Collection Number: 04850

Collection Title: Rice C. Ballard Papers, 1822-1888

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 15.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 5000 items)
Abstract The collection documents Rice Carter Ballard (c. 1800-1860), a white trafficker of enslaved people, enslaver, and owner of cotton plantations in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Letters and financial records, 1820s-early 1830s, concern day-to-day operations of interstate trafficking of enslaved people between Ballard in Richmond, Va., with John Armfield in Alexandria, Va., and Isaac Franklin in Natchez, Miss., and New Orleans, La. There are also several letters from Henry Clay about court cases involving the legality of trafficking enslaved people and one from Mississippi Governor John Anthony Quitman about payment of a debt. Records, 1840s-1860, document Ballard's administration, in partnership with Judge Samuel S. Boyd, of a number of cotton plantations in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, including Wagram, Magnolia, Elcho, Karnac, Laurell Hill, Golden Plains, Quattlebaum, and Outpost (or Pecan Grove). Letters from Boyd, from the overseers at the various places, and from Ballard's cotton commission merchants in New Orleans discuss the enslaved people, improvements on the plantations, family life, politics (especially the Know-Nothing Party), and financial arrangements. There are three letters from enslaved people, all from women asking Ballard for help with emancipation or with pending sales of themselves or others. Also included are letters to and from his wife Louise Berthe Ballard about her life in Louisville, Ky. Volumes and other materials in the collection supplement the letters with details of trafficking enslaved people, their labor that the plantations depended upon, and their family units; Ballard's other financial activities; and plantation life.
Creator Ballard, Rice C. (Rice Carter), d. 1860.
Curatorial Unit Southern Historical Collection
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 Rice C. Ballard Papers #4850, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 1998) available (does not include volumes 7a or 24a or the addition of April 2004)
Received November 1996 (Acc. 96176), January 2001 (Acc. 98841), and April 2004 (Acc. 99778).
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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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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For secondary sources on Rice Ballard, see

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Rice Carter Ballard, a white plantation owner and trafficker in enslaved people, was probably born around 1800 in Virginia. By the late 1820s, he was involved in interstate trafficking of enslaved people, buying enslaved people in the southeastern states, especially Virginia and North Carolina, and selling them in New Orleans and Natchez. By 1831, Ballard was engaged in a partnership with Isaac Franklin and John Armfield, who ran one of the largest interstate trafficking operations of the nineteenth century. Ballard moved from Virginia to Natchez in the fall of 1836, and by this time had formed a company called Ballard, Franklin, and Co. in Natchez, which was involved in the trafficking of enslaved people. Ballard was also a partner in his brother's general merchandise company, James Ballard and Co.

Ballard seems to have stopped trafficking enslaved people by the late 1830s, but he was involved in many kinds of financial transactions. By the early 1840s, Ballard was beginning to purchase plantations in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas in partnership with Judge Samuel S. Boyd of Natchez. He spent the remainder of his life, until his death in 1860, managing these plantations whose operations depended upon enslaved labor.

Ballard married Louise Berthe of Louisville, Ky., in the spring of 1840. They had three children: Ella Ballard, born in 1841, and twins Ann Carter Ballard and Charlotte Berthe Ballard, born in the fall of 1847. Although his wife and children lived permanently in Louisville, Ballard spent much of his time at the plantations, especially in Mississippi. Many of Ballard's correspondents addressed him as Colonel Ballard, but it is not clear how he got this rank.

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Papers document Rice Carter Ballard (d. 1860), a white trafficker in enslaved people, plantation owner, and enslaver.

The collection is organized into Series 1. Correspondence; Series 2. Financial Materials; Series 3. Legal Materials; Series 4. Other Papers; and Series 5. Volumes. Some financial and legal items are found in Series 1. Correspondence with letters with which they were enclosed.

Series 1. Correspondence is divided into 3 subseries of chronological groupings. Subseries 1.1. consists of letters received by Ballard and by R. C. Ballard and Co. between 1831 and 1834 pertain to interstate trafficking in enslaved people. Most letters in this period are from Ballard's trafficking partners, Isaac Franklin, James R. Franklin, and John Armfield of Franklin and Armfield. Other correspondents include C. M. Rutherford, L. R. Starkes, and Joseph G. Blakey. Ballard received most of his mail in Richmond, Va., but occasionally in Warrenton, Miss. Franklin wrote from New Orleans, La. or Natchez, Miss., and Armfield wrote from Alexandria, Va.

Subseries 1.2. consists of letters received by Ballard between 1835 and 1842, document what seems to be a transitional period, when most of Ballard's correspondents were his partners in trafficking enslaved people, but the letters no longer contain the day-to-day business of trafficking. Some letters, including several from Henry Clay, discuss the legality of the sales of enslaved people in Mississippi. Other letters in this time period mark the beginnings of Ballard's life as a slavery era plantation owner and enslaver in the Lower Mississippi River Valley.

Subseries 1.3. consists of letters received after 1843, when Ballard was primarily focused on his plantations in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky, and he worked in partnership with Samuel Boyd. Letters received by Ballard between 1843 and his death in 1860 document the administration of the Wagram, Magnolia, Elcho, Karnac, Laurell Hill, Golden Plains, Quattlebaum, and Outpost (or Pecan Grove) plantations. Letters discuss the health and activities of the people enslaved on the plantations, the weather and crops, family life, politics (including several references to the Know-Nothings), and financial arrangements. During this time period, Ballard received letters from three women whom he and Samuel Boyd had enslaved, Lucile Tucker, Virginia Boyd, and Delia. In these letters, the three enslaved women asked Ballard for help concerning emancipation or pending sales of themselves or their loved ones. Ballard also received letters from Henry Clay concerning a United States Supreme Court case and from John Anthony Quitman, governor of Mississippi.

Series 2. Financial Materials, arranged by year, document the same activities described in the letters. Materials include receipts, notes, accounts, bills, calculations, legal statements of debt, and other financial materials. Records from the 1820s and 1830s document Ballard's activities in interstate trafficking of enslaved people; materials from the 1840s and 1850s are primarily concerned with plantation business and Ballard's frequent loans of money to his acquaintances. In 1833, Nathaniel White gave Ballard a number of receipts for money he was given to use in the purchase of people who were enslaved.

The individual plantations had their own accounts with Ballard's New Orleans commission merchants, Nalle and Cox (later Nalle, Cox, and Co., and W. Cox and Co.), detailed records of which exist for much of the 1840s through 1855. Some years are much better documented than others; there is relatively little from the years 1856-1860 compared to the abundance of records from the 1840s and early 1850s. There are some interesting documents in the undated folders, including a list of the titles and prices of books purchased and "a memorandum" which appears to be payments made to enslaved people for their personal poultry.

Series 3. Legal Materials, including court judgments and opinions, contracts and other agreements, summonses, a will, and other materials, are mainly from Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia. There is closely related material in letters and volumes. See especially the enclosures in the volumes, where there are other contracts between Franklin, Armfield, and Ballard.

Series 4. Other Papers include lists of enslaved people, medical prescriptions, printed material, and other documentation of plantation life. Materials that are closely related to each other are grouped together, such as lists of enslaved people and medical materials. Researchers should bear in mind that the financial materials and volumes contain many lists of enslaved people in the context of interstate trafficking of enslaved people and plantation administration. Most of the other papers are obviously related to Ballard's plantations or business; others are somewhat mysterious (for example, a long description of a trip in Belgium, the author and date of which are unknown). Of particular interest is the "Know-Nothing Resolution the counsel of Louisville would not Entertain" (folder 413).

Series 5. Volumes contain financial information concerning Ballard's business in interstate trafficking of enslaved people from 1831 to 1835 and daily operations and cotton production at Magnolia Plantation between 1846 and 1853. Plantation journals for Magnolia and other plantations, including Laurell, Elcho, and Wagram, contain a wide variety of information about the day-to-day functioning of the plantations, the lives of the overseers and enslaved people, their labor that the plantations depended upon, and their family units.

Arrangement of the volumes is chronological by the latest date in the volume. The enclosures in each volume are in a folder following that volume. Where the volume was given a title of some kind by its users, that title is given in quotations. A number of the volumes have the title "Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book." These are preprinted books with spaces for various inventories, daily journal entries, and records of cotton picked by each enslaved person. The overseers often did not fill the books out completely but used only some of the printed forms. These books include an essay on "The Duties of an Overseer" on the last page.

There are a few items in the collection which were not produced or received by Ballard and which date from after his death. Letters of 1866 and 1888 and a miscellaneous document describing a trip through Belgium, have no obvious connection to the rest of the collection. Two volumes which appear to have been kept by or for Samuel S. Boyd (Volumes 34 and 35) contain dates in the 1870s after Ballard's death and record plantation-related accounts from the years 1874 to 1879 and grocery accounts from 1879 to 1880.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1831-1888 and undated.

About 5000 items.

Arrangement: Format and chronology.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. Correspondence, 1831-1834 and undated.

About 100 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Letters received by Ballard personally and by R. C. Ballard and Co. from Franklin and Armfield, Isaac Franklin, James R. Franklin, and John Armfield, who were Ballard's business partners in interstate trafficking in enslaved people. Other correspondents include C. M. Rutherford, L. R. Starkes, and Joseph G. Blakey, all of whom also seem to be involved in interstate trafficking of enslaved people. Ballard received most of his mail in Richmond, Va., but occasionally in Warrenton, Miss. Franklin wrote from New Orleans or Natchez, and Armfield wrote from Alexandria. Many of the letters contain notes of exchange for thousands of dollars. There is one exchange of letters, 7 September 1832 and 2 December 1832, between Ballard and Isaac Franklin about a business misunderstanding (folders 7-8).

These letters discuss financial, legal, and practical aspects of interstate trafficking of enslaved people. They contain instructions for when to buy and sell in Alexandria, discussion of the effect of the price of cotton on the price of enslaved people, reports of prices, and attitudes of the plantation owners to the traders. On 28 February 1831, Isaac Franklin wrote from New Orleans to express his anxiety about the future of the trade since the state legislatures of Louisiana and Mississippi were debating trying to close the interstate trade (folder 1). On 8 December 1832, Franklin wrote Ballard from Natchez about a cholera outbreak, and described their actions to prevent potential enslavers from knowing there was disease among the people for sale (folder 8). Several letters mention sex trafficking of enslaved women, including one on 1 November 1833 from Isaac Franklin (folder 12), and another for 11 January 1834 from James Franklin that mentions establishing a house for prostitution (folder 13). Starting in June 1834, Ballard received a number of letters from Joseph G. Blakey, which begin with receipts for money that could be paid out in enslaved people (beginning in folder 15). On 27 November 1832, Ballard was sent an advertisement for a Louisiana sugar plantation (folder 8).

There is a great deal of financial material included in the letters because of the nature of the correspondence and the mixed social and business character of most of Ballard's relationships.

Folder 1

Correspondence, 28 February-3 June 1831

Folder 2

Correspondence, 23 July-30 October 1831

Folder 3

Correspondence, 10 November-14 December 1831

Folder 4

Correspondence, January 1832

Folder 5

Correspondence, February March 1832

Folder 6

Correspondence, April-May 1832

Folder 7

Correspondence, June-September 1832

Folder 8

Correspondence, October-11 December 1832

Folder 9

Correspondence, 14-31 December 1832

Folder 10

Correspondence, January-March 1833

Folder 11

Correspondence, April-October 1833

Folder 12

Correspondence, November-December 1833

Folder 13

Correspondence, January-March 1834

Folder 14

Correspondence, April-May 1834

Folder 15

Correspondence, June-September 1834

Folder 16

Correspondence, October and undated 1834

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Correspondence, 1835-1842 and undated.

About 400 items.

Arrangement: chronological

Letters from the period of Ballard's transition from interstate trafficker in enslaved people to slavery era plantation owner and enslaver. Many of the letters in this time period are from the same correspondents who wrote Ballard in the early 1830s, but the letters are more social and most are not obviously concerned with daily operations of their previous trafficking partnership. There are a number of letters from individuals such as Catherine Prince requesting loans of money, and many more concerned with money lent to and owed by others. Ballard began the year 1836 in Alexandria, Va., but around September of that year he seems to have left Virginia permanently, and began to receive his mail in Natchez, Miss. There are very few letters from 1835, 1836, and 1837, and it is difficult to tell exactly how Ballard spent most of his time. By 13 May 1840, Ballard had received his first letter from Samuel S. Boyd, the judge who was to become Ballard's close friend and partner in plantation ownership (folder 34). By the fall of 1840, Ballard began to receive letters from cotton commission merchants, especially Albert G. Nalle of William R. Glover & Co. of New Orleans. The cotton sales on which Nalle reports are from Brushy Bayou Plantation; it seems that this plantation belonged to Philip Burris and its cotton was being sold to pay a debt of Burris to Ballard.

One of the main topics discussed in letters of the late 1830s and early 1840s is the possibility that traffickers in enslaved people would lose money on the sales of enslaved people purchased in Mississippi after 1833 if the Supreme Court of the United States decided that those sales were null and void. See letter from Bacon Tait to Thomas Boudar, 1 January 1840 (folder 31). Tait wrote to Ballard on 3 January 1840 commenting on the Mississippi federal court case Hickman v. Rose related to this subject and predicting the dissolution of the Union based on a possible Supreme Court decision that people were not property (folder 31). There are two letters from Henry Clay in the summer of 1841 on this subject. On 23 June 1841, Clay wrote to Ballard demanding his contingent fee because the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Groves v. Slaughter as Ballard wished (folder 42). Then on 6 July 1841, Clay wrote again reaffirming his conviction that the Supreme Court of Mississippi could do nothing to influence the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court (folder 42).

Correspondents include Bacon Tait, who wrote lively letters from Virginia; Isaac Franklin; John Armfield; Henry H. Pease, who wrote on 8 January 1838 that Robert Stevens wouldn't pay short of a suit (folder 20; see also legal materials for more on this suit); Joseph Alsop, who wrote on 22 October 1839 about Lewis Rawlings guardianship (folder 29; see also legal materials for more); R. W. Schooler; commission merchants William R. Glover and Dupuy, Tate and Nalle; Philip Burris; Edward Moore; Catherine Prince; Samuel S. Boyd; and A. Stampley, the overseer on Quattlebaum Plantation.

There is a great deal of financial material included in the letters, because of the nature of the correspondence and the mixed social and business character of most of Ballard's relationships.

Folder 17

Correspondence, April-August 1835

Folder 18

Correspondence, August-October 1836

Folder 19

Correspondence, February-March 1837 and undated 1837

Folder 20

Correspondence, January 1838

Folder 21

Correspondence, February 1838

Folder 22

Correspondence, March 1838

Folder 23

Correspondence, April 1838

Folder 24

Correspondence, May-September 1838

Folder 25

Correspondence, October-December 1838

Folder 26

Correspondence, January-April 1839

Folder 27

Correspondence, May-July 1839

Folder 28

Correspondence, August-September 1839

Folder 29

Correspondence, October-December 1839

Folder 30

Correspondence, [1830s?]

Folder 31

Correspondence, January-February 1840

Folder 32

Correspondence, March 1840

Folder 33

Correspondence, April 1840

Folder 34

Correspondence, May 1840

Folder 35

Correspondence, June-September 1840

Folder 36

Correspondence, October 1840

Folder 37

Correspondence, November 1840

Folder 38

Correspondence, December 1840

Folder 39

Correspondence, January-March 1841

Folder 40

Correspondence, April 1841

Folder 41

Correspondence, May 1841

Folder 42

Correspondence, June-August 1841

Folder 43

Correspondence, September-October 1841

Folder 44

Correspondence, November-December 1841

Folder 45

Correspondence, January 1842

Folder 46

Correspondence, February 1842

Folder 47

Correspondence, March 1842

Folder 48

Correspondence, April 1842

Folder 49

Correspondence, 4-20 May 1842

Folder 50

Correspondence, 23-31 May 1842

Folder 51

Correspondence, June 1842

Folder 52

Correspondence, July 1842

Folder 53

Correspondence, 1-15 August 1842

Folder 54

Correspondence, 20-29 August 1842

Folder 55

Correspondence, September 1842

Folder 56

Correspondence, October-8 December 1842

Folder 57

Correspondence, 15-31 December 1842

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. Correspondence, 1843-1860, 1888 and undated.

About 2700 items.

Arrangement: chronological

Letters from the overseers at the Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas plantations owned jointly by Ballard and Samuel S. Boyd: Magnolia, Wagram, Karnac, Outpost, Pecan Grove, and Elcho. The overseers' letters report on the progress of planting and picking, the weather, height of the Mississippi River and state of the levees, the health of enslaved people, and improvements being made on the places. There are also many letters from Boyd concerned with the management of these plantations and general news of the Natchez region, requests for Ballard to find horses for Boyd, and especially in the late 1850s and 1860, much discussion of health. Ballard got regular updates from his commission merchants in New Orleans: in 1843, Dupuy Tate and Nalle; from 1844 to 1850, Nalle and Cox; from 1850 to 1854, Nalle, Cox and Co.; from 1854 to 1856, Cox, Gillis, and Boyd (James Boyd, a brother of Samuel Boyd); and from 1857 to 1860, W. Cox and Co. From the commission merchants, Ballard received receipts for cotton, notices of shipments of goods to the plantations, news of the state of the cotton market, and social and general news of New Orleans. Ballard also received letters from pork merchants in Louisville, Ky., especially Adams and Anderson.

Friends and relatives in Louisville, including Ballard's wife Louise and children, Ella, Ann, and Charlotte, wrote occasionally when Ballard was in Mississippi at the plantations. They wrote of the health of their friends, the pork packing industry in Louisville (see, for instance, W. H. Sparke's letter of 17 December 1857. folder 265), and some current events. W. A. Ellis wrote on 2 May 1858 about a wave of religious enthusiasm sweeping Louisville, but reassured Ballard that his wife and children appear to be untouched by it (folder 278).

Ballard's wife Louise wrote about the health of the children and social news of Louisville, and requested money for her household. When the children learned to read, they too wrote occasionally. Ella went to the Franklin Female Institute near Frankfort, Ky., in the mid 1850s, and in 1859 rumors were afoot that Ella was about to make an improper engagement. W. Cox warned Ballard on 22 March 1859 (folder 304); Ella replied to a letter from Ballard about it on 2 April 1859 (folder 305). There are comparatively few letters from Ballard's family. Ballard received updates on his family, especially from W. A. Ellis in Louisville. In May 1852, Ballard received several letters suggesting that he spend more time in Louisville because his wife was being led astray by false friends (folders 176-177). On 1 March 1857, Ellis wrote sympathizing with Ballard's domestic worries, and implying that Louise was drinking heavily (folder 254).

There are several letters about Henry Clay and another from him, related to a case in which Clay opposed Ballard in the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Dupuy, Tate, and Nalle mentioned the case in a letter of 2 June 1843 (folder 61). Clay wrote Ballard on 4 July 1844 to report that the Court had decided the suit in Clay's favor and that Ballard owed Clay $4000 (folder 75).

Ballard was involved in some kind of financial deal with John Anthony Quitman (1798-1858), Governor of Mississippi for a term of less than a year, beginning 10 January 1850. (See the Dictionary of American Biography.) Quitman wrote Ballard on 1 February 1851, and Nalle, Cox, & Co. wrote on 9 February 1852 that Quitman had paid $10,000 that day to Ballard's credit (folders 165, 173).

Letters in this time period provide insight into the institution of slavery. On 20 March 1844 Ballard received a letter about removing Maria, an enslaved woman, and her daughter, who were living with Boyd and about whom the writer, J. M. Duffield, was very concerned (folder 70). Another letter of 29 May 1848 from Duffield reported violence against Maria and his intent to purchase her before she was killed (folder 127). On 2 April 1853, Boyd wrote Ballard about the will of a man named Baldwin who had attempted to free the people he enslaved and send them to Liberia, but Boyd reported that the will would soon be overturned and they should be able to buy the enslaved people (folder 189). [?] Crutchfield of Louisville wrote on 23 February 1856 about Lewis, who had self-emancipated on 20 January, and mentioned that many enslaved people in Kentucky had left on the frozen river. He reported that he had sold Lewis's family and children to Alterburn, and the police had an unnamed underground railroad guide in their custody (folder 240).

Most of the letters from the plantation overseers comment on the lives of enslaved people--especially their work, health, and punishments. On 4 January 1860, Henry C. Buckner reported to Ballard about a violent encounter with Miles, who was enslaved by Ballard (folder 322).

A letter of 1 December 1853 from Nalle & Cox to C. M. Rutherford, a trafficker in enslaved people, includes an itemized list of life insurance policies for enslaved people (folder 201). A letter to Ballard from P. B. January written on 29 November 1854 requests information about the history of an enslaved woman purchased from Ballard some time ago by the writer's uncle; a state legislature decided that this woman was born free, kidnapped and sold into slavery, and should now have the rights of a free born person (folder 219). Palmer, an overseer, wrote on 20 December 1859 begging that Ballard not sell the enslaved woman Priscilla and her child Betty, or permit Palmer to purchase them. It seems that Betty may have been the child of Priscilla and Palmer (folder 321).

In this time period Ballard received letters from three enslaved women. Lucile Tucker wrote on 25 June 1847 about sending a power of attorney to someone who could emancipate her without her going to New Orleans from Georgia to meet Ballard (folder 112). On 6 May 1853, Virginia, who was pregnant, wrote Ballard from a trafficker's yard in Texas begging for his intervention and help to prevent her sale (folder 191). This letter is particularly poignant because of Virginia's condemnation of a man (apparently not Ballard; perhaps Boyd) who could sell his own children as well as their mother. A letter of 8 August 1853 from the C. M. Rutherford, reports that Virginia Boyd and one of her children had been sold but that her oldest child had not (folder 196). On 22 October 1854, Delia wrote (presumably to Ballard, although the recipient is not named) asking him to buy her husband (folder 217).

There are a few letters from Ballard's partners in the interstate trafficking of enslaved people in this time period, mostly social, but a few related to business. On 4 January 1856, John Armfield wrote for Ballard to meet him in New Orleans to balance their accounts and close the business (folder 238). Armfield wrote again on 29 August 1859, mainly about their advancing age and failing health (folder 313). Joseph Alsop wrote on 7 April 1860 to tell Ballard about Alsop's father's death, and giving a description of the new businesses in Fredricksburg, Va., and the prospects for the city's future (folder 328).

Ballard's correspondents occasionally remarked on the political scene, both in the United States and abroad. For instance, Joseph Alsop asked in a letter of 29 January 1847 about the Mexican War and President Polk (folder 108). Samuel Boyd wrote in a letter of 31 August 1848 about presidential candidate Zachary Taylor (folder 132). W. A. Ellis wrote on 16 November 1850 about the Missouri Compromise and the possibility of a dissolution of the Union (folder 159). There are a number of references to the Know-Nothings, including Ellis on 30 May 1858 (folder 280). The letters of W. Cox to W. H. Johnson of 3 June 1858 and of W. H. Johnson to Ballard of 15 June 1858 describe election-related disturbances in New Orleans (folders 281-282). See also the "Know-Nothing Resolutions" in other papers (folder 413).

International events appear in the letters mainly in relation to their expected effect on the price of cotton, as in a letter from W. Cox on 24 July 1859 (folder 311).

Another topic that appears occasionally in the collection is homeopathic medicine, of which Ballard was an advocate, especially in the spring and summer of 1858. On 9 June 1858, S. P. Johnson wrote to Ballard that he could not subscribe to or prescribe from the homeopathic doctrine (folder 281). On 10 July 1858, a homeopathic doctor wrote to Ballard seeking employment (folder 284). On 29 August 1858, the overseer at Lapine Plantation wrote to Samuel Boyd listing needed medical supplies, and remarked that homeopathic remedies had not been effective in breaking illness that affected the enslaved people (folder 288). There are other examples in the collection; see for instance 25 January 1858 for another letter from a homeopathic doctor looking for a place to practice (folder 269).

The two last letters in the collection, those dated 11 April 1866 and 12 October 1888, have no obvious relationship to the rest of Ballard's papers (folder 331).

There is a great deal of financial material included in the letters, because of the nature of the correspondence and the mixed social and business character of most of Ballard's relationships.

Folder 58

Correspondence, January 1843

Folder 59

Correspondence, February-March 1843

Folder 60

Correspondence, April-May 1843

Folder 61

Correspondence, June 1843

Folder 62

Correspondence, July 1843

Folder 63

Correspondence, August 1843

Folder 64

Correspondence, September 1843

Folder 65

Correspondence, October 1843

Folder 66

Correspondence, November 1843

Folder 67

Correspondence, December 1843

Folder 68

Correspondence, January 1844

Folder 69

Correspondence, February 1844

Folder 70

Correspondence, March 1844

Folder 71

Correspondence, 1-12 April 1844

Folder 72

Correspondence, 18-30 April 1844

Folder 73

Correspondence, May 1844

Folder 74

Correspondence, June 1844

Folder 75

Correspondence, July 1844

Folder 76

Correspondence, August 1844

Folder 77

Correspondence, September 1844

Folder 78

Correspondence, October 1844

Folder 79

Correspondence, November 1844

Folder 80

Correspondence, 6-16 December 1844

Folder 81

Correspondence, 17-30 December 1844

Folder 82

Correspondence, January 1845

Folder 83

Correspondence, 3-5 February 1845

Folder 84

Correspondence, 10-26 February 1845

Folder 85

Correspondence, March 1855

Folder 86

Correspondence, April 1845

Folder 87

Correspondence, May 1845

Folder 88

Correspondence, June 1845

Folder 89

Correspondence, July 1845

Folder 90

Correspondence, August 1845

Folder 91

Correspondence, September 1845

Folder 92

Correspondence, October 1845

Folder 93

Correspondence, November 1845

Folder 94

Correspondence, December 1845

Folder 95

Correspondence, January 1846

Folder 96

Correspondence, February 1846

Folder 97

Correspondence, 2-12 March 1846

Folder 98

Correspondence, 13-27 March 1846

Folder 99

Correspondence, 4-13 April 1846

Folder 100

Correspondence, 16-29 April 1846

Folder 101

Correspondence, 4-14 May 1846

Folder 102

Correspondence, 16-31 May 1846

Folder 103

Correspondence, 1-10 June 1846

Folder 104

Correspondence, 12-29 June 1846

Folder 105

Correspondence, 2-19 July 1846

Folder 106

Correspondence, 22-31 July 1846

Folder 107

Correspondence, 1 August, 5 November, 8 December 1846

Folder 108

Correspondence, January 1847

Folder 109

Correspondence, February 1847

Folder 110

Correspondence, April 1847

Folder 111

Correspondence, May 1847

Folder 112

Correspondence, 2-14 June 1847

Folder 113

Correspondence, 18-26 June 1847

Folder 114

Correspondence, 1-22 July 1847

Folder 115

Correspondence, 23-30 July 1847

Folder 116

Correspondence, 1-12 August 1847

Folder 117

Correspondence, 16-28 August 1847

Folder 118

Correspondence, September 1847

Folder 119

Correspondence, October 1847

Folder 120

Correspondence, November 1847

Folder 121

Correspondence, December 1847

Folder 122

Correspondence, January 1848

Folder 123

Correspondence, February 1848

Folder 124

Correspondence, March 1848

Folder 125

Correspondence, April 1848

Folder 126

Correspondence, 2-20 May 1848

Folder 127

Correspondence, 21-30 May 1848

Folder 128

Correspondence, 1-16 June 1848

Folder 129

Correspondence, 17-30 June 1848

Folder 130

Correspondence, July 1848

Folder 131

Correspondence, 4-12 August 1848

Folder 132

Correspondence, 15-31 August 1848

Folder 133

Correspondence, September 1848

Folder 134

Correspondence, October-November 1848

Folder 135

Correspondence, December 1848

Folder 136

Correspondence, January 1849

Folder 137

Correspondence, February 1849

Folder 138

Correspondence, March 1849

Folder 139

Correspondence, April 1849

Folder 140

Correspondence, May 1849

Folder 141

Correspondence, July-August 1849

Folder 142

Correspondence, September 1849

Folder 143

Correspondence, October 1849

Folder 144

Correspondence, November 1849

Folder 145

Correspondence, December 1849

Folder 146

Correspondence, January 1850

Folder 147

Correspondence, February 1850

Folder 148

Correspondence, 1-15 March 1850

Folder 149

Correspondence, 18-30 March 1850

Folder 150

Correspondence, 8-14 April 1850

Folder 151

Correspondence, 16-28 April 1850

Folder 152

Correspondence, 2-15 May 1850

Folder 153

Correspondence, 18-30 May 1850

Folder 154

Correspondence, 2-18 June 1850

Folder 155

Correspondence, 20-30 June 1850

Folder 156

Correspondence, July-August 1850

Folder 157

Correspondence, September 1850

Folder 158

Correspondence, October 1850

Folder 159

Correspondence, November 1850

Folder 160

Correspondence, 2-16 December 1850

Folder 161

Correspondence, 18-31 December 1850

Folder 162

Correspondence, Undated [ca. 1849-1850?]

Folder 163

Correspondence, [1844-1850?] undated--from Nalle & Cox

Folder 164

Correspondence, January 1851

Folder 165

Correspondence, February 1851

Folder 166

Correspondence, March 1851

Folder 167

Correspondence, April 1851

Folder 168

Correspondence, June-August (none from July) 1851

Folder 169

Correspondence, 20, 27 September 18511851

Folder 170

Correspondence, October 1851

Folder 171

Correspondence, November 1851

Folder 172

Correspondence, December and [? 1851]

Folder 173

Correspondence, January-February 1852

Folder 174

Correspondence, March 1852

Folder 175

Correspondence, April 1852

Folder 176

Correspondence, 6-15 May 1852

Folder 177

Correspondence, 16-31 May 1852

Folder 178

Correspondence, June 1852

Folder 179

Correspondence, September-October 1852

Folder 180

Correspondence, 3-12 November 1852

Folder 181

Correspondence, 15-30 November 1852

Folder 182

Correspondence, 1-16 December 1852

Folder 183

Correspondence, 17-30 December 1852

Folder 184

Correspondence, 1-14 January 1853

Folder 185

Correspondence, 15-30 January 1853

Folder 186

Correspondence, 3-16 February 1853

Folder 187

Correspondence, 17-27 February 1853

Folder 188

Correspondence, March 1853

Folder 189

Correspondence, 1-15 April 1853

Folder 190

Correspondence, 16-30 April 1853

Folder 191

Correspondence, 6-20 May 1853

Folder 192

Correspondence, 21-30 May 1853

Folder 193

Correspondence, 2 June 1853

Folder 194

Correspondence, 1-13 July 1853

Folder 195

Correspondence, 16-31 July 1853

Folder 196

Correspondence, 2-10 August 1853

Folder 197

Correspondence, 12-22 August 1853

Folder 198

Correspondence, 17 September 1853

Folder 199

Correspondence, 2 October 1853

Folder 200

Correspondence, 8 November 1853

Folder 201

Correspondence, 1-9 December 1853

Folder 202

Correspondence, 13-16 December 1853

Folder 203

Correspondence, 17-24 December 1853

Folder 204

Correspondence, 26-29 December 1853

Folder 205

Correspondence, 1853: Undated

Folder 206

Correspondence, 2-16 January 1854

Folder 207

Correspondence, 17-31 January 1854

Folder 208

Correspondence, 1-13 February 1854

Folder 209

Correspondence, 15-24 February 1854

Folder 210

Correspondence, 3-12 March 1854

Folder 211

Correspondence, 15-31 March 1854

Folder 212

Correspondence, 1-14 April 1854

Folder 213

Correspondence, 19-29 April 1854

Folder 214

Correspondence, 2-8 June 1854

Folder 215

Correspondence, 5-28 September 1854

Folder 216

Correspondence, 3-19 October 1854

Folder 217

Correspondence, 21-28 October 1854

Folder 218

Correspondence, 2-11 November 1854

Folder 219

Correspondence, 13-29 November 1854

Folder 220

Correspondence, 1-15 December 1854

Folder 221

Correspondence, 16-31 December 1854

Folder 222

Correspondence, [1854?]

Folder 223

Correspondence, [1850-1854?] undated, from Nalle, Cox, & Co.

Folder 224

Correspondence, 3-13 January 1855

Folder 225

Correspondence, 16-30 January 1855

Folder 226

Correspondence, 1-14 February 1855

Folder 227

Correspondence, 15-28 February 1855

Folder 228

Correspondence, 1-14 March 1855

Folder 229

Correspondence, 15-29 March 1855

Folder 230

Correspondence, 1-15 April 1855

Folder 231

Correspondence, 16-30 April 1855

Folder 232

Correspondence, 4-15 June 1855

Folder 233

Correspondence, 25-19 August 1855

Folder 234

Correspondence, 11-25 September 1855

Folder 235

Correspondence, 15-28 October 1855

Folder 236

Correspondence, November 1855

Folder 237

Correspondence, December 1855

Folder 238

Correspondence, 1-10 January 1856

Folder 239

Correspondence, 12-30 January 1856

Folder 240

Correspondence, February 1856

Folder 241

Correspondence, March 1856

Folder 242

Correspondence, April 1856

Folder 243

Correspondence, May 1856

Folder 244

Correspondence, October 1856

Folder 245

Correspondence, 10-23 November 1856

Folder 246

Correspondence, 25-29 November 1856

Folder 247

Correspondence, 1-11 December 1856

Folder 248

Correspondence, 14-30 December 1856

Folder 249

Correspondence, [1856?]

Folder 250

Correspondence, [1854-1856?] undated, from Cox, Gillis, & Boyd

Folder 251

Correspondence, January 1857

Folder 252

Correspondence, 5-19 February 1857

Folder 253

Correspondence, 21-28 February 1857

Folder 254

Correspondence, 1-10 March 1857

Folder 255

Correspondence, 12-30 March 1857

Folder 256

Correspondence, 1-17 April 1857

Folder 257

Correspondence, 18-28 April 1857

Folder 258

Correspondence, May-June 1857

Folder 259

Correspondence, August-September 1857

Folder 260

Correspondence, 8-18 October 1857

Folder 261

Correspondence, 23-31 October 1857

Folder 262

Correspondence, 2-14 November 1857

Folder 263

Correspondence, 15-30 November 1857

Folder 264

Correspondence, 1-12 December 1857

Folder 265

Correspondence, 13-19 December 1857

Folder 266

Correspondence, 20-30 December 1857

Folder 267

Correspondence, 2-10 January 1858

Folder 268

Correspondence, 11-20 January 1858

Folder 269

Correspondence, 21-30 January 1858

Folder 270

Correspondence, 2-10 February 1858

Folder 271

Correspondence, 11-28 February 1858

Folder 272

Correspondence, 2-14 March 1858

Folder 273

Correspondence, 15-22 March 1858

Folder 274

Correspondence, 23-31 March 1858

Folder 275

Correspondence, 1-12 April 1858

Folder 276

Correspondence, 14-24 April 1858

Folder 277

Correspondence, 25-30 April 1858

Folder 278

Correspondence, 10 May 1858

Folder 279

Correspondence, 12-21 May 1858

Folder 280

Correspondence, 22-31 May 1858

Folder 281

Correspondence, 1-9 June 1858

Folder 282

Correspondence, 10-17 June 1858

Folder 283

Correspondence, 18-28 June 1858

Folder 284

Correspondence, 2-22 July 1858

Folder 285

Correspondence, 24-31 July 1858

Folder 286

Correspondence, 4-12 August 1858

Folder 287

Correspondence, 15-20 August 1858

Folder 288

Correspondence, 22-29 August 1858

Folder 289

Correspondence, 1-11 September 1858

Folder 290

Correspondence, 12-29 September 1858

Folder 291

Correspondence, 1-10 October 1858

Folder 292

Correspondence, 11-30 October 1858

Folder 293

Correspondence, 4-29 November 1858

Folder 294

Correspondence, 1-16 December 1858

Folder 295

Correspondence, 17-24 December 1858

Folder 296

Correspondence, 25-31 December 1858

Folder 297

Correspondence, [? 1858]

Folder 298

Correspondence, 1-12 January 1859

Folder 299

Correspondence, 13-21 January 1859

Folder 300

Correspondence, 22-31 January 1859

Folder 301

Correspondence, 1-14 February 1859

Folder 302

Correspondence, 16-27 February 1859

Folder 303

Correspondence, 3-10 March 1859

Folder 304

Correspondence, 11-29 March 1859

Folder 305

Correspondence, 1-10 April 1859

Folder 306

Correspondence, 11-30 April 1859

Folder 307

Correspondence, May 1859

Folder 308

Correspondence, 1-15 June 1859

Folder 309

Correspondence, 16-26 June 1859

Folder 310

Correspondence, 1-15 July 1859

Folder 311

Correspondence, 19-31 July 1859

Folder 312

Correspondence, 1-16 August 1859

Folder 313

Correspondence, 22-30 August 1859

Folder 314

Correspondence, 1-9 September 1859

Folder 315

Correspondence, 12-27 September 1859

Folder 316

Correspondence, 5-20 October 1859

Folder 317

Correspondence, 23-31 October 1859

Folder 318

Correspondence, 4-9 November 1859

Folder 319

Correspondence, 11-27 November 1859

Folder 320

Correspondence, 1-15 December 1859

Folder 321

Correspondence, 16-30 December 1859

Folder 322

Correspondence, 1-13 January 1860

Folder 323

Correspondence, 15-29 January 1860

Folder 324

Correspondence, 1-7 February 1860

Folder 325

Correspondence, 10-27 February 1860

Folder 326

Correspondence, 1-11 March 1860

Folder 327

Correspondence, 15-30 March 1860

Folder 328

Correspondence, 2-12 April 1860

Folder 329

Correspondence, 13-30 April 1860

Folder 330

Correspondence, [1857-1860?] undated, from W. Cox & ; Co.

Folder 331

Correspondence, 11 April 1866, 12 October 1888

Folder 332

Correspondence, Undated from J.H. Lacy, Elk Plantation overseer

Folder 333-337

Folder 333

Folder 334

Folder 335

Folder 336

Folder 337

Correspondence, Undated

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Financial Materials, 1822-1860 and undated

About 1600 items.

Arrangement: chronological, grouped by year, but unordered within years.

Receipts, notes, accounts, bills, calculations, legal statements of debt, and other financial materials documenting Ballard as a trafficker of enslaved people, plantation owner, and enslaver, as well as from his private life. The materials from the 1820s and 1830s document Ballard's activities in trafficking of enslaved people; materials from the 1840s and 1850s are primarily concerned with plantation business and Ballard's frequent loans of money to his acquaintances. In 1833, Nathaniel White gave Ballard a number of receipts for money he was given to use in the purchase of enslaved people. The individual plantations had their own accounts with Ballard's New Orleans commission merchants, Nalle and Cox (later Nalle, Cox, and Co., and W. Cox and Co.), detailed records of which exist for much of the 1840s through 1855. Some years are much better documented than others; there is relatively little from the years 1856-1860 compared to the abundance of records from the 1840s and early 1850s. There are some interesting documents in the undated folders, including a "memorandum" for enslaved people, which appears to be payments made to enslaved people for their personal poultry, and a list of the titles and prices of books purchased (folder 404, 405).

Folder 338

Financial materials, 1822, 1828, 1829

Folder 339

Financial materials, 1831

Folder 340

Financial materials, 1832

Folder 341

Financial materials, 1833

Folder 342-343

Folder 342

Folder 343

Financial materials, 1834

Folder 344

Financial materials, 1835

Folder 345

Financial materials, 1836

Folder 346

Financial materials, 1837

Folder 347

Financial materials, 1838

Folder 348

Financial materials, 1839

Folder 349-351

Folder 349

Folder 350

Folder 351

Financial materials, 1840

Folder 352-355

Folder 352

Folder 353

Folder 354

Folder 355

Financial materials, 1841

Folder 356-357

Folder 356

Folder 357

Financial materials, 1842

Folder 358-361

Folder 358

Folder 359

Folder 360

Folder 361

Financial materials, 1843

Folder 362-365

Folder 362

Folder 363

Folder 364

Folder 365

Financial materials, 1844

Folder 366-368

Folder 366

Folder 367

Folder 368

Financial materials, 1845

Folder 369-370

Folder 369

Folder 370

Financial materials, 1846

Folder 371-372

Folder 371

Folder 372

Financial materials, 1847

Folder 373-374

Folder 373

Folder 374

Financial materials, 1848

Folder 375-377

Folder 375

Folder 376

Folder 377

Financial materials, 1849

Folder 378-379

Folder 378

Folder 379

Financial materials, 1850

Folder 380-383

Folder 380

Folder 381

Folder 382

Folder 383

Financial materials, 1851

Folder 384-387

Folder 384

Folder 385

Folder 386

Folder 387

Financial materials, 1852

Folder 388-392

Folder 388

Folder 389

Folder 390

Folder 391

Folder 392

Financial materials, 1853

Folder 393-395

Folder 393

Folder 394

Folder 395

Financial materials, 1854

Folder 396-397

Folder 396

Folder 397

Financial materials, 1855

Folder 398

Financial materials, 1856

Folder 399

Financial materials, 1857

Folder 400-401

Folder 400

Folder 401

Financial materials, 1858

Folder 402

Financial materials, 1859

Folder 403

Financial materials, 1860

Folder 404-405

Folder 404

Folder 405

Financial materials, Undated

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Legal Materials, 1837-1860 and undated

Arrangement: chronological, grouped by year, but unordered within years.

Legal materials, include court judgments and opinions, contracts and other agreements, summonses, a will, and other materials, mainly from Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia. There is closely related material in other series, especially letters and volumes. See especially the enclosures in the volumes series, where there are other contracts between Franklin, Armfield, and Ballard.

Folder 406

Legal materials, 1837-1839

  • "R. C. Ballard's answers to the interrogatories of Mr. James Wilkins of Virginia filed January 1st 1837," concerning payment for shaving and haircutting
  • James Berthe v Blanten and Bolls, 1838, Superior Court of Chancery of the State of Miss. orders Isaac Franklin, Rice C. Ballard, and John Armfield to desist from further proceedings at law against Robert Stephens
  • Copy of Supreme Court of the U.S. opinion given January term 1841 in case of Moses Groves and James Graham vs. Robert Slaughter concerning legality of sale of enslaved people in Mississippi in 1835-1836
  • Document making Lewis Rawlings the legal guardian of Mary and Malvina Pendleton with note on back promising to pay Ballard one thousand dollars in their behalf
  • 1839 appointment of R. C. Ballard to act as agent for dissolved James Ballard and Co. closing its affairs
Folder 407

Legal materials, 1840-1860

  • Two orders, 1840, to sheriff of Adams County, Miss., concerning suit of James Ballard and Co. and others by the Agricultural Bank of Mississippi
  • 1842 last will and testament of William Cotton, in which he emancipated Susan and Juba who had been enslaved to him
  • 1842 statement of Ballard and Samuel S. Boyd's partnership in Magnolia Plantation
  • 1843 contract between Ballard as trustee and William H. Dickson (or Dixon) for services as overseer on Golden Plains and Quattlebaum Plantations
  • Judgment of Circuit Court of Southern District of Miss. in case of Ballard vs. Henry Turner
  • Various notices to Ballard concerning requisitions for roads and levees; and a March 1860 summons to jury duty
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Other Papers, 1830s-1850s

Folder 408-409

Folder 408

Folder 409

Lists of enslaved people

Some lists include ages, while others document movement of people between plantations. Most of the 22 lists are undated.

Oversize Paper Folder OPF-4850/1

Diagram of the layout of the quarters and house for enslaved people

Folder 410

Prescriptions and medical advice

Folder 411-412

Folder 411

Folder 412

Printed material

Advertising cards and flyers for steamboats, a cotton gin, a grist mill, Beersheba Springs resort, a notice of an auction, an 1845 notice to Jefferson County warning that the representatives-elect of the city of Louisville are planning an emancipation bill (signed by many citizens, including R. C. Ballard), several issues of Merchants' Exchange Reporter and Price Current of St. Louis (1857, 1859, 1860), and an 1858 Price Current report from Liverpool (1858).

Copies of the New-Orleans Price-Current, Commercial Intelligencer and Merchants' Transcript (1842, 1847, 1853, 1858), most sent by Ballard's New Orleans commission merchants, Nalle and Cox, W. Cox and Co., etc. There are many more issues in letters because the commission merchants often wrote to Ballard on the blank pages.

Folder 413


A "Know-Nothing Resolution the counsel at Louisville would not Entertain." which seems to refute the Know-Nothings' alleged hostility to states with slavery; a "Memorandum of horses and mules on Magnolia"; a description of the Myrtle Grove Plantation; a "Memorandum of Laurell Hill"; a "Description of Land in Washington County, Miss."; a list of household linens; and other notes.

Folder 414-415

Folder 414

Folder 415


Pedigree of a horse; diagram of a water wheel; and "Travellers Guide. A map of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Extending from Pittsburgh to the Gulf of Mexico." By J. Duff.; a one page "History of David"; and pages 3 through 22 of a long description of a trip through Belgium.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 5. Volumes, 1832-1853

42 volumes
Folder 416

Volume 1: Account book, 1832

"R. C. Ballard and Co." accounts, 5 pages used for financial record keeping. 32 p.

Folder 417

Volume 2: Invoice book, 1831-1833

"R. C. Ballard and Co. Invoice Book," contains lists of enslaved people, some of whom were trafficked on "Brig Tribune," apparently from Norfolk, Va. 40 p.

Folder 418-419

Folder 418

Folder 419

Volume 3: Account book and enclosures, 1832-1834

"Board Book"with accounts kept for individuals for cost of boarding enslaved people. 48p.

Two notes signed by R. C. Ballard and Co. on the Bank of Richmond, 25 September 1834, and the Bank of Virginia, 30 July 1834, the latter made out for $10,000 to Franklin and Armfield.

Folder 420-421

Folder 420

Folder 421

Volume 4: Account book and enclosures, 1831-1839

R. C. Ballard and Co. "Purchase Book" inked on cover. 28 pages of lists of enslaved people by name and assigned value, numbered from the beginning of each year. 1832 is the earliest year noted, but there are two undated lists that precede the 1832 list. Volume contains a few other notes. About 170 p.

Enclosures are mainly financial accounts of interstate trafficking in enslaved people, including lists of enslaved people purchased; "Sales of R. C. Ballard and Co. in account with Messrs. Franklin, Ballard, and Co., Natchez"; record of Ballard's purchase of enslaved people at auction in Adams County, Miss.; and two contracts for partnership in interstate trafficking of enslaved people between Ballard, Franklin, and Armfield dated 1833 and 1835. (The 1835 contract is oversized and is stored with oversized papers.)

Folder 422-423

Folder 422

Folder 423

Volume 5: Account book and enclosure, 1833-1834

"Board Book," 1833. Contains accounts for various individuals, including Bacon Tait, for boarding enslaved people. About 35 p.

Enclosure is a scrap with what may be notes for a boarding bill.

Folder 424

Volume 6: Account book, 1833-1834

"R. C. Ballard and Co." accounts. Book about half full of financial accounts of R. C. Ballard and Co. 48 p.

Folder 425

Volume 7: Account book, 1831-1835

"R. C. Ballard and Co. Expense Book" on second page. Itemized and dated lists of payments made by R. C. Ballard and Co., for such expenses as having a horse shoed, stage fare to Richmond, suits of clothes (apparently for enslaved people), etc. About a third of pages are used. A few other notes, mainly on inside covers. 150 p.

Folder 425a

Volume 7a: Account book, 1836-1838

"A list of balances due James Ballard & Company, 1 Jany. 1838." About 40 p.

Folder 426

Volume 8: Account book, 1837-1838

R. C. Ballard and Co. accounts. "Coml Bank of Natchez in a/c with R. C. Ballard Co." Only 3 pages used. 24 p.

Folder 427

Volume 9: Notebook, 1833, 1839

Notebook, containing various calculations and notes. Inside and outside covers and 4 other pages used. 18 p.

Folder 428

Volume 10: Account book, 1837-1839

"Bank Book," 1837. Empty except for 2 pages with "Commercial Bank in a/c with William Cotton." About 55 p.

Folder 429

Volume 11: Journal, 1838-1840

Magnolia Plantation journal. "McNeales Book" on cover. Contains a variety of very detailed records of Magnolia Plantation, including a list of enslaved people, livestock, etc., belonging to the plantation, and a daily account of labor starting on 1 January 1838. In December 1838, there is a Recapitulation of the events of the year, including sicknesses and deaths among enslaved people and livestock, then an inventory of the plantation for the beginning of 1839 and journal for 1839, then daily journal through 31 December 1840. Kept by overseer McNeale, then W. Buck by 1840. About 300 p.

Folder 430

Volume 12: Record book, 1836-1841

"James Ballard and Co. with Commercial Bank," dated records mostly for cash, and other financial notes. About 60 p.

Folder 431

Volume 13: Account book, 1834-1842

Accounts of R. C. Ballard and Co. Record of expenses for 1834, 1839-1842; records of accounts of individuals such as Joseph Alsop, Thomas Anderson, and Frances Poindexter with R. C. Ballard and Co. About 140 p.

Folder 432-433

Folder 432

Folder 433

Volume 14: Account book and enclosure, 1835 and 1841-1842

Accounts of Charles Roberts and Joseph Berthe with R. C. Ballard and a few other notes. 8 pages used. 40 p.

Enclosure is a bill for a few items of Thomas Hall to Richard E. Smith.

Folder 434

Volume 15: Account book,1839-1843

Accounts of various people with R. C. Ballard, and other financial notes. 150 p.

Folder 435

Volume 16: Memorandum, 1843

Overseer's expenses for Magnolia Plantation, including payments made to enslaved people for hogs; shoes purchased for Louisa, an enslaved person; and Edward Moore in a/c with Magnolia Plantation.. There is also a note about purchase of Rachel, an enslaved woman, by overseer William Buck for Rice C. Ballard. Rachel was purchased from the estate of Alex McNeill, through the firm of Dupay, Tate, and Nallof New Orleans. 40 p.

Folder 436

Volume 17: Journal,1843

"Planters Bank Trustee". Includes lists of enslaved people at Golden Plains Plantation and Providence Plantation, with ages and some prices, lists of some livestock. About 50 p.

Folder 437

Volume 18: Account book, 1843-1845

"R. C. Ballard in account with W. A. Britton." About 50 p.

Folder 438

Volume 19: Journal, 1843-1846

Magnolia Plantation journal, kept by overseers W. H. Dixon, M. B. Stampley, and Isaac Folkes, including lists of marriages, births, and deaths of 1844, lists of enslaved people, who lived in which house, family relationships of children and mothers, daily journal of plantation activities for much of 1844 and 1845 and spring of 1846, cotton picked by each enslaved person each day, cotton shipments, and other plantation information. About 120 p.

Folder 439

Volume 20: Journal, 1846-1847

Magnolia Plantation journal. "Cotton Book" on cover, kept by J. H. Cox from 25 May 1846 through 1 January 1847, containing lists of work done and repairs on the plantation during 1846, daily journal for 1847 begins on p. 55; lists of births, deaths, physicians' visits of enslaved people, on p. 118-119; rules about morning and evening bells for enslaved people, on p. 127; list of cotton shipped, p. 155; text of marriage ceremony on p. 224-226; and various other lists concerning enslaved people, including who received new tools and clothing, who was sick. About 300 p. (pages numbered)

Folder 440

Volume 21: Account book, 1846-1847

J. H. Cox in account with Magnolia. 3 pages used. Wages for service as overseer, payment for capturing Ephraim, an enslaved person who had self-emancipated from Karnac, and another unnamed enslaved person. About 60 p.

Folder 441

Volume 22: Journal,1849

Clothes book of Magnolia Plantation. Mainly day-by-day lists of clothes made, specifying shirts and pantaloons, seamstress, and the enslaved person for whom the clothes were made. Other financial records, records of shipments received at Magnolia. Charlotte Buckner, the seamstress at Magnolia, died of cholera on 14 May 1849. About 100 p.

Folder 442-443

Folder 442

Folder 443

Volume 23: Cotton book and enclosure, 1848-1851

Magnolia Plantation cotton book, kept by overseers John P. Wilson, Rice B. Read, and J. Westbrook; lists amount of cotton picked by each enslaved person each day, diary of day picking started, etc.

Brief 1851 letter to John P. Wilson about shipment of pork from Heisenbuttle and Maynadier. About 100 p.

Folder 444-445

Folder 444

Folder 445

Volume 24: Journal and enclosures, 1850-1851

Magnolia Plantation journal, kept by overseers Loyd Stevenson, John P. Wilson, Rice B. Read, with lists of enslaved people, livestock, tools, etc., daily journal from 1 January 1850. About 130 p.

Brief letters to John P. Wilson, list of Magnolia cotton, advertisement for Ayer's Cathartic Pills.

Folder 445a

Volume 24a: Journal,1850-1851

Laurell Plantation book, including a list of enslaved people; lists of enslaved men and women and their tools; and a journal with entries 1 January 1850-29 January 1851. About 90 p.

Folder 446

Volume 25: Journal,1851-1852

Magnolia Plantation journal, kept by overseers John P. Wilson then H. Shaw, contains lists of enslaved people, livestock, land in cultivation, and other lists, journal from 1 January 1851 through 31 December 1852. R. C. Ballard made a few daily entries (e.g. 22 October 1851.) About 200 p.

Folder 447

Volume 26: Journal, 1851-1852

Laurell Plantation journal, kept by John H. Bailey, containing journal for 1851 and 1852 and daily lists of amounts of cotton picked by enslaved people in 1852, and some other plantation records. About half of book is blank. About 160 p.

Folder 448-449

Folder 448

Folder 449

Volume 27: Record book and enclosure, 1849-1853

Clothes book, contains general records of Magnolia Plantation and Laurell Plantation from 1849, lists of winter and summer clothes made for each place with names of seamstresses and the enslaved people for whom the clothes were made from 1850, 1851, and 1852, and some notes on sacks and clothes given out in 1853. About 80 p.

Folder 450

Volume 28: Account book, 1853

"Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book," Magnolia Plantation. Three receipts and a shipment notice pasted in inside front cover. Kept by overseer H. H. Williams, daily journal entries for some days in July and August 1853, daily records of cotton picked. about 130 p.

Folder 451

Volume 29: Account book, 1854

"Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book," agnolia Plantation, kept by overseer John N. Nolley, six receipts pasted in front few pages, journal kept from 8 February to 7 August 1854, daily records of cotton picked by each enslaved person, some other notes. About 130 p.

Folder 452-453

Folder 452

Folder 453

Volume 30: Account book and enclosure, 1855

"Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book," Magnolia Plantation, kept by overseers John N. Nolley then J. B. Wilson, seven receipts pasted in front cover, journal part of book not used, but daily records of cotton picked filled out from 1 August 1855, lists of weights of cotton bales, some supplies, and other records. About 130 p.

Folder 454-455

Folder 454

Folder 455

Volume 31: Account book and enclosures, 1856

"Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book,"Magnolia Plantation, kept by overseer J. B. Wilson, receipts pasted in inside cover and front pages, minimal journal entries starting 8 April 1856 going through end of July, daily records of cotton picked, some other notes. About 130 p.

Letter, 1857, to R. C. Ballard from Bittner and Mather; list of bundles of bedding, coops of chickens, etc., bill for bricks, 1856.

Folder 456

Volume 32: Account book, 1857

"Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book," Elcho Plantation, kept by overseer J. B. Wilson, only a few journal entries but daily record of cotton picked on Elcho, list of enslaved people, some other notes. About 150 p.

Folder 457

Volume 33: Journal,[1856-1858?]

Wagram Plantation journal (Chicot County, Ark.), mostly blank. List of enslaved people at beginning. about 100 p.

Folder 458-459

Folder 458

Folder 459

Volume 34: Record book and enclosures, 1872-1875

Financial records, apparently of Samuel S. Boyd. Mentions Forest Hill and Karnac plantations.

Contains various calculations related to Forest Hill and Karnac. About 200 p. (pages numbered but loose and incomplete)

Folder 460

Volume 35: Account book, 1879-1880

Grocery accounts, dated lists of items purchased and cost. About 70 p.

Folder 461

Volume 36: Notebook,undated

Notebook. Contains various records of expenses, calculations, etc. 14 p.

Folder 462

Volume 37: Notebook,undated

Notebook from leather wallet, contains financial notes and calculations. 8 p.

Folder 463-464

Folder 463

Folder 464

Volume 38: Ledger and enclosure, 1831-1834

Ballard and Co. Ledger containing account information documenting the purchase, shipment, and sale of enslaved people. Includes the names and prices of enslaved people, payment records, shipping information, and expenses.

Folder 465

Volume 39: Journal, 1848

Magnolia Plantation journal containing daily entries that document work done on Magnolia Plantation in 1848. Also includes a list of all enslaved people, along with age and a brief description; lists of births and deaths; a list of enslaved people issued spades, shovels, hoes, and axes; a list of shoes distributed; and a listing of farm animals and tools.

Folder 466-467

Folder 466

Folder 467

Volume 40: Journal and enclosures, 1849

Magnolia Plantation journal containing daily entries that document work done on Magnolia Plantation in 1849. Also includes a list of all enslaved people, along with age and a brief description; lists of births and deaths; a list of enslaved people issued spades, shovels, hoes, and axes; a list of shoes distributed; a listing of farm animals and tools; and a list of all items bought for use on the plantation.

Folder 468

Volume 41: Cotton book, 1846-1851

Documents cotton production at Magnolia Plantation, 1846-1851. Includes lists with names of enslaved people and the amount of cotton picked per day, with brief descriptions of conditions; records of cotton shipments; and a list of garments made in 1848.

Oversize Volume SV-4850/42

Volume 42: Cotton book, 1853

Volume documenting cotton production at Magnolia Plantation, 1853. Includes lists with names of enslaved person and the amount of cotton picked per day, with brief descriptions of conditions, and a list of the weight and number of each bale.

Folder 470

Enclosures for volume 42

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13 reels
Reel M-4850/1-13














Microfilm copy of collection, 1822-1888

  • Reel 1: folders 1-39
  • Reel 2: folders 40-86
  • Reel 3: folders 87-127
  • Reel 4: folders 128-172
  • Reel 5: folders 173-217
  • Reel 6: folders 218-261
  • Reel 7: folders 262-300
  • Reel 8: folders 301-337
  • Reel 9: folders 338-368
  • Reel 10: folders 369-395
  • Reel 11: folders 396-429
  • Reel 12: folders 430-449
  • Reel 13: folders 450-462, OPF-4850/1

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Processing Information

Processed by: Meg Phillips, September 1997

Encoded by: Jackie Dean, September 1998

Updated by: Laura Hart, June 2021; Nancy Kaiser, November 2022

Conscious editing by Nancy Kaiser, August 2022: abstract, subject headings, biographical information, scope and content, and contents list.

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic and racial identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic and racial identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual's preference for identity information to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at

The Addition of April 2004 is arranged in the same way as, but has not been incorporated into, the original deposit of materials.

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