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Edmund Cottle Weeks had a colorful career in Florida. He was a native of Massachusetts born March 10, 1829. Weeks' early education was spent at private schools in Connecticut. His father was a merchant captain who took Edmund on several trans-Atlantic voyages while still a boy prior to his enrollment for a year at Yale College. Weeks then studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City but after three years failed to finish the course there as well.
Weeks went to sea and three years experience brought him the billet of ship's Master for the firm of Wallace Sherwood and Company. While acting in this capacity the Civil War began and Weeks enlisted and was commissioned as an acting officer in the United States Navy. He was assigned to the USS Pensacola where he received positive mention in reports. Ship's repairs put Weeks ashore for service which included leading raiding parties and amphibious operations in Louisiana throughout 1863.
Union officials at Key West raised a regiment of US volunteers, 2nd Florida Cavalry, for service in Florida and tapped Weeks as the commander for this organization. War Department bureaucratic problems held up his Army commission. This problem created a period for dissent to arise in the regiment which had a large portion of its muster rolls filled with former Confederate officers and soldiers. The resulting problems culminated in a court martial for Weeks who was charged with murdering a soldier of his command. Weeks was exonerated but the charge would follow him for the rest of his days in Florida.
He attempted to run a cotton plantation in the vicinity of Tallahassee but he lacked any talent to replace the use of slave labor with free and make the plantation a going concern. The loans required to try this operation would also be a debated point in Weeks' career with many locals claiming he had defaulted on several loans.
Throughout these problems Weeks had maintained a Republican political stance and garnered the attention of powerful Republican politicians, Harrison Reed and Ossian Hart, in the reconstruction government. The various problems of contention among Republicans and Democrats in Florida made for fluid changes in officials as they jockeyed for position. In one battle Reed lost his lieutenant governor and appointed E.C. Weeks to that post.
This appointment created a fire storm and Weeks left the position. He continued to be active in state politics at the county and state levels serving as a Leon County commissioner and sheriff as well as as Leon County Representative to the Florida House of Representatives for several terms. He also conducted unsuccessful campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate.
After U.S. Army forces supporting reconstruction were withdrawn the Republican government, and its officials, fell to the Democratic Party. The Army had provided the former slaves with protection while they exercised the right to vote and other civil rights. These people were now exposed to the backlash created by the loss of the war and the armed occupation that followed.
In 1890 the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Florida resigned in frustration at the inability to enforce the laws of the United States in Florida. Weeks was appointed Marshal by President W.H. Harrison. Weeks carried out his duties in conflict with the people of Florida, his home in Tallahassee was used as a refuge several time by freedmen and whites seeking sanctuary from mobs, and even with his deputies one of whom accused him of non-payment. As had been the case in the Army before Weeks was exonerated of this charge.
Weeks married Mary Jones of London, England in the 1850's, but she died in Tallahassee in 1888. His second marriage took place in Tallahassee to the widow Elizabeth Hunt Craft on June 6, 1890. She had previously been married to Gilbert D. Craft, who died in 1883. Craft had served with the 109th New York Volunteers. His estate included business rental property in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
In 1903 Theodore Roosevelt appointee Weeks Surveyor General of Florida. Two years later Weeks ill health forced him to resign the post and he died in Tallahassee on April 12, 1907.
The collection contains the papers of Major Edmund Cottle Weeks and his wife, Elizabeth Hunt Weeks, from 1854 to 1935. The majority of E. C. Weeks' papers relate to his term as United States Marshal, 1890-1895. These records include official correspondence and record books: civil, execution, and criminal dockets; ledgers; accounts; jury lists; and subpoenas. There is also some of his personal correspondence from 1867 to 1905.
The rest of the collection consists of correspondence, photographs, and genealogies of the Weeks, Craft, Hunt, Fish, and related families. It includes personal and business correspondence, 1891-1935, of Mrs. Elizabeth H. Weeks. The business correspondence relates to her interests in copper mines in New Mexico and property in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Information on the copper mines includes reports, survey materials, and drawings.
There is also one photograph album which belonged to Elizabeth Weeks' first husband, Gilbert D. Craft, who was a member of the 109th New York Volunteers during the Civil War. It contains photographs of fellow officers.
Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
The documents were found in the attic of the donor's house, where the Weeks Family once lived.
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields:
Hunt family. Fish family. Weeks family. Craft family. Craft, Gilbert D., d. 1883
United States. Army. --New York Volunteers, 109th (1861-1865) United States. District Court (Florida : Northern District) United States. Army. --Florida Cavalry Regiment, 2nd (1861-1865)
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) United States marshals. Women History 19th century Florida Women History 20th century Florida Civil War (Fla.)
Tallahassee (Fla.) Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Florida Genealogy