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|Size||3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1700 items)|
|Abstract||William Audley Couper, son of John Couper (1759-1850) and younger brother of James Hamilton Couper (1794-1866), married Hannah Page King (d. 1896), daughter of Thomas Butler King (1800-1864) and Anna Matilda (Page) King (d. 1859). Couper managed Hamilton, a plantation on St. Simon's Island, Ga., from the early 1840s until 1861, and later lived at Carteret's Point and in Ware County, Ga. The collection includes correspondence and other Papers, chiefly 1850-1900. Included are scattered early 19th-century business papers of Georgia planters John Couper (1759-1850) and William Page (d. 1827), maternal grandfather of Hannah Page King Couper; numerous letters in the 1850s between Anna Matilda (Page) King and her daughter, Hannah Page King Couper; letters of other King relatives, some of which deal with the slavery issue; letters from Henry Lord Page King, a student at Yale University, 1849-1852, to his sister, Hannah Page King Couper; Civil War letters from King family women on the homefront and men in the Confederate army in Virginia; post-Civil War letters from Hannah Page King Couper's sisters and from the children of Hannah and William Audley Couper; and papers and diaries of the family of Anna Couper Marshall, Hannah and William's daughter, who lived in Rome, Ga.|
|Creator||Couper, William Audley, 1817-1888.|
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William Audley Couper was born in 1817, the youngest child of John and Rebecca Maxwell Couper, and brother of James Hamilton Couper (1794-1866). In 1845, Couper married Hannah Page King. From the time of his marriage or earlier, Couper managed Hamilton, a plantation on St. Simon's Island, Ga., owned by Isabella Corbin. Couper's wife was the daughter of Thomas Butler King (1800-1864) and Anna Matilda Page King (d. 1859) of Retreat Plantation, also on St. Simon's Island. The Couper's children were Anna, King, Butler, William Page, John Audley, and Rosalie.
The Coupers lived at Hamilton until 1856, when they moved to Savannah for approximately two years. In Savannah, Couper was in business with his nephew, John Fraser. The family then returned to Hamilton and stayed there until 1861, when St. Simon's Island was taken over by Federal troops. They moved, with their relatives the Kings, to Carteret's Point and then to Ware County, both in Georgia. After the war, the Coupers returned to Carteret's Point and later lived in Marietta, Ga. William Audley Couper died in 1888, Hannah Page King Couper in 1896.
In 1871, the Coupers' daughter Anna married Charles MacLean Marshall (1847-1911). Marshall was born in Danzig, then in Prussia, of British parents. The Marshalls apparently lived abroad until 1883 when they moved to Rome, Ga. The Marshalls' children were William Audley, Helen, and Percy. William Audley Marshall and Helen Marshall did not marry. Percy Marshall was the father of MacLean Marshall, the donor of these papers.Back to Top
Early correspondence, 1804-circa 1820, consists largely of scattered letters received by William Page (d. 1827), maternal grandfather of Hannah Page King Couper. There is scattered correspondence of Anna Matilda Page King in the 1830s. The bulk of the correspondence consists of family letters from the 1840s and 1850s between Hannah Page King Couper and her King relatives, especially her mother at Retreat Plantation. There are also letters in this period to William Audley Couper from his father, and from Henry Lord Page King, a student at Yale University, 1849-1852. In addition, there are letters from members of the King family in the Confederate army in Virginia. Post-Civil War letters are chiefly from Hannah Couper's sisters and from the children of Hannah and William Audley Couper.
Financial and legal material consists of bills, deeds, receipts, and account books, and dates largely from the last half of the nineteenth century. Pre-1865 material pertains chiefly to the purchase of land and shipping of goods to and from St. Simon's, but also includes an 1858 packing list of Anna King Couper; an 1866 estate inventory of Anna Matilda King, including an itemized list of slaves noting age and value; and material regarding the estate of Mary Scott. Post-Civil War material includes several late nineteenth-century account books relating to personal and business expenses of the Couper family.
Other material includes items related to Couper family history; miscellaneous domestic writings, including poems and children's stories as well as recipes and household advice; three diaries from the first half of the twentieth century; and six photographs dating from 1860 to 1920.Back to Top
Chiefly correspondence of William Page, father of Anna Matilda Page King, including several letters relating to the marketing of Sea Island cotton. Other letters discuss plantation management and the effect of political events on cotton prices. Family correspondence in this period includes letters to Anna Matilda Page King from sisters Caroline and Catherine and a number of letters from Anna Matilda Page King to Jane Johnston, discussing the deaths of children and acquaintances, illnesses, family finances, and other plantation, family, and neighborhood news.
Correspondence of William Audley Couper begins and includes several letters to Hannah Page King during their courtship. Letters from John Couper to John Cunningham discuss the purchase of various household and farm items, as well as social life on St. Simon's. Of particular interest is a letter, 7 April 1846, written by John Couper in a Scottish dialect. Other letters of John Couper, largely to his son William, describe horse racing, cotton production, and various planting and farming methods, including the raising of strawberries, olives, oranges, and other fruit trees. Family news in these letters includes lively discussions of various social events and courtships, other neighborhood gossip, and some genial commentary on Couper's aging.
In 1849, Henry Lord Page King wrote William Audley Couper of his difficulties as a freshman at Yale University. Letters from Anna Matilda Page King to Hannah Page King Couper discuss details of plantation life, especially illnesses, and make scattered comments regarding political affairs, including Thomas Butler King's campaigning for Zachary Taylor. Of particular interest is a 3 March 1842 letter from Anna Matilda Page King to her trustee, James Hamilton Couper, requesting protection of property willed to her by her father, including fifty slaves, as creditors were seizing the property of her husband.
During this period, correspondence consists largely of letters from members of the King family to the Coupers, especially from Anna Matilda Page King to her daughter, Hannah Page King Couper, often called "Tootee" by her parents. A voluminous correspondence between Anna and her daughter began during Anna's summer 1852 trip north for her health, and continued until Anna's death in 1859. These letters, largely from Anna to Hannah, discuss Anna's travels, including her stays in various northern boarding houses; encounters with black servants there; descriptions of various cities and towns, such as New Haven, Conn. (including the 1852 graduation ceremony at Yale University), Allentown, Pa., and New York City; illnesses and medical treatments; the effects of a fire on a ship docked at the Couper's plantation; social life in the antebellum North; and miscellaneous business affairs, including the possible purchase of Hamilton Plantation. Several letters describe trips to dressmakers, shopping for clothing and accoutrements, and the contents of trunks King requested shipped from home. Over the course of her letters, Anna King reveals a growing desire to leave the South, first suggesting that her family join her in the North, and then urging her husband to move the family permanently to California, as she is anxious to cease holding slave property.
Frequent and detailed correspondence between Anna and Hannah upon Anna's return home documents the daily routine of the plantation, the care of black children, and the relationship between slaves and the Couper family. Hannah and William lost a child during this period, and they received several letters of condolence; William Audley Couper also seems to have been sickly, as Anna expressed a great deal of concern for her daughter, whose life is "wrapped up in his" (25 December 1856). Other letters in this subseries are chiefly from Thomas Butler King, Jr., and describe his experiences in San Francisco, where he was working in the office of his father, then a customs collector, and attending college.
General correspondence from various family members, datable to roughly the 1840s and 1850s, including many letters to Hannah Couper from her parents.
Letters to Hannah Couper from her brother, Lord, in New York, chiefly giving family news; letters to Hannah from her father; and correspondence relating to the Civil War experiences of the Couper family. Included are spring 1862 letters from Thomas Butler King in Richmond, on business with Confederate president Jefferson Davis, mentioning difficulties in getting constructive action from Congress; and letters from Lord King, then on the staff of General Lafayette McLaws, while stationed at camps near Richmond, Harper's Ferry, and Savannah. Other letters announce Lord's 1862 death at Fredricksburg and Thomas Butler King's death in 1864.
Letters from the early part of this period relate to the 1871 wedding of Anna Couper and Charles MacLean Marshall; the business interests of William Audley Couper and Charles MacLean Marshall, who seem, by 1873, to have been farming in partnership; and Charles Marshall's 1879 plan to settle in Rome, Georgia, and his desire that the Coupers join him there. Other 1879 letters reveal difficulties of John Audley Couper, indicted for murder in Florida. Correspondence in the late 1880s is dominated by William Audley Couper's letters to his grandson and namesake William Audley Marshall, then attending the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now Auburn University); these letters are almost weekly from 1886 to 1889, and largely contain family news, as well as some grandfatherly advice from Couper to his grandson. In 1892, Charles MacLean Marshall wrote from Germany, where he went to visit his family. Continued correspondence with William Audley Marshall documents his teaching experiences at the Marion Military Institute in Alabama and his 1894 application to study at Harvard, which he attended as a senior. Notebooks in which Hannah Couper recorded dates of letters sent and received are included for 1888 and 1893-1896. These notebooks also include very brief diary entries and names and addresses (see also Subseries 3.3).
Letters in 1900 and 1902 document Charles Marshall's pleasure trip to England and John Audley Couper's business trip to Mexico, respectively. Other 1900-1910 letters about this time discuss Percy and Audley Marshall's work for the Massachusetts Mills in Lindale, Georgia. Correspondence regarding World War I is limited to two letters from Horace Kephardt, a writer in Washington, D.C., to one of the Marshalls. Of particular interest in the letters of this period is a highly romanticized account of the 1845 wedding of Hannah King and William Audley Couper, written in 1915 by John Floyd King, the last living witness, celebrating the glory of the Old South.
Interwar correspondence contains scattered letters to and from William Audley Marshall about his scientific hobbies, botany and navigation, and a 64-page letter from Julia King regarding Maxwell family history (for further genealogical material, see the 23 October 1902 letter from Julia King to Rebecca Couper Wylly regarding the Maxwells, and also Subseries 3.1). Correspondence in the 1940s contains letters from Sergeant MacLean Marshall to his father, Percy Marshall, from Calcutta, India, which comment on living conditions in Calcutta and the role of the United States in world leadership, and a lengthy letter from B. King Couper describing his trip to the British Isles.
Arrangement: roughly chronological.
Bills, receipts, deeds, account books, and other financial and legal material relating to William Audley Couper and his family, chiefly 1870-1900. Included are several account books relating to the family's expenses with various merchants. Also included are items relating to the estates of Mary Scott and Anna Matilda Page King, and to expenses at Harvard University, 1894.
Material typically consists of receipts for loans and purchases, bills of lading, deeds, listings of accounts paid, and estate inventories. The account books chiefly record expenses for household and farming supplies.
Scattered receipts of William Page, some dealing with cotton sales or shipments; deeds from the 1840s of William Audley Couper and Thomas Butler King; an inventory of the estate of Anna Matilda King (1860); Confederate bonds; papers dealing with a lawsuit "for the recovery of Mr. Abrahams Negroes willed to Mrs. Mary Scott," chiefly Wayne County, Ga., 1832-1866; account books (1869-1870) of William Audley Couper and M. P. King, "in account with [probably D.H.B.] House" and other merchants, and other items.
Scattered bills, receipts, and statements of account of the families of William Audley Couper and Charles MacLean Marshall. Volumes include records of various household expenses (1878 and 1890-1895), a store account of William Audley Couper from March 1884 to November 1887, and William Audley Marshall's record of expenses while attending Harvard University in 1893-1894. Legal material includes a copy, dated 1895, of the will of Hannah Page Couper.
Arrangement: by type, then roughly chronological.
Material related to Couper family history, poems and stories, clippings, and other material relating to William Audley Couper and his relatives, chiefly 1890-1925. Included are late 19th century remembrances of John Couper (d. 1850) written by various friends and relatives; school material, chiefly of Helen Marshall; Anna Couper Marshall's diaries, 1925-1927; an 1848 annotated almanac; and a diary of an American soldier's passage to Europe, 1944.
Clippings, including obituaries, death notices, and a number of articles on the decline and sale of the Couper plantation, the history of St. Simon's Island and plantations there, and history of churches; a group of anecdotal remembrances written by relatives and acquaintances of John Couper some years after his death in 1850; lists of birth, death and marriage dates; discussions of John Floyd King, members of the Maxwell family, and Coupers in the Lochwinnoch Parish, Scotland; and other genealogical materials. For other genealogical information, see subseries 1.6.
Dated and undated poems, most probably copied, but some perhaps composed, by various members of the Couper family; stories for children (authors unknown) based partially on recollections of St. Simon's Island; and household tips, including recipes, descriptions of illnesses and cures, and advice on the planting and canning of vegetables.
Three diary fragments and three diary volumes.
Other miscellaneous items: "St. Simon's Histrionic Corps," program, 1855; memorandum of Anna Couper's clothing, 1858; wedding announcements; calling cards; "A Pilgrimage to Historic St. Simon's Island," by Margaret Davis Cate, 1929 (pamphlet); "List of books lent" by "Jno. A. Couper;" an undated plan for a two-story house; a map showing 160 acre squares and indicating mineral deposits, location unspecified; and other items. #03687, Subseries: "3.4 Miscellaneous Materials, 1848-1929 and undated." Folder 96
Processed by: Carolyn Wallace, March 1965, Tim West, Buck Beasley, and Marla Miller, June 1990
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top