Guide to the Harden Family Papers, 1772-1940


Collection includes correspondence, diaries, account books, daybooks, and legal and other papers, of Edward Harden, planter, lawyer, and politician, of Athens, Ga.; of his son, Edward Randolph Harden, lawyer and politician; and of other members of their family. The material concerns U.S. and Georgia politics, Cherokee Indian affairs (1840s), military recruitment in the Civil War, the 44th Georgia Infantry, military operations in the Confederacy, Reconstruction and economic conditions, the Republican Party in the south, social life and customs, genealogy, and other matters. Also includes a diary kept by Evelyn Harden Jackson during the last months of the war referring to the general alarm preceding Sherman's activities in Georgia.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Harden family papers
4 Linear Feet, 6 boxes, 2,531 items including 27 volumes.
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English

Collection Overview

This collection contains political, family, and business papers of Edward Harden (1784-1849), planter and politician; of his second wife, Mary Ann Elizabeth (Randolph) Harden (1794-1874); of their son, Edward Randolph Harden (1815-1884), telegraph operator and lawyer; of their daughter, Mary Elizabeth Greenhill Harden (1811-1887); and of Edward Randolph Harden's children.

Papers of Edward Harden include a diary with information concerning the operation of 'Silk Hope,' a rice plantation near Savannah, with inventory of equipment and work done during 1827; lists of slaves; courtship letters to Mary Ann Elizabeth Randolph; letters to his wife about farm work to be done in his absence; letters of Peter Randolph, father-in-law of Harden; letters to his wife while in the Georgia legislature in 1825; and letters and papers pertaining to his duties as counsel for the Cherokee Indians, U.S. marshal in Georgia, 1843, and collector of the port of Savannah, 1844. Letters in 1846-1847, from Washington, D.C., while Harden served as Indian Commissioner, concern Washington social life and customs, office seekers, bureaucracy, James K. Polk and Sarah (Childress) Polk, and Dolly (Payne) Todd Madison. Also included are letters from Howell Cobb, concerning his efforts to obtain political offices for Harden; legal papers consisting chiefly of depositions, letters, and notes pertaining to Harden's law practice; letters relative to the course of study and tuition fees of Harden's daughter, Mary, while at the Latouche School in Savannah; letters connected with the activities of the Georgia Historical Society; and information regarding Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island. Other papers consist of an account by Harden of his appointment to and removal from the collectorship of the port of Savannah; receipts; a few account books and diaries; deeds, letters of dismissal, and other papers pertaining to the Mars Hill Baptist Church; and references to various residents of Athens, Georgia, where Harden conducted a law school after 1830.

Letters of Mary Ann Elizabeth (Randolph) Harden are to her husband; to her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Greenhill Harden, while the latter attended school in Savannah; and to her son, Edward Randolph Harden, while he attended the University of Georgia, Athens, 1829-1830. Papers, 1849-1860, chiefly concern her efforts to get land warrants for her husband's services in the War of 1812, and papers, 1865-1874, deal with her attempts to obtain a pension on the same grounds.

Letters of Edward Randolph Harden from 1854 to 1856 describe his duties as judge of the first court in the territory of Nebraska and conditions there. Letters, 1859-ca. 1870, of Edward Randolph Harden, of his daughter Anna, and of other children of Mary Ann Elizabeth (Randolph) Harden, reflect the poverty of the family and conditions of the time. Civil War letters of Edward Randolph Harden describe the activities of the army while he served as an officer of the Georgia state troops, civilian life, and commodity prices. Postwar letters concern his removal from Rome to Cuthbert and later to Quitman, all in Georgia; and his desultory practice of law supplemented by storekeeping and, in 1870, by work as a census enumerator.

There are also letters of the related Jackson family, including correspondence between Asbury Hull Jackson and his family describing his service in the 44th Georgia Regiment, the fighting around Richmond in 1862, and the battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. Clippings concern the formation of the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 10th, and 16th Georgia Regiments in the early days of the war.

Among the letters to Mary Elizabeth Greenhill Harden is a proposal of marriage from John Howard Payne, author of "Home Sweet Home!" whom she met when he visited Georgia in the interest of the Cherokee Indians. According to tradition her father refused to allow the match. The collection also contains other proposals, all of which she refused; and her diary, 1853-1883.

Throughout the collection are frequent letters from Henrietta Jane (Harden) -Wayne, daughter of Edward Harden by his first marriage and wife of James Moore Wayne's nephew. Her letters give detailed accounts of life in Savannah and the people there, including mention of James Moore Wayne (1790-1867).

Among the correspondents are John Macpherson Berrien, Sr., Benjamin Harris Brewster, Joseph Emerson Brown, Howell Cobb, William Crosby Dawson, Hugh Anderson Haralson, Benjamin Harvey Hill, Amos Kendall, John Henry Lumpkin, John Howard Payne, Richard Rush, Thomas Jefferson Rusk, Thomas Spalding, Wil]iam Henry Stiles, Israel Keech Tefft, George Michael Troup, James Moore Wayne, and Lewis Williams.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], in the Harden Family Papers Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1772-1829
(9 folders)
Box 1
Correspondence, 1830-1839
(9 folders)
Box 2
Correspondence, 1840-1856
(6 folders)
Box 3
Correspondence, 1847-1865
(7 folders)
Box 4
Correspondence, 1866-1930 and undated
(9 folders)
Box 5
Correspondence, undated
(2 folders)
Box 6
Bills and Legal papers, 1840-1899
(3 folders)
Box 6
Music book, undated
(1 folder)
Box 6
Clippings, undated
(1 folder)
Box 6
Misc. papers, undated
(1 folder)
Box 6
Volumes list, undated
(1 folder)
Box 6
Account book, 1800-1805
Volume F:1631
Account book, 1809-1841
Volume M:1632
Account book, 1826-1828
Volume S:1633
Account book, 1831-1864
Volume F:1634
Account book, 1837-1841
Volume S:1635
Account book, 1843
Volume M:5823
Bank book, 1830
Volume S:5822
Catalog of law books, 1834
Volume S:1636
Commonplace book, 1843-1887
Volume M:1637
Commonplace book, undated
Volume S:1638
Diary, 1835
Volume S:1639
Diary, 1839
Volume S:1640
Diary and account book, 1834
Volume M:1641
Diary and account book, 1834-1849
Volume S:1642
Diary and account book, 1835-1836
Volume S:1643
Diary, accounts, and notes, 1844
Volume S:1644
Diary, 1853-1883

Diary of Mary Elisa Greenhill Harden. Also used slightly as a commonplace book.

Volume S:1649
Legal notebook, 1843

Notebook of Edward Harden, Athens, Georgia.

Volume S:1647
Legal notebook, 1883-1884

Notebook of Edward Harden. Contains other notes besides legal.

Volume S:1646
Legal notebook, 1831
Volume L:1645
Notebook, 1837

School notebook of Mary Harden.

Volume M:5328
Notebook, undated

Notebook of Mary Elisa Greenhill Harden.

Volume L:1651
Notebook, music, etc., ca. 1840

Notebook of Mary Elisa Greenhill Harden.

Volume L:1650
Ledger, 1846-1847

Ledger of William Preston Harden (1821-1885). Includes scattered settlements at later dates.

Volume L:1652
Cashbook and cotton accounts, 1868-1876

Cashbook of Asbury Hull Jackson of Clark County, Georgia. Cashbook entries stop in 1872.

Volume L:1927
Receipt book, 1807-1810
Volume S:1648

Historical Note

Edward Harden (1784-1849), was a planter and politician in antebellum Georgia. He managed a rice plantation near Savannah called Silk Hope. He moved to Athens, Georgia, where he conducted a law school after 1830. During his career he served as counsel for the Cherokee Indians, U.S. marshal in Georgia, 1843, and collector of the port of Savannah, 1844. Mary Ann Elizabeth (Randolph) Harden (1794-1874) was his second wife. Their son, Edward Randolph Harden (1815-1884), attended the University of Georgia, Athens, 1829-1830 and later was a telegraph operator and lawyer in the Athens area along with their daughter, Mary Elizabeth Greenhill Harden (1811-1887).

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The Harden Family Papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library between 1933 and 1951.

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Processed by: Rubenstein Library staff.

Finding aid written by: Bob Malme