See also UPA microfilm:

MF 5750, Series E, Reel 13

Hilliard (Mrs. Isaac H.) Diary

(Mss. 178, 762)


Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

Reformatted 2007

Contents of Inventory

Biographical/Historical Note


Scope and Content Note


Collection Description(s)


Index Terms


Container List


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1 volume

Geographic locations.

Chicot Co.; Ark.; Jackson, Miss.; Bayou Lafourche, La.; Henry Co.; Ky.; East Carroll Parish, La.; Vicksburg, Miss.; Baton Rouge, La.; New Orleans, La.

Inclusive dates.

1849-1860, 1866

Bulk dates.





The diary of Mrs. Isaac H. Hilliard (nee Miriam Brannin) depicts plantation life from an affluent woman's perspective in Chicot County, Arkansas. A typescript copy is available.



Restrictions on access.

If microfilm is available, photocopies must be made from microfilm.

Related collections.

Isaac H. Hilliard and Family Papers, Mss. 1236, 1347


Copyright of the original materials is retained by descendants of the creators in accordance with U.S. copyright law.


Mrs. Isaac H. Hilliard Diary, Mss. 178, 762, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack location(s).

U:239; Mss. Mf:H

Also available on:

Microfilm 5750, Series E, Reel 13

Microfiche 2729

Biographical/Historical Note

Mrs. Isaac H. Hilliard (nee Miriam Brannin) originally of New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky, lived with her husband and son (Isaac Henry, Jr.) on a plantation in Grand Lake, Chicot County, Arkansas. Mrs. Hilliard was related by marriage to Leonidas Polk who served as Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, 1841-1861, at which time he was appointed Major-General in the Confederate army.

Scope and Content Note

The collection is made up of the diary (manuscript and typescript) of Mrs. Isaac H. Hilliard. Mrs. Hilliard describes family holidays, social occasions, visitors, steamboat travel, and various trips to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky. Daily household and plantation activities are discussed, such as descriptions of meals, fishing and hunting parties, and difficulties with slaves. Extended visits with her sister-in-law, Mary Hilliard Hardeman, near Jackson, Mississippi, and with Leonidas Polk at Leighton Plantation on Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana, are recorded. Mrs. Hilliard also mentions her visits to the Mississippi State Legislature and state penitentiary in Jackson. At the rear of the diary, Isaac H. Hilliard, Jr. recorded his tuition expenses (1866) while attending Kentucky Military Institute.

Collection Description




Entries written on Christmas Eve of past three months: Shopping in Louisville; trip from New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky, to Grand Lake, Chicot County, Arkansas, telling of companions encountered during the trip; describes conditions found on the plantation; Mrs. George Polk and children arrive for a visit; describes activities on Christmas Day (mentions children referring to Aunt Miriam).

Dec. 26, 1849-Jan. 23, 1850

Start of daily entries of diary. Mentions Mr. Raynor, Colonel R. Taylor, Mr. Polk, and Brother John and tells of sewing for the children; activities on New Year's Day consist of a candy pull and tea party; mentions men killing deer; other visitors including sister Mary; brother John sold his plantation to Mr. Gass (Gassoway, East Carroll Parish) on his way to Kentucky; mention wedding of sister, Phrome, to Mr. Summers; makes plans to visit Bishop Leonidas Polk with her sister-in-law, Sally, and brother-in-law, George W. Polk (brother of Leonidas); records menus for meals and guests for dinner; Mary Durfres still ill.

Jan. 24, 1850

Trip from Grand Lake, Chicot County, Arkansas, to General Leonidas Polk's home on Bayou Lafourche recording stops at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on the “Martha Washington,” changing to the “Magnolia.” Mentions names of passengers, and giving a description of the boat; stopping at Natchez and visiting the Marshalls, describes new State House at Baton Rouge, in New Orleans, mentions activities, persons visited, guests at the Hotel, theatre attended; take “Mary Foley” to Bishop Polk's residence; at Bishop Polk's comments on food, plantation, visitors, purchases, return to New Orleans; stay at Prentiss house at Vicksburg; arrived at sister Mary's House (which is apparently in Jackson, Mississippi). William Hardeman, husband of Mary M. M. Hilliard, La Vega, near Jackson, Mississippi.

Feb. 16, 1850

Records visitors and social functions attended. Names mentioned include Messrs. Sessions, White, Porter, Bowman; visited the Senate (State, Mississippi) mentions oration given by Collin S. Tarpley on George Washington's birthday; mention Bishops Polk and Freeman arrive for consecration of Mr. Green; dinner party given by Sister Mary listing guests including the Mrs. Nut, Major Bennett (guests of Governor Quitman) Col. Hughes, and Mr. White; also mentions Mrs. Faust, Mrs. Cage and Scot, Mrs. William Yerger, Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. William Sharkey, and Mrs. Collin S. Tarpley, Cotesworth P. Smith, D. Hardeman; mentions visiting penitentiary, Jackson, Mississippi.

Mar. 16, 1850

“Took our departure from Sister Mary's” (Hardeman); mentions shopping in Vicksburg, taking “Kendall” for home; Julia Dean, the actress, fellow passenger; arrived at Grand Lake; describes hail storm which destroyed garden; mentions activities of Mr. and Mrs. George Polk; mentions going fishing, dinners and other activities; Polks leave; mentions Tom Smith and his career; records books read.

May 3, 1850

Records visit of a peddler, his actions, trouble with servants (unusual entry).

May 20, 1850

Records leaving Grand Lake for Kentucky, mentions persons aboard stopping at Portland, Louisville, cars to LaGrange, Kentucky, and then to New Castle; mentions number of relatives and visits with friends

July 25, 1850

Diary ends.


Back of diary contains accounts of Isaac Henry, Jr. attending Kentucky Military Institute and a list of names from whom he has received letters and written to.

Index Terms

Chicot County (Ark.)


Hardeman, Mary H. (Mary Hilliard)

Hilliard, Isaac H. (Isaac Henry), Mrs.

Kentucky--Description and travel.

Kentucky Military Institute (1845-1971)

Mississippi--Politics and government--To 1865.

Plantation life.




Polk, Leonidas, 1806-1864.


Southern States--Social life and customs.


Container List





Contents (with dates)



Diary (manuscript and typescript)

Mss. Mf:H

Reel 1

MF: 5750, Series E

Reel 13