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Collection Number: 02333

Collection Title: Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865.

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.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 400 items)
Abstract Benedict Joseph Semmes (1823-1902) was a wholesale merchant of Washington, D.C., and Memphis, Tenn., a Confederate commisary officer, and was to married Jorantha Jordan of New York City. This collection contains correspondence between Semmes and Jordan during their engagement and first 16 years of marriage. Letters from 1848-April 1849 (62 items) were written during their engagement when Semmes was in Washington, D.C. and Jordan resided in New York City. Topics include family and social affairs, religion, and their ideas about life and marriage. Letters from June 1849-1859 (31 items) mostly discuss family matters and social life, but also the wholesale grocery business and moving to Memphis, Tenn. Letters from 1862-1865 (128 items) concern Semmes's experiences with the Confederate Army in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia, discussing supplying the army, camp life, military engagements (especially the Atlanta Campaign of 1864), rumors, and news of friends. Jorantha's letters discuss family life, the grocery business, reports of rumors, conditions in Memphis under Union occupation, and the family's removal to Canton, Miss.
Creator Semmes, Benedict Joseph, 1823-1902.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
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 Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, #2333, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Gifts 1941, 1949
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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

Benedict Joseph Semmes (1823-1902) was a wholesale merchant of Washington, D.C., and Memphis, Tenn. During the Civil War he served first as a Tenessee Volunteer, and subsequently as Chief Depot Commisary in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. He was married to Jorantha Jordan of New York City.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence between Benedict Joseph Semmes (1823-1902) and Jorantha Jordan during their engagement and first 16 years of marriage. Letters from 1848-April 1849 (62 items) were written during their engagement when Semmes was in Washington, D.C. and Jordan resided in New York City. Topics include family and social affairs, religion, and their ideas about life and marriage. Letters from June 1849-1859 (31 items) mostly discuss family matters and social life, but also the wholesale grocery business and moving to Memphis, Tenn. Letters from 1862-1865 (128 items) concern Semmes's experiences with the Confederate Army in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia, discussing supplying the army, camp life, military engagements (especially the Atlanta Campaign of 1864), rumors, and news of friends. Jorantha's letters discussed family life, the grocery business, reports of rumors, conditions in Memphis under Union occupation, and the family's removal to Canton, Miss.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated.

Arrangement: Chronological

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1848 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

1849 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 2

Folder 3

1850-1852 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 3

Folder 4

1853-1854 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 4

Folder 5

1855-1858 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 5

Folder 6

1859 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 6

Folder 7

1861-1862 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 7

Folder 8

January 1863-May 1863 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 8

Folder 9

June 1863-September 1863 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 9

Folder 10

October 1863-December 1863 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 10

Folder 11

January 1864-April 1864 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 11

Folder 12

May 1864-July 1864 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 12

Folder 13

August 1864-December 1864 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 13

Folder 14

1865 #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 14

Folder 15

Undated and fragments #02333, Series: "Benedict Joseph Semmes Papers, 1848-1865 and undated." Folder 15

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Adam Fielding, Kate Stratton, and Jodi Berkowitz, October 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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