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Collection Number: 01705

Collection Title: Pinckney Cotesworth Harrington Papers, 1829-1893

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 FAQ section for more information.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 85 items)
Abstract Pinckney Cotesworth Harrington and his father, James Harrington (d. 1866), were cotton planters in Franklin County, Miss. The collection is chiefly papers relating to the Harringtons' cotton plantations. There are numerous deeds and indentures for land sold to James Harrington between 1829 and 1849. Also documented is Pinckney's attendance at the University of North Carolina, 1854-1857, including some correspondence from Elisha Mitchell (1793-1857), bursar at the University, who kept Pinckney's financial accounts. During the Civil War, Pinckney apparently served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Franklin Rifles of the Army of Mississippi. There are a few Civil War era papers, including a list of slaves apparently belonging to James Harrington. After the war, James appears to have continued to plant cotton; he made numerous sharecropping agreements with freedmen. Also included are papers relating to his estate and a letter from the daughters of one of Pinckney's former slaves, who were trying to obtain proof of their parents' marriage.
Creator Harrington, Pinckney Cotesworth, fl. 1853-1893.
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 Pinckney Cotesworth Harrington Papers #1705, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection is available on microfilm from University Publications of America as part of the Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series J.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Elsie Harrington of Brookhaven, Mississippi, in March 1950.
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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James Harrington (d. 1866) and his son Pinckney Cotesworth Harrington (fl. 1853-1893) were cotton planters in Franklin County, Mississippi. Pinckney studied at Oakland College, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1857. He served as 2nd Lieutenant of the Franklin Rifles of the Army of Mississippi during the Civil War and, at some point, reached the rank of major. He returned to Franklin County after the war to continue planting. He married Carolina Grisham.

In the early papers. the name appears often as Herrington; and later Pinckney also appears as Pinkney.

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This collection consists of papers and one volume relating to Pinckney Cotesworth Harrington and his father James Harrington. The papers between 1829 and 1849 consist chiefly of deeds and indentures for land that James Harrington acquired in Franklin County, Mississippi.

Beginning in 1853, many of the papers relate to Pinckney Harrington, who attended Oakland College in Mississippi that year. In 1854, he went to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Included are reports on Pinckney's progress in his studies, his attendance record, and his financial situation. The bursar at UNC at this time was Elisha Mitchell, who kept accounts for students and paid out money for tuition, room rent, servants' hire, and other expenses they incurred. He wrote out these accounts on the reports and included personal notes. Also included are a few letters to James Harrington from Mitchell, and a few letters to Pinckney from friends. There is a typed transcription of a letter he wrote in 1857 to Carolina Grisham, who later became his wife.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Pinckney was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Franklin Rifles in the Army of Mississippi. There are only a few papers from the Civil War era, one of which is a list of slaves and their values. These slaves presumably belonged to James Harrington. Pinckney was paroled during 1865 and signed an oath of allegiance that same year.

After the war, the Harringtons continued to grow cotton using freedmen for labor. There are numerous agreements between them and their former slaves to work the land for food, clothing, shelter, and a percentage of the crops. There are detailed lists of time missed by various workers. There are also letters and market reports to the Harringtons from factors at New Orleans.

James Harrington died in 1866, and, after this date, many of the papers relate to the settlement of his estate. The volume in this collection appears to contain estate accounts dated 1866. There apparently were some disputes related to this estate, and a complaint was filed against it in 1870.

The remainder of the papers are chiefly business papers with a few personal letters. Included are notices of sales of land and circulars from cotton factors. At the end of the collection are a few personal letters to Pinckney requesting his aid. The first is from the widow of a man who served in his company during the war who needed proof of his enlistment in order to obtain a pension. The second is from the daughters of a former slave of Pinckney's who were trying to obtain proof of their parents' marriage.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: Shonra Newman, March 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, December 2009; December 2010

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