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1 JOHN COFFEE PAPERS, Finding aid Call number: Extent: 2 cubic ft. (6 archives boxes.) To return to the ADAHCat catalog record, click here: Alabama Dept. of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL

2 JOHN COFFEE PAPERS: FINDING AID I. LETTERS, Reels 1-3 This series contains the following subseries A. Business letters, ; B. Transcriptions of letters from Andrew Jackson to John Coffee, ; C. Letters to Coffee from James H. Weakley, ; D. Miscellaneous, undated. A. Business letters, Reels 1-2 A major part of the collection, this series of records consists mainly of letters written to Coffee (with copies of a few written by him) in which topics discussed concern surveying the northern district of the Mississippi Territory and the Indian lands belonging to the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws. Coffee was deeply involved in land speculation, as well as the settlement of Huntsville, Ala., and Florence, Ala. After settling in Alabama in 1819 the letters begin to reflect the activities of his successful cotton plantation. A few of the correspondents include cotton brokers in New Orleans; surveyors James W. Exum and Benjamin A. Clements; minister Robert M. Cunninham; friends Andrew Jackson, James Jackson, U. S. Senator John M. McKinley, and John Brahan. Arranged chronologically by year and then month. Box 1, Folder Reel 1 Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 1, Folder Box 2, Folder Reel 2 Box 2, Folder Box 2, Folder Box 2, Folder Box 2, Folder Box 2, Folder

3 I. LETTERS, (continued) A. Business letters, (continued) Box 2, Folder 7 Jan. - May 1831 Reel 2 Box 2, Folder 8 June - Dec Box 2, Folder Box 2, Folder B. Transcriptions of letters from Andrew Jackson to John Coffee, Transcripts of letters housed in the Library of Congress, this small subseries discusses national politics, the buying and selling of Indian lands, Henry Clay, and requirements for land settlement. Arranged chronologically by year. Box 3, Folder Reel 3 C. Letters to Coffee from James H. Weakley, As manager of Coffee s surveyor s office in Huntsville, Ala., Weakley writes about land sales, surveyors assignments, Indian lands, and financial matters. Arranged chronologically by year. Box 3, Folder Reel 3 D. Miscellaneous letters and papers, undated. A collection of letters and papers that include receipts, invoices, and a bill of lading. Topics include medical advice, slavery taxes, and cotton trading. Correspondents include J. H. Eaton, Bedford and Mackey, Charles H. Savage, James Jackson, Samuel Hogg, and B. W. Mahan. Box 3, Folder 3 Reel 3 II. DIARIES AND MEMORANDUM BOOKS, Reel 3 Written while traveling on business, including several major surveying expeditions, the diaries reflect Coffee s apparent concern for detail and trivia. Topics most frequently discussed are the weather, health problems, travel expenses, distances traveled, and occasionally, surveying and Indian matters. Some of the diaries have accompanying transcripts. The memorandum books include an undated confidential land report by a

4 II. DIARIES AND MEMORANDUM BOOKS, (continued) surveyor, giving evidence how Coffee could have parlayed surveying knowledge into land speculation. There is also detailed accounting of transactions with James Jackson, a Florence businessman, during One of the diaries chronicles a round trip to Washington, D. C. from Florence in Box 3, Folder 4 Diaries Reel 3 Box 3, Folder 5 Diaries (transcriptions) Box 3, Folder 6 Memorandum books III. FINANCIAL RECORDS, Reels 3-5 This series is divided into five subseries; each is arranged chronologically by year and month. A. General business, Reels 3-4 This series includes invoices for dry goods, groceries, building and surveying supplies, labor wages (including those for surveyors), medical treatment, etc., as well as receipts, promissory notes, and other routine financial papers. It documents much of Coffee s plantation activities, including medical treatment given both to family and slaves. Also available are five transcribed accounts documenting Coffee s expenses incurred while a commissioner dealing with the 1831 Indian removal. Box 3, Folder Reel 3 Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 3, Folder Box 4, Folder Reel 4 Box 4, Folder

5 III. FINANCIAL RECORDS, (continued) A. General business, (continued) Box 4, Folder Reel 4 Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder Box 4, Folder B. Mercantile business, Account book from Coffee s mercantile business in Shelbyville, Tennessee, from 25 June 1818 to 14 Mar and in Florence from 3 Aug to 17 Mar Arranged chronologically by day; individual accounts are listed indicating item purchased, price, and settlement (if made). Box 4, Folder 17 Account book 1818, 1824 Reel 4 C. Cotton business, Mainly receipts and bills documenting the Coffees cotton production, sales, and shipping. Receipts indicate bale weights and number, price, and charges (freight, drainage, weighing, commissions) as well as the broker and steamboat used. Some letters discuss the international cotton market, trade condition, cotton quality, and price range. Box 4, Folder Reel 4 Box 4, Folder

6 III. FINANCIAL RECORDS, (continued) D. Land business, This subseries is subdivided in six folders each containing letters, share certificates, maps and plats, etc. about the land companies in which Coffee was involved. Box 5, Folder 1 Cotton Port, Ala., land company Reel 5 Box 5, Folder 2 Cypress Land Company Box 5, Folder 3 Marion Land Company 1818 Box 5, Folder 4 Muscle Shoal Land Company 1818 Box 5, Folder 5 York Bluff Land Company 1829 Box 5, Folder 6 Miscellaneous E. Tax receipts, Lauderdale County, Ala., receipts for taxes John Coffee paid on his plantation in Florence. The receipts indicate tax amount, acreage and quality, slaves, carriages, saddle horses, studs and jacks, clocks, etc. Included in the groups are a few receipts for State of Alabama corporation taxes and Florence taxes. Arranged chronologically by year. Box 5, Folder Reel 5 F. Hutchings, Andrew Jackson, These financial records document the business affairs of Andrew Jackson Hutchings, the orphaned son of James H. Hutchings, a longtime business associate of General Andrew Jackson, James Jackson and John Coffee. Although General Jackson was the younger Hutchings legal guardian, much of the day-to-day business of rearing and educating the orphan, as well as the operation of the large Hutchings plantation was managed by Coffee, James Jackson Malachi Nicholson (plantation overseer), and others. Documents include vouchers (for taxes, farm and house supplies, clothes and sundry articles, tuition, attorney fees, medical matters, travel expenses, etc.); land sale records; promissory notes; cotton sales receipts and bills of lading; and other papers dealing with the operation of a substantial estate. Arranged chronologically by year. Box 5, Folder Reel 5 Box 5, Folder

7 III. FINANCIAL RECORDS, (continued) F. Hutchings, Andrew Jackson, (continued) Box 5, Folder Reel 5 Box 5, Folder Box 5, Folder G. Receipts for publications subscriptions; for placing advertisements in newspapers; and drafts on the U. S. Treasury, Box 5, Folder Reel 5 IV. SURVEYOR S NOTEBOOKS, These belong to Andrew J. Coffee, one of John Coffee s sons. The thirteen notebooks are filled with notations surveyed land in Dallas and Autauga Counties, Ala. Box 6, Folder Reel 6 Box 6, Folder V. FAMILY LETTERS, About two dozen letters written after Coffee s death by his friends to son John Donelson Coffee and ward Andrew Jackson Hutchings. Topics discussed include the postal system, business matters, requests for jobs, militia activity, and a limited amount of personal family concerns. Arranged chronologically by year. Box 6, Folder Reel 6 VI. PRINTED MATERIAL (copied), Typed transcripts taken from newspaper articles about public land sales in, and history of, several northern Alabama towns, including Marathon, Huntsville, Cahaba, Florence, Tuscumbia, Marion, and York Bluff. Other copied materials include a biography of John Lauderdale (1815), a proposal for road improvement around Nashville, Tenn., and a description of the building of the Tuscumbia, Courtland, and Decatur Railroad (1832). Box 6, Folder 4 Alabama towns Reel 6 Box 6, Folder 5 Miscellaneous n.d.

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