Nicholas Philip Trist papers, 1765-1903.

Creator: Trist, Nicholas Philip, 1800-1874.
Collection number: 2104
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Abstract: Nicholas Philip Trist attended West Point; was a Louisiana planter, 1821-1824; U.S. State Department clerk, 1828-1834; consul to Havana, Cuba, 1834-1840; State Department chief clerk, 1845-1847; and chief negotiator of the treaty ending the Mexican War, 1847. He was also a lawyer and paymaster for the Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore Railroad Company, and postmaster at Alexandria, Va. In 1824 he married Virginia Jefferson Randolph (fl. 1818-1875). Other family members represented in the collection include Nicholas’s grandmother, Elizabeth House Trist (d. 1828); his brother, Hore Browse Trist (1802-1856), sugar planter of Lafourche Parish, La.; Virginia’s mother, Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772- 1836); and Nicholas and Virginia’s children: Martha (“Pattie”) Jefferson Trist Burke of Alexandria, Va.; Thomas Jefferson Trist, who was deaf, of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Hore Browse Trist, physician of Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C. The collection is chiefly family correspondence of the Trist and Randolph families. Especially prominent among the correspondents are Elizabeth Trist and the Randolph women. Most letters relate to family life, but also covered to varying degrees are Nicholas Trist’s career; the management of the plantations in Lafourche Parish, La.; the education of the Trist children, including that of Jefferson; and Nicholas’s various professional activities. Also included are letters between Virginia’s sister, Cornelia Randolph, and literary agent, Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867). Correspondence also documents life in the various locations where the Trists lived: from 1765 to 1828 in Louisiana and Charlottesville, Va., including their early married life at Monticello; from 1828 to 1833 in Washington, D.C.; from 1834 to 1845 in Havana, Cuba; and in later years, in New York, Philadelphia, and Alexandria, Va. In addition to correspondence, the collection contains a small amount of financial and legal papers, school materials, genealogical information, and other items.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Several letters in Folders 233 – 252 document dramatic changes in racial relationships brought about by emancipation, including claims against the efficacy of the Freedmen’s Bureau (1866-1869) in Virginia.

The materials in these folders have been digitized and are available online. Click here to link to the finding aid and access the digitized material.