Stephen D. Heard papers, 1758-1889 (bulk 1840-1874).

Creator: Heard, Stephen D., 1807-1875.
Collection number: 1478
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Abstract: Stephen D. Heard, lawyer, commission merchant, and native of Wilkes County, Ga., practiced law in Talbotton, Ga., from about 1835 until about 1847. In 1836, he married Mary Anne Willis of Wilkes County, whose father, Col. Richard Jefferson Willis, later signed the Ordinance of Secession. About 1847, Heard moved to Augusta, Ga., where he worked for the remainder of his life as a commission merchant in the successive firms of Dye & Heard, Heard & Simpson, S. D. Heard, and S. D. Heard & Son.Heard was an active Mason, a member of the Augusta Board of Health (1858), a wartime city alderman, a member of the board of directors of the Milledgeville Railroad Company (1862) and of the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad Company (1874), and president of the Macon & Augusta Railroad Company (1866). His son and partner Richard Willis Heard (d. 1880) married Anna Platt of Augusta, Ga., in 1868. Correspondence and financial and legal materials, chiefly 1840-1864, concern the successive firms in which Heard was involved. Business materials show extensive commercial connections with local planters and small town merchants, as well as with merchants in Savannah, Charleston, and New York. Letters and other items document the impact of the Civil War on Heard’s business. After the Civil War, papers doucument the development of crop lien arrangements with local farmers. Volumes include account books, shipping records, bank books, and letterpress copies of correspondence.The collection also contains some family materials, including correspondence, diaries, recipe and remedy books, and household account books. There are also materials relating to the Platt family, including the courtship and honeymoon of Richard Willis Heard and Anna Platt and a furniture business operated in Augusta by Anna’s father, Charles Platt. There is also a volume with names and dates of birth for several generations of slaves.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Scattered documentation in subseries 1.2.1 (Loose Papers, 1758 – c.1920) relates to the purchase and medical treatment of slaves. Folder 213 includes a “Negroe Register” showing names and dates of birth for several generations of Platt family slaves.