Menu

Guide to the Dismal Swamp Land Company records

Summary

Collection comprised of 9 boxes of company records and 5 ledgers of organizational material of the Dismal Swamp Land Company, a shingle production company in existence between 1763-1879. Letter books, receipts spanning the entirety of the company's existence, and legal documents make up the bulk of the collection.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.10175
Title
Dismal Swamp Land Company records
Extent
4 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English.

Collection Overview

The Dismal Swamp Land Company records consist of company records spanning the 17th-19th centuries, with the bulk falling in the mid-to-late 19th century. The majority of records consist of financial documentation, including receipts for the purchase of equipment by the Company and numerous receipts for customers detailing quantities and prices of shingles purchased. Monthly ledgers and an account book are also present. The records include legal documents surrounding surveys of the Dismal Swamp, indentures, wills, and several powers of attorney for shareholder meetings. Incoming correspondence intended for the Company's presidents, mainly from employees and shareholders, makes up the majority of the Correspondence series.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Materials arranged by topic, and then by date.

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

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 & Permissions

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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item.] Dismal Swamp Land Company, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Financial, 1763 -1879 and undated

1 Linear Feet

Financial records of the Dismal Swamp Land Company, including bills of sale, monthly ledgers, insurance certificates, and dividends awarded to stockholders. A substantial portion of the series consists of receipts of payment to the company and its payments to various stockholders, vendors, and legal courts.

Chronological order.

Early shareholder lists, 1764-1811
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 1
 1763-1829
Box 1
Folder 2
Account book, 1795
(1 folders, Also includes letter book dating from 1812-1813.)
Box 1
Folder 3
Letter book, 1812-1843
Box 1
Folder 4
 1830-1834
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 5
Additional receipts, 1830-1835
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 6
 1835-1836
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 7
Account book, 1837
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 8
 1837-1838
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 9
Additional receipts, 1836-1838
(1 folders)
Box 1
Folder 10
 1839
(1 folders)
Box 2
Folder 11
Additional receipts, 1839
(1 folders)
Box 2
Folder 12
 1840-1843
(3 folders)
Box 2
Folder 14
Box 2
Folder 13
Box 2
Folder 15
Additional receipts, 1840-1843
(1 folders)
Box 2
Folder 16
 1844-1848
(2 folders)
Box 2
Folder 18
Box 2
Folder 17
 1848-1849
(1 folders)
Box 3
Folder 19
Additional receipts, 1843-1849
(2 folders)
Box 3
Folder 20
Box 3
Folder 21
 1850-1860
(3 folders)
Box 3
Folder 23
Box 3
Folder 22
Box 3
Folder 24
Additional receipts, 1850-January 1851
(1 folders)
Box 3
Folder 25
Additional receipts, January 1851-July 1852
(1 folders)
Box 3
Folder 26
Additional receipts, August 1852-1859
(1 folders)
Box 3
Folder 27
 1860-1870
(4 folders)
Box 4
Folder 29
Box 4
Folder 30
Box 4
Folder 28
Box 4
Folder 31
Additional receipts, 1860-1869
(3 folders)
Box 4
Folder 32
Box 4
Folder 33
Box 4
Folder 34
Additional receipts, 1869-1870
(1 folders)
Box 5
Folder 35
 1870-1879
(5 folders)
Box 5
Folder 38
Box 5
Folder 39
Box 5
Folder 36
Box 5
Folder 37
Box 5
Folder 40
Additional receipts, 1870-1879
(1 folders)
Box 5
Folder 41
Undated
(1 folders)
Box 5
Folder 42
 1779-1810
Box 9
Oversize-folder 1
 1836-1837
Box 9
Oversize-folder 2
 1838-1839
Box 9
Oversize-folder 3

2. Legal, 1665-1879 and undated

Legal papers of the Dismal Swamp Land Company. Includes separate folders related to Powers of Attorney for annual meetings and last wills and testaments for investors in the Company. Series also includes indentures, court cases filed by and against the Company, and legal guardian documentation.

 1665-1832
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 43
 1833-1855
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 44
 1856-1879 and undated
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 45
Wills, 1749-1805
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 46
Wills, 1805-1866
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 47
Powers of attorney, 1825-1836
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 48
Powers of attorney, 1837-1845
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 49
Powers of attorney, 1846-1871
(1 folders)
Box 6
Folder 50
 1792-1816
Box 9
Oversize-folder 4
1688-1791
(1 folders)
Box 7
Folder 51
 1792-1813
(1 folders)
Box 7
Folder 52
 1816-1819
(3 folders)
Box 7
Folder 55
Box 7
Folder 54
Box 7
Folder 53
 1820-1851
(2 folders)
Box 7
Folder 56
Box 7
Folder 57
 1853-1870
(3 folders)
Box 8
Folder 58
Box 8
Folder 59
Box 8
Folder 60
 1871-1879 and undated
(2 folders)
Box 8
Folder 61
Box 8
Folder 62
Photocopies, 1794- circa 1855
(1 folders)
Box 8
Folder 64
Other--family tree, Martha Fort
Box 9
Oversize-folder 5

5. Ledgers

5 items
M:911
Volume M:911
M:912
Volume M:912
M:913
Volume M:913
M:914
Volume M:914
S:910
Volume S:910
 

Historical Note

The Dismal Swamp Land Company was founded by George Washington, Thomas Walker, William Nelson, Thomas Nelson, Robert Burwell, John Robinson, Fielding Lewis, Anthony Bacon, John Lyme, Samuel Gist, Robert Tucker, and William Waters. The number of shareholders grew as original owners divested their interests and family inherited stakes. The Company operated between 1763-1879 and was originally interested in agricultural pursuits (including rice cultivation), but the sale of cypress shingles and staves proved more profitable. The company went under as a result of post-Civil War economic conditions and concurrent decrease in the shingle trade.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Dismal Swamp Land Company Records was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1939.

Processing Information

Processed by Liz Adams, December, 2015.