Collection Number: 02441

Collection Title: James T. Harrison Papers, 1770-1896

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 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 200 items)
Abstract James T. Harrison, of Columbus, Miss., was a lawyer and member of the Confederate Congress. Other Harrison family members represented include his father, Thomas Harrison (Fl. 1834-1838), officer in the Bank of South Carolina and land owner; his wife, Regina Blewett Harrison (fl. 1845-1868); his father-in-law, Thomas G. Blewett (fl. 1819-1869), plantation owner; his daughter, Regina (Harrison) Lee (fl. 1860-1878); and his son-in-law, Stephen Dill Lee (1833-1908), Confederate general. The collection is chiefly correspondence among Harrison family members, especially between James Thomas Harrison and his father, Thomas Harrison, and between Thomas and his brother, Isham Harrison, while Thomas was in South Carolina and James and Isham were in Mississippi. Topics include acquiring land in Mississippi, the U.S. public lands policy, the sale of slaves, the possibility of the acquisition of Texas by the U.S., and the progress of James's career as a lawyer. Also included are numerous letters from James Harrison to his wife, Regina, while he was away on trips in the northeast and Canada, and in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. During the Civil War, there are letters from James Harrison to Regina from Richmond, where he was serving in the Confederate Congress, including mentions of meetings with Confederate president Davis, and, after the Civil War, from Washington, D.C., where he was trying to claim his seat in Congress. Early materials include financial and legal documents pertaining to Anson and Richmond counties, N.C., probably collected by the Blewett family. A few of these papers concern Revolutionary War soldiers. Scattered throughout the collection are papers of the Earle and Sloan families of South Carolina, who were related to James Thomas Harrison through his mother.
Creator Harrison, James T. (James Thomas), 1811-1879.
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 James T. Harrison Papers #2441, 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 Blewett Lee of Atlanta, Georgia, in November 1941.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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

James Thomas Harrison (1811-1879), son of Thomas Harrison (fl. 1834-1838) and Hannah? Earle (fl. 1837-1838), was born near Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1811. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1829 and studied law under James L. Pettigru. In 1834, he moved to Mississippi, settled in Columbus, and began the practice of law. He was a delegate to the convention of southern states that met in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1861 and was a member of the Confederate Congress throughout its existence. After the war, he was elected to the United States Congress, but was refused admittance. He returned to the practice of law and died in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1879.

James Thomas Harrison married Regina Blewett (fl. 1845-1868), daughter of Thomas G. Blewett (fl. 1819-1869). Among their children were Tom or Sam (he is frequently mentioned in letters from James to Regina but the writing is not clear), James, Allen, and Regina (fl. 1860-1878). Regina married General Stephen Dill Lee in 1865. In his letters to Regina, Lee referred to her as "Lily."

Other prominent family members include Isham Harrison (fl. 1834-1838), brother of Thomas Harrison, and Randle Blewett (fl. 1856-1862), son of Thomas G. Blewett and a Confederate soldier.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection consists chiefly of correspondence of James Thomas Harrison. Included are letters his father, Thomas Harrison, wrote to him after James moved to Mississippi in 1834, and letters James wrote to his wife, Regina, while away on various trips and while serving in the Confederate Congress during the Civil War. Another group of letters were written by Thomas Harrison to his brother Isham when the latter was in Mississippi between 1834 and 1838.

The earliest papers in the collection are financial, legal, and miscellaneous papers that were apparently acquired by Thomas G. Blewett and his ancestors while living in North Carolina. Thomas G. Blewett's daughter, Regina, married James Thomas Harrison. Towards the end of the Civil War and afterwards, there are letters to Regina Harrison Lee, daughter of James T. and Regina Harrison, and her husband General Stephen Dill Lee. Among others, Thomas G. Blewett corresponded with his granddaughter.

Scattered throughout the collection are papers relating to the Earle and Sloan families in South Carolina, who were related to James Thomas Harrison through his mother.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. 1770-1833.

About 40 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly papers relating to Thomas G. Blewett and his ancestors in North Carolina. A chronological listing of the items follows:

1770-1802 - legal Papers, bills, receipts, and miscellaneous items relating chiefly to individuals in Anson and Richmond Counties, North Carolina. Among them were William Love, John Crawford, David Love, Thomas Blewett (probably father of Thomas G. Blewett), John Cole, and William Colson. There are a few items relating to the Revolutionary War, such as receipts for supplies furnished to troops, notes concerning payments to volunteer soldiers of Anson County (whose names are listed), agreements relating to locating and surveying land claims of veterans in North Carolina, and a deed of sale for military land claim by Benjamin Simmons to Thomas Evans.

1819-1821 - a few legal and business papers of Thomas G. Blewett, and a letter dated 21 February 1819 from Thomas Sparks to his uncle "Thomas Blewet" of Richmond County, North Carolina, concerning family affairs and business.

13 March 1824 - note for a debt of Moses Kelly to John H. Harrison. The location is not indicated.

9 March 1825 - two land grants from the U.S. General Land Office in Jackson, Mississippi, to Thomas Townsend of Monroe County, Mississippi, signed by J. Q. Adams.

8 November 1825 - "Maj. Bluat['s]" bill at Clark's Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina.

1828 - constitution of the Church of Christ in Lower Sandy River. No state is indicated.

15 November 1833 - application of Thomas G. Blewett relating to lands in Mississippi.

Folder 1

1770-1821 #02441, Series: "1. 1770-1833." Folder 1

Folder 2

1824-1833 #02441, Series: "1. 1770-1833." Folder 2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. 1834-1838.

About 60 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly correspondence between Thomas Harrison in South Carolina and his son James and his brother Isham in Mississippi. The chief topics of discussion were the progress of James's career as a lawyer; Isham's success with his recently acquired lands in Mississippi; the public lands policy of the federal government, particularly in relation to grants to the Indians in Mississippi; land speculation in the West; the possibility of the acquisition of Texas by the United States; Thomas Harrison's desire to sell his lands in South Carolina and purchase lands in Mississippi and his activities as an officer in the Bank of South Carolina; and news of the Earle family, some living in South Carolina and some in Mississippi.

In addition, the 1835 letters mentioned requests to Thomas that he run for Congress as a representative from South Carolina and reasons for his refusal; information on the death of General Hampton and settlement of his estate; comments on affairs of the "College" (University of South Carolina?); and news on the shooting of David Myers by Major McLemore over a boundary dispute in South Carolina.

The letters from 1836 tell of Thomas sending his slaves from South Carolina to Mississippi for James to sell; the high price of cotton; the high price of land in Kentucky; the new constitution and land policy in Texas and the possibility of settling there; and the death of James' grandfather Earle (14 February).

In 1837, the topics included the sale of slaves by many rice planters in South Carolina; the building of a cotton factory in South Carolina; the purchase of a new tract of land by the Harrisons in South Carolina; and Isham's recent trip to Texas to bring his daughter to his home. Isham commented on Santa Anna and the Mexicans and urged Thomas Harrison to use his influence with Calhoun and others to have Texas annexed (20 January 1837).

In addition to the Thomas Harrison-Isham Harrison and Thomas Harrison-James Harrison correspondence for 1834 through 1838, there are the following items:

21 August 1834 - James Harrison's license to practice law in Mississippi.

9 September 1834 - a letter from B. J. Earle of Greenville, (South Carolina?) to Thomas Harrison of Columbia, concerning the death of Elias, business matters, the political situation in South Carolina, the controversy over the court set-up, and the rumor that Calhoun would not return to the Senate.

28 November 1834 - letter from B. Earle of Silver Glade, South Carolina, to his grandson James, expressing pleasure over James' success as a lawyer and giving news of friends and family.

15 January 1837 - a letter from H. Harrison of Anderson (South Carolina?) to James Harrison in Macon, Mississippi, describing his sad financial plight.

9 May 1837 - a letter from William Sloan of Pendleton, South Carolina, to James Harrison concerning financial dealings with Harrison's family and enclosing a note from G. W. Bomar to Sloan on the same subject.

18 May and 27 June 1837 - resignation of Thomas Harrison as president of the Branch Bank of the Bank of South Carolina in Columbia giving as his reason his need to attend to his lands in the West.

14 June 1837 - William Sloan to James Harrisonz, chiefly about family and friends in South Carolina.

12 July 1837 - letter from James Harrison of Cripple Creek, South Carolina, to his cousin James T. Harrison of Columbus, Mississippi, about his father's death and the settlement of his estate.

22 September 1837 - a letter from N. L. Griffin of Edgefield, South Carolina, to James Harrison of Columbus, Mississippi, concerning James' father's finances.

24 September and 19 November 1837, and 7 January 1838 - letters from H. Harrison in South Carolina to her son James in Columbus, Mississippi, dealing chiefly with family news, the purchase of a new tract of land in South Carolina by the family, and the building of a factory near their home.

8 November 1837 and 5 February 1838 - letters from B. F. Sloan of Pendleton, South Carolina, to James Harrison of Columbus, Mississippi. Sloan wrote about financial affairs, the price of land in South Carolina, his cotton mill activities, and news of family and friends.

Folder 3

1834 #02441, Series: "2. 1834-1838." Folder 3

Folder 4

1835-1836 #02441, Series: "2. 1834-1838." Folder 4

Folder 5

1837-1838 #02441, Series: "2. 1834-1838." Folder 5

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. 1845-1860.

About 40 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly letters from James Harrison to his wife Regina Harrison while he was away on various trips. A chronological listing of the items follows below:

23 November 1845 - letter from James in Columbus, Mississippi to Regina in Blewettville, Mississippi, concerning the prices brought in a sale of church pews and personal matters.

1848 - three letters written by James while on a trip in the Northeast and Canada in which he commented on his experiences.

1853 - a group of letters from James to his wife written at various points on a trip through Charleston, Washington, Saratoga Springs, Quebec, White Mountains, and New York. He described persons and places he saw, and mentioned the "Great Industrial" exhibition in New York and his view of the president of the United States, who was attending the exhibition.

1854-1859 - letters from James to his wife, written from various towns in Mississippi, from Mobile, Alabama, and from New Orleans, Louisiana. He wrote about his legal activities, selling his cotton, hotel accommodations, and persons and places he saw. In addition to these letters, there are the following items for these years:

9 December 1856 - patent for land sold by the state of Mississippi to Randle Blewett.

17 January 1857 - a letter from Thomas G. Blewett in Mobile, Alabama, to his daughter, Regina Harrison of Columbus, Mississippi, concerning the epitaphs for his wife Regina, Amy Blewett, and James Thomas Harrison Blewett, and telling of his activities in Mobile.

9 August 1860 - a poem from "G.S.T." in White Sulphur Springs, to "Regina Mia."

19 December 1860 - a love letter from Theodore O'Hara of Mobile to Regina Harrison of Columbus, Mississippi.

Folder 6

1845-1853 #02441, Series: "3. 1845-1860." Folder 6

Folder 7

1854-1860 #02441, Series: "3. 1845-1860." Folder 7

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. 1861-1865.

About 40 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Chiefly correspondence of James T. Harrison during the Civil War when he was member of the Confederate Congress. A chronological listing follows below:

1861-1862 - chiefly letters from James to Regina. Those dated 17 February and 14 May 1861 were written from Montgomery and contain comments on the formation of the Confederate government, a conversation with "Mr. Barnwell," expectations about the actions of the border states, and the military situation in Virginia and at Pensacola. The remainder of the letters were written from Richmond where James was a member of the Confederate Congress. They deal with the military situation in Virginia and elsewhere, the activities of the Congress, visits to President Davis, news from friends from Mississippi who were then in Virginia, news of Randle and Thomas G. Blewett in Virginia where the former was organizing a military outfit, the entry of their son into the army, the Mason-Slidell affair, Lincoln's policies, and activities in Richmond. In addition to these letters, there are the following items from 1861 and 1862:

8 October 1861 - a letter from Thomas G. Blewett in Richmond to his granddaughter about the activities of his son Randle in forming a regiment, a conversation with President Davis, an accident involving the wives of President Davis and General Johnston, and activities in Richmond.

14 January 1862 - a letter from G.[?]H. Sesler[?] of Mount Sterling, near Jackson, Mississippi, to Major Thomas G. Blewett, inviting him to visit his home, giving news of members of his family in the Confederate Army, and expressing dissatisfaction over the slowness of the Confederate government in carrying on the war.

12 April 1862 - a letter from Randle Blewett to his father about recent skirmishing in which his outfit had participated.

10 June and 1 December 1862 - Confederate $100 loan certificate dated 10 June, and a Confederate $100 note dated 1 December.

28 August 1863 - a printed copy of orders of Lt. General W. J. Hardee relating to his appointment as commander of paroled prisoners of Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, and Louisiana.

1864 - There are four items for this year. Two are letters from James Harrison in Macon, Mississippi, written on stationary of "Head-Quarters, State of Mississippi, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office," discussing the military situation in Mississippi and at Mobile, Alabama. Also included is a letter from S[tephen] D. Lee at Meridian, Mississippi, to James Harrison in Columbus, Mississippi, asking permission to marry his daughter Lily (Regina), and a letter from Lee "2 1/2 miles of Nashville" to Lily in Columbus, Mississippi, discussing personal matters and his military campaign in Tennessee.

30 May 1865 - printed copy of the orders of Col. Joseph Karge of the Military Division of West Mississippi, relative to freedmen labor, munitions and stores, Confederate government cotton, and former soldiers.

13 July 1865 - letter from a committee in Jackson, Mississippi, to James Harrison asking him to represent the Bar of Mississippi on the occasion of the trial of Jefferson Davis.

17 August 1865 - a letter from Thomas G. Blewett in Columbus to his granddaughter, Regina Lee, giving advice on her religious life and describing food he is sending her.

10 December 1865 - letter from James Harrison in Washington, D.C., to his wife, about attempts by himself and other Southern representatives to gain admission to Congress and his visits to the President and several cabinet members.

Folder 8

1861 #02441, Series: "4. 1861-1865." Folder 8

Folder 9

1862-1865 #02441, Series: "4. 1861-1865." Folder 9

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. 1866-1896.

About 20 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

The items in this series are chiefly letters to Regina Lee from her grandfather Thomas G. Blewett and letters to Regina Harrison from her husband. A chronological listing of the items follows below:

30 January 1866 - letter from Thomas G. Blewett to his granddaughter Regina Lee, telling her to ignore the unfavorable remarks about his allowing General Lee to manage his York plantation and mentioning the possibility of the election of General Lee as president of the board of directors of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

13 August 1866, 10 March 1867, 25 February 1868 - letters from James T. Harrison in Mississippi to his wife, who was away on visits, giving news of his activities, the family, and mentioning the ill effects of the new "Military Bill" passed by Congress.

1 February 1869 - letter from Thomas G. Blewett of Columbus, Mississippi, to his granddaughter Regina giving her advice on farming activities.

11 November 1877 - letter to Stephen Lee from J. C. Pemberton discussing a military council they participated in on 14 May 1863 and speaking of the hard times endured by his family.

17 July 1878 - letter from Stephen Lee in Columbus, Mississippi, to his wife, concerning a political controversy in which he was involved.

24 September 1896 - typed copy of an article from the Charleston News and Courier about the Earle family of South Carolina.

Folder 10

1866-1896 #02441, Series: "5. 1866-1896." Folder 10

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 6. Undated.

7 items.

The following undated items are included in this collection:

A receipt to Abraham Fowler relating to lands awarded for service in the Revolution.

A memorial presented to the General Assembly of North Carolina by Maxwel Chambers, Spruce Macay, and David and Jean Nesbit relating to the property of William Colson, who acted with the British during the Revolution.

A list of the amounts of Thomas G. Blewett's purchases of Indian lands near Columbus, Mississippi.

Thomas Harrison's license to practice law in South Carolina.

A letter from B. J. Earle to Thomas Harrison relating to the purchase of stock.

A letter from Roseearle of Pendleton, South Carolina, to her brother James T. Harrison in Columbus, Mississippi, discussing news of family and friends.

A letter from James Harrison to his wife, giving news of family and friends.

Folder 11

Undated #02441, Series: "6. Undated." Folder 11

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Processing Information

Processed by: E. Ryan, November 1951; edited by Shonra Newman, March 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

This inventory is an edited version of an inventory compiled by E. Ryan in November 1951.

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