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Frederick R. Cotten and Elizabeth (Coffield) Cotten moved from North Carolina to Tallahassee in 1847 and established the Burgesstown labor farm. Their daughter, Sallie, married businessman Henry Sanford Elliot in 1876, and gave birth to Fred Cotten Elliot on April 13, 1878. Fred C. Elliot received a degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901. He became chief engineer of the Everglades drainage project in 1913 and served as director of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund from 1929 to 1958. His wife, Carrie E. Elliot, was involved in the Tallahassee Garden Club and the Daughters of the Confederacy. She helped create the Tallahassee Live Oak Trail, a scenic route that preserved many of the city's oldest and largest trees.
The collection consists of the personal papers and business records of the Elliot family, including Frederick R. Cotten, Henry S. Elliot, Sallie Cotten (Elliot), Fred C. Elliot, and Carrie Elliot. It contains correspondence, deeds, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
The Frederick R. Cotten materials, dating from the 19th century, include a card advertising a debate about the participation of Black men in politics and a plantation journal book, which lists 19 enslaved Black individuals and records the weights of cotton bails picked at the Burgesstown labor farm in Leon County in 1860. The recorded names are Albert, Daniel, Jo, Fred, Gerry, Frank, Martha, Lucy, Maryan, Betty, Mariah, Priss, Pris, Winny[?], Sally, Lisey, [?]iny, Mary, and May[?]. The journal also contains a speech announcing Cotten's candidacy for the House of Representatives of the First Confederate Congress. Also included in these materials is a receipt for the $15,000 purchase of 35 enslaved men and women by Cotten from Gary Whitaker Sr. of Halifax County, North Carolina on August 29, 1837. The individuals named in this receipt are as follows: Old Penny, Wilkes, Enoch, Molly, Sarry, Sylvia, Albert, Nancy, Rosetta, Betsy, John, Franklin, Jacob Sr., young Penny, Jerry, Frederick, Penelope, Lucy, Jenny, Lydia, Jacob Jr., Guni[?], Seaborn, Susan, Washington, Aqa, George, Martha, Sarah Louisa, Winna, Mourning, Scipio, Davy, Partheena, and Margaret. One folder contains a copy of a letter written by Lenn, an enslaved man in Lunnenburg City, Virginia, to his sister Memory in Tallahassee, Florida, dated November 30, 1855.
The Henry S. Elliot papers include business and personal correspondence dating 1860-1909, land deeds, and receipts. There is a notebook of Sallie Cotten (Elliot), which contains letters written from boarding school and details the young girl's introduction to social life. The Fred C. Elliot papers consist mainly of his writings relating to the Everglades drainage and newspaper tributes that list his accomplishments. Carrie Elliot's papers include several garden club publications; and letters, petitions, clippings and circulars related to the Live Oak Trail Society. Some of the Elliot family memorabilia includes a World War II bond poster and ration coupons; and gubernatorial programs for the inaugurations of Florida governors Caldwell (1945), Warren (1949), and Collins (1957).
The photographs are of Fred Elliot and his family. Included are images of Fred Elliot with Governor Hardee in the 1920s, surveying the Everglades in the early 1900s, at the Virginia Military Institute, various portraits, and with W.V. Knott in the 1950s. Famed photographer Alvan S. Harper took many of the photographs.
Folder listing available. 0
Additional Physical Form:
Select images from this collection have been digitized and are available on the Florida Memory web site: https://www.floridamemory.com/discover/photographs/
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
For more on the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund and the Everglades draining, see Record Group 593. Also see Collections M75-78, Cotten Family Papers, 1840-1925, and M82-41, the Fred Elliot Everglades Drainage Photographs, 1913-1925. For more of Alvan Harper's images, see Collections M87-30, the Alvan Harper Photograph Collection, 1884-1910, and M82-52, Tallahassee Photographs, 1884 -1939, among others. For more information on the letter to Memory, see Collection M97-11, Reminiscences about Aunt Memory.