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Collection Number: 01095

Collection Title: Francis Terry Leak Papers, 1839-1865

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

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 section for more information.


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Size 1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 14 items)
Abstract Francis Terry Leak was a cotton planter and businessman of Tippah (now Benton) County, Miss. The collection includes manuscript volumes containing entries of various types, most of which are presumed to have been written by Francis Terry Leak. With the exception of one volume consisting chiefly of work records of plantation hands, largely slaves, the greater portion of each volume contains Leak's diary/plantation journal. Some entries contain brief references to the number of acres plowed and the weather on a given day, while others are substantive narrative passages about plantation, family, and community life, ranging from trips through the South that were undertaken by family or friends to the progress of the Civil War. Other sections of these volumes are devoted to records of miscellaneous accounts, including those relating to cotton shipped and sold, goods and services purchased from various sources, transactions involving the loaning or collecting of money, and other activities having to do with finances.
Creator Leak, Francis Terry, 1803-1863.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
The original manuscript volumes are closed. Transcriptions, microfilm, and digital facsimiles of these volumes are available.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
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 Francis Terry Leak Papers #1095, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy available.
  • Reel 1: V-1095/1 (1841-1861)
  • Reel 2: V-1095/2 (1846-1852)
Acquisitions Information
Manuscripts volumes received from Mrs. Gerard Badow of Holly Springs, Miss., in May 1946; typed transcriptions added in 1947 and subsequent years (transcribing history documented in control file); maps received from Andrew Brown of Arlington, Va., in July 1962.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Francis Terry Leak, son of Walter and Hannah Pickett Leak, was born in 1803 in Rockingham, N.C. He was admitted to the North Carolina bar 27 December 1824. By 1839, however, he had established himself in northern Mississippi, where he was engaged in planting.

Leak's plantation was in Tippah County (now Benton County) near the town of Salem, which was an important trading center until the Civil War. Leak apparently bought the southern part of his holdings in 1836 and added significantly to his lands around 1851. In 1837, he was assessed for 32 slaves, who he probably brought with him from North Carolina. In 1850, there appear to have been ten or eleven whites living on the plantation (chiefly family members) and 110 blacks, most of whom must have been slaves. In that same year, he declared for tax purposes the following: 1,360 acres of land; factory stock in North Carolina; 1/3 share of a warehouse in Salem, Mississippi; houses, wagons, and farming tools; 100 yards of carpeting; 500 bushels of oats; 500 bushels of peas; 1,000 bushels of potatoes; 400 pounds of butter; 250 bales of cotton; 19 horses; 18 mules; 13 cows; 8 oxen; 23 cattle; 26 sheep; 150 hogs (manuscript volume 2, p. 195). In 1860, he owned 90 slaves, the largest number owned by any one man in Tippah County.

Leak appears also to have been active in financial dealings outside of farming operations. Besides the North Carolina factory stock and the interest in the warehouse in Salem, records in Tippah County for 1860 indicate that Leak had a sizeable amount of "money loaned at interest."

Leak died in Alabama in 1863 and was buried in Selma.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes manuscript volumes containing entries of various types, most of which are presumed to have been written by Francis Terry Leak, a cotton planter and businessman of Tippah County, Miss. (now Benton County, Miss.). With the exception of one volume consisting chiefly of work records of plantation hands, largely slaves, the greater portion of each volume contains Francis Terry Leak's diary/plantation journal. Some entries contain brief references to the number of acres plowed and the weather on a given day, while others are substantive narrative passages about plantation, family, and community life, ranging from trips through the South that were undertaken by family or friends to the progress of the Civil War. Other sections of these volumes are devoted to records of miscellaneous accounts, including those relating to cotton shipped and sold, goods and services purchased from various sources, transactions involving the loaning or collecting of money, and other activities having to do with finances.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 1839-1865.

14 items.
Folder 1

Folder number not used #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 1

Oversize Paper OP-1095/1-2

OP-1095/1

OP-1095/2

Two maps showing locations of Leak holdings in northern Mississippi #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." OP-1095/1-2

One map shows the area, circa 1860, with the county lines and place names much as described by Leak in his diary, with the present county lines superimposed. The second map shows the outline of Leak's plantation and the now vanished town of Salem.

Folder 2

Manuscript volume 1: 1841-1865; circa 408 pages; not transcribed #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 2

Chiefly work records, 10 October 1841 through 18 November 1865, of plantation hands, showing daily tallies of cotton and other crops picked. The records are in table format, some pages containing records for two weeks and others records for three to four weeks. Weekly records are separated by the Sunday break, which usually contains a note on the general progress of work. Also included are miscellaneous accounts, notes, status reports on income and expenditures, a few aphorisms and recipes, and other entries. Entries are relatively steady through December 1861, but widely spaced after 1861. Several hands contributed to this book; entries made after Leak's death in 1863 may have been written by an overseer.

Folder 3

Manuscript volume 2: 1839-1852; circa 286 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 3

Pages 1-94 transcribed in typed transcription volume 1, pages 96-286 transcribed in typed transcription volume 2. Pages 1-94 (front to back of volume) chiefly contain short entries relating to business affairs, including the buying and selling of slaves, payment to day laborers, records of cotton shipped and sold, and the management of various estates for which Leak seems to have been executor. There are some longer entries in this section, but these, too, are chiefly related to business transactions. Pages 95-286 (back to front of volume) chiefly contain more extensive, narrative entries, dated 1845-12 April 1852, about plantation activities, family affairs, Leak's health, the building of houses and other structures, births and deaths in the neighborhood, and other matters. In this section, however, there are also miscellaneous accounts and other financial documentation.

Folder 4

Manuscript volume 3: 1849-1856; circa 386 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 4

Pages 1-338 transcribed in typed transcription volumes 3 and 4. Pages 1-338 (front to back of volume) continue the diary from the second part of volume 2. These entries begin on 12 April 1852 and continue through 21 June 1855. There is a table of contents and an index for this section. Pages 343-386 (back to front of the volume) contain entries dated 1849-1856 that are chiefly miscellaneous accounts, notes, estate accounts, and personal inventories.

Folder 5

Manuscript volume 4: 1855-1862; circa 381 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 5

Pages 1-290 transcribed in typed transcription volumes 4 and 5. Pages 1-290 contain a mixture of accounts and diary entries, 22 June 1855 through 31 December 1858, with some entries relating to family and community affairs and others documenting letters received and sent and summarizing the content of these letters. As a whole, diary entries in this volume tend to be more substantive than those in previous volumes. Pages 301-381 contain miscellaneous accounts, 20 June 1855 through February 1862, but not in strict chronological order. These accounts are similar to those listed in the volume 3 description.

Folder 6

Manuscript volume 5: 1859-1862; circa 473 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 6

Transcribed in typed transcription volumes 6 and 7. Pages 1-411 chiefly contain diary entries, 1 January 1859 through 23 June 1862, that are similar to those in volume 4. Many of the 1861 and 1862 entries relate to the progress of Civil War battles and to local war activities. The diary continues on pages 428-435 (2 July through 25 September 1862) and pages 468-471 (29 September through 3 November 1862). Pages 412-427 chiefly contain miscellaneous accounts, dated 1 January 1859 through 3 November 1862, as do pages 438-463 (22 May 1858 through 8 August 1862). An index to the entire volume is included.

Folder 7

Typed transcription volume: manuscript volume 2, 1839-1850, 200 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 7

Folder 8

Typed transcription volume: manuscript volume 2, 1846-1852, 303 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 8

Folder 9

Typed transcription volume: manuscript volume 3, 1852-1854, 352 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 9

Folder 10-11

Folder 10

Folder 11

Typed transcription volumes: manuscript volume 3, 1855, and manuscript volume 4, 1855-1858, 503 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 10-11

Folder 12-13

Folder 12

Folder 13

Typed transcription volumes: manuscript volume 5, 1859-1862, 658 pages #01095, Series: "Papers, 1839-1865." Folder 12-13

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Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, April 1990

Encoded by: Eben Lehman, May 2006

Updated by: Kathryn Michaelis, February 2010

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