Gustavus A. Henry papers, 1804-1895.

Creator: Henry, Gustavus A. (Gustavus Adolphus), 1804-1880.
Collection number: 1431
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Abstract: Gustavus A. Henry (1804-1880) of Clarksville, Tenn., was a Whig politician, lawyer, and owner of plantations in Hinds County, Miss., and Desha County, Ark. Henry’s family included his wife Marion McClure Henry (fl. 1828-1871); their children Susan (fl. 1846-1862), John (d. 1862), and Gustavus, Jr. (fl. 1849-1865); and Gustavus’s brother Patrick Henry (fl. 1833-1850), plantation owner in Mississippi and Arkansas. Chiefly family correspondence of the Henrys, particularly of Gustavus and Marion and their children. Included is correspondence between Gustavus and Marion while he was away on court business and campaigning in Tennessee for the Whigs and Henry Clay. Also included is their correspondence while he was on trips to visit his plantations in Mississippi and Arkansas. Gustavus wrote about the crops and slaves on his plantations. Marion wrote about friends and family in Clarksville and her work with the Mount Vernon Association. Letters from the children were written chiefly while they were away at school, particularly from Susan at the Columbia Female Institute in Tennessee, from John at the University of Virginia, and from Gustavus, Jr., at the Military Academy at West Point. They also corresponded while on trips with their father to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas; and Susan wrote while travelling in Virginia, New York, and the District of Columbia in 1853. Several of the Henry sons joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and Gustavus, Jr., served on the staff of General G. J. Pillow. In addition to family correspondence there are a few letters from political associates of Gustavus, including letters on the activities of John Bell. The earliest papers relate to Marion McClure Henry and her family before her marriage.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Included are letters which describe Henry’s sentiments on lynching in1835 (Folder 4) and comments on his slaves in Mississippi and Arkansas in 1837, 1839, and  1846 (Folders 5 and 8)

In Series 3, there are also correspondence from Henry about his dissatisfaction with an overseer due to ill treatment of enslaved people in December 1848 (Folder 10). In 1854, he writes about his slaves joining the Baptist church (Folder 15). On 7 January 1857 and 14 December 1856, Henry discusses building new cabins for enslaved people (Folder 15 and 16).