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John Horry Dent papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-0430

Scope and Contents

This collection contains three ledgers (a plantation book, a farm journal, and a letter copybook) and a folder of miscellaneous letters written by John Horry Dent of Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama, and Cave Springs, Floyd County, Georgia, from January 1840 to November 1891.

There are four typescript documents in the folder also: (1) Commodore John Herbert Dent, U.S. Navy, 1782–1823; (2) Charles I. Graves in Egypt (1875–1878); (3) Cape Guardafui by Lt. Col. Graves (the proceedings of the meeting of October 1880); and (4) Report of Lt. Col. Graves, 4 July 1878.

Dates

  • 1840-1891

Creator

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

Jonah Horry Dent was born on 5 August 1815 in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of John Herbert Dent and Elizabeth Anne Horry Dent. Dent grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and spent summers with his family on a plantation in Colleton County, South Carolina. When he was still a young child, his name was changed from “Jonah” to “John” when an older brother, named John, died, leaving little Jonah as the oldest living son. He was known as John Horry Dent the rest of his life.

Dent married Mary Elizabeth Morrison in 1835 and moved to Barbour County, Alabama, in 1836. He purchased 360 acres of land on Cowikee Creek, paying $15 an acre, and named the new plantation “Good Hope.” He and Elizabeth had seven children: Robert Morrison Dent (1836-1837); Emma Julia (Minna) Dent (1838-1919); John Horry Dent, Jr. (1840-1864); Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Dent (1842-1870); John Herbert Dent (b. 1845); Anne Horry Dent (1847-1889); Charles Baring Dent (b. 1849); Sarah Lining Dent (1851-1866); Kate Constance Dent (1853-1919).

Dent amassed a good fortune but lost most of it after the Civil War when slavery was abolished and his slaves became freemen. After his wife’s death in 1853, he married Fanny A. Whipple in 1854. Together they had six more children: Fannie Whipple Dent (1856-1892); George Columbus Dent (1858-1879); Lucy Gertrude Dent (b. 1861); Helen Almira Dent (1865-1872); Carrie Mae Dent (1868-1910); and an infant daughter (b. 1875).

In 1866 sold his properties in Barbour County and moved to Cave Springs, Floyd County, Georgia. Following the death of his second wife, Fanny, in 1875, he married Elizabeth Anne Dowd in 1876.

Dent kept detailed records about his crops and properties until very late in life. He died in Cave Springs on 17 May 1892.

Extent

0.4 Linear Feet (3 ledgers, 18 letters, 4 typescript reports)

Language of Materials

English

Overview

There are four typescript documents in the folder also: (1) Commodore John Herbert Dent, U.S. Navy, 1782–1823; (2) Charles I. Graves in Egypt (1875–1878); (3) Cape Guardafui by Lt. Col. Graves (the proceedings of the meeting of October 1880); and (4) Report of Lt. Col. Graves, 4th July 1878.

The Plantation Book (or Farm Journal v.1) was written by John Horry Dent from January 1840 through December 1842 to record actual expenditures and incomes from his estate and to provide information for his future endeavors. There are also many expositional writings, including letters to his overseer. This volume covers his early years in Barbour County, Alabama.

The Farm Journal (v. 13) was written between April 1882 and February 1884. This journal is less expositional and more factual, giving crop and weather information along with short anecdotes about events at home in Cave Springs, Georgia.

The copybook mainly deals with the workings of his properties in Alabama and Georgia from 1863 to 1875, but includes some expositional writings as well.

The miscellaneous letters, written from 1852 to 1891 by John H. Dent, are mainly to family members. There are four typescript documents in the folder also: (1) Commodore John Herbert Dent, U.S. Navy, 1782–1823; (2) Charles I. Graves in Egypt (1875–1878); (3) Cape Guardafui by Lt. Col. Graves (the proceedings of the meeting of October 1880); and (4) Report of Lt. Col. Graves, 4th July 1878.

Provenance

Gift of Mr. M. B. Wellborn, 1945

Related Materials

John Horry Dent Jr. Letters, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library John and Mary Wellborn Cochran Diaries, Letterbook, and Photographs, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library

Sources

Mathis, Ray. John Horry Dent: South Carolina Aristocrat on the Alabama Frontier. (Tuscaloosa, AL : published for the Historic Chattahoochee Commission by the University of Alabama Press, 1979.)

My Southern Family: John Horry Dent. An Ancestry.com community. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mysouthernfamily/myff/d0074/g0000054.html (accessed 7 May 2008)

RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project: Neilson Genealogy: John Horry (namd changed from Jonah) DENT. RootsWeb, An Ancestry.com Community. http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:1114466&id=I53941317 (accessed 8 May 2008)

General

To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at archives@ua.edu if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.
Title
Guide to the John Horry Dent Papers
Status
Coll Lvl Complete
Date
November 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266
205.348.0500