See also UPA microfilm:

MF 5750, Series E, Reels 6-8

Corbin (Robert A.) Papers

(Mss. 705, 706)


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


Use of manuscript materials. If you wish to examine items in the manuscript group, please fill out a call slip specifying the materials you wish to see. Consult the Container List for location information needed on the call slip.

Photocopying. Should you wish to request photocopies, please consult a staff member. The existing order and arrangement of unbound materials must be maintained.

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Permission to examine archival materials does not constitute permission to publish. Any publication of such materials beyond the limits of fair use requires specific prior written permission. Requests for permission to publish should be addressed in writing to the Head, Public Services, Special Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA, 70803-3300. When permission to publish is granted, two copies of the publication will be requested for the LLMVC.

Proper acknowledgement of LLMVC materials must be made in any resulting writing or publications. The correct form of citation for this manuscript group is given on the summary page. Copies of scholarly publications based on research in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections are welcomed.



1,202 items and 10 volumes

Geographic locations.

Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Tangipahoa Parish, La.; Livingston Parish, La.; Russell, Ky.

Inclusive dates.


Bulk dates.





Business and personal letters and papers of Robert A. Corbin consisting of land sales documents, personal correspondence, and tax and other financial documents.


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.


Robert A. Corbin Papers, Mss. 705, 706, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack location(s).

E:8-9; OS:C

Also available on:

Microfilm 5750, Series E, Reels 6-8

Biographical/Historical Note

Land agent and businessman in Louisville, Kentucky (1864-1869), and New Orleans (1870s) and Hammond (1880s), Louisiana.

Scope and Content Note

Early papers (1835-1859) include U.S. land certificates, surveys and deeds related to land holdings in Livingston and St. Helena Parishes, Louisiana.

Letters (1864-1869) from C. L. Radway and Marks and Co. of Louisville, Kentucky, and from John G. Orndorff of Russell, Kentucky, document Corbin's work in a claims business. Letters refer to individuals making claims against the U.S. Government for horses and feed impounded by Federal military authorities during the Civil War.

Papers (1870-1900) consist of business letters, deeds, tax receipts, land plats for the Greensburg District, sheriff's sales, land certificates, contracts, and indentures reflecting Corbin's business affairs in Louisiana. Some items document Corbin's purchase of Melrose Dairy, New Orleans, in partnership with his client, Lucy I. Burgess. Letters from H.T. Cottam and Co., commission merchants in New Orleans, reflect Corbin's work as a land agent for the company.

Some items (ca. 1885) reflect Corbin's work in Hammond, Louisiana, where he dealt in timber lands and improved farm lands in Tangipahoa and Livingston Parishes.

Materials dated after Robert Corbin's death in 1906 relate to the activities of his son, John O. Corbin. Some papers pertain to the settlement of Robert's estate by John and his mother, Anna E. Corbin. Included are letters documenting the management of J. O. Corbin-Wall, Co., Ltd. a grocery dealing in dry goods, hardware, agricultural implements, wagon and buggy supplies, and apparel.

Collection Description

Stack Location









24 items: Land Sales Documents

U. S. Land certificates issued to various persons for land in Greensburg Land District of Louisiana; sheriff's sale and private sales of land mostly in Livingston Parish; plat of land claimed by “Bradley and Crumpton.” Evidently papers collected by Corbin in relation to land he bought later.



34 items: Land Sales Documents

A few letters; surveyor's plat of land in Greensburg District.; copy of official land map for Township 7, Greensburg District showing private claims and public lands; military warrants issued for land in Greensburg District.; several land certificates; sales of land in Livingston Parish by and to various persons; receipts issued in 1864 by U. S. military in Ky. for impressed horses.



84 items: Business Correspondence and Documents

Letters to Corbin and receipts relative to claim business, mostly in Kentucky. Indication that Corbin bought or acquired “horse receipts” for collection at face value from U. S. Government. Personal and business letters to Corbin from Jonathan G. Orndorff while latter was on steamboat going to New Orleans, giving some account of life on board and devastation of country on banks of Mississippi after the war, July, 1865. Corbin owned horse stable in Russellville, Kentucky, in 1864.

Receipts; copies of land sales in Livingston Parish. Letters to Corbin from T. W. Campbell in which Corbin is implicated in a “shady” horse deal. Papers showing he held $100 stock in American Horse Insurance Co. of Louisville and did business with Marks & Co., Louisville, a claim agency. Termination of partnership between Corbin and W. C. Bettis in stable at Louisville, Mar. 26, 1867.



24 items: Miscellaneous Documents

Miscellaneous receipts; indication that Corbin was in New Orleans, 1870, and bought land in Tangipahoa Parish; miscellaneous land sales in Tangipahoa Parish; indication that Corbin paid rent in New Orleans in 1878; tax receipts showing Corbin as legal representative of Lucy I. Burgess of Tangipahoa Parish.



52 items:

Business papers, tax receipts, and land sales of Lucy I. Burgess and R. A. Corbin in Tangipahoa Parish; acts of sale (1883); act of mortgage (1881); sheriff's sales of land in Livingston Parish to Corbin





49 items: R. A. Corbin Business Papers

Mostly business papers of R. A. Corbin, and as agent of L. I. Burgess in the nature of land sales; tax receipts; letters to Corbin.



25 items: R. A. Corbin Business Papers

Mostly business papers of R. A. Corbin regarding acquisition and sale of land in Tangipahoa and Livingston Parishes.



58 items: Business Papers and Correspondence

Business papers and letters, contracts and land sales regarding R. A. Corbin and his sons Henry D. and John O. Corbin—mostly in Tangipahoa Parish; few receipts and cancelled checks.





105 items: Business Papers

Cancelled checks, tax receipts of J. O., R. A., and H. D. Corbin; indication that R. A. Corbin was in Colorado on business deal; agreement that Corbin was to act as land agent for H. T. Cottam, Jr., of New Orleans. Letters from H. T. C. to Corbin; letters to R. A. from R. L. Duvall, land spectator in Chicago; indication of deal between Corbin and W. C. Gunn, president of Natchez Construction Co.; deeds from John O. and H. D. Corbin to H. T. Cottam; business papers and letters, mostly regarding land sales, purchases, etc.



47 items: Miscellaneous Business Papers

Miscellaneous tax receipts; letters to R. A. C. from R. L. Duvall regarding land deal; miscellaneous letters and business papers of R. A. C.



74 items: Business Papers

Dissolution of agreement between H. T. Cottam and R. A. Corbin; tax receipts and papers of R. A. and J. O. Corbin; miscellaneous business papers; several land sales involving Lucy I. Burgess; promissory notes to J. O .C.; cancelled checks of R. A. Corbin; miscellaneous land sales, agreements, etc.




87 items: Receipts, cancelled checks, cash deeds, etc. land sales; mortgage; etc.




Land plats; business letters; receipts; bills of sale; etc.





82 items: Business and Financial Papers

Land plats; business letters to R. A. Corbin; cancelled checks of J. O. and R. A. Corbin; letters written by R. A. Corbin; miscellaneous business papers, land sales, etc.; indication that R. A. died in January, 1906, leaving widow and 5 children; business letters to John O. Corbin, mostly regarding the settlement of his father's estate; letters and papers after R.A.'s death reg. John O. Corbin.



Miscellaneous notes; plats; account sheets; receipts; Homestead, Pre-emption, and Communication Proof, Testimony of Witness; postcards; Circular “Suggestions and General Information as to Entering Government Lands for Residence and Cultivation”


1909-1916, undated

Printed items:

“Charter and By-Laws of the Howcott Land Company of New Orleans,” undated.

Membership list of the National League of Commission Merchants of the United States, 1909.

“By-Laws of Livingston Lodge No.160 A.F & A.M. of Hammond, La.,” 1916.

“Happy Woods, Louisiana,” undated.

“Supreme Court of Louisiana. A.H. Reed versus J.O. & R.A. Corbin,” undated.



Newspaper clippings





Scribner's Lumber and Log Book, 1903.




1870, undated

Manuscript Volumes

Address Book, undated.

Address Book, undated

Record Book, 1870.

Scrapbook, undated.




1845, undated

Plats of land: Township 8, Range 9 near Tangipahoa River; Township 5, Range 6; Greensburg District, La. (Township 5, Range 7; Township 7, Range 5; Township 6, Range 5); lands of Nelson and Noel, Bankers, St. Louis, Mo.; plat of New Gretna

Index Terms

(This section provides the subject indexing for the collection found in the card catalog. Index terms have been changed to match Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Documents relating to the subject given are described.)



Description of relevant documents

Advertising--United States.


Advertisements for George Boning, grocer, and I. C. Levi, jeweler, New Orleans Singer Sewing Machine Co. no place; Henry Studniczka, cotton manufacturers, New Orleans and St. Louis; Clarence Brooks and Co., coach varnishes, and John A. Gilmour, umbrella and parasol manufacturers, New York.

American Horse Insurance Company (Louisville, Ky.)


Receipt for stock owned by Corbin, Feb. 22; stock certificate signed by O. T. Ward, secretary, and C. U. Shreve, president, July 18.

American newspapers--Louisiana--Amite.


Issue of Amite City (Louisiana) Independent. Apr. 7.

Baton Rouge, Grosse Tete & Opelousas Railroad Company.


Willingness of Montan to compare his map of former proposed road from Baton Rouge to Ponchatoula with Corbin's map of proposed road from Hammond to Baton Rouge and to sell 1 section of land. J. A. Addison letter: Jan. 13.

Burgess, Lucy I.


Land records; partnership with Corbin in Melrose Dairy

Carbon, Robert A.

Livery stable owner, Kentucky. Spelling of name changed to Corbin.



Daily entries of work performed

Cate, Charles.


Greensburg District land plat shows property owned by Cate. Oct. 3, 1860 and undated.

Charcoal industry--Louisiana--Hammond.


Sale of stock dependent upon purchase of 100 acres of land. 1 letter to R. A. Corbin, Sept. 18.

Christmas--United States.


Confederate soldier states camp dull, drunks landed in guard tent, indulgence included oysters and champagne in town. Alex to Lucie: Jan. 1.

Commission merchants--Louisiana--New Orleans.

1891-1896, undated

Letters, agreement, statement of account, checks, lists, and deeds concern joint investments with Corbin in Tangipahoa and Livingston lands.

Confederate States of America. Army. Mississippi Infantry Regiment, 11th.


Comments on observation of Christmas in camp. Jan. 1.

Corbin, Robert A.


Land purchases as agent for Lucy I. Burgess; dealer in timber lands and improved farm lands.

Cottam, H. T.

1891-1896, undated

Letters, agreement, statement of account, checks, lists, and deeds concern joint investments with Corbin in Tangipahoa and Livingston lands.

Duvall, R. L.


Letters and telegrams comment on extent of Corbin's activities as land speculator, and mutual interest in lumber industry.

Financial crises--Kentucky--Louisville.


Very tight times; claims vouchers sold with difficulty at 10 to 20% discount; money slightly easier, but gold stays between 150 and 152½ in New York.

H.P. Carter (Steamer)


Comfortable, but “mighty low;” good food, sherry and Euchre; few women; report of outbreak of smallpox on board. J. G. Orndorff, July 1 and 3.

Hammond (La.)--Economic conditions--19th century.

1892, 1895

Duvall's plan “to give Hammond a very black eye” by opening eating house at Tickfaw and having trains stop there, Mar. 17, 1892; possible interest of Nebraska farmers in moving to area. E. P. Tufts, Jan. 23, 1895.

Howcott, W. H.


W.H. Howcott, New Orleans investment banker and dealer in timber lands, contract with Lucy I. Burgess to investigate and straighten out title to 18,000 acres of land in Livingston Parish

Illinois Central Railroad Company.


Duvall's plan “to give Hammond a very black eye” by opening eating house at Tickfaw and having trains stop there, Mar. 17.

Kentucky--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Confiscations and contributions.


Receipts for impressments of corn, hay, and horses by 8th Kentucky Cavalry and 52nd Kentucky Mounted Infantry.

Land titles--Louisiana.


Land plats and surveys, United States land patents, abstracts of titles, tax receipts, certificates for military bounty lands, sheriff sales, redemption of land sold for non-payment of taxes, legal suits, and mortgages.

Land titles--Louisiana--Livingston Parish.


Plats, surveys, patents, acts of sale, tax receipts, and land speculators.

Land titles--Louisiana--Saint Helena Parish.


Land warrants, purchases, receipts, and cancellation of certificates in Greensburg Land Office

Livingston Parish (La.)--Economic conditions.


Land speculation by dealers in timber and improved farm lands; lumber industry; blue print showing plan of Corbin town site (Livingston Parish)


1886-1894, 1903

Timber land investors and sales; contract between John M. Jones and R. A. and John O. Corbin for cutting and hauling; cost of hauling and loading wood on cars; printed volumes.

Louisville (Ky.)--Economic conditions--19th century.


Collection of claims for impressments of corn, hay, flour, and horses by United States Army quartermaster, hard times, stock certificate in American Horse Insurance Co., and termination of partnership between Corbin and W. C. Bettis in livery business.

Marks and Co. (Louisville, Ky.)


Receipts for vouchers for collection and adjustment; comments on information needed before payments can be made. Oct. 31 and Dec. 22, 1865; June 10, Apr. 13, May 11, June 25, and July 16, 1866.

Melrose Dairy (Gretna, La.)

1879, 1896, 1901, 1904, undated

Partnership agreement, May 18, 1879; sale of building and stock, Nov. 10, 1896; transfer of financial interest by D. Griffin to Corbin, Oct. 9, 1891; statement of indebtedness covering stock and dairy, Sept. 27, 1904.

Melrose Stock Farm (East Greensburg District, La.)


Description of location by W. R. Rownd, surveyor. June 30.

Migration, Internal--Louisiana--Tangipahoa Parish.

1891, 1895

Willingness of sawmill workers and woodsmen from Colorado and farmers from Nebraska to come South, July 10, 1891 and Jan. 12, 1895.

Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Co.


Commutation ticket

Mutual Lumber Company.


Articles of incorporation

New Orleans and Carrollton Rail Road Company.


Routes of St. Charles, Tulane, Napoleon, Jackson, and Claiborne lines include location of principal places.

Orndorff, John C.


Southern Claims agent, Kentucky, 11 letters comment on claims business, restlessness of claimants, and travel on the Mississippi River. June [1], July 1 and 3 Sept. 29, Oct. 8, 13-14, and 31, and Dec. 7, 1865; Jan. 13, Mar. 4, 1866; loyalty of claimant questioned by B. D. Hyam of Union Claim Agency, Mar. 27, 1866; horse purchased for $100 and 2 [quartermaster vouchers from Carbon, May 30, 1866.

Radway, C. L.


Southern Claims agent, Louisville, Ky., comments on hard times, instructions for sending claims for collection, and claims business. Apr. 6, 24, and 30.

Real property--Louisiana--Hammond--Maps.


Plat for Township 65, range 7E.



H. D. Corbin's lease of land and buildings from Mary P. Mangin for operation of sawmill. June 21; willingness of sawmill workers and woodmen from Colorado to migrate. J. S. Kearney: July 10.

Seals and labels (Philately)--Louisiana.


2 notary public seals, Tangipahoa Parish. Dec. 14, 1875; 3 Louisiana Land Office seals, Oct. 9, 1861 and Jan. 13, 1862 signed by Thomas O. Moore, and Nov. 2, 1886 issued by S. D. McEnery.

Seals and labels (Philately)--Washington (D.C.)


10 United States General Land Office seals on patents authorized by Martin Van Buren, 1839; Millard Fillmore, 1852; Franklin Pierce, 1856-1857; James Buchanan, 1859-1860; Chester A. Arthur, 1884; Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1890.

Spring Hill College.


Second premium card awarded J. Corbin. Jan. 1.

St. Mary's Dominican Academy (New Orleans, La.)


Grammar department report for A. Corbin. January.

St. Mary's Institute (Chatawa, Miss.)


Student relates school activities including Mardi Gras plans, examination by Sister Superior, and rehearsal. Feb. 14.



Warrant issued George Richardson by Laurent J. Sigur, Register of Louisiana State Land Office. Feb. 25.

Tangipahoa Parish (La.)--Economic conditions.

1860-1917, undated

Land speculation by dealers in timber and improved farm lands; lumber industry; blue print showing plan of Corbin town site (Livingston Parish); plats, surveys, patents, acts of sale, tax receipts, and land speculators; lumber industry, charcoal plant, and sawmill; contract with tenant farmer; migration from Colorado and Nebraska; Illinois Central Railroad.

Tenant farmers--Louisiana--Tangipahoa Parish.


Contract between Thomas L. Mydland and James A. White, owner. May 9.

Theatrical posters, American.


Announcement of Patti Rosa's appearance at the People's Theatre.



Plat by Calhoun Fluker and certified in 1896 by Charles H. Dickenson gives information on trees and bearings in Greensburg Land District, La.

United States. Commissioners of Claims.


Claims for impressments by United States Army Quartermaster of corn, flour, hay, and horses submitted to agents for collection; agents' comments on claims business

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Destruction and pillage.


Such destruction no one can imagine; chimneys serve as monuments to mark plantations. R. N. Duff letter: July 9.

Container List





Contents (with dates)




Robert A. Corbin Papers (1835-1885)



Robert A. Corbin Papers (1886-1890)




Robert A. Corbin Papers (1891-1920)



Robert A. Corbin Papers (1906-1920)

6 printed volumes, 4 manuscript volumes




Plats of land in Louisiana and Missouri (1845, undated)

MF:5750, Series E


Reels 6-8

1 microfilm reel containing the Robert A. Corbin Papers (1835-1920)