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Collection Number: 04959-z

Collection Title: Robert W. Smith Papers, 1836-1865

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 FAQ section for more information.


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Size 70 items
Abstract Robert W. Smith was a merchant and plantation owner who conducted the bulk of his affairs in Dallas County, Ala., and Mobile County, Ala. Smith amassed a considerable fortune selling sacking and rope. After 1849, he retired from the mercantile trade and removed to Pleasant Hill Plantation in Dallas County. During the Civil War, he raised and financed a cavalry unit (the Crocheron Light Dragoons) that saw action at Shiloh. After the war, he returned briefly to mercantile pursuits in order to recoup his fortunes. The papers of Robert W. Smith are primarily receipts relating to the purchase of slaves; deeds to land in Dallas County, Ala.; lists of slaves owned by Smith and his wife, Sarah Hunter Smith; correspondence relating to the purchase a slave named Lucy from a New Orleans slave trader; and a request that Smith act as a second in a duel. In addition, the collection contains a transcription of a letter from Robert W. Smith to his brother, Colonel Francis Lee Smith of Alexandria, Va.; printed obituaries for Smith and his father-in-law, John S. Hunter; and a transcription of reminiscences of Smith's daughter, Fannie Eleanor Smith, about her childhood experiences at the Harrison Place Plantation, Dallas County, Ala.
Creator Smith, Robert W., d. 1889.
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 Robert W. Smith Papers #4959-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed August 2003) available.
  • Reel 1: folders 1-4
Provenance
Received from Julianna Clark Watts of Baltimore, Md., in December 1998 (Acc. 98249).
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

Robert W. Smith was a merchant and later a plantation owner who divided his time between Mobile, Ala., and Pleasant Hill Plantation in Dallas County, Ala. Smith moved to Montgomery, Ala, at the age of 17 after working as a clerk in Alexandria, Va.. for two years. Smith fought in the Seminole War in 1834 with the Montgomery True Blues. He later attained the rank of lieutenant colonel with the First Alabama Volunteers in the period between the Seminole War and his departure from the United States Army in 1839. After leaving military service, Smith amassed a considerable fortune selling bagging and rope. In 1849, he married Sarah Hunter, daughter of Colonel (and later Judge) John S. Hunter of Dallas County, Ala. He then retired from mercantile pursuits and spent the years until the beginning of the Civil War at Pleasant Hill Plantation in Dallas County, Ala.

At the outbreak of the war, Smith raised a cavalry regiment from Dallas and Mobile counties. Dubbed the Crocheron Light Dragoons, the unit was equipped mostly at Smith's personal expense. The unit was attached to Bragg's army, serving as his bodyguard during the battle of Shiloh. Smith was cited for bravery and was later made military governor of Corinth, Miss. At the close of the war, Smith returned to mercantile pursuits to recoup his fortunes. He died in 1889.

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The papers of Robert W. Smith of Mobile, Ala., and Pleasant Hill Plantation, Dallas County, Ala., are primarily receipts relating to the purchase of slaves; deeds to land in Dallas County, Ala.; lists of slaves owned by Smith and his wife, Sarah Hunter Smith; correspondence relating to the purchase a slave named Lucy from a New Orleans slave trader; and a request that Smith act as a second in a duel. In addition, the collection contains a transcription of a letter from Robert W. Smith to his brother, Colonel Francis Lee Smith of Alexandria, Va.; printed obituaries for Smith and his father-in-law, John S. Hunter; and a transcription of reminiscences of Smith's daughter, Fannie Eleanor Smith, about her childhood experiences at the Harrison Place Plantation, Dallas County, Ala.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Robert W. Smith Papers, 1836-1865.

About 70 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

The papers of Robert W. Smith of Mobile, Ala., and Pleasant Hill Plantation, Dallas County, Ala., are primarily composed of receipts relating to the purchase of slaves; deeds to land in Dallas County, Ala.; lists of slaves owned by Smith and his wife, Sarah Hunter Smith; correspondence relating to the purchase a slave named Lucy from a New Orleans slave trader; and a request that Smith act as a second in a duel. In addition, the collection contains a transcription of a letter from Robert W. Smith to his brother, Colonel Francis Lee Smith of Alexandria, Va.; printed obituaries for Smith and his father-in-law, John S. Hunter; and a transcription of reminiscences of Smith's daughter, Fannie Eleanor Smith, about her childhood experiences at the Harrison Place Plantation, Dallas County, Ala.

Folder 1

Receipts #04959-z, Series: "Robert W. Smith Papers, 1836-1865. " Folder 1

Folder 2

Correspondence #04959-z, Series: "Robert W. Smith Papers, 1836-1865. " Folder 2

Folder 3

Lists and deeds #04959-z, Series: "Robert W. Smith Papers, 1836-1865. " Folder 3

Folder 4

Transcribed documents #04959-z, Series: "Robert W. Smith Papers, 1836-1865. " Folder 4

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