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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Watkins Family Papers MSS.1530


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266



This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2012-09-11T09:04-0500

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Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

2000; 2012
Collection Title:

Watkins Family papers

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


1.0 Linear feet 272 items




A collection of papers, most of them relating to the business dealings of this Marengo County, Alabama family of cotton planters and slaveowners.


Allen, John Grey, 1810-1891


Watkins, Brackett O.


Watkins, James L.


Wilkins, Eveline

Scope and Contents note

An extensive collection of papers, relating principally to Brackett O., and James L. and Eveline Watkins. They are arranged in three series relating to: the estates of James L. and Eveline; the estate of Brackett O.; and material pertaining to various members of the Watkins family. The majority of the papers concern the business transactions of James L. Watkins and the estate of Brackett O. Watkins. There are a limited number of business and household receipts and other documents belonging to the estate of Eveline Watkins.

The collection contains business accounts, bills and receipts for farm equipment, supplies, and household purchases, records of cotton sales, records of slaves, tax receipts, bonds, a will, a legal brief, land appraisals, inventories, and surveys, personal and business correspondence, inheritance papers, agreements, and a court summons. All papers are originals.

The papers of of James L. Watkins' estate reflect his transactions as a cotton planter and merchant. The collection is void of any personal correspondence. John Gray Allen was executor of James L. Watkins's estate and the bulk of the papers are addressed to him.

The material concerning Brackett O. Watkins' estate sheds light his activities as a cotton planter. There is a limited amount of information dealing with his personal affairs.

Preferred Citation:

Watkins Family papers, W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama.

Acquisition Information:

gift of Mrs. Ruth S. Allen, 1979.

Usage Restrictions:

Publication in any form of any part of these papers is forbidden without the written consent of the donor. Contact the University Curator for further information.

Access Restrictions:


Biographical/Historical note

James Watkins (1770–September 1, 1840) was born near Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina. He married Phebe DeJarnette ( - September 13, 1840). They had eight children: John, Brackett O., James L., Munford D., Christopher, Culpepper, and Jermina (Ingram). John, James and Brackett settled in Alabama. John lived in Wilcox County, while James and Brackett eventually settled in nearby Marengo County, where they both became became cotton planters.

Brackett Watkins (ca. 1813–ca. 1842) married Dolly Curtis on December 4, 1834 in Marengo County, Alabama. She was the daughter of Samuel Curtis, a Revolutionary War veteran, and his wife, Elizabeth. Both Brackett and Dolly Watkins died by the summer of 1842. Their children were raised by Joseph Agee and his third wife, Elizabeth Curtis, a sister of Dolly.

James L. Watkins (September 16, 1808–October 28, 1847) married Eveline Dumas (February 21, 1811–October 14, 1853) of North Carolina on February 24, 1829 in Wilcox County, Alabama. James L. Watkins made his living as a merchant and cotton planter in Marengo County. Eveline Watkins apparently maintained a separate estate with real property valued at $2000 in 1850. James Watkins was survived by Eveline and several children: Jeminia Q., wife of Reuben Pickett; Seraphina, wife of Isaac Dansby; Mary A., wife of Vastine J. Pope; Helen M. Watkins; Calvin H. Watkins; William H. Watkins; James D. Watkins; and Napoleon B. Watkins. John Gray Allen, a close friend of Brackett O. and James L., was the administrator of James L. and Eveline Watkins's estates (Allen had purchased land from B.O. Watkins in 1849). He later married Nancy Roe Kennon Curtis Boatright, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Curtis and sister of B.O. Watkins' wife, Dolly.


Daily Life and Family (local)

Southern Life and Culture (local)

Estate of James L. and Mrs. Eveline Watkins Box 4114

Scope and Contents note

This series includes business and financial papers, as well as documents concerning the real and personal property (including slaves) of James L. and Eveline Watkins.

Components in Detail

Business Papers Box 4114

E.K. Carlisle & Smith Co. of Mobile, Alabama. (1849-1856) 9 items. Letters and receipts from E.K. Carlisle & Smith Co. concerning market value of cotton and subsequent sales. Chronologically arranged. Box 4114 Folder 1

Cotton Sales (1847-1859) 25 items. Estate administration regarding sales of cotton crops. Chronologically arranged. Receipts from Rogers and Pope of Mobile Ala. for cotton sales. Chronologically arranged. Miscellaneous cotton receipts and market information. Chronologically arranged. Receipt book for cotton sales, business accounts, and notes Cotton receipts of Mrs. Eveline Watkins from G. F. Watson & Co. Chronologically arranged. Box 4114 Folder 2

Business Correspondence-Incoming (1849-1863) 5 items. Letters to John G. Allen, executor of the Estaet of James L. Watkins. Alphabetically arranged. Box 4114 Folder 3

Financial Documents Box 4114

Notes and business receipts, 1836-1858. Box 4114 Folder 4

Notes Payable Box 4114 Folder 5

Tax Receipts Box 4114 Folder 6

Personal receipts Box 4114 Folder 7

Real and Personal Property of James L. and Mrs. Eveline Watkins Box 4114

Estate Inventory and Appraisal, 1847-1849 Box 4114 Folder 8

Land papers, 1831-1856 Box 4114 Folder 9

Property of Eveline Watkins, 1852 Box 4114 Folder 10

Legal Documents Box 4114

Inheritance Papers Box 4114 Folder 11

Agreements Box 4114 Folder 12

Bonds Box 4114 Folder 13

Negro Slaves Box 4114

Negroes Belonging to the Estate of James L. Watkins Box 4114 Folder 14

Negro Purchases Box 4114 Folder 15

Estate of Brackett O. Watkins Box 4114

Scope and Contents note

This series includes the business and personal papers, including slave purchases, for Brackett O. Watkins.

Components in Detail

Business Box 4114

Business Receipts, 1827-1848 Box 4114 Folder 16

Legal Papers Box 4114 Folder 17

Notes Payable Box 4114 Folder 18

Land Surveys Box 4114 Folder 19

Negro Purchases (1834, 1836, 1840, 1841) Box 4114 Folder 20


Personal Correspondence-Outgoing-B.O. Watkins Box 4114 Folder 21

Personal receipts-1835-1841-B.O. Watkins Box 4114 Folder 22

Watkins Family Box 4114

Scope and Contents note

This series includes some family correspondence, as well as legal papers, receipts, and genealogical information of the family.

Components in Detail

Family Correspondence Box 4114

William H. Watkins-Personal Correspondence-Outgoing Box 4114 Folder 23

Miscellaneous Personal Correspondence Box 4114 Folder 24

Legal Papers Box 4114

James Watkins Will (1839) Box 4114 Folder 25

Brief Obadiah Dumas vs. James Watkins (1839) Box 4114 Folder 26

Brief-Lawsuit (1845) Box 4114 Folder 26A

Brief-Lawsuit (1845) Box 4114 Folder 26B

Receipts Box 4114 Folder

Receipts-Miscellaneous Box 4114 Folder 27

Envelopes Box 4114

Envelopes Box 4114 Folder 28

Genealogical Information Box 4114

6 items. Gallion, Alabama. Box 4114 Folder 29

Miscellaneous Legal Instruments Box 4114 Folder 30