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Wright, Cotten, and Douglass Family papers

Identifier: MSS-1583

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains diaries, correspondence, and other materials related to four generations of this Tennessee/Alabama family. The papers are divided into four series, each representing a family generation.

The Thomas and Mary Hostler Green Wright Family Series contains materials created by Thomas, Mary, and their siblings and children. It includes incoming and outgoing correspondence of family members, journals, religious and fictional writings, and some legal documents.

The Leonidas and Sarah Elizabeth Wright Cotten Family Series contains materials created by and for Leonidas, Sarah Elizabeth, and their children. The majority of the material in this series belonged to Sarah Elizabeth, who kept many commonplace journals in which she wrote and collected fiction, poetry, recipes, and ideas. There is also a substantial number of letters from Sarah Elizabeth to her children.

The Robert Napoleon Cotten Family Series contains materials created by Robert N. Cotten, his wife, and children. Within the series are legal documents and correspondence, the bulk of which was written by Robert N. Cotten to family members. The early letters are articulate, detailed letters written to his mother from Civil War camps.

The Edward Trent Douglass Jr. Series contains materials created and collected by and for Edward Trent Douglass. Included are his incoming and outgoing correspondence, historical writings, genealogical materials, photographs, and other materials related to genealogical activities.


  • 1798 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical/Historical note

Reverend Thomas Wright (1784-1835) was an Episcopalian minister in early Tennessee. In 1810, he married Mary Hostler Green (1794-1865). They had thirteen children: Sarah Elizabeth Wright (1812-1817); Sophia Ann Wright (b. 1813); John Mercer Wright (b. 1814); Catherine Wright (1817-1817); Mary Wright (1817-1817); William Green Wright (1818-1882); Sarah Elizabeth Wright (1820-1904); Robert Scott Wright (b. 1822); Thomas Marshall Wright (1822-1856); Ravenscroft Wright (1827-1845); Mary Wright (1829-1834); James Wright (1834-1860); and Thomas Wright (1835).

Sarah Elizabeth Wright (1820-1904) married Leonidas Cotten (1817-1847) of LaGrange, Tennessee. They had four children: Alice London Cotten, (1838-1887); Robert Napoleon Cotten (1840-1901); John Mercer Cotten (b. 1842); and Leonidas Cotten (1844-1900).

After serving in the Civil War, Robert Napoleon Cotten married Eliza (Lida) Sophia Davenport (b. 1842) and attended medical school at Louisiana State University. They had several children: Alice Houston Cotten (1870-1952); Ernest Wright Cotten (b.1872); Leonidas Cotten (b. 1873); Sarah Eliza Cotten (b. 1873); Claud Davenport Cotten (b. 1875); Clara (Cab) Holmes Cotten (b. 1876); Aileen Cotten (1879-1963); and Robert Ewing Cotten (b. 1879).

Clara (Cab) Cotten married Edward Trent Douglass. Among their children was Edward Trent Douglass, Jr. (1906-1994), whose hobby was family genealogy. The material in this collection is a result of his genealogical work.



2.47 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains diaries, correspondence, and other materials related to four generations of this Tennessee/Alabama family.

Physical Location

W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of Edward T. Douglas Jr., 1990.

Processing Information

updated by April Burnett, 2015
Guide to the Wright, Cotten, and Douglass Family papers
April 2009
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266