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James Boykin papers

Identifier: MSS-0196

Scope and Contents note

The papers are divided into three series:James Boykin materials; Burwell Boykin materials; and other Boykin family members' materials. The James Boykin series makes up the bulk of the collection. This series contains correspondence, records for medical expenses for his household and plantation, domestic and business expenditures, and records of cotton sales. Other papers include sales receipts for slaves, foodstuffs, tools, and other hardware, as well as papers regarding James Boykin’s cavalry unit during the Civil War. The Burwell Boykin series consists of Burwell’s correspondence and other papers, mostly business related. The series containing other Boykin family members' materials include the miscellaneous business, legal, and military papers of James Boykin's brothers, Samuel T. and R. D. Boykin. There are also papers related to real estate and some correspondence from the early twentieth century.


  • 1833-1967
  • Majority of material found within 1848 - 1870


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical/Historical note

James Boykin (8 August 1823 - 13 July 1907), was one of six sons of Francis Boykin (1785-1839) and Mary Darrington James Boykin (1795-1854), who arrived in Alabama from Camden, South Carolina, about 1818. The Boykins were part of a large and prominent Southern family with branches in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. James was a cousin of Mary Boykin Chestnut.

James Boykin was a planter and soldier from Tilden, Dallas County, Alabama. On 16 March 1847, he married Elizabeth Ann Scott (1827-1894). They had eight children: Alfred Scott (1848-1849); Francis (Frank) (1850-), Mary Bibb (1852-1900), James Whitaker (1852-1885), Charlotte Taylor (1854-1943), James Burwell (1857-1921), Thomas Scott (1859-1910), and Ernest Cuculu (1861-1897). Boykin served in the Mexican War and in 1861, raised a company of cavalry and was stationed in Mobile. Known as the Alabama Mounted Volunteers, or the Alabama Mounted Rifles, the company was attached to Matthew’s Guards and later served with the Third Alabama Cavalry.

His business losses as a result of the war forced him to declare bankruptcy in 1869. He continued farming until his eyesight failed completely near the end of his life.

Burwell Boykin, older brother of James, was born in South Carolina in 1813. He married Maria Shortridge around 1836 and Elizabeth McRae in 1843. He was the father of at least nine children. Burwell Boykin died in Tilden, Alabama, in 1857.



0.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers of an important Dallas County, Alabama, planter family, including correspondence, household and plantation records, materials regarding James Boykin’s cavalry unit during the Civil War, and papers of Boykin's descendants down to the mid-twentieth century.


Gift of Frank Boykin, 1989, 1993, 1995

Processed by

Unknown; updated by Andrew Harris and Donnelly Walton, 2013
Guide to the James Boykin papers
December 2013
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