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John Forbes and Company land records

Identifier: W-0074

Scope and Contents

This collection contains three journals recording land sales and transfers of Panton, Leslie and Company (later John Forbes and Company) from 1799 to 1853. The brown journal contains maps of Mobile streets and a handwritten copy of an 1850 indenture agreement detailing the sale of land. The green journal contains entries describing the sale of land by John Innerarity and James Innerarity, the final owners of what had been the John Forbes and Company. It also contains a copy of William Panton's will written in 1793, as well as notes and memoranda written by John Forbes. The black and brown journal contains a list of purchases arranged by name and references a series of notebooks that are not contained within this collection.


  • 1799 - 1849


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Established in 1783 by William Panton, John Leslie, and Thomas Forbes, the mercantile firm Panton, Leslie and Company traded extensively with Native American groups throughout the southeast. After several Native American tribes gave in to pressure to cede lands, Panton, Leslie, and Company acquired more than three million acres of land in what is now Alabama and Mississippi. Increasing Indian indebtedness to the Panton, Leslie, and Company resulted in a triangular scheme negotiated by the company and the U.S. government whereby the Indians would cede lands to the United States for cash, the Indians would use the cash to satisfy their debts to Panton, Leslie, and Company, and the company would then release it claims against the Indians. In addition to its Pensacola office, the company established a trading post in Mobile.

The company was renamed John Forbes and Company in 1804, managed by Thomas Forbes, John Forbes, William Simpson, and James Innerarity. Trade with Native American groups dwindled during this period, and the company struggled to respond to the increasing territorial tensions between the United States and Spain.

In 1818, the company was managed by brothers James and John Innerarity Jr., and trade was restricted to Pensacola and Mobile. By 1830, James Innerarity was the only remaining partner in the company, and the company's Pensacola office ceased operation. The company ceased operation following James Innerarity's death in 1847.

Sources: Lewis, Herbert J. Encyclopedia of Alabama. "Panton, Leslie and Company."


0.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Three journals recording land sales and transfers in southern Alabama, as well as memoranda and notes concerning the partners of this mercantile firm.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

The University of West Florida's Pace Library contains an extensive collection of papers of the Panton, Leslie, and Company. See Panton, Leslie, and Company Collection, 1739-1847, UWF University Archives and West Florida History Center, University of West Florida.


Title on phase box spine: History of Land Titles in Mobile with Particular Reference to Panton, Leslie and Company - with an Atlas - circa 1850

Processing Information

Processed by Haley Aaron and Martha Bace, 2013



Guide to John Forbes and Company land records
February 2014
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