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This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992.
|Size||1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 650 items)|
|Abstract||Prominent members of the Buchanan family of Warren and Lincoln counties, Tenn., and McClellan family of Limestone County, Ala., included Andrew Buchanan (fl. 1820-1865), planter and merchant; his son, Felix Grundy Buchanan (d. circa 1910), Confederate soldier; Thomas Joyce McClellan (fl. 1836-1880), planter, Whig politician, and member of the Alabama Secession Convention of 1861; Thomas's son, William C. McClellan (d. 1869), Confederate soldier; William's son, Thomas Nicholas McClellan (1853-1906), Alabama state senator, 1880-1884, attorney general, 1884-1889, associate justice of the Alabama supreme court, 1889-1898, and Alabama chief justice, 1898-1906; and William's daughters, Matilda McClellan (fl. 1859-1914) and Kate McClellan Buchanan (fl. 1859-1917). The collection is chiefly correspondence dealing with land transactions in Warren and Lincoln counties, Tenn., and in Limestone County, Ala.; family news; and farm activities. Thomas J. McClellan's interest in Whig politics in Alabama is documented, as is Thomas Nicholas McClellan's political career. Several Buchanan and McClellan family members fought during the Civil War, including William C. McClellan, who wrote home about the first battle of Bull Run and the battle of Fredericksburg, 1862. Matilda McClellan is the chief correspondent in the years after the Civil War. Her letters primarily concern family matters. There are also financial and legalmaterials relating to McClellan family members, particularly land transactions and cases handled by McClellan & McClellan of Athens, Ga., 1880s-1920s.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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.
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The chief figures in these papers are Andrew Buchanan (fl. 1820-1865) of Warren and Lincoln counties, Tennessee, and his family, and Thomas Joyce McClellan (fl. 1836-1880) of Limestone County, Alabama, and his family. These two families were connected by the marriage of Felix Grundy Buchanan, son of Andrew Buchanan, to Kate McClellan, daughter of Thomas Joyce McClellan. There were apparently ties, however, between the two families prior to the marriage. Letters to Thomas Joyce McClellan from members of the Buchanan family dating as early as 1838, indicated that the McClellans moved from Tennessee to Alabama.
Andrew Buchanan was a merchant and a planter. He was married to Bethia L. Buchanan and probably had at least seven children, among them: Felix Grundy (d. circa 1910) m. Kate McClellan; Margaret m. 1857 Coleman A. McDaniel; and Matthew. Felix Grundy and Matthew fought in the Civil War. The daughter of Felix and Kate McClellan was Mary White Hobbs, the donor of these papers.
Andrew Buchanan had a brother, Samuel, who died in Lincoln County, Tennessee, in 1836. His brother William lived in Virginia and was the ancestor of the Buchanans who corresponded with Kate McClellan Buchanan after 1900. For additional data on the Buchanan genealogy, see letters, 1910 to 1917, from William Buchanan to Kate McClellan Buchanan.
Thomas J. McClellan was a planter and the owner of a livestock business. He also participated in politics and was a member of the Alabama Secession Convention in 1861 and a member of the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1865. He married Martha Fleming Beatie and had at least seven children, among them: William C. (d. 1869) m. Susan E.; Matilda (fl. 1859-1914); Robert Anderson (1843-1898) m. Aurora Pryor; John; Kate (fl. 1859-1917) m. Felix Grundy Buchanan; Sallie m. ? Davis; and Thomas Nicholas (1853-1906).
William C. and Robert Anderson both fought in the Civil War. Several McClellans were prominent in Alabama politics in the late nineteenth century. Thomas Nicholas McClellan was a state senator from 1880 to 1884, attorney general from 1884 to 1889, associate justice of the Alabama supreme court from 1889 to 1898, and chief justice from 1898 to 1906. Thomas C. McClellan, son of Robert Anderson and Aurora Pryor, was associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
For more information on McClellan genealogy, see the letters of November 1909, from J. E. McClellan to Matilda McClellan.Back to Top
This collection consists chiefly of correspondence of the Buchanan and McClellan families. The early letters are between members of the Buchanan family about land transactions. Other letters before the Civil War discuss family news and farming activities, and Thomas J. McClellan corresponded with friends about Alabama politics. There are numerous letters from members of the Buchanan and McClellan families who served in the Confederate army, including Matthew Buchanan, Felix Grundy Buchanan, and William C. McClellan. After the Civil War, most of the correspondence relates to the McClellan family, particularly to Matilda, daughter of Thomas J. McClellan. She received a number of letters from her brother, Thomas Nicholas McClellan, that document his political career. She also received letters from family and friends containing personal news.
Financial and legal items are chiefly post-Civil War deeds and indentures for land in Washington County, Virginia, Warren and Lincoln counties, Tennessee, and Limestone County, Alabama. Also included are bills, accounts, receipts, wills, and legal materials relating to land deals and cases handled by McClellan & McClellan, Athens, Georgia.
The Other Papers series contains items that relate to Thomas J. McClellan's dealings with the Federal forces in northern Alabama during the Civil War, and miscellaneous writings, poems, and essays.Back to Top
Scattered letters chiefly to members of the Buchanan family. The earliest letters are to Andrew Buchanan of Warren and Lincoln counties, Tennessee, from Matthew Buchanan and Samuel Buchanan of Washington County, Virginia, and deal with land transactions. Also included is a letter from Andrew Buchanan to William Buchanan in Washington County, Virginia, about the death of their brother Samuel in Tennessee on 25 November 1836. There are also a few letters between the Buchanans and the McClellans, including a letter dated 17 September 1838 from Thomas W. Buchanan in Bedford County, Tennessee, to Thomas J. McClellan in Shoal Ford, Alabama, about business matters.
Correspondence of the McClellan and Buchanan families, chiefly about family news and farming activities. A few of the letters deal with political events, including a letter from Andrew Buchanan in 1840 in which he remarked on presidential campaign opinions in Tennessee that year. L. R. Davis, a friend of Thomas J. McClellan's and a member of the Alabama legislature, wrote to McClellan in 1849 about the burning of the Alabama capitol and the business of the legislature.
Chiefly McClellan family correspondence. There are letters to and from W. N. Wright (nephew of Thomas J. McClellan), W. A. McClellan, Sarah A. McClellan, John McClellan, A. M. Beatie, Sallie McClellan (possibly also known as Sarah A. McClellan), Matilda McClellan, Kittie (Kate) McClellan, and a few unidentified friends.
There are a number of letters between Thomas J. McClellan and his two friends, Patrick Ragland and L. R. Davis. In these letters, they discussed local and family news, personal finances, and local, state, and national politics. In a letter from McClellan to Ragland, dated 25 July 1852, McClellan expressed his strong support of the Whig party and his views on the nomination of Winfield Scott for the presidency. Davis wrote to McClellan in 1852 about the defeat of the Whigs in that year and the state of the Whig party, and he wrote to him in 1860 about secessionist sentiment in the Alabama legislature.
The main items in the Buchanan family correspondence are four letters from Felix G. Buchanan to members of his family written from Emory and Henry College in Washington, Virginia, in 1856 and 1857. Also included is a letter from a friend of the family, James Fulton, to Mrs. Buchanan (probably Mrs. Andrew Buchanan), dated 6 December 1860, from the ship on which he was stationed, the U.S. steamer Saginaw, in Hong Kong, China.
Chiefly correspondence of members of the Buchanan and McClellan families who served in the Confederate army, and a group of letters written by Thomas J. McClellan and L. R. Davis during their participation in the Alabama secession convention of 1861, and during McClellan's membership in the Alabama legislature in 1861.
Matthew Buchanan, son of Andrew Buchanan, wrote to his father and his brother from Tennessee and from a camp near Bowling Green, Kentucky. He also corresponded with a friend, Nathaniel Alexander. He wrote about camp life, sickness, the surrounding countryside, the arms supplied to his regiment, the declining value of paper money and high prices, his desire to fight with the Yankees, and the selection of officers. He mentioned his sister Margaret's husband, Coleman A. McDaniel, as the choice of his unit for colonel. He also gave directions for farming activities.
Felix Grundy Buchanan, son of Andrew Buchanan, wrote to his mother, father, Will (probably a brother), Matthew Buchanan, Margaret Buchanan McDaniel, and to other brothers and sisters. He was stationed at various camps in Virginia, chiefly Camp Fisher, near Dumfries. He wrote of the clothing shortage and the need for clothing from home, bad roads, sickness, news of their acquaintances in his outfit, and activities of the Confederate forces in northern Virginia. In a letter dated 18 March 1863, he described a visit to Richmond and a view of the Confederate Congress, which he found to be a most unimpressive group. In a letter dated 18 March 1865, he mentioned that his age was 27, that he had been wounded three times since last writing home, and that he had not been home for four years. In a letter dated 20 November (no year given), he described General Joseph Johnston to one of his sisters. His letters contain very little description of actual fighting. An address on one of the letters indicates that he held the rank of lieutenant.
William C. McClellan, son of Thomas J. McClellan, was stationed in Virginia throughout the Civil War at Camp Davis, near Richmond, and at Manassas Junction, Fredericksburg, Orange Court House, and Petersburg. He corresponded with his mother and father; with his brothers and sisters, including Robert, Matilda, Kate, and Sallie; his uncle, W. A. McClellan; and a friend [L. R.?] Davis. The letters written to William deal with family and local news, Yankee activities in northern Alabama, sewing for the soldiers, and preparation of clothing and food to be sent to him. William wrote about camp life, sickness among the soldiers, and news of their acquaintances in the regiment. In a letter dated 6 July 1861, he mentioned the high prices charged to the soldiers in Richmond. He wrote about the first battle of Bull Run and, in a letter dated 18 August 1861, his confidence in the invincibility of the Confederate forces. In letters of 10 December 1861 and 20 February 1863, he wrote about the death sentence for disobedient soldiers. In a letter dated 8 July 1862, he wrote about the battle with McClellan's forces near Richmond. Some of his topics during the period from December 1862 through May 1863 include worry about Yankee activities at home, his need for shoes, the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862, and the fighting near Fredericksburg from February through May 1863. In a letter dated 1 May 1864, he wrote about desertions from the Confederate army, and, in a letter dated 24 March 1865, about the hopelessness of the Confederate cause. He wrote descriptions and praise of several outstanding Confederate leaders: Jefferson Davis in letters dated 30 June and 30 September 1861; General Joseph Johnston in a letter dated 10 December 1861; A. P. Hill and Stonewall Jackson in a letter dated May 1863; and Robert E. Lee in a letter dated 24 March 1865. William C. McClellan apparently remained a private throughout the war and was in the infantry, although his letters record numerous efforts to be transferred, probably into the cavalry.
There are several pieces of correspondence written by Thomas J. McClellan and L. R. Davis during their participation in the Alabama secession convention, January-March 1861, and during McClellan's tenure in the Alabama legislature in November 1861. McClellan was opposed to secession in January 1861, but by March 1861, appeared reconciled to the idea since the South could not get the desired concessions from the North.
There are a few letters from Robert McClellan, son of Thomas J. McClellan, at school in the Petersburg Academy, Tennessee, in February and March 1861, and there are indications that he later joined the Confederate army. A letter from him dated 18 March 1865 described his participation in a military movement from Alabama to North Carolina and his expectation that the last battle of the war would soon be fought. Other letters to members of the Buchanan and McClellan families include a letter dated 3 November 1861 to William Buchanan from a friend in the Sabine Pass [Texas?], describing military preparations at Galveston and the shortage of money in his area. Andrew Buchanan received a letter dated 18 July 1862 from a friend who was a prisoner-of-war at Fort Warren and who wrote about the battle at Fort Donelson where he was captured. There is a letter dated January 1865 to "Dear Mother" (probably Mrs. Andrew Buchanan) from Mary B. Wright in Nashville about family news and a letter she received from Felix, and a letter dated 29 April 1865 to Andrew Buchanan from W. N. Wright in Nashville giving news of Felix. A letter dated 3 January 1865, for which neither the writer nor recipient is identified, described the troubles of the residents of northern Alabama with the Yankee soldiers. During this period, Thomas W. Buchanan and Matthew Buchanan wrote to members of the McClellan family discussing the secession movement and family and farm news.
Chiefly correspondence of members of the McClellan family, particularly Matilda McClellan, daughter of Thomas J. McClellan.
Matilda received a large number of letters from her brother, Thomas Nicholas McClellan, who was prominent in Alabama politics in the late nineteenth century. The letters document some of the major phases of his career, including his attendance at Cumberland University Law School in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1871 and 1872; his law partnership with his brother Robert A. McClellan in 1878 and 1880; his membership in the Alabama senate from 1880 through 1884; and his service as attorney general of Alabama from 1884 to 1889, associate justice of the Alabama supreme court from 1889 to 1898, and chief justice of the Alabama supreme court from 1898 to 1906. These letters are a good source of information on the activities of the McClellan family for the years 1880 to 1905, particularly on the legal and political careers of Robert A. McClellan, brother of Thomas N. McClellan, and Thomas C. McClellan, son of Robert A. McClellan. They also contain information on political activities in Alabama and comments on national politics. A letter dated 12 June 1904 gave a resume of Thomas J. McClellan's role in the Alabama secession convention of 1861.
Matilda, along with her sister Kate McClellan, was the recipient of a number of letters scattered throughout the period from 1866 to 1914 from friends and acquaintances. The majority of these letters were written by people in Alabama and Tennessee, except for a group of letters from Mrs. J. C. Keeney (Mattie or Martha) in Hamilton, Bermuda. Her daughter, Mamie Keeney Cooper, also corresponded with Matilda from South Kaukauna, Wisconsin, on 20 December 1911 and 21 December 1914. These letters chiefly contain news of family and friends. The letters from Mrs. Keeney date from 1871 to 1896 and make up the largest group of letters from any one person. She wrote about her family, her life in Bermuda where she and her husband went to live with her parents and run her father's business, and her longing to return to her home in Alabama. One undated letter was written by Mrs. Keeney to "Kittie" (Kate) before she left Alabama for Bermuda.
Relatives who corresponded with Matilda include Aurora Pryor McClellan who wrote between 1892 and 1913. Her letters contain news of family and friends and were written from Athens, Alabama. She wrote frequently about the legal careers of her husband, Robert A. McClellan, and her son, Thomas C. McClellan. J. E. McClellan (his exact relationship to Matilda is unknown) wrote a number of letters to Matilda in November 1909 from Santa Anna, Texas, giving information on the McClellan family genealogy. Also included are letters from her sister, Sallie M. Davis, from relatives in Mississippi (several letters between 1878 and 1879 signed "Frances", "F. M. Davis", and "Davis of Miss"), from her niece, Memory McClellan (probably a daughter of Aurora and Robert A. McClellan), and from her nephew, Tom (probably Thomas C. McClellan). These letters contain family news.
Thomas J. McClellan also received letters during the period between 1866 and 1880. Included is a letter dated 24 May 1866 from L. J. Kimbell, thanking McClellan for help given him in his escape through Federal lines to his home in Louisiana and describing conditions in Louisiana; a letter dated 22 June 1867 from Jas. H. Clanton to W. M. Lowe concerning a political committee of which Thomas J. McClellan was a member; a letter dated 16 December 1869 from W. A. McClellan to "Dear Brother" (probably Thomas J. McClellan) describing the illness of their sister, Julia Wright, and sympathizing with him over the death of William (probably his son, William C. McClellan); two letters dated 30 June 1872 and 26 August 1872 from a friend and a relative in Fayetteville, Tennessee, concerning news of family and friends; two letters dated 18 October 1871 and 1880 from his son, Thomas N. McClellan, the first having been written while Thomas N. was in school in Tennessee and the second when he was running for state senate; and a letter dated 9 February 1873 from P. Ragland to L. R. Davis, friends of Thomas J. McClellan, about business and personal matters.
Besides writing many letters to Matilda, Thomas Nicholas McClellan received letters from members of the family including Thomas J. McClellan (dated 11 February 1869), Robert A. McClellan (dated 14 February 1881, 16 November 1882, 28 January 1885, and 15 June 1898), Aurora McClellan (dated 24 February 1881 and 10 June 1904), and Thomas C. McClellan (dated 9 June 1904). He also received letters from friends and associates, chiefly between 1885 and 1906, including one dated 17 October 1893 from James L. Pugh, U.S. senator from Alabama between 1880 and 1897, who discussed the controversy over the repeal of the purchase clause of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
A few letters were written about Thomas Nicholas McClellan. In a letter dated 14 February 1889, J. L. Pugh wrote to "Dear Mc" (probably Robert A. McClellan) quoting compliments by U.S. Supreme Court justice Miller on Thomas N. McClellan who had recently presented an argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. Pugh also discussed the presidential election of 1888. Thomas C. McClellan received some correspondence about the illness and death of his uncle, Thomas N. McClellan, between 13 July 1905 and 13 November 1906.
There are only a few pieces of correspondence for the Buchanan family during this period. They include letters dated 5 March 1873 and 27 December 1901 to Felix Buchanan from W. R. Buchanan and J. S. Buchanan respectively; a letter dated 30 September 1912 to William C. Buchanan, a cousin of Felix Buchanan who lived in Glade Springs, Virginia, from his son-in-law, John C. Hawk, a missionary in China; and a letter dated 5 September 1879 to White from Alf Fulton. The letter to White is not definitely a Buchanan letter, but a letter dated 6 December 1860 to Mrs. Buchanan from James Fulton sent messages to various members of her family, among them White. These letters deal with family affairs and personal news. The letter from John C. Hawk briefly described Chinese agriculture and finances. Felix Grundy Buchanan and Kate McClellan were married during this period, and a letter dated 16 September 1883 from John J. McClellan of Corsicana, Texas, to "My dear Major" (Felix Buchanan) mentioned cousin Kate several times. There are about fifteen letters for the period 1910 to 1917 to Kate McClellan Buchanan from William Buchanan, a cousin of Felix Buchanan who lived in Glade Springs, Virginia, and from members of his family, including Mary P. Buchanan (his wife), Jean, B. Lyons, and W. B. Kelly. This correspondence is concerned with news of William Buchanan's family and with Buchanan and Edmondson family history.
Undated correspondence of members of the McClellan family, including Kate McClellan Buchanan, William C. McClellan, Aurora Pryor McClellan, Matilda McClellan, Thomas Nicholas McClellan, Thomas C. McClellan, and Sallie [McClellan Davis?]. Also included is a letter to "Dear Cousin Pat," probably Patrick Ragland, friend of Thomas J. McClellan. Items in this series appear to be predominantly Civil War era or later.
Arrangement: chronological, roughly sorted by decade.
The earliest indentures involve members of the Buchanan family in Washington County, Virginia, and Warren and Lincoln counties, Tennessee. Also included is a deed dated 1836 for sale of land in Lincoln County, Tennessee, by Sarah Polk to Thomas J. McCleland (probably McClellan).
Between 1840 and 1850, there are a number of papers relating to land transactions by Thomas McClellan and Howell Peebles in Lincoln County, Tennessee, and Limestone County, Alabama. The relationship of Howell Peebles to the Buchanan and McClellan families is not clear. Also included is a list of the property of John Beatie, which was sold in December 1849. John Beatie was probably related to Thomas J. McClellan's wife whose maiden name was Beatie.
Between 1850 and 1860, there are several accounts for Thomas J. McClellan with a dry goods firm. Also included is a deed dated March 1857 for the sale of land by William P. and Amanda Vaughan to Elish H. French in Limestone County, Alabama, and a receipt for state and county taxes paid in Lincoln County, Tennessee, on 31 August 1855 by Enoch Cunningham. The relationship of the Vaughans, French, and Cunningham to the Buchanans and McClellans is not clear.
Post-Civil War materials are chiefly business letters, bills, accounts, receipts, wills, and a legal materials relating to land deals and cases handled by McClellan & McClellan, Athens, Georgia. Materials in the 1920s relate to the settlement of Matilda McClellan's estate. Among the undated items is a will of Thomas Edmondson.
Arrangement: by type.
A number of these papers relate to Thomas J. McClellan's dealings with Federal forces in northern Alabama during the Civil War, including passes for getting through army lines, guarantees of protection for his property, and his oath of allegiance to the government of the United States. Among the other papers are several obituaries, a funeral notice for Thomas J. McClellan, and miscellaneous writings, poems, and essays.
Processed by: Shonra Newman and subsequent additions, May 1991
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
This collection was rehoused under the sponsorship of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation, Washington, D.C., 1990-1992. This inventory is an edited version of an inventory previously compiled by a member of the Southern Historical Collection staff.Back to Top