Creator: Harding and Jackson family.
Collection number: 309
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Abstract: John Harding (1777-1865) established the plantation Belle Meade near Nashville, Tenn. His son, William Giles Harding (1806-1886), was a Tennessee militia general, planter, and horse breeder. Brothers William Hicks Jackson (1835-1903) and Howell Edmunds Jackson (1832-1895), were sons-in-law of W. G. Harding. W. H. Jackson, a Confederate general, managed Belle Meade in association with J. H. Harding and later as a partner of H. E. Jackson, who was a lawyer, Democratic legislator, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Circuit and Supreme Court judge. The papers are primarily related to Belle Meade, but include scattered personal and family correspondence, material on W. H. Jackson’s interest in agricultural organizations, some political and legal papers of H. E. Jackson, account books, and copies of letters by Elizabeth McGavock (Mrs. W. G.) Harding to her husband while he was a political prisoner at Ft. Mackinac, Mich., in 1862.
Repository: Southern Historical Collection
Collection Highlights: There are letters from 1850 to 1852 from H.W. Paynor to William Harding discussing, among other topics, celebrations and religious ceremonies among the enslaved community on his plantation (Folder 4).
Letters in 1862 from Harding’s wife Elizabeth to him while he was imprisoned by the Federal forces in Detroit discuss day to day life on the plantation as well as news about the neighbors. One letter from July mentions enslaved individuals offering her money for her trip to see Harding in Michigan as it would be a costly journey (Folder 7). There is also a letter to Harding from 25 August 1862, apparently dictated to one of his friends by an enslaved woman named Susannah (Folder 7)