A few promissory notes of John Burnside and Company.
1850-1853:Copies of papers in the United States Land Office, a number of promissory notes, and other items relating to John Burnside and Company. Original act of donation from Mary Hampton to Caroline Preston involving a gift of land.
1854:Business Papers, notes, and other items of John Burnside and Company. Succession from H. F. Williams to Aglae Duborg, widow of M. D. Bringier. Protest for non-payment, S. Condit and Company on Siddall Greene and Company to John Burnside and Company. Protest for non-payment, Dowling and Young to John Burnside.
1855:Deed of sale of land and slaves, John S. Preston to Caroline M. Preston. Andrew Beirne's instrument granting power of attorney to John Burnside. Deed of sale of property and slaves, Philip Millandon to L. Millandon. Various protests and promissory notes.
1856-1857:Manuel Julian de Lizardi's document granting power of attorney to Juan Y. de Egana. Protests, promissory notes, and other documents. Transcripts from the case of John Burnside v. Jesse R. Kirkland.
1858:Promissory notes and deeds of sales of land and slaves. Power of attorney of Oliver Beirne to John Burnside. Deed of sale of Houmas Plantation, Caroline M. Preston to John Burnside. Letter from Louis Janin to "Benjamin," discussing the Houmas and other titles.
1859:Notes, acknowledgements, receipts, and other papers. Notice of an assignee's sale.
1860-1862:Memoranda of bales of cotton on J. M. Gillespie's plantation. John M. Andrews's protest against the burning of cotton and a press by armed troops for the Planters Cotton Press. Other protests; vouchers; deeds of sales of property; papers documenting transactions of John Burnside, Nelson McStea, and others.
1863-1864:Document executed by Nelson McStea, a British subject, leasing captured or abandoned property from the U. S. government. A protest executed by John Burnside, also a British subject, against Confederate officers who burned cotton on his land.
1865-1866:Notes, vouchers, and protests of John Burnside, Nelson McStea, McFarland and Bucksdale, and Beverley L. Holcomb. John Burnside's tax return.
1868-1870:Receipt of Gilmore and Sons for fee in Burnside legal case and other papers relating to Burnside, including tax return. Power of attorney granted by Richard I. Manning, Wade Hampton Manning, and Mary Hampton Manning to their father, John L. Manning. Deed of purchase by Arthur W. Foley of part of the Houmas grant, formerly owned by Wade Hampton. Bill for lumber for sugar house and cane shed. Power of attorney granted by Caroline M. Preston to Randell L. Gibson. John Burnside tax return.
1871-1873:Claim of Nelson McStea against the United States for bales of cotton burned during the Civil War. New Orleans tax receipts. Agreement between John S. Swann and McStea and Value. Contract of George E. Payne, who was to go to China to hire Chinese laborers to work for Burnside in Louisiana. Receipt for sale of cotton by firm of Burnside and McFarland to Nelson McStea. Notice of election of Nelson McStea to the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. List of documents relating to Wade Hampton's property. Agreement between John Burnside and 80 Chinese laborers to work on the Armant Plantation. Bills and receipts of McStea and Value.
1874:Notes, receipts, New Orleans tax receipts.
1875:Bills and receipts relating to stores at Houmas, Armant, Orange Grove, Saint James, Riverton, White Castle, and other plantations. Receipts for purchase of 3,000 barrels of molasses for Ascension store. Promissory notes. Agreement of Lucien Granderry to deliver bricks to John Burnside at Saint James Refinery Plantation.
1876-1879:Copy of an act of mortgage from Benjamin E. Story to Hugh D. Hopkins. Many bills, receipts, and notes.
After John Burnside died in 1881 and left his property to his friend Oliver Beirne, the volume of materials decreases. Most of these papers relate to Beirne's business affairs. Below is a chronological listing of some of the documents included.
1882:New Orleans tax receipts and other business papers of Oliver Beirne.
1884-1889:Agreement among Oliver Beirne, William Greene, and J. B. Quimby for Greene and Quimby to sink wells at Riverton Plantation. List of expenditures of J. L. Bradford on a contract with Oliver Beirne and D. F. Kenner. New Orleans tax receipts.
1890-1899:State and city tax receipts. Share of stock in the Davis Land Company and in the Louisiana State Fair Association.
Papers after 1900 deal chiefly with the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company for which William Porcher Miles served as president and James Amedee Gaudet as secretary. The majority of these documents are the Company's city and state tax receipts. Included are the following: bill for publishing the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company's charter; deed of sale passing the property of Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company, Ltd., to the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company; state, city, and federal tax receipts; deed of sale by Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company for Riverton Plantation; map of Riverton Plantation, dated 1920.
Note that a more extensive description of the material in this series is available on request (see control file).
Almost entirely letters from William Porcher Miles to Henry C. Eustis, 1893-1897, when Miles was managing the Houmas Plantations for his father-in-law, Oliver Beirne. The connection between Miles and Eustis is not clear. Eustis seems to have managed business affairs for Miles and was connected with the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company. However, Eustis was more than a business associate, since Miles frequently discussed politics and family affairs in his letters. For example, Miles's 1894 letters frequently include references to the tariff debate in Congress. Miles vigorously opposed high tariffs and argued against Southerners who joined the Republicans on the issue.
Miles discussed the management of Houmas Plantations and the progress of his sugar crop in letters to Eustis, including references in 1894 to carelessness on the part of some of his overseers, lack of rainfall, and low sugar prices. Miles also referred several times to letters sent him by Eustis, which apparently contained information on expenses and profits at the plantations.
Also included are several letters from early 1895 with news of Miles's family's activities during the holiday season and Miles's fear that the sugar cane stubble and seed would be damaged by the very cold weather. In March 1895, Miles referred to having obtained a fair portion of the sugar bounty, apparently as a result of a long legal fight. Controversy over payment of this bounty continued throughout the year.
In 1896, Miles wrote to Eustis about sugar, his plantations, the Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company, family news, and politics.
Processed by: Shonra Newman, September 1990
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Series 1 description is based on an original inventory compiled by Elizabeth H. Cotten around 1946.Back to Top