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Collection Number: 01998-z

Collection Title: Randolph and Yates Family Papers, 1815-1864, 1952.

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 50 items
Abstract Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart (fl. 1815-1852), daughter of Peter Randolph, Mississippi's first U.S. District Court judge, and Sara Greenhill Randolph of Virginia, married T. Jones Stewart sometime prior to 1833. They lived at Centreville, Amite County, Miss., and Holly Grove, Woodville, Wilkinson County, Miss. The collection is chiefly letters to and from members of Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart's immediate family and members of the related French, Stewart, Thornton, and Ventress families, primarily at locations in Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The letters discuss family matters; school; legal affairs, particularly attendance at court in Mississippi; the weather; and other topics. There is one Civil War letter, 1864, about Confederate Army supplies at Natchitoches, La. Also included are a chart and accompanying note, dated June 1852, by George Edward French, Jr., which provide genealogical information and show French's line of descent from Peter Randolph.
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 Randolph and Yates Family Papers #1998-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
All or part of this collection available on microfilm.
Additional microfilm: All or part of this collection is also 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 George Edward French, Jr., in April 1952. An accompanying pamphlet entitled "History of Grace Episcopal Church, West Feliciano Parish, St. Francisville, La.," was transferred to the Southern Pamphlet Collection in June 1952.
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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Peter Randolph and Sarah (Sally) Greenhill Randolph were children of Peter Randolph and Sara Greenhill, a first cousin of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington of Virginia.

Peter Randolph, a lawyer and cousin of both John Randolph of Roanoke (1773-1833) and Thomas Jefferson, was appointed by President James Monroe as the first U.S. District Judge in the new state of Mississippi. At the time of his appointment, he was residing in Nottoway County, Va. He, his sister, Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates, and her husband, William Yates of Virginia, moved to Mississippi in the early 1820s.

Peter Randolph married at least twice. His first wife was Sallie Cocke Randolph; his second wife was Elizabeth Leatherbury[?] Randolph (as of March 1833). Peter Randolph was the father of Sarah (Sally) Ann Yates Randolph; Cornelia Virginia Randolph; Augusta Randolph; Sydney (also spelled Sidney); and possibly Juliana Randolph.

Sarah Ann Yates Randolph married T. Jones Stewart sometime prior to 1833; they resided at Centreville, Amite County, Miss., and Holly Grove, Woodville, Wilkinson County, Miss., in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. Sarah (Sally) Stewart, Penelope Stewart, and possibly Nell (Stewart?) were their children. Letters 1847 and 1848 indicate that Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart married William Fort in that period.

Augusta Randolph married a Mr. Ventress sometime prior to 1842 and wrote of her family in a letter, 23 June 1842, mentioning Florence, William, Peter, and Jim, who probably were her children. Letters she wrote in the 1840s were written from Louisiana.

Cornelia Virginia Randolph (b. circa 1819) wrote a number of the letters in the collection. They indicate that she was a schoolgirl in the early 1830s and that she married Charles Augustine Thornton prior to 1846; her letters for that year and afterward are signed Cornelia V. Thornton. Her letters in the 1840s were written at Bayou Goula and Saint Francisville, La. Among her children were Sarah Thornton, Anna Maria Thornton (who married Philip Barton Key), and Cornelia Virginia Thornton. Letters, 1850-1852, indicate that these children were living with their aunt, Sarah Ann Randolph Stewart at Holly Grove, Miss., during those years and going to school there.

Sydney (or Sidney) Randolph (fl.1820s) married Phebe Vail.

Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates is sometimes referred to as "Sally," but, after her marriage to William Yates, more often as "Aunt Yates."

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These papers chiefly consist of personal letters written by members of the Randolph and Yates families, primarily at locations in Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. They discuss family and personal matters, with incidental comments about family members, travel, school, legal affairs, the weather, and other miscellaneous subjects. There is also a chart and accompanying note, composed by George Edward French, Jr., in June 1952, explaining his line of descent from Peter Randolph, and providing additional genealogical information.

In a letter, 11 January 1815, R. Lorrain at Petersburg, Va., wrote to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates at "Ansville" [Annesville], "Dinwiddee" [Dinwiddie County], Va., mostly about religious sentiments; the death of a relative in Philadelphia; and family personal matter. She also mentioned "Methodist meetings."

In a letter, 27 February 1818, "DPN" at Norborne (or Norbonne), Va., wrote to William Yates c/o the Annesville post master, Brunswick County, Va., mostly about her husband's recent death. She also requested his help in settling her financial and legal affairs.

In a letter, 17 February 1820, Sarah Ann Yates Randolph at Amelia, Va., wrote to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates c/o Kennedy's Post Office, Brunswick County, Va., chiefly about family and personal matters, and about being taught at school by Julia Melford.

There is a letter, 8 and 18 July 1821, from Julia Melford at Petersburg, Va., to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph c/o William Yates, Kennedy's Post Office, in which Melford mentioned her safe arrival from New York; studying music and taking lessons from "Mr. Giel, the finest Teacher in this or I believe any other Country ... ," and the sudden death of Harriet Randolph, Sarah's cousin. Sarah Ann Yates Randolph, in a letter 3 August 1821, suggested to Julia Melford that she move with members of the Randolph family to Mississippi. In a letter, 3 September 1821, Julia Melford at Petersburg, Va., wrote to Sally Ann Yates Randolph c/o Kennedy's Post Office, Va., mostly about numerous deaths in the vicinity of Petersburg by "billious fever," and personal matters. She also mentioned the approaching marriage of Fanny Archer and William Eggleston.

There are two letters, 8 and 10 October 1821, from William Yates to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates c/o Kennedy's Post Office, Va., written while he was travelling overland to Mississippi in company with Peter Randolph. The first was written at Wythe Court House, Va., and the second at Surgoinsville, Tenn. He mentioned the progress of their travel and gave instructions for his affairs at home, including what to do about lottery tickets.

In a letter, 20 December 1821, Sarah Ann Yates Randolph at Petersburg, Va., wrote to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates, Brunswick County, Va., mostly about her piano lessons. Her teacher, Julia Melford, added that Sarah Ann was studying reading, writing, history, geography, and French, but primarily music.

There are two letters, 18 April and 3 May 1822, from William Yates at Woodville, Wilkinson County, Miss., to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates c/o Kennedy's Post Office, Va., mostly about practice in Mississippi Superior Court in Wilkinson and Amite counties; his plans to attend the state Supreme Court at Columbia, Miss., on 1 June 1822; and family affairs. In a letter of 18 April 1822, he also wrote about the importance of keeping his Virginia papers in order: "There will no doubt be many unjust claims raised against me--which may be defeated by the documents contained among those papers."

In a letter, 20 June 1823, Edward P. French at Manchester (a southern suburb of Richmond), Va., to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates, his cousin, at Woodville, Miss., mentioned his recent journey by ship from New Orleans to Richmond; his recent marriage to Matilda Burfoot; his consideration of and decision to put off the possibility of their moving to Mississippi; and visiting "Mr. Epes" at Nottoway, Va.

In a letter, 17 March 1833, Elizabeth Leatherbury[?] Randolph at Natchez, Miss., wrote to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Centreville, Amite County, Miss., about personal and family matters. She mentioned gifts she sent to Sarah and her children and her recent acquisition for $250 of a German piano at auction.

There are four letters, 1833-1834, from Cornelia Virginia Randolph at "Beech Grove" (apparently located at or near St. Francisville, West Feliciano Parish, La.) to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Centreville, Miss. In them, she briefly mentioned some aspects of her life as a boarding school student, the weather, and family matters.

There are three letters, 1836, from Cornelia Virginia Randolph at Louisville, Ky., Guyandotte, Va., and at an unspecified location in New York, to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Woodville, Miss.. In them, she mentioned eating ice cream, enjoying an illuminated garden, and listening to music. She also discussed her trip from New Orleans to Saratoga, N.Y., by way of Louisville, Ky., and White Sulphur Springs, Va. She also mentioned other family members and James Ventress, who were with her on at least part of the trip.

There are two letters, 6 and 27 August 1837, from Cornelia Virginia Randolph at Shieldsborough, Hancock County, Miss., to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Woodville, Miss. In them, she mentioned social activities, clothes, family members and friends, and the spread of yellow fever around New Orleans.

In a letter, 23 June 1842, Augusta Randolph Ventress wrote to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Centreville, Miss., mostly about family and personal matters. She mentioned Florence, William, Peter, and Jim, probably her own children.

In a letter, 26 January 1846, Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Holly Grove, Miss., wrote to T. Jones Stewart at Jackson, Miss., mostly about personal and family matters. She mentioned visiting his brother James Ventress, plans for a trip to the coast, and regret that his session (presumably at court) would be lengthy. In a letter, 15 July 1846, Augusta Randolph Ventress at "Coast" (letter postmarked Donaldsonville, La.) wrote to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Woodville, Miss., about family and personal matters.

There are three letters, 19 July, 5 August, and 27 December 1846, from Cornelia Virginia Randolph Thornton at Bayou Goula, La., and St. Francisville, La., to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Woodville, Miss., about personal and family matters and social activities. In a letter, 10 October 1847, she wrote at Hopemore, Bayou Goula, to Sarah Ann at Woodville, more about family and personal matters; she mentioned a recent illness, and Hamden's [not identified but probably a relative] family.

In two letters, 15 January and 7 February 1848, Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Holly Grove, Miss., wrote to T. Jones Stewart at Jackson, Miss., about family and personal matters; she also mentioned activities of friends, such as a visit by "Judge Cage," and agricultural matters. In a letter, 10 July 1848, Cornelia Virginia Randolph Thornton at Bayou Goula, La., wrote to Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates at Woodville, Miss., in which she discussed activities in her daily life--reading, playing the piano, talking to her husband, and associating with her children. She also mentioned the children's schooling, and Hamden's family, and made inquiries of other family members.

There are eight letters, 1850-1852, from Anna Maria Thornton and Cornelia Virginia Thornton at Holly Grove, Miss., to T. Jones Stewart at Jackson, Miss., and Sarah Greenhill Randolph Yates at Woodville, Miss. The girls, living with their aunt, Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart, and going to school, wrote about family and personal matters. They mentioned occasional visits from their father, and gave news of other relatives.

There is a letter, 5 May 1853, from Jennie D. Stocking at St. Francisville, La., to an unspecified aunt, about her visit to St. Francisville; she asked her aunt to address future letters to her at Binghamton, N.Y.

During the Civil War, there is a letter, 29 April 1864, from H. Johnson[?] at Woodley (La. or Miss.), to Philip Barton Key, lieutenant, commanding Confederate States Ordinance Department affairs at Natchitoches, La. Mentioned are details of financial and legal arrangements with Key and his mother, including the dispatch of Confederate notes to buy cotton, a completed survey of "Greenwood" [probably a plantation]; and bright prospects for Confederate victory in the Red River Campaign.

There are two undated letters. In one, T. Jones Stewart in Columbia County, Ga., wrote to Sarah Ann Yates Randolph Stewart at Centreville, Miss., of his activities in attending to the settlement of her father's estate, of his plan to visit her uncle Randolph and his family, and of young ladies in the area who had captivated Hampden (possibly his or her brother). In the second undated letter, Phebe Vail Randolph at Troy, N.Y., wrote to Sarah Ann Yates (Randolph) Stewart at Woodville, Miss., about personal and family matters.

Also included is a letter and a chart, 1952, made by George Edward French, Jr., showing his descent from the Randolph family and notations about this and related families.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Randolph and Yates Family Papers, 1815-1864, 1952.

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Processing Information

Processed by: E. Ryan, 1952; Erik D. France, March 1991

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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