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John K. and William M. Elliott daybooks

Identifier: MSS-0482

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of photocopies of the daybooks of John K. Elliott and his son, William M. Elliott, of the Payneville, Sumter County, Alabama area, spanning the years from 1870 through 1911. Virtually all entries begin with a brief mention of the weather and then lists what workers went to which places and the work they were doing that day.

All of the earlier daybooks are those of John K. Elliott. In fact, almost all of the entries up to five days of his death at age 79 are in his hand-writing. William noted in his own daybook on 8 February 1892 that “Pa still coughfing up very bad blood but knew everything and wanted his corn brought from the mill but would take very little nourishment but wanted me to write in his day book which I did.” And John was actively engaged in working his farms and tannery until a few months before his death.


  • 1870-1911


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

John K. (probably Knox) Elliott was a farmer and tanner in Sumter County, Alabama from the early 1850s until his death on 13 February 1892. He was born in Tennessee in 1813 to Andrew and Anne Knox Elliott. He moved to west central Alabama and then married Nancy O. Nowlen on 20 December 1854 in Perry County, Alabama. However, in his daybook for the date 25 August 1879, John states, “This day 29 years ago my first wife died,” which would imply she died in 1850, before they were married. Also the 1850 United States Census for Payneville, Sumter County, Alabama shows John and Nancy Elliott with three small children, Harriet (age 5), Susanna (age 3) and Nancy L.E. (age 8 months).

On 1 Jun 1857 John married Elizabeth (last name unknown) in Mississippi. The couple had seven more children, Martha (13 in 1870 census), John Luther (10), William (8), Anna (6), Calvin (4), Matthew (3) and Mary (1). The oldest son, John Luther, died 21 September 1878.

William was born in February 1861 and helped his father around their various properties by picking cotton, planting corn, and hauling rails for fences. He also helped in the tannery.


0.4 Linear Feet (photocopies)

Language of Materials



Photocopies of the daybooks of John K. Elliott and his son, William M. Elliott, of the Payneville, Sumter County, Alabama area, spanning the years from 1870 through 1911.


Gift of Jonnie Knox Poole, 1990 OR Mrs. Thomas E. Seale


To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.

Processing Information

Martha Bace, 2008; updated by Martha Bac, 2013
Guide to the John K. and William M. Elliott daybooks
January 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