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The Elliot family played an important role in the political and social life of Tallahassee during the early 20th century. Fred Cotten Elliot was an civil engineer, earning his degree from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901. He became chief engineer in 1913 of the Everglades drainage project 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 was involved in founding the Tallahassee Live Oak Trail, a scenic route which preserved many of the city's oldest and largest trees.
The Elliot family is related to the Cotten family, through Fred Elliot's mother, Sallie Cotten Elliot. She was the daughter of Frederick R. and Elizabeth Coffield Cotten, both of whom moved to Tallahassee from North Carolina in 1847. In 1876, Sallie Cotten married Henry Sanford Elliot, a Florida businessman with real estate interests in Leon County.
The collection consists of the papers of the Elliot family from 1851 to 1957. It consists of correspondence, deeds, photographs, memorabilia, and newspaper clippings. The Henry S. Elliot papers include business and personal correspondence, 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 which 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 LeRoy Collins (1957).
The Frederick R. Cotten materials, dating from the 19th century, include a card, which advertises a debate about the Reconstruction issue of the Negro's role in politics; and a plantation journal book, which lists slaves and records the weights of cotton bails picked at the Burgesstown Plantation in Leon County in 1860. The journal also contains a speech announcing Cotten's candidacy for the House of Representatives of the First Confederate Congress. There are also slave records, which consist of a bill of sale for $15,000 for slaves sold to Cotten in 1851.
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. Also, there are several photographs of Fred Elliot's sister, grandparents,and other Elliot family members. Many of the photographs were taken by famed photographer Alvan S. Harper.
Folder listing available. Searchable index for selected images in this collection available on the Florida Photographic Collection web site at
Additional Physical Form:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
See Record Group 593 for more on the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund as well as the Everglades drainage. Also see M82-41, the Fred Elliot Everglades drainage photographs, 1913-1925. For more Alvan Harper images, see M87-30, the Alvan Harper Photograph collection 1884-1910, and M82-52, Tallahassee photographs, 1884 -1939, among others.
Selected images are published on the Florida Photographic Collection web site at