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Collection Number: 03066

Collection Title: William Conrad Schutte Papers, 1741-1844

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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Size 150 items (1 reel of microfilm)
Abstract Papers of Schutte, a Haitian planter who emigrated to Portsmouth, Va., circa 1793, including eight family letters exchanged between France and the West Indies, 1741-1753; Schutte's bills, accounts, deeds, miscellaneous legal papers, and correspondence in Haiti, 1769-1789; and papers, 1825- 1832, of Schutte's widow, chiefly concerning her attempt to secure compensation from France for property losses in the Haitian revolt in the 1790s.
Creator Schutte, William Conrad, 1737-1806.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the William Conrad Schutte Papers #3066, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Lent for filming by John Vermillion, Jr., of Portsmouth, Va., in September 1954.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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These papers consist of correspondence, deeds, extensive accounts, promissory notes, receipts, baptismal and marriage records, wills, and other items, pertaining to William Conrad Schutte (1737-1806), physician and planter of Haiti, who came to Portsmouth, Va., in the 1790s. It was in that decade that he lost his property in Haiti during the confusion of the Haitian revolt.

Schutte was the son of Girard (or Gerret) Jean Schutte and Anne Vanborskerk Schutte and a brother of Dr. Jodocus Schutte. He had relatives at Leogane, Vache Island, and other places in Haiti, and in New York and the Netherlands. In 1789, he married Anne Elizabeth Bernadine Louise Perrot, evidently a much younger woman who lived for many years after his death. They had at least five children: William Schutte (1789-1833), Jeanne (or Jane) J. J. L. Schutte Webb (b. 1791), Johanna G. Elizabeth Schutte Spratley (b. 1795 in Virginia), Louisa Therese Bernadine Elizabeth Schutte Webb (b. 1800 in Virginia), and Elizabeth Schutte Vermillion (b. 1803 in Virginia).

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The earliest papers, 1741-1753, are eight letters of the Girard Jean Schutte family at Leogane from unidentified relatives and friends. Papers from 1769 concern accounts of William Conrad Schutte, doctor of medicine. Also included are an itemized account with Prudhomme, Rourke, and Heurtelou of Leogane, 1765-1769 and three petitions from shipowners to the officials of Port au Prince regarding collecting from Schutte amounts due for a cargo of slaves received in 1767 with promissory notes, receipts, and endorsements attached.

In 1770, papers pertain to Schutte's accounts in Leogane, primarily relating to the will of Anne Vanboskerk, widow of Girard Jean Schutte. These papers include instructions dictated from her deathbed, depositions regarding the substance of these instructions, statements of the lawyer and notary J. B. Bugaret, an inventory of her effects and summary of the case, and other estate papers. Her eldest son, Jodocus Schutte, was named executor and a beneficiary while William C. Schutte and others were witness to the dictated will at Cayes.

Papers, 1772-1782, are almost entirely business papers of William Conrad Schutte and consist of bills, accounts, and notes with Prudhomme & Heurtelou, 1772, and Sheridan & Co., 1782; a letter to his creditors, 1776, about postponement of payment until after the harvesting of his coffee; business papers with his partner, the surgeon Masson, 1882; and other bills and receipts, possibly of his father or brother. There are also materials relating to the will of W. C. Schutte's mother and his paternal aunt, chiefly about affairs at Port au Prince, Leogane, Cayes, and elsewhere.

From 1783 to 1787, papers include a receipt, 1783, showing provisions and supplies sold to Schutte; a letter, 1783, to Schutte referring to the African-American man who was carrying the letter; a letter, 1785, from de Maille-laour-landry in Anjou to Schutte at Vache Island saying that he and Madame de Maille were delighted to have Schutte's two children and planned to escort them to college the following month; an agreement between Schutte with Joseph Wade Sheridan and Francois Courtard in which Schutte sold a large piece of property at Grand Goave with a house, land, coffee plantation, woods, garden, slaves (listed by name and age), and animals with payments filed in 1787; and bills and accounts settled by Schutte, 1785 and 1786, including shipowners claims for slaves and general accounts.

Scattered papers from 1788-1806 include more business papers; three personal letters; and a passport, 1796. Letters, 1788 and 1789, are from de Maille to Madame Schutte reporting on her children at school in France and from a Mr. Robert at Mol to Schutte at Portsmouth, Va., discussing his recent illness, news about the condition of Schutte's house and property in Santo Domingo, news of Leogane, and inquiries about Schutte's plans. There is also a copy of a news story regarding a court order of 8 July 1793 at Norfolk, Va., admitting French refugees from Hispaniola. There is no direct information about the revolution of 1789, the slave insurrection of 1791, the emancipation of slaves in 1793, or activities of British or French armies in the 1790s. The family apparently moved to Portsmouth, Va., in 1792 or 1793, and later claims indicate that they lost their property in 1797-1798 and 1802-1803.

Papers after 1806, the year Schutte died, are of his widow, Anne P. Schutte, relating chiefly to property matters and the heirs' attempts to recover property lost in Haiti following the revolution of 1789. These claims were presented by his widow to the French government in Paris following France's recognition of Haiti in 1825. There is a short biography of Schutte by his wife after his death which is followed by letters: 1810, from William Berson of Salem, Mass., writing friends of his parents asking advice in recovering his inheritance from Santo Domingo; 1818, Benjamin Spratley to S. Whitehead saying he would not be present at the division of slaves in Mrs. Schutte's house and that whatever the commissioners decide would be fine; and 1819, to Anne Schutte from her son-in-law, Richard Webb, of Richmond about taking a shipload of tobacco to City Point and Norfolk. In 1822, William Schutte deeded his share of slaves from his father's estate to his mother, Anne P. Schutte. In 1824, there is a letter from Anne Schutte to her daughter, Elizabeth Schutte Vermillion, regarding the disposition of the former's property; a remedy for lockjaw copied from a newspaper, 1824; a letter, 1825, from Mrs. L. B. Pellion to Anne Schutte about the selling of some slaves Mrs. Schutte sent to them in New Orleans; and a letter, 1826, to Anne P. Schutte from Eliza R. Togath, Petersburg.

By a French law in 1826, the result of a treaty between France and Haiti, indemnity claims could be made against the French government by emigres from Santo Domingo who had lost their property at the time of the revolution. Anne P. Schutte and her children entered a claim as the heirs of William Conrad Schutte. Most of the documents from 1827 pertain to the collection of material to support the claim and have been separated into three parts. The first consists of a letter, January 1827, from Messrs. Welles & Co., Paris, to R. Saunders at Rome acknowledging the receipt of letters to be forwarded to the United States and instructing him as to a method of getting remittances from the United States to France. The second part, seven items, 1761-1827, consists of copies of baptism records, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and registration as doctor of medicine. The third part, 1786-1827, consists of copies of bills, accounts, receipts, deeds, leases, and rents, gathered by Anne P. Schutte to establish the ownership and value of the property formerly owned by her husband.

Letters, 1829-1832, are mainly from Mr. Mejan, Anne Schutte's agent in Paris and consul of Sweden and Norway, who handled claims of the Santo Domingo colonists to the French government. In the five letters from Mejan, he explained at length the difficulties, delays, and slowness of procedure; asked for additional documents concerning the Schutte property; notified her of the commissioners' decisions in her case; and informed her that nothing could be paid to her until all the counter-claims against the Schutte estate had been settled.

The remaining papers, 1833-1844, include a receipt, 1833, relating to burying William Schutte and receipt, 1834, relating to an indemnity Anne Schutte and her sister Annette received for the property of her uncle, Louis Bardette. There are two letters, 1835 and 1837, to Anne Schutte from her grandchildren in Washington, D.C. There is a deed, 1838, of Anne P. Schutte to her grandson William Webb for her slaves; two receipts, 1839, from Spratley and Vermillion heirs relating to the Schutte estate; and two copies of the will of Anne P. Schutte. Twelve undated items follow the will and include letters, poems, receipts, recipes, and other items.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing, September 1996

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This collection was processed with support from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.

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