Collection Number: 00657

Collection Title: William A. Shaffer Papers, 1818-1921.

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.


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Size 3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 350 items)
Abstract Shaffer family of Terrebonne Parish, La., included William A. Shaffer, sugar planter; his sons Thomas J. (1843-1915) and John J. (fl. 1876-1906), sugar planters and Confederate veterans; and John Dalton Shaffer (fl. 1875-1919), sugar planter, lawyer, and state senator. The Shaffers' plantations, all in Terrebonne Parish, were Crescent Farm, Magnolia, Anna, and Ardoyne. The collection includes Plantation Journals, account books, scrapbooks, and financial and legal Papers, chiefly documenting Shaffer family sugar plantations. The journals contain brief daily records of agricultural activities, business transactions, and personal events, 1825-1846 and 1876-1918 (with occasional gaps). A diary of John Dalton Shaffer includes records of treatment of sick Italian workers in 1905. The scrapbooks provide some information on family members, particularly on John Dalton Shaffer's career as a state senator and Democratic Party leader, 1906-1918, and on Thomas J. and John J. Shaffer's involvement in Confederate veterans associations, 1905-1911. The financial and legal papers date chiefly from the 1830s to the 1850s and include bills of sale for land and slaves.
Creator Shaffer, William A., 1797-1887.
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 A. Shaffer Papers #657, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from John D. Shaffer, Jr., before 1940.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

William A. Shaffer (1797-1887) was a sugar planter who owned Crescent Farm, a plantation in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. He married Emilie Bourgeois (fl. 1830s). It is believed that he had two sons: Thomas J. Shaffer (1843-1915), who owned Anna Plantation in Terrebonne Parish, and John J. Shaffer (fl. 1876-1906), who owned Magnolia Plantation, also in Terrebonne Parish. Both Thomas and John served in the Confederate Army and were subsequently heavily involved in Confederate veterans associations. John Dalton Shaffer (fl. 1875-1919), is believed to have been the son of John J. Shaffer. He was a lawyer, state senator, and the owner of Ardoyne Plantation, near Houma, in Terrebonne Parish.

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This collection chiefly documents the operation of plantations owned by the Shaffer family. Very little personal or family material is included. The collection includes forty-four volumes, chiefly plantation records and scrapbooks, of William A. Shaffer, John J. Shaffer, and John Dalton Shaffer. The management of the Shaffer's sugar plantations is heavily documented, particularly Magnolia Plantation, for which John J. Shaffer kept annual plantation journals from 1876 to 1906.

The loose papers in this collection, almost all of which are financial and legal items, belonged primarily to William A. Shaffer and include mortgages, deeds, and bills of sale for land and slaves, documenting how Shaffer acquired his property. Also included are other bills, receipts, promissory notes, checks, tax returns, and licenses.

The collection also includes eight scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, a few letters, and occasional items of other types. The scrapbooks provide some information on family members, particularly on John Dalton Shaffer's career as a state senator and Democratic leader, 1906-1918, and on Thomas J. and John J. Shaffer's involvement in Confederate veterans associations, 1905-1911. They also include clippings on sugar legislation and the race question, 1884-1919, New Orleans, and the Louisiana gubernatorial campaign of 1919.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1818-1921 and undated.

About 350 items.

Arrangement: Format and chronology.

Folder 1-8

Folder 1

Folder 2

Folder 3

Folder 4

Folder 5

Folder 6

Folder 7

Folder 8

1. Financial and Legal Papers, 1818-1895 and undated. #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 1-8

Financial and legal documents, and a few business letters, relating chiefly to William A. Shaffer and his business affairs. Items dated 1818-1857 are chiefly deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale for land and people enslaved by William A. Shaffer and other individuals apparently unrelated to the Shaffer family. Included in 1844 and 1845 are deeds for land purchased by William A. Shaffer under an act of Congress titled "An Act Making Further Provision for the Sale of the Public Lands."

A few pieces of business correspondence are included after 1864, as well as documents that belonged to Thomas A. Shaffer, John J. Shaffer, and John Dalton Shaffer. Also included in 1885 is a subscription sheet for a canal to be built off Bayou Black, near William A. Shaffer's plantation. The sheet contains a list of signatures and amounts of money to be paid by William A. Shaffer and his neighbors. In 1886 there is a list of quotations of cane prices.

There also is a folder of bills, receipts, promissory notes, and checks, 1846-1887, and a folder of tax returns, bills, receipts, and licenses, 1860-1887, that include data on federal, state, and parish taxes paid by the Shaffers.

Folder 9

Volume 1: Plantation records of William A. Shaffer, 1825-1848 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 9

Lists transactions of money, goods, and labor made on an unnamed plantation. There are occasional entries about planting and other work performed. Though not entirely clear, it is believed that the volume belonged to William A. Shaffer.

Folder 10

Volume 2: Plantation records of William A. Shaffer, 1867-1886 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 10

Lists cash accounts for Crescent Farm, owned by William A. Shaffer. See Volume 37 for records of expenses for Crescent Farm, 1894-1895. See also Volume 33.

Folder 11-37

Folder 11

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Folder 18

Folder 19

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

Folder 23

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

Folder 27

Folder 28

Folder 29

Folder 30

Folder 31

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

Folder 36

Folder 37

Volumes 3-29: Plantation records of John J. Shaffer, 1876-1906 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 11-37

Annual plantation records kept by John J. Shaffer for Magnolia Plantation, Terrebonne County, Louisiana, which he purchased in 1876. Shaffer wrote about the weather, crops, sugar production, and hiring laborers to work on the plantation. Occasionally he mentioned personal and family happenings, such as his father's birthday and his own illnesses.

Folder 38

Volume 30: Plantation records of John Dalton Shaffer, 1890-1905 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 38

A diary, 1890, that belonged to John Dalton Shaffer of Ardoyne Plantation near Houma, Louisiana. In the front are several pages listing ticket sales for an unknown event. In the back is a record of the treatment of sick Italian workers dated 1905. There was apparently an outbreak of yellow fever in which a number of the workers died. See Volume 39 for later Ardoyne accounts.

Folder 39

Volume 31: Other plantation records, 1910 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 39

Time book, dated 1910, containing records of workers' time and miscellaneous notes on property owned.

Folder 40

Volume 32: Other plantation records, 1912-1913 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 40

Plantation record, 1912-1913, containing notations on planting, expenses of sugar cane production, and supplies, at Ardoyne Plantation, Magnolia Plantation, and Crescent Farm.

Folder 41

Volume 33: Other plantation records, 1879-1901 and 1918 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 41

Volume is titled "Sugar House Time Book," and dated December 1918, actually contains notes on the annual production of sugar at Magnolia Plantation and Crescent Farm, 1879-1901.

Reel M-657/1-2

M-657/1

M-657/2

Microfilm copy of volumes 3-33, 1876-1913 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Reel M-657/1-2

Folder 42

Volume 34: Scrapbook, 1875-1880 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 42

Volume 34, 1875-1880, appears to have been kept by John Dalton Shaffer while he was attending the University of the South and the Law Department of the University of Louisiana. It contains programs for commencement exercises, invitations to various events, a few pieces of correspondence, and newspaper clippings dealing with strange stories, poetry, events, and places in New Orleans.

Oversize Volume SV-657/35

Volume 35: Scrapbook, 1876-1899 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " SV-657/35

Volume 35, 1876-1899, contains articles and stories taken from Munseys and other magazines. One concerns the Dreyfus affair in France.

Folder 44

Volume 36: Scrapbook, 1884-1919 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 44

Volume 36, 1884-1919, contains newspaper clippings dealing with sugar legislation and race relations.

Folder 45

Volume 37: Scrapbook, 1905-1916 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 45

Volume 37, 1905-1916, contains items concerning Confederate veterans organizations. Included are newspaper clippings on the organizations and various members, reunion programs and badges, and notes from speeches given at reunions, all of which are pasted in an account book of the expenses for the operation of Crescent Farm, 1894-1895.

Folder 46

Enclosures from volume 37 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 46

Folder 47

Volume 38: Scrapbook, 1906-1918 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 47

Volume 38, 1906-1918, contains letters and newspaper clippings dealing chiefly with the political career of John D. Shaffer.

Folder 48

Volume 39: Scrapbook, 1918-1921 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 48

Volume 39, 1918-1921, contains clippings from newspapers and other publications relating to New Orleans and giving data about Louisiana. The volume is labeled "Ardoyne Plantation, 1918," and the items are pasted over accounts.

Folder 49

Volume 40: Scrapbook, 1919 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 49

Contains newspaper clippings dealing with the Stubbs-Parker campaign for governor of Louisiana in 1919. It appears to have been kept by John Dalton Shaffer.

Folder 50

Volume 41: Scrapbook, 1919 #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 50

Contains newspaper clippings dealing with the Stubbs-Parker campaign for governor of Louisiana in 1919. It appears to have been kept by John Dalton Shaffer.

Folder 51-53

Folder 51

Folder 52

Folder 53

Miscellaneous account books, 1921 and undated. #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " Folder 51-53

Three volumes containing miscellaneous accounts. Volume 42, dated 1921, contains farm notes, lists of houses and lots, auto expenses, and miscellaneous accounts. Volumes 43 and 44 are undated and contain miscellaneous accounts.

Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-657/1

Extra oversize papers #00657, Series: "Papers, 1818-1921 and undated. " XOPF-657/1

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Processing Information

Processed by: Ellen Strong, 1964; Shonra Newman, August 1990

Updated by: Laura Hart, June 2021

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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