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Guide to the Johnson family papers, 1798-1943

Abstract

Alabama family whose members were instrumental in founding the Alabama School for the Deaf in Talladega. The Johnson family's papers chiefly contain letters (1927-1930) from Nellie Hall Johnson (wife of Joseph Henry Johnson Jr.), of Talladega, Alabama, to her son, Seaborn Johnson, while he was a student at Alabama Polytechnic Institute and elsewhere. Other papers represent three generations of the Johnson family in Alabama and Georgia, and include correspondence, some legal and financial papers, student papers from the University of Alabama, and printed material. Of particular interest is the 1861 muster roll of the Alabama Rifles, and items referring to the sale of slaves. Other topics in the family papers include life in Cave Spring, Georgia and the history of Hollins College. Persons represented include Abner Darden, Joseph Henry Johnson Jr., and the Asbury and Darden families.

Descriptive Summary

Collection Number
RL.00636
Title
Johnson family papers,
Date
1798-1943
Extent
3 Linear Feet, Approx. 758 Items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

The Johnson family's papers chiefly contain letters (1927-1930) from Nellie Hall Johnson (wife of Joseph Henry Johnson Jr.), of Talladega, Alabama, to her son, Seaborn Johnson, while he was a student at Alabama Polytechnic Institute and elsewhere. Other papers represent three generations of the Johnson family in Alabama and Georgia, and include correspondence, some legal and financial papers, student papers and writings from the University of Alabama, and miscellaneous printed material.

The legal papers contain several early land deeds and plats for Georgia and Alabama. Some of the deeds and bonds were Abner Darden's. Darden was the father-in-law of Joseph Henry Johnson. Other legal records are those of Mary E. Latimer as guardian of the minor heirs of Richard V. Asbury, will of Joseph H. Johnson, undated constitution and by-laws for the formation of the Cave Spring (Ga.) Mechanic's Aid Association or Joint-Stock Company to sell family groceries, and interrogations taken by Abner Darden for a lawsuit in Polk Co., Ga., relative to the financial condition of Woodland Female College. Among the financial records are those of Abner Darden, Richard V. Asbury, Mary E. Latimer, inventories of the sale of personal property of the late William Darden of Taliaferro Co., Georgia, on Nov. 10, 1842, and of the sale on Dec. 22, 1842, of his slaves, which includes prices.

Among the miscellaneous papers are a copy of the original muster roll of the Alabama Rifles (Alabama 1st Infantry Regiment, Company "D") Apr. 3, 1861, of which Joseph H. Johnson was captain, and a commission of Johnson as a representative of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Kentucky to the Grand Commandery of Alabama, May 28, 1870. Printed items include a list of Georgia officials, circa 1857, that shows that the state senators and representatives were either of the Democratic or American Party; a memorial article on Abner Darden by his lifelong friend Alexander H. Stephens, July 30, 1877; and the June 8, 1893, issue of The Messenger of Talladega printed on silk and devoted solely to the life, career, and death of Dr. Joseph H. Johnson.

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Collection is open for research.

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Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1839-1883
Box 1
Correspondence, 1884-1926
Box 2
Correspondence, 1883-1943
Box 1
Legal papers, 1798-1924
Box 2
Financial papers, 1836-1930
Box 2
Addresses and writings, 1863-1893
Box 2
Miscellaneous, 1861-1929

Includes Alabama Rifles muster roll, 1861.

Box 2
Printed material, 1857-1877
Box 2
Correspondence, 1883-1943
Box 2
Oversize papers
Oversize-folder 1

Historical Note

The Johnson family was an Alabama family whose members were instrumental in founding the Alabama School for the Deaf in Talladega. The younger Seaborn's namesake, Seaborn Johnson, was born deaf in 1845; his older brother, Joseph Henry Sr., worked at the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring, and founded the Alabama School for the Deaf in Talladega in 1858. Seaborn was the first student attending the school, then went on to Gallaudet University. Nellie's husband Joseph Henry was the son of Joseph Henry Sr. and Emily Johnson.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Johnson family Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Johnson family papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1978.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Jen Snow, June 2011

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1-4-78 and unmarked addition.