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Guide to the William Mahone Papers, 1853-1895

Collection Overview

The papers of William Mahone span the period 1853 to 1895, with the bulk of the material dating from 1876 to 1892. The collection consists of copies of letters written by Mahone to others, incoming letters to Mahone, subject files on a variety of topics, clippings, and scrapbooks, but primarily focuses on Mahone's railroad and political interests. There is a great deal of overlap of topics between the different series in the collection; thus information concerning Mahone's political and railroad interests is repeated in the different series.

Mahone's involvement in the railroad business dates from 1850 when he became the Assistant Engineer of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. While there is information about several of the railroads in which Mahone held positions, including both the Orange and Alexandria and the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroads, the bulk of the material concerning railroads is related to the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad (AMandO). There are both financial and legal papers concerning the AMandO after it ran into financial difficulties in 1873 following the economic panic of that year. Included is correspondence with two Englishmen, John Collinson, who helped Mahone finance a loan to buy the AMandO in 1870, and W. H. Chase, who tried to assist Mahone in saving the railroad. Controversies surrounding the consolidation of railroads in the United States and more particularly in Virginia during the mid to late 19th century are also well documented in the collection.

The bulk of the collection deals with Mahone's political interests and activities. The collection traces the rise of the Readjuster movement in Virginia in the late 1870s, due largely to the efforts of Mahone; Mahone's allegiance to the Republican Party once he was elected to the Senate in 1880; his efforts to build a well organized political machine in Virginia; and finally the loss of support both for Mahone and for the Republican Party in Virginia in the late 1880s.

A central issue in the Readjuster movement was the state's debt, which kept taxes at a high level and almost destroyed the new public school system. The readjusters insisted that the changed conditions of the post-bellum period necessitated the readjustment of the debt. Raising the spectre of class antagonism, Mahone was able to appeal to both poor whites and blacks in order to unite them in a movement of self-interest and reform. This led to the organization of the state-wide Readjuster Party in 1878.

The Readjuster Party won control of the Virginia legislature in 1879 and gained the governorship in 1881 with the election of William E. Cameron. The new party scaled down the debt in the Riddleberger Bill of 1882, enacted laws in social and economic arenas that were of interest to the masses, and, led by Mahone, apportioned governmental offices among the party's leaders. However, in 1883 and thereafter the Readjusters were unable to capture the state legislature or governorship again, although sometimes they lost only narrowly.

Clearly shown through the collection is Mahone's emphasis on organizing the cause of the Readjusters. The focus on organization, including the canvassing of voters before elections, is evident in Mahone's campaigns for the Senate in 1880 and 1886 and for governor of Virginia in 1889. Many of the papers deal with appointing canvassers, creating clubs that would encourage participation in the political process, targeting particular groups to be canvassed such as blacks and "mild" Democrats, making sure political speeches were made in the various precincts, and finding out who had not paid their head-tax and then arranging to have the tax paid. One key element was the Richmond Whig in which Mahone had a financial and editorial interest and which became the official organ of the Readjuster movement.

After Mahone was elected to the United States Senate, he had to choose whether his allegiance would be to the Democrats or Republicans. Once he had aligned himself with the Republicans, Virginia was sometimes viewed as having broken the Solid South, that is, Virginia was seen as one state in the South where Republicans could be elected. Both Virginia and Mahone served as role models for politicians in other southern states who wanted to foster the growth of the Republican Party.

While the collection primarily relates to local and state political matters in Virginia, there are scattered letters in the collection from other areas of the country where the Republican Party was being promoted. There are several letters from William M. Burwell from New Orleans, 1880 to 1884, asking for guidance and giving progress reports on the status of the Republican Party in Louisiana. A letter (1883, March 15) from James T. Beach, Secretary of the Missouri State Republican Committee, relates to his efforts to create a National Cooperative Organization. One of its goals was to secure equal civil and political rights for a free vote.

Mahone was appointed Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture in 1882 and served on the Committee on Naval Affairs, the Committee on Post-offices and Post-roads, and the Committee on Education and Labor. Evidence of his work on these committees is best shown in the Letterbooks, Correspondence, and Subject Files. It is in the appointment of persons to positions, however, where Mahone's influence is most clearly documented. Requests for patronage positions, particularly in the Post Office, dominate the constituent correspondence. Other letters requested that particular post offices be closed or opened.

Other departments to which persons sought appointment included the Government Printing Office, the Norfolk Navy Yard, the Navy Department, the Treasury Department, and the Internal Revenue Service. Included in both the Correspondence and the Subject Files (Politics: Appointments) series are recommendations, requests and petitions for persons seeking positions.

One incident documented in the collection is a riot that occurred in Danville, Va., on November 3, 1883, three days before the Virginia state elections. Under the Readjuster legislature, blacks held a number of governmental offices in Danville. The Democrats opposed the appointment of blacks and dubbed it "Mahoneism." It is difficult today to pinpoint the origin of the violence that occurred or trace its progress, but as a result of it, several blacks and whites died. Readjusters contended the uprising had been provoked by Democrats for campaign purposes. They also blamed their loss of a majority in the state legislature on the Danville Riot. The collection includes eyewitness accounts of the incident which are located in the Subject Files.

The collection also includes much information about voters and voting patterns down to the precinct level in Virginia during the 1880s. The files relating to election frauds, which date from 1882 to 1889, provide yet another perspective on voting concerns. These files contain standardized forms and letters reporting voting irregularities. The majority of the documented frauds are from 1889 when Mahone lost his bid for governor. There were some who believed that had voting irregularities not occurred, Mahone would have been elected governor in 1889.

The collection records the rise and fall of Mahone's political career in the 1880s, as well as developments and controversies within the Republican Party in Virginia during this period. In 1888 the Republican Party split into factions which led to rival state conventions and delegations to the national convention. The Mahone defeat of 1889 brought a check to Republican activity in Virginia and in 1893 the Republicans made no effort even to nominate candidates for the governorship or the legislature.

Political allies Mahone cultivated in Virginia are among the chief correspondents. They include Frank S. Blair, Stith Bolling, William E. Cameron, Abram Fulkerson, William Lamb, John E. Massey, John Paul, Harrison Holt Riddleberger, and John S. Wise.

There is very little personal material relating to Mahone or his family. There are a few letters from his son William Mahone, Jr., and in the Subject Files there are several folders of financial receipts representing items bought for the Mahone family.

A Duke University doctoral dissertation was written about Mahone in 1932 by Nelson Morehouse Blake entitled William Mahone of Virginia: Builder, Soldier and Insurgent. It was published in 1935 with the title William Mahone of Virginia, Soldier and Political Insurgent. There are additional Mahone papers in the Mahone-McGill Collection in the Rubenstein Library at the University of Virginia Library in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Descriptive Summary

Creator
Mahone, William, 1826-1895
Title
William Mahone papers 1853-1895
Extent
110.9 linear feet, 100,000 items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language
English.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Letterpress books containing copies of Mahone's outgoing letters. Relating chiefly to political matters in Virginia, they concern local and state-wide issues, his work in organizing the Virginia Readjuster Party, his gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns, state conventions, the canvassing of voters before elections, and the appointment of personnel to various governmental offices.

Other letters deal with railroad policy. Financial matters related to his own railroad, the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio, are mentioned frequently, as are other financial and business interests of Mahone. There are two gaps in the time period covered: 1879, June 19 to 1882, September 1 and 1885, June 29 to September 3.

Most of the letterbooks contain alphabetical indexes in the front that list the people to whom Mahone was writing. The number beside each name corresponds to the page in the volume where Mahone's letter to that person can be found. In some cases the dates given on the outside of the letterbook are off by a day or so from the dates of letters actually in the letterbook. An effort has been made to specify on the container list the dates of letters actually found in the letterbook, even if they vary slightly from the dates on the cover. Letters are arranged chronologically within each letterbook.

1866 March 15-1866 April 30
Volume 1
1866 April 30-1866 September 12
Volume 2
1866 October 8-1867 January 14
Volume 3
1867 January 14-1867 May 2
Volume 4
1867 May 2-1867 July 8
Volume 5
1867 July 8-1867 September 7
Volume 6
1867 September 15-1867 November 15
Volume 7
1867 November 17-1868 January 31
Volume 8
1868 February 12-1868 March 30
Volume 9
1868 March 29-1868 June 11
Volume 10
1868 June 12-1868 September 10
Volume 11
1868 September 10-1868 December 21
Volume 12
1868 December 21-1869 March 31
Volume 13
1869 March 31-1869 September 13
Volume 14
1869 September 13-1869 November 29
Volume 15
1869 November 29-1870 April 6
Volume 16
1870 April 6-1870 December 3
Volume 17
1870 December 3-1872 February 26
Volume 18
1872 February 28-1873 August 15
Volume 19
1873 August 28-1875 January 21
Volume 20
1875 January 20-1875 April 22
Volume 21
1875 April 22-1876 April 6
Volume 22
1876 April 6-1876 June 26
Volume 23
1876 June 26-1876 October 16
Volume 24
1876 October 19-1877 January 31
Volume 25
1877 February 1-1877 June 15
Volume 26
1877 June 15-1877 September 15
Volume 27
1877 September 15-1877 November 19
Volume 28
1877 November 20-1879 May 1
Volume 29
1877 May 12-1879 May 3
Volume 30
1879 May 1-1879 June 18
Volume 31
1882 September 2-1882 October 12
Volume 32
1882 October 13-1882 October 23
Volume 33
1882 October 23-1882 October 30
Volume 34
1882 October 30-1882 December 30
Volume 35
1882 December 31-1883 January 19
Volume 36
1883 January 19-1883 February 18
Volume 37
1883 February 18-1883 March 17
Volume 38
1883 March 17-1883 April 6
Volume 39
1883 April 6-1883 April 29
Volume 40
1883 April 29-1883 June 16
Volume 41
1883 June 16-1883 July 13
Volume 42
1883 July 13-1883 August 20
Volume 43
1883 August 20-1883 September 11
Volume 44
1883 September 11-1883 October 5
Volume 45
1883 October 5-1883 November 3
Volume 46
1883 November 3-1883 December 22
Volume 47
1883 December 22-1884 February 11
Volume 48
1884 February 12-1884 March 31
Volume 49
1884 April 5-1884 June 26
Volume 50
1884 June 29-1884 August 30
Volume 51
1884 August 30-1884 October 4
Volume 52
1884 October 4-1884 November 11
Volume 53
1884 November 11-1885 January 5
Volume 54
1885 January 5-1885 March 10
Volume 55
1885 March 10-1885 May 11
Volume 56
1885 May 11-1885 June 11
Volume 57
1885 June 12-1885 July 28
Volume 58
1885 September 4-1885 September 18
Volume 59
1885 September 18-1885 September 29
Volume 60
1885 September 28-1885 October 18
Volume 61
1885 October 18-1885 October 26
Volume 62
1885 October 26-1885 November 24
Volume 63
1885 November 25-1886 March 9
Volume 64
1886 March 9-1886 May 18
Volume 65
1886 May 18-1886 August 13
Volume 66
1886 August 16-1886 September 29
Volume 67
1886 September 28-1886 November 4
Volume 68
1886 November 3-1886 November 28
Volume 69
1886 November 30-1887 January 27
Volume 70
1887 January 27-1887 March 15
Volume 71
1887 March 13-1887 May 15
Volume 72
1887 May 14-1887 June 24
Volume 73
1887 June 24-1887 August 18
Volume 74
1887 August 18-1887 September 5
Volume 75
1887 September 5-1887 September 23
Volume 76
1887 September 23-1887 October 16
Volume 77
1887 October 16-1887 November 7
Volume 78
1887 November 7-1887 November 27
Volume 79
1887 November 29-1888 January 20
Volume 80
1887 January 20-1888 April 4
Volume 81
1888 April 4-1888 May 24
Volume 82
1888 May 24-1888 August 10
Volume 83
1888 August 10-1888 October 6
Volume 84
1888 October 7-1888 December 1
Volume 85
1888 December 2-1889 January 26
Volume 86
1889 January 26-1889 July 25
Volume 87
1889 July 27-1889 September 9
Volume 88
1889 September 9-1889 October 11
Volume 89
1889 October 11-1889 November 19
Volume 90
1889 November 18-1890 March 25
Volume 91
1890 March 26-1891 March 22
Volume 92
1891 March 23-1891 October 31
Volume 93
1891 October 31-1893 August 15
Volume 94

This series consists almost entirely of letters sent to Mahone, although there are a few scattered letters from Mahone to others. The most prominently represented topics relate to local and state political matters in Virginia. Among them are the Virginia state debt; rise of the Readjuster movement; Mahone's gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns; canvassing of voters before elections; requests and recommendations for governmental positions; the use of clubs to encourage involvement in politics; and the schism which developed in the Republican Party in Virginia in the late 1880s.

Other subjects include railroad matters in Virginia, particularly as they concerned the financial issues surrounding the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad; the Richmond Whig; legislation relating to the taxation of various products such as whiskey and tobacco; and several correspondents' interest in having Mahone serve in Benjamin Harrison's cabinet.

Many of the letters are numbered on the back and list the name of the letter writer, the date of the letter, a brief summary of the letter's contents, and the place where the letter was written. This information is also preserved in the correspondence indexes. However, not all the correspondence for these years is covered by these volumes. See the description of the Correspondence Indexes below. The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

1854-1859, May
(7 folders)
Box 1
1869, June-1870, October
(6 folders)
Box 2
1870, December-1871, December(6 folders)
Box 3
1872, January-1873, May
(7 folders)
Box 4
1873, June-1874, May
(7 folders)
Box 5
1874, June-1875, September
(7 folders)
Box 6
1875, October-1876, May 19
(6 folders)
Box 7
1876, May 20-1876, September
(5 folders)
Box 8
1876, October-1877, April
(6 folders)
Box 9
1877, May 1-1877, June 30
(5 folders)
Box 10
1877, July 1-1877, July 29
(7 folders)
Box 11
1877, July 30-1877, December 15
(7 folders)
Box 12
1877, December 16-1878, June 15
(7 folders)
Box 13
1878, June 16-1879, February 15
(7 folders)
Box 14
1879, February 16-1879, August 31
(7 folders)
Box 15
1879, September 1-1879, November 15
(7 folders)
Box 16
1879, November 20-1879, December 31
(8 folders)
Box 17
1880, January 1-1880, March 31
(8 folders)
Box 18
1880, April 1-1880, June 17
(7 folders)
Box 19
1880, June 18-1880, July 31
(8 folders)
Box 20
1880, August 1-1880, September 5
(8 folders)
Box 21
1880, September 6-1880, October 10
(7 folders)
Box 22
1880, October 11-1880, November 30
(8 folders)
Box 23
1880, December 1-1881, January 31
(7 folders)
Box 24
1881, February 1-1881, March 11
(8 folders)
Box 25
1881, March 12-1881, March 24
(7 folders)
Box 26
1881, March 25-1881, April 6
(9 folders)
Box 27
1881, April 7-1881, April 22
(8 folders)
Box 28
1881, April 23-1881, May 8
(7 folders)
Box 29
1881, May 9-1881, May 31
(8 folders)
Box 30
1881, June 1-1881, June 30
(8 folders)
Box 31
1881, July 1-1881, July 31
(7 folders)
Box 32
1881, August 1-1881, August 31
(8 folders)
Box 33
1881, September 1-1881, September 27
(7 folders)
Box 34
1881, September 28-1881, October 20
(7 folders)
Box 35
1881, October 21-1881, November 11
(7 folders)
Box 36
1881, November 12-1881, November 30
(7 folders)
Box 37
1881, December 1-1881, December 20
(6 folders)
Box 38
1881, December 22-1881, December 31
(4 folders)
Box 39
1882, January 1-1882, January 20
(7 folders)
Box 40
1882, January 21-1882, February 4
(4 folders)
Box 41
1882, February 5-1882, February 28
(5 folders)
Box 42
1882, March 1-1882, March 14
(4 folders)
Box 43
1882, March 15-1882 March 29
(6 folders)
Box 44
1882, March 30-1882, April 20
(5 folders)
Box 45
1882, April 21-1882, May 13
(8 folders)
Box 46
1882, May 14-1882, May 31
(6 folders)
Box 47
1882, June 3-1882, June 16
(7 folders)
Box 48
1882, June 17-1882, June 29
(5 folders)
Box 49
1882, June 30-1882, July 8
(4 folders)
Box 50
1882, July 9-1882, July 19
(4 folders)
Box 51
1882, July 20-1882, July 29
(5 folders)
Box 52
1882, July 30-1882, August 10
(7 folders)
Box 53
1882, August 11-1882, August 23
(7 folders)
Box 54
1882, August 24-1882, September 5
(7 folders)
Box 55
1882, September 6-1882, September 16
(4 folders)
Box 56
1882, September 17-1882, September 26
(5 folders)
Box 57
1882, September 27-1882, October 6
(6 folders)
Box 58
1882, October 7-1882, October 18
(5 folders)
Box 59
1882, October 19-1882, October 27
(6 folders)
Box 60
1882, October 28-1882, November 14
(7 folders)
Box 61
1882, November 15-1882, December 6
(7 folders)
Box 62
1882, December 7-1882, December 26
(7 folders)
Box 63
1882, December 27-1883, January 11
(7 folders)
Box 64
1883, January 12-1883, January 26
(6 folders)
Box 65
1883, January 27-1883, February 8
(5 folders)
Box 66
1883, February 9-1883, February 25
(7 folders)
Box 67
1883, February 26-1883, March 12
(6 folders)
Box 68
1883, March 13-1883, March 31
(7 folders)
Box 69
1883, April 1-1883, April 21
(6 folders)
Box 70
1883, April 22-1883, May 12
(6 folders)
Box 71
1883, May 13-1883, May 31
(6 folders)
Box 72
1883, June 1-1883, June 25
(7 folders)
Box 73
1883, June 26-1883, July 17
(7 folders)
Box 74
1883, July 18-1883, August 8
(6 folders)
Box 75
1883, August 9-1883, August 31
(6 folders)
Box 76
1883, August-1883, September 17
(6 folders)
Box 77
1883, September 18-1883, October 2
(6 folders)
Box 78
1883, October 3-1883, October 16
(5 folders)
Box 79
1883, October 17-1883, October 31
(5 folders)
Box 80
1883, November 1-1883, November 22
(7 folders)
Box 81
1883, November 23-1883, December 20
(7 folders)
Box 82
1883, December 21-1884, January 12
(7 folders)
Box 83
1884, January 13-1884, February 4
(7 folders)
Box 84
1884, February 5-1884, February 29
(7 folders)
Box 85
1884, March 1-1884, April 21
(7 folders)
Box 86
1884, April 22-1884, June 14
(6 folders)
Box 87
1884, June 15-1884, July 19
(5 folders)
Box 88
1884, July 20-1884, August 31
(6 folders)
Box 89
1884, September 1-1884, September 30
(5 folders)
Box 90
1884, October 1-1884, October 24
(5 folders)
Box 91
1884, October 25-1884, November 30
(6 folders)
Box 92
1884, December 1-1885, January 16
(4 folders)
Box 93
1885, January 17-1885, February 27
(5 folders)
Box 94
1885, March 1-1885, May 14
(5 folders)
Box 95
1885, May 15-1885, July 8
(6 folders)
Box 96
1885, July 9-1885, August 15(6 folders)
Box 97
1885, August 17-1885, August 31
(4 folders)
Box 98
1885, September 1-1885, September 21
(4 folders)
Box 99
1885, September 22-1885 October 7
(5 folders)
Box 100
1885, October 8-1885, October 20
(6 folders)
Box 101
1885, October 20-1885, October 31
(5 folders)
Box 102
1885, November 1-1885, December 31
(5 folders)
Box 103
1886, January 1-1886, February 28
(5 folders)
Box 104
1886, March 1-1886, April 19
(5 folders)
Box 105
1886, April 20-1886, June 20
(6 folders)
Box 106
1886, June 21-1886, August 31
(5 folders)
Box 107
1886, September 1-1886, November 30
(6 folders)
Box 108
1886, December 1-1887, January 31
(6 folders)
Box 109
1887, February 1-1887, April 14
(6 folders)
Box 110
1887, April 15-1887, June 30
(5 folders)
Box 111
1887, July 1-1887, August 13
(5 folders)
Box 112
1887, August 14-1887, September 11
(6 folders)
Box 113
1887, September 12-1887, October 5
(6 folders)
Box 114
1887, October 6-1887, October 31
(6 folders)
Box 115
1887, November 1-1887, December 31
(5 folders)
Box 116
1888, January 1-1888, March 31
(6 folders)
Box 117
1888, April 1-1888, May 19
(5 folders)
Box 118
1888, May 20-1888, July 31
(7 folders)
Box 119
1888, August 1-1888, September 7
(6 folders)
Box 120
1888, September 8-1888, September 30
(7 folders)
Box 121
1888, October 1-1888, October 22
(8 folders)
Box 122
1888, October 23-1888, November 8
(7 folders)
Box 123
1888, November 9-1888, November 30
(7 folders)
Box 124
1888, December 1-1888, December 22
(7 folders)
Box 125
1888, December 23-1889, January 12
(7 folders)
Box 126
1889, January 13-1889, January 31
(6 folders)
Box 127
1889, February 1-1889, February 25
(7 folders)
Box 128
1889, February 26-1889, March 17
(6 folders)
Box 129
1889, March 18-1889, March 31
(5 folders)
Box 130
1889, April 1-1889, April 10
(5 folders)
Box 131
1889, April 11-1889, April 22
(6 folders)
Box 132
1889, April 23-1889, May 6
(6 folders)
Box 133
1889, May 7-1889, May 23
(6 folders)
Box 134
1889, May 24-1889, June 10
(6 folders)
Box 135
1889, June 11-1889, June 30
(6 folders)
Box 136
1889, July 1-1889, July 16
(5 folders)
Box 137
1889, July 17-1889, July 26
(6 folders)
Box 138
1889, July 27-1889, August 5
(7 folders)
Box 139
1889, August 6-1889, August 13
(5 folders)
Box 140
1889, August 14-1889, August 23
(7 folders)
Box 141
1889, August 24-1889, August 31
(8 folders)
Box 142
1889, September 1-1889, September 9
(7 folders)
Box 143
1889, September 10-1889, September 15
(6 folders)
Box 144
1889, September 16-1889, September 21
(7 folders)
Box 145
1889, September 22-1889, September 30
(5 folders)
Box 146
1889, September 30-1889, October 6
(5 folders)
Box 147
1889, October 7-1889, October 12
(5 folders)
Box 148
1889, October 13-1889, October 17
(5 folders)
Box 149
1889, October 18-1889, October 23
(7 folders)
Box 150
1889, October 24-1889, October 28
(6 folders)
Box 151
1889, October 29-1889, October 31
(7 folders)
Box 152
1889, November 1-1889, November 16
(6 folders)
Box 153
1889, November 17-1889, November 30
(6 folders)
Box 154
1889, December 1-1889, December 31
(9 folders)
Box 155
1890, January 1-1890, January 31
(9 folders)
Box 156
1890, February 1-1890, February 28
(7 folders)
Box 157
1890, March 1-1890, March 31
(7 folders)
Box 158
1890, April 1-1890, April 30
(3 folders)
Box 159
1890, May 1-1890, August 30
(8 folders)
Box 160
1890, September 1-1891, January 31
(6 folders)
Box 161
1891, February 3-1891, August 31
(7 folders)
Box 162
1891, September 3-1891, December 31
(6 folders)
Box 163
1892, January 1-1892, July 29
(6 folders)
Box 164
1892, August 1-1892, October 31
(5 folders)
Box 165
1892, November 1-1894, August 30
(6 folders)
Box 166
1894, September 4-1895, September 22
(7 folders)
Box 167

Correspondence Indexes, 1879-1888

17 volumes. (2 lin. ft.)

Indexes to the incoming correspondence to Mahone. Inside each volume correspondents' last names are listed alphabetically with a number or numbers beside each name. The numbers indicate what pages in the volumes represent that person's letters to Mahone. One of the volumes for 1881 has on the cover "general applications." Letter writers represented in this volume wrote to Mahone with requests for placement in various governmental positions. Another volume for 1881 indexes letters that are unrelated to position requests.

The following information is given about each letter noted by the index: 1) who the letter is from; 2) the date; 3) a number; 4) a brief summary; and 5) the place where the letter was written from. This information also appears on the back of the letters themselves. Some of the correspondence dating before 1879 and after 1888 also have this information, but the only indexes in the collection date from 1879 to 1888. One can therefore move easily between the correspondence indexes and the letters for these years. One of the volumes is undated, except for the month and day the letters were written. Volumes are arranged in chronological order.

1879-1881(6 volumes)
Box 168
1882(3 volumes)
Box 169
1883-1884,Volume I (3 volumes)
Box 170
1884,Volume II- 1887,Volume 1 (3 volumes)
Box 171
1887,Volume 2- 1888(2 volumes)
Box 172

The Subject File series is arranged alphabetically and primarily relates to Mahone's political and business interests. Many of the topical headings are further subdivided. Politics comprises the bulk of the series and includes the following major subdivisions:

Appointments, 1870-1890. Includes recommendations, requests, and petitions for people to be assigned to various governmental offices, the most extensive file of which pertains to local post-office positions in Virginia. Other offices and departments represented in this file include the Government Printing Office, the Norfolk Navy Yard and Navy Department, the Treasury Department, the Interior Department, the Internal Revenue Service, and judicial appointments.

Canvassing, 1880-1889. Contains lists of canvassers, groups to be canvassed, the number of registered voters by political party and often by race, the number of people who voted in previous elections, and the number of people who were delinquent in paying their head tax. This information is usually quite detailed and broken down to the precinct level.

Elections, 1879-1889. Includes lists of county and city electoral officials, information about election frauds, and election returns, the majority of the material being from 1889 when Mahone ran for governor.

Financial Papers, 1880-1890. Includes records of campaign expenses for several elections.

Virginia state conventions, lists of delegates to the state, Conservative (1877), Readjuster (1880, 1881) and Republican (1886, 1892) conventions.

Printed Material, 1867-1894. Primarily pamphlets and broadsides. Usually the broadsides relate to a particular candidate, meeting, or campaign issue, while the pamphlets concern a variety of issues. Highlighted in the pamphlets is information about the Republican national, state, and district conventions; tariff duties on various items such as sugar and woolens; the Virginia state debt; and the Readjuster movement.

Another major topic is Railroads. Included is information on several railroads in which Mahone had a financial interest. Among them are the Norfolk and Petersburg, the Orange and Alexandria, and the Virginia and Tennessee railroads. However, the bulk of these files concerns the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio (AMandO) Railroad which Mahone created in 1870. There are extensive files relating to the financial and legal issues surrounding the railroad which suffered an economic setback after the panic of 1873 and went into receivership about 1879. (The railroad was later sold and became known as the Norfolk and Western Railroad.) These files also contain maps of the routes of several railroads and other miscellaneous items pertaining to railroads in general.

Other topics found in the Subject Files include the Civil War (commissary papers from Mahone's Brigade, 1863 Jan. - Dec.); the Danville Riot,1883; Richmond Whig (financial records, 1875-1885); the Virginia Military Institute,1865-1881; the Roanoke Navigation Company,1880-1892; the American Reduction Company,1887-1888; and the Carolina Oil and Creosote Company,1886-1890.

Agricultural, Horticultural, and Immigration Association, 1870-1871
Box 173
American Reduction Company, 1887-1888( 3 folders)
Box 173
Blandford Cemetery (Petersburg, VA), 1876-1878)
Box 173
Carolina Oil and Cresote Company, 1886 August-1890, February
(2 folders)
Box 173
Carolina Oil and Cresote Company: Printed Material 1886-1889 and undated
Box 173
Central Lunatic Asylum (Virginia), 1881-1884
Box 173
Central Mining, Manufacturing and Land Company, 1891 and undated
Box 173
Civil War: Commissary Papers, 1863, January-1863, December
(5 folders)
Box 174
Civil War: Speeches and Writings, 1871
Box 174
Civil War: Miscellaneous, 1864-1889 and undated
Box 174
Danville, Virginia: Riot, 1883
(2 folders)
Box 175
Financial Papers: Receipts, 1853-1875
(3 folders)
Box 175
Financial Papers: Receipts, 1875-1882
(6 folders)
Box 176
Financial Papers: Receipts, 1882-1886
(6 folders)
Box 177
Financial Papers: Receipts, 1887-1894 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 178
Financial Papers: Miscellaneous, 1860-1886 and undated
Box 178
Legal Papers, 1872-1886
Box 178
Game Ridge Mill, 1888
Box 178
Petersburg Daily News, 1875
Box 178
Politics: Agriculture Department, 1882
Box 178
Politics: Appointments, 1881-1884
Box 178
Politics: Appointments, undated
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Agriculture Department, 1882 July-August and undated
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Census Bureau, 1889
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Collector of Customs, 1881-1882
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Government Printing Office 1882 August-October 1884 and undated
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Interior Department, 1882 January-March
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Interior, 1882 April-1889 and undated
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Internal Revenue Service 1880-1889
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Judicial, 1870-1882
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Navy Department, 1882 and undated
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Navy Yard, 1881-1889
Box 179
Politics: Appointments: Navy Yard Scratch Book of Names for Appointment Laborers and Mechanics
(2 folders)
Box 180
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1881 May-1882 February
(6 folders)
Box 180
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1882 March-1882 April
(3 folders)
Box 181
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1882 May-1882 September
(6 folders)
Box 182
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1882 October-1883, February
(6 folders)
Box 183
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1883 March-1883 September
(6 folders)
Box 184
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1883 October-1885 February
(7 folders)
Box 185
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1885 July-1885 December
(6 folders)
Box 186
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1889
Box 186
Politics: Appointments: Post Office, 1890 and undated
Box 187
Politics: Appointments: Railway Mail Service, 1881-1889
Box 187
Politics: Appointments: Treasury Department, 1881-1882 and undated
Box 187
Politics: Appointments: U.S. Marshals, 1881-1889
Box 187
Politics: Appointments: Miscellaneous, 1873-1889 and undated
Box 187
Politics: Cabinet Position for Mahone (proposed), 1889
Box 187
Politics: Canvassing, 1880 August-1881, October
Box 187
Politics: Canvassing, 1880-1883, September
(7 folders)
Box 188
Politics: Canvassing, 1883 September-1889 October,
(5 folders)
Box 189
Politics: Canvassing: Black Churches and Ministers, 1883
Box 189
Politics: Canvassing: Black Ministers, 1889
Box 190
Politics:Canvassing: County and District Canvassers, 1888
(2 folders)
Box 190
Politics: Canvassing: Local Canvassers, 1885
Box 190
Politics: Canvassing: Schedules and Maps for Canvassers, 1882-1887
Box 190
Politics: Canvassing: Schedules of Canvassers, 1889
Box 190
Politics: Canvassing: Voters, Mild Democrats, 1887-1888
Box 190
Politics: Canvassing; Voters, Mild Democrats, 1887-1888
Box 191
Politics: Canvassing: Miscellaneous, 1888-1889 and undated
Box 191
Politics: Congressional Campaign Club, 1876 and undated
Box 191
Politics: Elections: County Electoral Officials, Recommendations for, 1880, 1882, 1888
Box 191
Politics: Elections: County Officers, 1883
Box 191
Politics: Elections: County Officers, 1883
Box 192
Politics: Elections: Frauds, 1882-1888
(6 folders)
Box 192
Politics: Elections: Frauds, 1889
(5 folders)
Box 193
Politics: Elections, Returns, 1879-1889 and undated
(5 folders)
Box 194
Politics: Tickets, 1885
Box 194
Politics: U.S. Commissioner: Recommendations for, 1884
Box 194
Politics: Miscellaneous, 1874-1885
Box 194
Politics: Financial Papers, 1883-1889 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 194
Politics: Financial Papers: Campaign, 1880, 1890 and undated
(7 folders)
Box 195
Politics: Financial Papers: Subscriptions to the National Commission's Reserve Fund, 1889-1890 and undated
Box 195
Politics: Mailing Lists, 1839-1884 and undated
Box 195
Politics: National Minute Men of America, 1882
Box 195
Politics: Navy Department, 1882-1883
Box 195
Politics: Post Office, 1882
Box 195
Politics: Post Office, 1883-1884
(2 folders)
Box 196
Politics: Post Office Book: W. R. Robinson's, undated
Box 196
Politics: Public Buildings and Grounds Committee, 1882-1887 and undated
Box 196
Politics: Republican Clubs, 1884-1889 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 196
Politics: Chairmen and Committees, 1884-1885
Box 196
Politics: Republican County Chairmen and Committees, 1885-1886 and undated
Box 196
Politics: Republican Party Leadership, undated
Box 197
Politics: Seed Distribution, 1881 January-1887 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 197
Politics: Speeches and Writings, 1887 and undated
Box 197
Politics: Speeches and Writings of Others, 1879-1885 and undated
Box 198
Politics: Spoils System, 1884-1885
Box 198
Politics: Tobacco Legislation, 1882-1886 and undated
Box 198
Politics: U.S. District and Circuit Courts for Western District of Virginia, 1882-1884 and undated
Box 198
Politics: Veterans, 1882-1885
Box 198
Politics: Virginia County, District, Precinct Meetings, 1875-1892 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 198
Politics: Virginia Debt, 1872-1891 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 198
Politics: Virginia State Convention: Delegates Conservative Convention Notebook, 1877
(2 folders)
Box 199
Politics: Virginia State Convention: Readjuster Delegates, 1880-1881
(3 folders)
Box 199
Politics: Virginia State Convention: Republican Congressional Convention, 1886
Box 199
Politics: Virginia State Convention: Roll of Delegates to State Republican Convention, 1892
Box 199
Politics: Printed Material, 1867-1881
(2 folders)
Box 199
Politics: Printed Material, 1882-1894 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 200
Politics: Miscellaneous, 1876-1885
Box 200
Politics: Miscellaneous, 1886-1892 and n.d
Box 201
Railroads: Financial Papers: Miscellaneous, 1873-1876 and undated
Box 201
Railroads: Specifications, 1872 and undated
Box 201
Railroads: Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio: General Information, 1875-1876 and undated
Box 201
Railroads: Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio: Financial Papers, 1870-1882 and undated
Box 201
Railroads: Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio: Legal Papers, 1870-1876 August
Box 201
Railroads: Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio: Legal Papers, 1876 September-1881 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 202
Railroads: Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio: Miscellaneous, 1867-1889 and undated
Box 202
Railroads: Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio: Clippings, 1876-1880
Box 202
Railroads: B-New York
Box 202
Railroads: Norfolk and Edenton
Box 202
Railroads: Norfolk and Petersburg: Financial Papers, 1853-1884 and undated
Box 202
Railroads: Norfolk and Petersburg: Legal Papers, 1861-1868 and undated
Box 202
Railroads: Norfolk and Petersburg: Clippings, 1853
Box 202
Railroads: Norfolk and W-N
Box 203
Railroads: Orange and Alexandria R.R. Co. 1849-1851
Box 203
Railroads: Petersburg Railroad Company, 1872-1873
Box 203
Railroads: R-Southern...
Box 203
Railroads: Southside R.R. Co., 1867-1877
Box 203
Railroads: Virginia and Kentucky, 1857-1876 and undated
Box 203
Railroads: Virginia and Tennessee Railroad Company, 1871-1874
Box 203
Railroads: Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad Company
Box 203
Railroads: Miscellaneous, 1852-1888 and undated
Box 203
Richmond Whig: Financial Papers, 1885-1880
(3 folders)
Box 203
Richmond Whig: Financial Papers, 1879 June-1875 December
(5 folders)
Box 204
Richmond Whig: Mailing List, 1877
Box 204
Roanoke Navigation Company, 1880-1892 and undated
Box 205
S. V. White and Co.
Box 205
Southwest Virginia Improvement Company, 1889-1890 and undated
Box 205
Virginia Military Institute, 1865-1881
Box 205
Miscellaneous, 1871-1889 and undated

Includes specifications for a fountain to be built in Mahone's honor, an obituary for Mahone's nine year old daughter, Elise, social invitations, unidentified photographs, architectural drawings, and a few other items.

One half of a container (.2 lin. ft.)
Box 205
Clippings, 1872-1892 and undated

Chiefly articles related to political issues and concerns in Virginia including the state debt and the rival political parties the Readjusters and Funders, many from the Richmond Whig. Also articles (1886) about John Goode of Virginia who was rejected by the United States Senate for Solicitor General of the United States and articles concerning Mahone in 1889 when he ran for governor of Virginia.

One half of a container (.2 lin. ft.)
Box 205

Scrapbooks, 1868-1889

41 vols. (10 lin. ft.)

Forty-one scrapbooks primarily containing clippings but also including circular letters, broadsides, and a few handwritten notes. In the container listing, the dates that have been given on the cover of the scrapbooks are noted. However, the period covered by the scrapbooks does not always match the dates that appear on the scrapbooks' covers.All but three are stored in boxes. The three not in boxes are oversized and shelved immediately after the boxed scrapbooks. Loose items found in the scrapbooks were placed in folders and are filed in the boxes with the scrapbooks.

Topics primarily concern local and state political matters in Virginia, many relating to Mahone. Among the chief topics are the rise of the Readjuster movement and early efforts to organize the Readjusters into a state political party; the state debt; the free school system; Virginia state, district, and county conventions; canvassing voters; Mahone's election to the United States Senate in 1880; the Danville Riot in 1883; support for Mahone to be appointed to a post in Benjamin Harrison's cabinet; Mahone's gubernatorial race in 1889; and the schism which developed in the Virginia Republican Party in the late 1880s. Many of the broadsides announce political speeches.

To a lesser degree, materials about railroads are also included, particularly materials relating to the controversial consolidation of railroads in Virginia and the financial difficulties of the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad.

No. 1B, 1870-1871, 1876, 1882
Box 206
No. 1B (folder)
Box 206
No. 2A, 1870
Box 206
No. 2B, 1871-1873
Box 206
No. 2B (folder)
Box 206
No. 3, 1866-1875
Box 207
No. 5, 1878-1881
Box 207
No. 6, 1879
Box 207
No. 7, 1877
Box 208
No. 7, (folder)
Box 208
No. 8, 1877
Box 208
No. 8 (folder)
Box 208
No. 9, 1879
Box 208
No. 9 (folder)
Box 208
No. 10, 1879
Box 209
No. 10 (folder)
Box 209
No. 11, 1880 Senatorial Scraps
Box 209
No. 12, 1880 "Funder Record"
Box 209
No. 13, 1880
Box 210
No. 13 (folder)
Box 210
No. 14, 1880
Box 210
No. 14 (folder)
Box 210
No. 15, 1880-1881 Public Debt, Vote of 1880
Box 211
No. 15 (folder)
Box 211
No. 16, 1880
Box 211
No. 17, 1880-1881
Box 211
No. 18, 1880-1881
Box 212
No. 19, 1881
Box 212
No. 19 (folder)
Box 212
No. 20, 1881
Box 212
No. 20 (folder)
Box 212
No. 21, 1881
Box 213
No. 21 (folder)
Box 213
No. 22, Campaign Documents 1881
Box 213
No. 22 (folder)
Box 213
No. 23 The Whig on Daniel 1881 [John W. Daniel member of the Funders]
Box 213
No. 24, 1881
Box 214
No. 25, 1881 Brown, Ga. [Joseph E. Brown Senator and Governor of Georgia]
Box 214
No. 26, 1881
Box 214
No. 27, Massey, 1882 [John E. Massey]
Box 214
No. 28, Liberal Movement, 1882
Box 215
No. 28 (folder)
Box 215
No. 29, 1882
Box 215
No. 30, 1882
Box 215
No. 30 (folder)
Box 215
No. 31, 1883 Danville Riot and Newspaper Comments
Box 216
No. 31 (folder)
Box 216
No. 32, Campaign 1884
Box 216
No. 32 (folder)
Box 216
No. 33, 1884-1885
Box 217
No. 33 (folder)
Box 217
No. 35, 1886
Box 217
No. 35 (folder)
Box 217
No. 36, 1887-1888
Box 217
No. 36
(2 folders)
Box 217
No. 37 1888 State Convention, Chicago Convention, Wise, Houston, Brady, etc.
Box 218
No. 37 (folder)
Box 218
No. 38, Campaign 1888
Box 218
No. 38
(2 folders)
Box 218
No. 40, 1889
Box 219
No. 40 (folder)
Box 219
No. 1a, 1868-1870
Box 220
No. 1a (folder)
Box 220
No. 34, Campaign Circulars of 1885
Box 221
No. 34 (folder)
Box 221
No. 39, 1889, Clippings relating to Cabinet Resolutions and c. from Counties and Cities
Box 221
No. 41 (folder)
Box 221
Nos. 41, 42-43, undated Three oversize scrapbooks, nos. 41, 42-43 are shelved at the end of the boxed scrapbooks
Box 221
Profile of Report of a Survey made by Maj. Walter Gwynn from Norfolk to Edenton, NC
Box 222
Chiefly maps, including those of railroad routes
(2 folders)
Oversize Cabinet OC:IV:1
Financial records of the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad and miscellaneous railroad and political papers
(4 folders)
Box 223
Miscellaneous political and railroad papers
(2 folders)
Box Oversz. Box 7

Historical Note

DateEvent(s)
1826, Dec. 1Born Monroe, Southhampton Co., Va.
1847Graduated from Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va.
1850Became Assistant Engineer of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad
1852Became Chief Engineer, Fredericksburg and Valley Plank Road Company
1855Married Otelia Butler
1861Became President and Chief Engineer of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad
1861Commissioned Brigadier General in the Confederate Army
1863Elected to the Virginia State Senate
1864Commanded unit known as "Mahone's Brigade" at the Battle of the Petersburg Crater
1865Simultaneously became President of both the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad and the South Side Railroad
1870Created the privately owned Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio Railroad (AMandO)
1877Defeated in seeking the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nomination
1879Organized and assumed leadership of the Readjuster Party in Virginia
1880Elected to the United States Senate and pledged his allegiance to the Republican Party
1882Became Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture
1886Ran unsuccessfully for reelection to the United States Senate
1889Ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Virginia on the Republican ticket
1895, Oct. 8Died in Washington, D.C. Buried in Petersburg, Va., where the Daughters of the Confederacy erected a monument to him

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

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

Provenance

The William Mahone Papers were placed on deposit in the Manuscript Department in 1930 and donated to Duke University in 1985 and 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by Janie C. Morris

Date Completed: 05/09/89

Last Updated: 04/11/2001

Encoded by Alvin Pollock, Stephen Miller, Mohammad Hutasuhut, and Ruth E. Bryan