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|Size||1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 14 items)|
|Abstract||Francis Terry Leak was a cotton planter and businessman of Tippah (now Benton) County, Miss. The collection includes manuscript volumes containing entries of various types, most of which are presumed to have been written by Francis Terry Leak. With the exception of one volume consisting chiefly of work records of plantation hands, largely slaves, the greater portion of each volume contains Leak's diary/plantation journal. Some entries contain brief references to the number of acres plowed and the weather on a given day, while others are substantive narrative passages about plantation, family, and community life, ranging from trips through the South that were undertaken by family or friends to the progress of the Civil War. Other sections of these volumes are devoted to records of miscellaneous accounts, including those relating to cotton shipped and sold, goods and services purchased from various sources, transactions involving the loaning or collecting of money, and other activities having to do with finances.|
|Creator||Leak, Francis Terry, 1803-1863.|
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Francis Terry Leak, son of Walter and Hannah Pickett Leak, was born in 1803 in Rockingham, N.C. He was admitted to the North Carolina bar 27 December 1824. By 1839, however, he had established himself in northern Mississippi, where he was engaged in planting.
Leak's plantation was in Tippah County (now Benton County) near the town of Salem, which was an important trading center until the Civil War. Leak apparently bought the southern part of his holdings in 1836 and added significantly to his lands around 1851. In 1837, he was assessed for 32 slaves, who he probably brought with him from North Carolina. In 1850, there appear to have been ten or eleven whites living on the plantation (chiefly family members) and 110 blacks, most of whom must have been slaves. In that same year, he declared for tax purposes the following: 1,360 acres of land; factory stock in North Carolina; 1/3 share of a warehouse in Salem, Mississippi; houses, wagons, and farming tools; 100 yards of carpeting; 500 bushels of oats; 500 bushels of peas; 1,000 bushels of potatoes; 400 pounds of butter; 250 bales of cotton; 19 horses; 18 mules; 13 cows; 8 oxen; 23 cattle; 26 sheep; 150 hogs (manuscript volume 2, p. 195). In 1860, he owned 90 slaves, the largest number owned by any one man in Tippah County.
Leak appears also to have been active in financial dealings outside of farming operations. Besides the North Carolina factory stock and the interest in the warehouse in Salem, records in Tippah County for 1860 indicate that Leak had a sizeable amount of "money loaned at interest."
Leak died in Alabama in 1863 and was buried in Selma.Back to Top
The collection includes manuscript volumes containing entries of various types, most of which are presumed to have been written by Francis Terry Leak, a cotton planter and businessman of Tippah County, Miss. (now Benton County, Miss.). With the exception of one volume consisting chiefly of work records of plantation hands, largely slaves, the greater portion of each volume contains Francis Terry Leak's diary/plantation journal. Some entries contain brief references to the number of acres plowed and the weather on a given day, while others are substantive narrative passages about plantation, family, and community life, ranging from trips through the South that were undertaken by family or friends to the progress of the Civil War. Other sections of these volumes are devoted to records of miscellaneous accounts, including those relating to cotton shipped and sold, goods and services purchased from various sources, transactions involving the loaning or collecting of money, and other activities having to do with finances.Back to Top
Oversize Paper OP-1095/1-2
Two maps showing locations of Leak holdings in northern Mississippi #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." OP-1095/1-2
One map shows the area, circa 1860, with the county lines and place names much as described by Leak in his diary, with the present county lines superimposed. The second map shows the outline of Leak's plantation and the now vanished town of Salem.
Manuscript volume 1: 1841-1865; circa 408 pages; not transcribed #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 2
Chiefly work records, 10 October 1841 through 18 November 1865, of plantation hands, showing daily tallies of cotton and other crops picked. The records are in table format, some pages containing records for two weeks and others records for three to four weeks. Weekly records are separated by the Sunday break, which usually contains a note on the general progress of work. Also included are miscellaneous accounts, notes, status reports on income and expenditures, a few aphorisms and recipes, and other entries. Entries are relatively steady through December 1861, but widely spaced after 1861. Several hands contributed to this book; entries made after Leak's death in 1863 may have been written by an overseer.
Pages 1-94 transcribed in typed transcription volume 1, pages 96-286 transcribed in typed transcription volume 2. Pages 1-94 (front to back of volume) chiefly contain short entries relating to business affairs, including the buying and selling of slaves, payment to day laborers, records of cotton shipped and sold, and the management of various estates for which Leak seems to have been executor. There are some longer entries in this section, but these, too, are chiefly related to business transactions. Pages 95-286 (back to front of volume) chiefly contain more extensive, narrative entries, dated 1845-12 April 1852, about plantation activities, family affairs, Leak's health, the building of houses and other structures, births and deaths in the neighborhood, and other matters. In this section, however, there are also miscellaneous accounts and other financial documentation.
Pages 1-338 transcribed in typed transcription volumes 3 and 4. Pages 1-338 (front to back of volume) continue the diary from the second part of volume 2. These entries begin on 12 April 1852 and continue through 21 June 1855. There is a table of contents and an index for this section. Pages 343-386 (back to front of the volume) contain entries dated 1849-1856 that are chiefly miscellaneous accounts, notes, estate accounts, and personal inventories.
Pages 1-290 transcribed in typed transcription volumes 4 and 5. Pages 1-290 contain a mixture of accounts and diary entries, 22 June 1855 through 31 December 1858, with some entries relating to family and community affairs and others documenting letters received and sent and summarizing the content of these letters. As a whole, diary entries in this volume tend to be more substantive than those in previous volumes. Pages 301-381 contain miscellaneous accounts, 20 June 1855 through February 1862, but not in strict chronological order. These accounts are similar to those listed in the volume 3 description.
Transcribed in typed transcription volumes 6 and 7. Pages 1-411 chiefly contain diary entries, 1 January 1859 through 23 June 1862, that are similar to those in volume 4. Many of the 1861 and 1862 entries relate to the progress of Civil War battles and to local war activities. The diary continues on pages 428-435 (2 July through 25 September 1862) and pages 468-471 (29 September through 3 November 1862). Pages 412-427 chiefly contain miscellaneous accounts, dated 1 January 1859 through 3 November 1862, as do pages 438-463 (22 May 1858 through 8 August 1862). An index to the entire volume is included.
Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, April 1990
Encoded by: Eben Lehman, May 2006
Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, February 2010Back to Top