Joyes-Coleman Family Papers, 1808-1913

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Joyes-Coleman Family

Title:  Papers, 1808-1913

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

Size of Collection:  0.33 cu. ft.

Location Number:  Mss. A J89d

Biographical Note

The Joyes family of Louisville, Ky. descends from Patrick Joyes (1750-1806) and Anne O’Gara. A native of Galway, Ireland, he settled in Louisville in 1784. He was one of the earliest merchants and tavern keepers in the city and resided at Sixth and Main Street. A daughter, Elizabeth, married William H. Sale.

Their youngest son, John Joyes, Sr. (1799-1877), served as Louisville’s second mayor and as City Judge from 1835-1854. A Southern sympathizer, he lived in exile in the South during the conflict. His son, Lt. John Joyes’s Jr. served in Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s command until he was captured in 1863. Another son, Erskine, a Captain in the 2nd Kentucky Infantry of the famed “Orphan Brigade”, was killed in action near Atlanta in 1864.

The oldest son, Thomas Joyes (1787-1866), served as a scout and later as an officer at the Battle of New Orleans during in the War of 1812.  He subsequently served as a surveyor and Jefferson County Clerk. He was a member of the Whig Party and represented Jefferson County in the Kentucky General Assembly in 1824 and 1826. In 1835 he served as representative for the city of Louisville. A slave holder, Thomas was a Southern sympathizer during the Civil War. On June 13, 1861, the pro-Southern Louisville Daily Courier praised Capt. Joyes for a recent speech in which he condemned President Abraham Lincoln as a usurper who should be impeached.

Capt. Joyes married Judith Morton Venable (1797-1873), the daughter of Judge Joseph Venable of Shelby County, Ky. They had one child, Patrick Joyes (1826-1904) who attended Centre College in Danville, Ky. and subsequently graduated from Harvard Law School. Patrick was one of Louisville’s leading members of the bar and a noted philanthropist A Democrat and Presbyterian elder, he married Florence “Flory” Coleman in 1855. They were the parents of Ann Mary Curd (1856-1931), Thomas (1858-1893), Chapman (1861-1925), Morton Venable (1864-1928), Florence Coleman Joyes (1866-1946), Crittenden (1870-1941) and Patrick, Jr. (1873-1936).

Florence “Flory” Coleman Joyes (1835-1913) was the daughter of Chapman Coleman, Sr. (1793-1850) and Ann Mary Crittenden (1813-1891), the daughter of the prominent Whig politician, Senator John Jordan Crittenden (1787-1863) of Kentucky. The son of Captain James Coleman (1750-1826), a Revolutionary War veteran from Virginia, and Sarah Taylor (c.1756-1827), Chapman served as a Sergeant in Captain Peter Dudley’s Company of Col. William E. Boswell’s Regiment of Kentucky Militia during the War of 1812.

Coleman was appointed Federal Marshall for the District of Kentucky by President John Quincy Adams but was removed from office in 1829 during the Andrew Jackson administration. He subsequently became a prosperous Louisville merchant who also served as President of the Merchants’ Louisville Insurance Company. At the time of his death in 1850, he owned nine enslaved people, while his wife held two, a woman and possibly her daughter, in bondage.

Chapman and Ann Mary had seven children, who in addition to Flory included, Eugenia “Jenny” ((1839-1916), Cornelia “Nelia” Marriott, Chapman, Jr. (1843-1917), John Jordan Crittenden “Crit” Coleman (1837-1861), Judith Adams (1845-1916) and Sarah Lee “Sally” Gassaway (1847-1903). In the aftermath of her husband’s death, Ann Mary remained in Louisville until 1856. At that time, she sold the family home and set out to have her children educated in Stuttgart, the capital of the Kingdom of Wurttemberg in modern day Germany. She returned to America in 1859, but soon departed for Europe again, where she remained until 1863.

She was a staunch supporter of the Southern cause and her sons Chapman and Crit served in the Confederate Army. Crit died while serving in the 1st Florida Infantry at Pensacola in 1861. In the aftermath of the conflict Chapman practiced law in New York City before being appointed to the American Legation at Berlin during the Grant administration. He retired from the foreign service and died in 1917 at the home of his nephew, Patrick Joyes, in Louisville.

Ann Mary, who resided primarily in Baltimore, gained the reputation as a woman of letters in the years after the Civil War. She was featured in “Ida Raymond’s” (pen name for Mary T. Tardy) two volume Southland Writers: Biographical and Critical Sketches of the Living Female Writers of the South (1870). She and her daughters produced translations of the historical novels of the German writer, Luis Mulbach, Otto Muller’s novel, Charlotte Ackerman and Madame le Comtesse de Segur’s Fairy Tales for Little Folks. In 1871 she published a two-volume biography of her father, Senator John J. Crittenden.

At the time of her death in Louisville on Feb. 13, 1891 she was praised in the Louisville Courier-Journal as “one of the most distinguished of Southern women” and a brilliant conversationalist who possessed “remarkable mental powers.”

Scope and Content Note

The Joyes-Coleman Family Papers reflect the lives, travels, and pursuits of two prominent families of 19th century Louisville, Kentucky. The son of Thomas Joyes (1787-1866) and Judith Morton Venable (1797-1873), Patrick Joyes (1826-1904) married Florence Coleman on Feb. 6, 1855, in Jefferson County, Ky. Florence “Flory” Coleman (1835-1913) was the daughter of Chapman Coleman, Sr. (1793-1850) and Ann Mary Crittenden (1813-1891).

Capt. Thomas Joyes’ papers reflect his property interests in Missouri and Kentucky, his friendship with Kentucky Congressman Humphrey Marshall and his business travels to Washington, D. C., and Virginia in 1853. Also included is an 1862 letter from his nephew, Capt. Erskin Joyes, a Confederate prisoner confined at Johnson’s Island, Ohio and an 1863 letter from Erskin’s brother, Lt. John Joyes, Jr.  a Confederate prisoner confined at Camp Chase, Ohio. An 1864 letter to Thomas from his brother, John Sr., refers to the death of his son Erskin who was killed in the fighting near Atlanta.

The correspondence of Judith Venable Joyes reflects her contact with relatives from Prince Edward County, Va. and her friend, Lydia Emerson of Glasgow, Mo.

The papers of Chapman Coleman, Sr., a Louisville merchant, reflects his business connections and investments throughout the Mississippi River Valley. In addition to his business pursuits in cotton, tobacco and hemp, the collection also reflects his ties with the Louisville branch of the Northern Bank of Kentucky. Following his sudden death in 1850, his widow, Ann Mary Crittenden Coleman, the daughter of Sen. John Jordan Crittenden of Kentucky, took her children to Europe to be educated.

Between 1856 and 1859 she resided in Stuttgart, the capital of the Kingdom of Wurttemberg in modern day Germany. He numerous letters to her son-in-law Patrick and daughter Flory contain descriptions of her travels as well as social events involving King William I, his daughter Princess Marie, and other members of the German nobility. She also makes frequent references to other Americans in Stuttgart, including Ann Duryea Phillips Lee and Caroline De Pau Livingston families.

In addition to personal and family health, Mrs. Coleman makes numerous references and demands to Patrick regarding her financial concerns. She particularly mentions the possible sales of her late husband’s properties in Yazoo City, Miss., and Louisiana. A slaveholder, she refers to her Kentucky house servant, Jane, and her children, Betsy, and Emma. She makes several references to the possible sale of Tom Wright who she regards as an unproductive, “financial liability.” She also comments at length on her efforts to offer guidance and direction for her children, often sharing her concerns about her son Crittenden’s “difficulties” with drink, gambling, and career choices.

Mrs. Coleman’s papers also include correspondence with her son-in-law Patrick about her post-Civil War writing career. Among other works, she authored biographies of Frederick the Great and her father, Senator Crittenden.

The papers of Patrick Joyes contain letters to his father during his youth and following his marriage, letters to both of his parents. Of particular interest is his 1851 letter to his father describing the International Exposition in London, England. His Civil War era letters refer to conditions in Louisville, Baltimore, and New York City. He also enquires about his Joyes cousins who were in Union prisoner of war camps. In 1865 Joyes received a letter from his brother-in-law, Chapman Coleman, a Confederate soldier, who was imprisoned in Memphis, Tennessee.

Also of interest are letters from the historian Lyman C. Draper to Joyes seeking manuscripts for his projected biography of Gen. George Rogers Clark.  Other letters relate to legal and business matters including his role as representative for his mother-in-law’s interest in her Louisiana and Mississippi properties. His post-war travel letters from Baltimore and Cape May, N. J. refer to the activities of his wife and children as well as descriptions of their recreational pursuits, including fishing and sea bathing.

The papers of Florence “Flory” Coleman Joyes include an 1854 courtship letter that describes her visit to her Uncle John C. Young, the President of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. An undated letter to her husband Patrick, which was apparently written before her mother departed for Germany in 1856, contains a post-script by Ann Mary Crittenden Coleman in which she thanks her son-in-law for his recent gift of a Bible. The bulk of her papers, except for an 1869 letter from her brother Chapman, consist of letters to her husband which contain family news, references to their children and her visits to her mother and sisters in Baltimore, Cape May, N. J. and Minnequa Springs, Pennsylvania between 1868 and 1870.

The collection also includes the miscellaneous financial and legal papers of Capt. Thomas Joyes, Chapman Coleman, Sr., Ann Mary Crittenden Coleman, Patrick Joyes, and related family members. These documents, which date from 1808 to 1913, include deeds, leases, tax receipts, promissory notes, financial receipts, invoices, and memorandums. Of particular interest is an 1832 property lease by John Joyes, Sr. to Washington Spradling, a free person of color who operated a barbershop in early Louisville. Also included is a War of 1812 military discharge for Pvt. Andrew Steel of Capt. Joseph Funk’s Company of the 13th Regiment of Kentucky Militia.

Folder List

Box 1

Folder 1: Ann Mary Crittenden Coleman correspondence, 1852-1891

Folder 2: Thomas Joyes correspondence, 1841-1864

Folder 3: Judith Morton Venable Joyes correspondence, 1844-1853

Folder 4: Patrick Joyes correspondence, 1851-1870

Folder 5: Florence Coleman Joyes correspondence, 1854-1870

Folder 6: Miscellaneous correspondence, 1856-1891

Folder 7: Chapman Coleman, Sr. business correspondence, 1832-1848

Folder 8: Chapman Coleman, Sr. business papers, 1797-ca.1851

Folder 9: Thomas Joyes business papers, 1820-1860

Folder 10: Miscellaneous business papers, 1808-1847

Folder 11: Patrick Joyes miscellaneous papers, 1858-1913

Folder 12: Kentucky Court of Appeals: Joyes’ Executor v. Mitchell, 1878

Folder 13: James Coleman property records, 1821