Avery family of Louisiana papers, 1796-1951 (bulk 1817-1895).

Creator: Avery family of Louisiana.
Collection number: 3289
View finding aid.

Abstract: Avery and Marsh families of Petite Anse Island Plantation, later Avery Island, near New Iberia in Iberia Parish, La., and of Baton Rouge, La. Prominent family members were Dudley Avery (d. 1816), medical officer of the Drafted Militia in New Orleans, 1814-1816; his son, Daniel Dudley Avery (1810-1879) of Baton Rouge, lawyer, state senator, judge, and sugar planter; John Craig Marsh (1789-1857), who originally acquired Petite Anse Island Plantation; his son, George Marsh (d. 1859); and his daughter, Sarah Craig Marsh (1818-1878), who married Daniel Dudley Avery in 1837. Avery family correspondence and financial and legal records, chiefly 1817-1895. Over half the collection consists of financial and legal papers relating to the operation of the Petite Anse Island sugar plantation and salt mines. These include plantation accounts, bills of sale for slaves (some bills are from New Jersey), bills for merchandise, promissory notes, and receipts. Correspondence includes letters from Dudley Avery serving as a medical officer in New Orleans during and after the War of 1812; letters, 1828-1845, between John Craig and George Marsh at Petite Anse and their relatives in New York and Rahway, N.J., about family and plantation affairs; letters, 1846-1847, about life in New Orleans and other matters; and family letters from Baton Rouge and other locations in the 1850s. Correspondence after the Civil War is chiefly to and from Daniel Dudley Avery and his business associates about the salt mines and plantation operations, and between Avery and members of his family about plantation and personal affairs, including the struggle to hold onto the family property.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Correspondence and financial and legal records of the Avery and Marsh families of Petite Anse Island Plantation (later Avery Island) near New Iberia in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, and of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Included are slave bills of sale, some of which include a form, signed by the slave, agreeing to move to Louisiana (1817-1827, 1836-1843); bills for the medical treatment of slaves; records of a jail fee paid for a runaway slave; and a document freeing mulatto slaves (1856). Correspondence covers various topics including runaway slaves (1814, 1846-1847); the desertion by former slaves of plantations (1863); supplies and work contracts for former slaves (1866); and African-American voting (1866-67, 1890). The collection also contains a ledger recording anecdotes about family servants before and after slavery. Microfilm available.