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.
|Size||7.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 4800 items)|
|Abstract||Planter, lawyer, antebellum Alabama newspaper editor, Democratic state legislator in South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia; U.S. minister to Argentina; Confederate officer in Virginia, 1861, and Georgia militia officer in the Atlanta Campaign, 1864; publisher of postwar agricultural journals and promoter of agricultural societies, business, and industry in Georgia; and brother of William Lowndes Yancey. Yancey's papers, primarily 1835-1891, include extensive correspondence with public figures and with a large and widespread family connection, which included the Yancey, Bird, Cunningham, Hamilton, Phinizy, and Patterson families; papers relating to plantations in Cherokee County, Ala., and Floyd County, Ga., including correspondence with overseers; papers relating to law practice and politics, especially in the 1840s and 1850s in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina; correspondence and letterpress copy book in Argentina, 1858-1859, including letters to Secretary of State Lewis Cass; and papers relating to military service and varied business, industrial, and agricultural pursuits after the war. Also included are volumes of miscellaneous accounts, 1850-1885, and a woman's diary, 1850, of a seven-week trip from Georgia to New York and New England.|
|Creator||Yancey, Benjamin C. (Benjamin Cudworth), 1817-1891.|
|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.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Benjamin Cudworth Yancey was born in Charleston, S.C., on 27 April 1817, the younger of two sons of Caroline Bird and Benjamin Cudworth Yancey. His father was a prominent South Carolina lawyer and political figure while his mother was the daughter of William Bird of Warren County, Ga. When his father died in 1817, his mother moved to Georgia where Yancey received his education at the Mount Zion Academy in Hancock County, under the tutelage of Reverend Nathan Sidney Smith Beman, later the leader of the New School Presbyterians and an ardent abolitionist. Caroline Bird Yancey married Beman in 1821 and the family moved to Troy, N.Y., where Yancey attended the Academy School. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1836 and from Yale Law School in the winter of 1838.
Yancey began his practice in Cahaba, Ala., edited the local Democrat paper, and, in 1840, joined his brother, William L. Yancey, as co-owner and co-editor of the Wetumpka Argus. In 1841, he moved to Hamburg, S.C., across the Savannah River from Augusta, Ga. He married Laura Hines of Hancock County, Ga., in 1842, and they had one daughter, Caroline. Three years after Laura died in 1844, he married Sarah Hamilton, daughter of Thomas N. Hamilton of Athens, Ga., with whom he had Hamilton and Mary Louisa. Yancey practiced law in Hamburg until 1850, serving several times in the South Carolina legislature. In 1850, he left South Carolina for a plantation home in the Coosa River in Cherokee County, Ala.
Yancey was elected to the Alabama legislature and served as presiding officer of that body. In 1858, he accepted an appointment to the post of Minister Resident of the United States to the Argentine Confederation, serving there until the winter of 1859 when he returned to the United States to look after his private affairs following the death of his father-in-law. While serving as United States minister to the Argentine Confederation, he attempted to mediate a dispute between the Confederation and the then independent state of Buenos Aires, but was unable to avert war. Upon his return to the United States, he was offered other diplomatic positions by President Buchanan, but declined them.
During the American Civil War, Yancey served in Virginia as an officer in the Fulton Dragoons of Cobb's Georgia Legion, and also participated actively in the defense of Atlanta in 1864 as a colonel in the Georgia militia. After the war, Yancey resided in Georgia where he practiced law in Athens and undertook various other business interests and planting ventures in several localities. He served in the Georgia legislature, was a trustee of the University of Georgia, edited an agricultural journal, and was president of the Georgia State Agricultural Society. He remained actively interested in business and agricultural affairs until shortly before his death in 1891.Back to Top
Personal, business, professional, and official papers of Benjamin C. Yancey in Series 1 are divided into dated and undated material.Back to Top
Personal, business, professional, and official papers of Benjamin C. Yancey together with the correspondence of his wife's Georgia relatives, the Hamiltons, as well as his own more widely scattered relatives.
Personal papers include letters from the Cunningham family in Laurens County, S.C., and picture daily life in South Carolina; the Hamilton family, beginning in 1837, and covering details of business and daily personal life of a Georgia planting family; disputes and the separation of Yancey's mother, Caroline Beman, and her second husband, Reverend Nathan S. S. Beman, 1834-1838; the career and migration to the west of Samuel S. Beman, Yancey's step-brother; and Yancey's education at the University of Georgia and Yale, 1837-1838, with letters from classmates and other friends. There are also letters from his son, Hamilton Yancey, while at University of Georgia and the University of Virginia, 1868-1869, and his daughters, Mary Lou Yancey, at the Virginia Female Institute at Staunton, 1868-1869, and Caro, at the Tuskegee Female College, 1856-1858. After the Civil War, there are letters among Yancey's relatives about Reconstruction and the situation of the South. Other correspondence deals with Mary Lou's marriages to Phinizys and other personal letters of Sarah Hamilton Yancey. Letters, 1916-1931, deal chiefly with family history and genealogy.
Business materials, 1800-1855, include letters discussing management of Yancey's Cherokee County, Ala., plantation; management of Thomas N. Hamilton's Woodville, Ga., plantation (beginning in 1837); correspondence with overseers, relatives, and brokers, chiefly in Augusta, Rome, and Charleston, pertaining to the ordering and delivery of supplies and debt collection; and the river transportation of cotton in Alabama and Georgia. In 1858, Yancey settled the Woodville estate belonging to his father-in-law, Thomas N. Hamilton, from South America.
Yancey's papers as president of the State Agricultural Society in Georgia begin in 1869 and continue through 1878. During this time, he was president of the Plantation Publishing Company, Atlanta, 1870-1873, and editor of The Plantation, an agricultural journal. Much of the correspondence of this period deals with subscriptions, advertisements, binding and printing work, agricultural articles, applications for positions, and news about seeds, fertilizers, and machinery. Yancey maintained both his cotton plantations in Floyd County, Ga., and Cherokee County, Ala., and was interested in experimental farming, insurance matters, and horses.
Political papers relating to local politics in Edgefield County, S.C., and Cherokee County, Ala., are dated, 1840-1851. State legislature papers discuss the struggle for states' rights, 1851-1852, and national issues in the South. Yancey served one legislative term in Alabama in 1856 and served as Minister Resident of the United States to the Argentine Confederation, 1858-1859. Material from this period includes Yancey's official papers and reports in connection with peace negotiations between the Confederation and the state of Buenos Aires; items relating to political and military activities in that connection; correspondence relating to the interests of American merchants, navigation rights, and diplomatic and social matters, especially to Secretary of State Lewis Cass; and Yancey's own business and personal affairs.
Also included is material relating to Yancey's service as captain, later major, in the Fulton Dragoons of Cobb's Georgia Legion stationed near Yorktown, Va., in 1861 and as colonel in the Georgia militia around Atlanta in 1864. There is also materials relating to Yancey's candidacy as judge of the western circuit, 1872-1873; president of the Georgia Chemical Works, Augusta, beginning in 1878; trustee of the University of Georgia; and candidate for legislature in 1878.
Material in connection with his law practice begins in 1838 and includes documentation of cases handled by Yancey; documents pertaining to property involved in the cases; and miscellaneous wills and deeds. There are also materials relating to Yancey's editorship of the Cahaba Democrat in 1838 and law practice in both Cahaba and Wetumpka in 1839, his 1840-1856 law practice in Hamburg, S.C., and editorship of The Crisis, and his Atlanta law practice, beginning in 1856 and continuing until his move to Athens after the war.
Includes undated material arranged by sender, addressee, or type of material.
|Extra Oversize Paper Folder XOPF-2594/1|
Primarily account books and one letterpress book, one diary, and two memorandum books.
|Image Folder PF-2594/1||
Photograph and pencil sketch by Horace Bradley of Benjamin C. Yancey, undated.
Photograph of William L. Yancey, undated.
Photograph of the clover seed gatherer, a farm machine, undated.
|Oversize Image Folder OP-PF-2594/1|
Processed by: SHC Staff
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008
Updated by: Laura Hart, March 2021
This collection was processed with support, in part, from the Randleigh Foundation Trust.Back to Top