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A. S. Williams III Americana Manuscript Collections

Guide to the John Forbes and Company land records W.0074


University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266

February 2014


This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-02-26T13:56-0600

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Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

John Forbes and Company land records

Unit ID:



University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama


0.4 Linear feet




The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Three journals recording land sales and transfers in southern Alabama, as well as memoranda and notes concerning the partners of this mercantile firm.


Forbes, John, 1769-1823


Panton, William, 1742-1801


Williams, A. S., III

Access Restrictions:


Acquisition Information:

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

General note

Title on phase box spine: History of Land Titles in Mobile with Particular Reference to Panton, Leslie and Company - with an Atlas - circa 1850

Preferred Citation:

John Forbes and Company land records, A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains three journals recording land sales and transfers of Panton, Leslie and Company (later John Forbes and Company) from 1799 to 1853. The brown journal contains maps of Mobile streets and a handwritten copy of an 1850 indenture agreement detailing the sale of land. The green journal contains entries describing the sale of land by John Innerarity and James Innerarity, the final owners of what had been the John Forbes and Company. It also contains a copy of William Panton's will written in 1793, as well as notes and memoranda written by John Forbes. The black and brown journal contains a list of purchases arranged by name and references a series of notebooks that are not contained within this collection.

Processing Information:

Processing Information note

Processed by Haley Aaron and Martha Bace, 2013

Biographical/Historical note

Established in 1783 by William Panton, John Leslie, and Thomas Forbes, the mercantile firm Panton, Leslie and Company traded extensively with Native American groups throughout the southeast. After several Native American tribes gave in to pressure to cede lands, Panton, Leslie, and Company acquired more than three million acres of land in what is now Alabama and Mississippi. Increasing Indian indebtedness to the Panton, Leslie, and Company resulted in a triangular scheme negotiated by the company and the U.S. government whereby the Indians would cede lands to the United States for cash, the Indians would use the cash to satisfy their debts to Panton, Leslie, and Company, and the company would then release it claims against the Indians. In addition to its Pensacola office, the company established a trading post in Mobile.

The company was renamed John Forbes and Company in 1804, managed by Thomas Forbes, John Forbes, William Simpson, and James Innerarity. Trade with Native American groups dwindled during this period, and the company struggled to respond to the increasing territorial tensions between the United States and Spain.

In 1818, the company was managed by brothers James and John Innerarity Jr., and trade was restricted to Pensacola and Mobile. By 1830, James Innerarity was the only remaining partner in the company, and the company's Pensacola office ceased operation. The company ceased operation following James Innerarity's death in 1847.

Sources: Lewis, Herbert J. Encyclopedia of Alabama. "Panton, Leslie and Company."

Related Archival Materials note

The University of West Florida's Pace Library contains an extensive collection of papers of the Panton, Leslie, and Company. See Panton, Leslie, and Company Collection, 1739-1847, UWF University Archives and West Florida History Center, University of West Florida.


Forbes, Thomas, -1808 (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Innerarity, James (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Innerarity, John, 1783-1854 (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

John Forbes and Company. (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Panton, Leslie and Company. (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

Williams, A. S., III (local)

Actions and defenses (lcsh)

Florida (lcsh)

Indentures (aat)

Land titles--Registration and transfer (lcsh)

Mobile (Ala.) (lcsh)

Real estate (Local)

Journal of land records with hand drawn maps (brown journal) Item 1 Box W0074.01

Journal of land records, notes, etc. (green journal) Item 2 Box W0074.01

Journal of ledger records (brown/black journal) Item 3 Box W0074.01