Carson Family Papers, 1833-1854

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: Carson family

Title: Papers, 1833-1854

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection: 0.66 cu. ft.

Locator Number: Mss./A/C321

Biographical Note

Catharine Waller was the daughter of William Smith Waller and Catharine (Breckinridge) Waller. William S. Waller served for over 40 years as a cashier at the Bank of Kentucky, first at Frankfort and then at Lexington. William and Catharine Waller had seven children: Henry (1810-1893), Anna Maria (1812-1814), Catharine (1815-1888), James Breckinridge (1817-1887), William (1819-1880), Edward (1821-1867), and Susannah Preston (1824-1902).

James Green Carson was born ca. 1815. His father, Colonel Joseph Carson, commanded the Mississippi cavalry in the Creek War. He died soon after the birth of his son, and James Green Carson was his only heir. James G. Carson married Catharine Waller on July 28, 1835. After their wedding the couple lived at Carson’s plantation, Cane Brake, near Natchez, Mississippi. Sometime during the 1840s, the family moved to “Airlie” in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana. James and Catharine Carson had five children: Joseph (b. 1843), William Waller (b. 1845), James Green (b. 1847), Edward Lees (b. 1848), and Katherine Breckinridge (b. 1853). More biographical and family genealogy information can be found with the transcripts of the letters.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists mainly of letters written by Catharine and James G. Carson of Mississippi and later Louisiana to Catharine’s parents Catharine and William Smith Waller of Kentucky. Other family members including Catharine Carson’s brother William Waller and her sister Susannah Preston Lee also contribute letters. Many of the letters center around James Carson’s plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana, and several mention a plantation owned by Catharine’s brother William. Items discussed include the purchase of slaves, the Carsons’ perceptions of their slaves, and the amounts and types of crops grown. Catharine Carson’s letters to her father also chronicle her trip to her husband’s plantation in Cane Brake, Mississippi immediately following her marriage to James Carson in 1835, and her travels throughout the Eastern Coast of the United States the following year with her mother. In 1838, James and Catharine traveled to Baltimore, Pittsburg, and Philadelphia and the letters show James’ reaction to the abolitionists in the Philadelphia. Collection also includes transcripts of the letters and some genealogy information on the Waller and Carson families.

List of folders

Folder 1: Correspondence, 1833-1836

Folder 2: Correspondence, 1837-1839

Folder 3: Correspondence, 1848-1849

Folder 4: Correspondence, 1850-1851

Folder 5: Correspondence, 1852

Folder 6: Correspondence, 1853-1854

Subject Headings

Abolitionists – Pennsylvania – Philadelphia

Agriculture – Southern States

Carson family

Cotton gins and ginning

Education – Louisiana

Louisiana – Social life and customs

Medical care

Mississippi – Social life and customs

New England – Description and travel

New York (N.Y.) – Description and travel

Ocean travel

Plantation life

Slavery – United States

Slaves – Health and hygiene

Textile fabrics – Kentucky

Waller family

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