(Mss. 273, 718)


Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

Reformatted 2003

Revised 2010


SUMMARY .................................................................................................................................... 3
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE ...................................................................................... 4
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE ................................................................................................... 4
CROSS REFERENCES .................................................................................................................. 5
CONTAINER LIST ...................................................................................................................... 11

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1 linear foot

Geographic locations.

Louisiana, Mississippi

Inclusive dates.


Bulk dates.





Family correspondence and business papers of Dr. Jeptha McKinney. Dr. McKinney studied medicine at the University of Louisiana and practiced in St. Helena Parish.


Arranged chronologically.

Restrictions on access.

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

Related collections.



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


Jeptha McKinney Papers, Mss. 273, 718, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack location(s).

E:28-29; OS:M


Dr. Jeptha McKinney was a graduate of the University of Louisiana and a practicing physician of St. Helena Parish. He was married to Adaliza Corkern.


Early correspondence (many to Jeptha from his brother Jefferson McKinney) refers to medical students, medical education, family matters, and health, including outbreaks of yellow fever (Feb. 17, 1854, Jan. 7, 1855, Sept. 11, 1855) and cholera (July 8, 1849, Aug. 22, 1851). Of particular interest is mention of the severe punishment of "Negro" thieves in Texas (Oct. 21, 1849), thoughts on the Know Nothing Party (1855), and the sale of a sixteen year old female slave (April 21, 1856).

Civil War letters (1860-1866) from various family members serving in the Confederate Army reflect camp life, health of soldiers, treatment by civilians, poor provisions, and activities at Ship Island. A letter from James B. Corkern lists the number of men on the Mississippi coast (October 8, 1861) and some letters give eyewitness accounts of military engagements at Port Hudson, Shiloh, and Vicksburg. Later correspondence pertains to Reconstruction, family affairs, children, education, and Baptist churches in Mississippi and Louisiana. A letter from Jefferson McKinney mentions conditions in Rapides Parish in which it was not uncommon for African Americans to be found shot or hanged (December 1873).

Other items include various pamphlets; statements of accounts for medical services; promissory notes; wills; births and deaths of some family members; and a thesis on pneumonia written by Dr. Jeptha McKinney (undated). Printed items include newspaper clippings (1860-1893), a list of the seven professorial chairs and the annual number of the matriculates and alumni from 1834-1872, as well as a list of the professors, lecturers, and demonstrators of anatomy from 1834-1872 at the University of Louisiana.

Manuscript volumes are comprised of diaries; class notes; an account book (1857-1860); medical daybooks; and memoranda books. Among the printed volumes are minutes of the Mississippi River Baptist Association and bulletins from Silliman Collegiate Institute. For a full listing, see container list.




Description of relevant documents

African Americans--Violence against--Texas--Washington County


Comments on excitement caused by arrest and detection of African American thieves and counterfeiters8 or 10 hanged, many whipped, and some 200 in “regulating party.” A. K. Addison letter, Oct. 21.

Allen, Henry Watkins, 1820-1866.


Comments on command, illness, and resignation. Oct. 3, July 6 and Dec. 8, 1862; Jan. 23, 1863.

American Party.


Reasons given for entreating brother not to support Know-Nothing party. Jefferson McKinney letter, Sept. 11.



Line Creek Church membership list, Clay County, ca. 1845; no society except Catholics; no Baptist preacher. Natchitoches Parish, May 6, 1846; circuit rider comments on meetings, religious fervor, membership, wages. Webster County, Thomas W. Castle, Nov. 15, 1857; Apr. 9, June 6, Aug. 6, 1838; Aug. 24, 1859; Feb. 16 and July 26, 1860; June 1, 1861.

Camp Barrow (Miss.)


Comments on camp health, duties, and troops. Aug. 8.

Camp Lovell (La.)


St. Mary Parish; James B. Cockern comments on dullness of camp life, military activities, uncertainty for fight, construction of winter quarters, physical condition of troops, excellent condition of streets and drill grounds. Feb. 10, Nov. 12, 24, and 27, 1861; Jan. 14, 21, and 25, and Feb. 19, 1862;

Camp Lovell (La.)


Description of camp life, military activities, construction of winter quarters.

Camp St. Mary (Miss.)


Limestone water causes diarrhea among soldiers, Apr. 18.

Catahoula Parish (La.)--Description and travel.


“One devil of a countywhiskey, shooters, & buoy knives,” cursing and fighting; some nice girls at dance, but men generally rough. Ada McKinney, Dec. 28.


1849, 1851

Red River area, 80 to 100 deaths in 1 month. July 28, 1849 and Aug. 22, 1851.



Description of relevant documents


Natchitoches Parish.


Scheduled at J. M. Carnahan‟s and said to excel any in the United States with upwards of 50 horses and persons. Jefferson McKinney letter, May 20.

Clinton Female Seminary (Clinton, La.)

1864-1870, 1875

M.S.W. Wall, principal; correspondence and receipts concerning tuition, education, progress, behavior, guidance, and clothing needs of children. 27 items.

Confederate Memorial Day.


Citizens prohibited from decorating graves in Clinton, East Feliciana Parish, May 15.

Copiah County (Miss.)


Popularity of radicals, privileges given African Americans, and severe beating of white woman. Nov. 10.


1849, 1858-1859, 1867, 1870

Kind of crop, damage by rain and caterpillar, and selling price. July 28, 1849; Aug. 6, 1858; Aug. 24, 1859; Oct. 25 and Nov. 10, 1870; “habit of cotton” prevents people from living well, July 19, 1867; man‟s urge to have initials on cotton bale account for planting, Aug. 12, 1867. Diary #4.




Entries include Confederate woman‟s comments on her activities, and medical doctor‟s comments on family matters, financial difficulties, farmers, cotton, and local happenings.

East Feliciana Parish (La.)

1864-1870, 1875

Comments on Clinton Female Seminary and Confederate Memorial Day.



Hard times, size of crops, selling price of corn, bacon, potatoes, and pork, damage by rust to wheat and oats. Webster County. Thomas W. and Z. Josephine Castle; Mar. 25, Aug. 21, 1857; June 6 and Aug. 6, 1858; Feb. 4 and Aug. 24, 1859; cultivation of rented farm without hands; size of crops, and theft by rogues. Rapides Parish. Jefferson McKinney: Jan. 18, 1869, Oct. 25, 1870, and Dec. 14, 1873; available land in Copiah County, superior to St. Helena Parish. Frank Smith: Nov. 10, 1870; failure because of “sloth, idleness, and a spirit of listless don‟t care.” July 3, 1867. Diary #4.



Description of relevant documents


Rapides Parish.


Description of fire destroying home, stable, Washington and Planters Hotels, and other property. Jefferson McKinney letter, June 25.

Florida--Description and travel.


Comments on delightful climate, poverty of land and people, natural growth of orange trees and curiosities including “hills of sea shells, salt, sulphur, and other mineral springs.” S. C. Corkern letter, June 26, 1860.


1857-1865, 1880

Notices and receipts for dues. Dec. 17, 1857; May 5, 1860; Jan. 5, 1863; Aug. 19, 1865; in memoriam, Apr. 16, 1880.

Louisiana--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.


St. Helena Parish, oath taken to become commission merchant for Yankees, $1,000 in gold offered for Nicholas Naul and $10,000 for Captain Scott.

Louisiana--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives, Confederate.


S. C. Corkern comments on locale and health of troops: Berwick, Jan. 27, 1862; “scarcity of paper,” “abundance of duty,” military activity: Port Hudson, Nov. 20, 1862 and Jan. 1, 1863 (4th La. Regiment)

Lumber trade--Louisiana.


Timber business not as profitable as formerly, but better than cotton farming. Daniel Addison letter, July 17.

Medical education--Louisiana.

1850-1852, 1856-1857, undated

22 letters, class notebooks, and memorandum book concerning introduction to medical men, lodging, lectures and examinations, holidays, hospital duty, personal activities, death and burial of fellow student, and personal illness, 1850-1857; thesis on pneumonia, undated

Medical students--Education--Louisiana.

1850-1852, 1856-1857, 1871, undated

Letters, circular and lists, thesis, notebooks, memorandum book, and catalog concern lectures, examinations, holidays, students, and faculty at the University of Louisiana.

Mexican War, 1846-1848--Veterans.


Granted 40 acres of land and $25 in script. Daniel Addison letter, Sept. 18.

Natchitoches Parish (La.)


Comments on blacksmith apprentice wages, circus, slave sale, yellow fever, Reconstruction, lack of Baptists, overseer, and postal service.



Description of relevant documents

Ocean Springs (Miss.)--Description and travel.


Very desolate, dreamy looking place of 600 inhabitants” offers no inducement for enemy to land. James B. Cockern, Aug. 27.

Physicians--Louisiana--Saint Helena Parish.


Fees, practice, licenses, promissory notes for medical services, and hardships resulting from collection difficulties.

Plantation overseers--Louisiana.

1854, 1861

Preference for overseeing to farming, but would return to St. Helena Parish as overseer for $500 to $600 yearly. Jefferson McKinney: Natchitoches Parish, June 4, 1854; low wages and difficult owner cause for quitting, Franklin Smith: Amite County, Oct. 20, 1861

Port Hudson (La.)--History--Siege, 1863.


Eyewitness account of condition and maneuvers of troops, illness and command of Henry Watkins Allen, construction of fortifications, Federal attacks. Oct. 3, Nov. 20 and Dec. 8, 1862; Jan. 1 and 3, Feb. 27 and Feb. ___, Mar. 11, and Apr. 1, 1863.

Postal service--Louisiana.


19 Jefferson McKinney letters comment on riding the mail between Natchitoches and Alexandria, Harrisonburg and Monroe, and Columbia and Homer; postal contractors; and routes available for bidding.



Comments on visit to penitentiary97 convicts, including 1 woman, all in good health and cheerful. Nov. 28.

Rapides Parish (La.)


Comments on postal service, destruction from fire, yellow fever, crops including cotton, and Reconstruction.

Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Louisiana.


Occupation by African American soldiers, lawlessness, murder, and robbery. Alexandria. Jan. 15, 1866; Dec. 14, 1873 (Rapides Parish); brisk registration of African Americans, but white doctor disfranchised, St. Helena Parish, May 15, 1867; murder of African American for “abusing white man‟s „lady love of the African race.‟” Natchitoches Parish, Jan. 18, 1869

Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Mississippi.


Comments on popularity of Radicals, privilege given African Americans, and severe beating of white woman. Crystal Springs, Copiah County, Nov. 19, 1870.



Description of relevant documents

Sabine Parish (La.)

1845, 1849

Comments on uncivilized conversation, sickness, poor crops, and lack of school. Mar. 10, 1845; Apr. 15, 1849.



Explanation of scarcity though available at island 140 miles southwest of Alexandria; selling price at $12 per 100 pounds. Oct. 26, 1862 and Jan. 10, 1863; not available in Port Hudson. Jan. 23, 1863; drips brine in smokehouse to make salt, Frances Wall, undated (Amite County)

Schools--Louisiana--Saint Helena Parish.

1877-1880, undated

Compositions, report studies, construction of new building with assistance of pupils, living conditions. Jan. 21, Feb. 3 and 17, Mar. 4, 5, 17, 1877; Feb. 15, Mar. 2, July 8, Oct. 4, 1878; May 9, 30, Sept. 14, 1879; Jan. 18 and 21, Feb. 8, Mar. 19, June 23, 1880; undated

Shiloh, Battle of, Tenn., 1862.


Eyewitness account of Confederate forces“every man . . . a soldier and every hill is an encampment . . .” Mar. 21; diarrhea from limestone drinking water, Apr. 18; anticipation of another fight, Apr. 18 and May 12; evacuation and retreat to Tupelo, June 15.

Ship Island (Miss.)


Preparations for possible attack. Aug. 8, 19, 23, and 27; strict vigil but no danger from appearance of Federal vessels, Oct. 10.

Slave bills of sale--Louisiana--Natchitoches Parish.


16 year old girl purchased for $1,000; if she “breeds” will be cheap, but if not will always be a “deer negro.” Jefferson McKinney letter, Apr. 21.

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Chaplains.


Failure of J. A. Godfrey to get commission causes his departure, Harrison County, Aug. 4; Sunday preaching alternated between Camp Lovell and another post, St. Mary Parish, Dec. 29.

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Civilian relief.


Wealthy inhabitants show soldiers hospitality and respect; gifts of fruit and vegetables sent to camp. Pass Christian, July 6, 1861; oyster man gives mini muskets, swords, pistols, and papers stolen from Federals to Confederates. Berwick, Dec. 10, 1861; high cost of living, scarcity of clothing and salt, and impressment of civilian wagons. Alexandria, Oct. 26, 1862 and Jan. 10, 1863; tuition paid in corn because of unsettled currency, Oct. 31, 1864.



Description of relevant documents

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, Female.


Society meetings, spins, weaves, sews and knits for soldiers, war news and casualties, daily activities. Dec. 1, 1861-Jan. 13, 1862. Diary #2.

Vicksburg (Miss.)--History--Siege, 1863.


Eyewitness comments on bombardment.


1865, 1871

Receipt bill for succession of Sarah A. Corkern McKinney. Dec., 1865; 3 cancelled wills of Jeptha McKinney, Feb. 21, 1871.

Yellow fever--Louisiana.

1854-1855, 1878

Comments on prevalence and deaths. Natchitoches Parish. Feb. 17, 1854 and Jan. 7, 1855; fears spread from Rapides Parish to Natchitoches, Sept. 11, 1855; comment on New Orleans epidemicMississippi Valley changed into a “valley of the shadow of Death.” Sept. 25, 1878.






Contents (with dates)




Correspondence and business papers (1841-1862)



Correspondence and business papers (1863-1931)



Correspondence, business papers, thesis (undated), printed items (1860-1861, undated)



Printed volumes (1867-1910)

Annie Cleaveland: A Romance from Real Life Connected with the Second Great American Revolution of 1861 and 1864. (New Orleans: 1867)

The Doctor's Factotum: A Bi-Monthly Journal, Vol.1, No.6, Jan.-Feb. 1894.

3 bulletins from Silliman Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies, Clinton, La. (1908-1910)

Minutes of Mississippi River Baptist Association (1885, 1888, 1890).

3 copies of Minutes of Mississippi River Baptist Association (1891).




Manuscript volumes:

Vol.1 Cashbook (1857-1860, 1865)

Vol.2 Class Notebook [1856-1857]

Vol.3 Class Notebook (1857) and Memorandum Book (1864-1868)

Vol.4 Diary (1861-1867) and Medical Daybook (1863-1865)

Vol.5 Diary (1864-1868) and Medical Daybook (1857-1859)

Vol.6 Memorandum Book (1850-1922) and Cashbook (1854-1861)




Blueprint of tract of land in Greensburg District, La. (undated)