George Coffin Taylor papers, 1808-ca. 1950.

Creator: Taylor, George Coffin, 1877-, collector.
Collection number: 2502
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Abstract: George Coffin Taylor was born in Charleston, S.C., in 1877. He was a gentleman farmer, lawyer, and Shakespeare scholar. He served for 27 years on the faculty of the English Department at the University of North Carolina until retiring in 1949 to Columbia, S.C. Coffin died in 1961. The collection consists of scattered items, chiefly 1808-1867, unrelated or in small groups, documenting horse racing and horse breeding, slavery, the Civil War, and family and social life. Most items relate to South Carolina, though some concern North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, and Massachusetts. Many of the horse racing and horse breeding papers, especially 1808-1834, are photostats. Slave records include a letter, 1823, concerning a mortgage on a slave child from the George Taylor estate; a letter, 1847, regarding slave sales in Montgomery, Ala.; and a letter, 1864, expressing interest in hiring out slaves to work on a railroad. Civil War materials include letters, 1861, from John H. Slaughter with Confederate Army forces in Bath County, Va., and Pocahontas County, W. Va., describing camp life, marches, and soldiers’ health. In addition there are miscellaneous letters, 1861-1865, that describe similar conditions, as well as military activities; soldiers’ morale; Confederate bonds and debts; cotton; medical care for soldiers; and other matters. Postwar materials include a July 1865 plea from an ex-slave in Liberty, Va., to be brought home and a report, 1866, of the murder of a black man allegedly by two white men. Family and social life materials are found throughout the collection and include miscellaneous family letters describing finances, health, vacations, sightseeing, school life, and estate settlement. There are several letters, 1839-1840, from Anna Motte Lindsay of Huntsville, Ala., a widow, to her brother, Jacob Rhett Motte, a United States Army surgeon, some about the status of a slave she brought with her to Boston. All of the materials were collected by George Coffin Taylor, except for a letter, 1943, from James A. Hoyt Jr. to Taylor, enclosing photostats of correspondence, 1879-1880, concerning the presidential election of 1876, and Taylor’s typescript manuscript, circa 1950, of the posthumously published “So This Is Education.”

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Letters in Folder 1 discuss a mortgage on a young enslaved child named Anthony from the George Taylor estate (29 February 1823). Correspondence in Folder 2 discusses trouble concerning a Mrs. “L” ‘s enslaved woman in Boston (1839-1840). Folder 3 contains a letter describing the sale of five enslaved individuals in Alabama (10 May 1847). ¬†Folder 5 includes and ¬†letter in 1864 expressing interest in hiring out slaves to work on the railroad in Charleston, S.C.. In Folder 5, there is correspondence about the investigation of James Sheppard and Lambert J Irons(?) for the killing of Jack, a freedman (27 January1866). Of particular interest is a10 July 1865 letter from Isabella Soustan(?), a former slave in Liberty, Va., writing to her former master describing difficult conditions and asking him to send for her (See Folder 5).