See also UPA microfilm:

MF 5735, Series B, Reels 16-17

Henry Brown Richardson Family Papers

(Mss. 2987)


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)


Cross References


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.



244 items, 2 manuscript vols.; 8 maps

Geographic locations.

New Orleans, La.; St. Joseph, La.; Tensas Parish, La.; Philadelphia, Penn.; Goshen, Maine; Milwaukee, Wis.; Chicago, Ill.; Johnson’s Island Prison, Ohio; Maury County, Tenn.; Blacksburg, Va.; Belmont, Mass.; Russia.

Inclusive dates.


Bulk dates.





Family correspondence, newspaper clippings, oral histories, diaries, and maps make up the papers of Henry Brown Richardson (1837-1909), Chief Engineer of the State Board of Engineers of Louisiana, 1880-1904. The collection addresses his family life in New Orleans, Confederate sympathies during the Civil War, his work as an engineer, and economic conditions during Reconstruction.



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.


Henry Brown Richardson Family Papers, Mss. 2987, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack location(s).

W:32; Map Case D:16; Old map case: Drawer 3

Also available on:

Microfilm 5735, Series B, Reels 16-17

Omission: Folders 11-12, 15-19, and Volumes

Biographical/Historical Note

Henry Brown Richardson, son of Rev. Henry Richardson, a New England clergyman, was a chief engineer of the State Board of Engineers of Louisiana (1880-1904) and a member of the Mississippi River Commission (1904-1909). Richardson served in the Confederate Army as a member of the Corps of Engineers under the commands of Generals Jubal Early, Richard Taylor, and R. S. Ewell. In 1867, he married Anna (Nannie) Farrar, daughter of Thomas P. Farrar and A.N. Farrar of Myrtle Grove Plantation near Saint Joseph, Louisiana.

Scope and Content Note

Early correspondence includes letters from Rev. Henry Richardson and letters of Henry Brown Richardson detailing his travels in Wisconsin and Illinois. Two sermons of Rev. Richardson are included. Civil War correspondence includes Henry Brown's letters (1863-1865) to his parents from Johnson Island Prison, Sandusky, Ohio; one of these is a lengthy letter discussing his sympathy for the Confederate cause. Papers after 1866 relate to his life in Saint Joseph, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. After 1877, papers concern his family life in New Orleans where he worked as an engineer; levees and flooding on the Mississippi River; Richardson's role as a member of the Mississippi River Commission; freedman and Chinese cotton laborers; the Freedman's Bureau; and local economic conditions during Reconstruction.

Correspondence of Anna Farrar Richardson to and from various members of the Richardson and Farrar families is included along with her diary (1899-1902), which describes family life in New Orleans, Mardi Gras celebrations, yellow fever outbreaks, and trips to Maine and Delaware by rail and steamer. The collection contains genealogical notes on the Farrar family, a photograph of Henry Brown Richardson and his seven sons (1904), and a copy of an oral history interview with Margaret Dixon (1967) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, managing editor of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. The interview was conducted by John F. Stewart, archivist of the John F. Kennedy Library. It describes Dixon's activities as a Louisiana delegate to the 1956 Democratic Convention.

Printed items include articles, newspaper clippings, and obituaries. Included are four maps of areas of Russia and Asia (1753), two maps of the battle field at Gettysburg (1876), and a map of the United States showing slaveholding regions and Indian Reservations (ca. 1860).

Collection Description

Stack Location







2 items: After 1834

Sermons of Rev. Henry Richardson, Congregationalist Minister of Gilead, Maine, preached at various New England churches after 1834.




23 items: 1853-1859

Correspondence, Rev. Henry Richardson to his son, Henry Brown Richardson, from Goshen, New Hampshire.




16 items: 1860-1869

Correspondence, Rev. Henry Richardson to his son, Henry Brown Richardson, from Goshen, New Hampshire and Gilead, Maine.




39 items: 1870-1879

Correspondence, Rev. Henry Richardson to his son, Henry Brown Richardson, and to Anna (Nannie) Richardson, (Henry Brown’s wife), from Gilead, Maine, 1870-1879.




17 items: 1852-1857

Correspondence, Henry Brown Richardson to his parents (Rev. Henry Richardson and Eunice Thurston Richardson), 1852-1857.

Letters detail Henry Brown’s school life in Portland, Maine; after 1855 they concerning his work for the City Engineer’s Office in Portland. By March of 1857, Henry was in Milwaukee and a letter of Mar. 30, 1857 gives a detailed description of his trip from Maine.




22 items: 1858-1859

Letters to June, 1858, are from Milwaukee and after July 4, 1858 from Chicago, where Henry obtained employment with the Chicago Sewerage Department. After Oct. 1858 letters are from Florence, Illinois where Henry found employment as a teacher. By the summer, correspondence is from Boston.




25 items: 1860-1867

Henry Brown Richardson to his parents, brother (John Francis) and to his sister (Mary), 1860-1867.

Includes his first letter from Louisiana, June 5, 1860. Letter of Nov. 5, 1860, describes his introduction to southern society. In

September, 1860, Henry was back in New York and by November, he was in Chicago. After Oct. 8, 1860, all correspondence is from St. Joseph, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. In April, 1861, he notes he has joined the Tensas Cavalry. There is no correspondence from April, 1861 until 1863. After 1863, letters are from Johnson’s Island Prison, Ohio, where he was held until exchanged in June of 1865.




2 items: 1865

Correspondence, Henry Brown Richardson to his parents, Mar. 8, 1865. (Mailed after being released from Johnson’s Island Prison, Ohio), copy. There is also a reprint of this letter from The Tensas Gazette. 2 items.

Copy of Henry Brown’s letter (pages 6, 7, 17, and 18 are missing) outlines his participation in the Civil War and gives reasons as to why he fought for the Confederacy. Reprint of this letter in The Tensas Gazette, St. Joseph, Louisiana, is dated Oct. 25, 1935.




18 items: 1867-1880

Henry Brown Richardson and Nannie Richardson to various members of the Richardson and Farrar families.




24 items: 1861-1865

Miscellaneous Civil War documents pertaining to the military career of Henry Brown Richardson. Documents include passes, special orders, notes, receipts, etc.




1 item: Oct., 1876

Notebook of Henry Brown Richardson, October, 1876; Gives his account of a visit to the Centennial Celebrations in Philadelphia.





Reports of the Board of State Engineers of the State of Louisiana by Henry Brown Richardson, Chief State Engineer. There is also one sheet of miscellaneous data on Henry Brown Richardson as a member of the Mississippi River Commission, 1967.




31 items: Miscellaneous Correspondence

1860-1912, undated

Fragment of a letter, Jan. 4, 1860, by John F. Richardson to Henry Brown Richardson (John F. was Henry Brown’s older brother)

A. N. Farrar (Nannie’s mother) to Jenny (Nanny’s sister), Dec. 7, 1860.

Mary Rhodes to Prince (probably Thomas Prince Farrar, Nannie’s younger brother), Nov. 4, 1864.

Jeff D. Van Benthruyson to Henry Brown Richardson, (Jeff served in the army with Henry), July 27, 1865.

J. Rogers to John Johnston, May 17, 1865. Notes that Henry Brown Richardson has just been released from prison and is now en route home and asks Rogers to assist him in any way possible.

A. N. Farrar to Henry Brown Richardson, Dec. 11, 1865.

Edgar (Nannie’s brother) and A. N. Farrar to Nannie Richardson, Sept. 15, 1867.

A. N. Farrar to Nannie Richardson, Sept. 5, 1869.

Copy of a letter from Ned Farrar (Nannie’s younger brother) to Nannie Richardson, from the University of Virginia where he was a student, Nov. 8, 1869.

John F. Richardson to Henry Brown and Nannie Richardson, Mar. 23, 1870.

General R. S. Ewell to Henry Brown Richardson, from Spring Hill, Maury County, Tennessee, inquiring about availability of good land in the Shreveport area. Sept. 4, 1871.

Jennie Farrar (Nannie’s sister) to Nannie Richardson, Sept. 9, 1877.

A. N. Farrar to Nannie Richardson, Oct. 3, 1877, describing yellow fever outbreak.

Fred Farrar (Nannie’s brother) to Thomas P. Farrar (Nannie’s father), May 6, 1880. From Leadville, Colorado.

A. N. Farrar to Tom Farrar (Nannie’s brother) while visiting in Maine, July 31, 1884.

Copy of a letter from T. Farrar Richardson (eldest son of Henry Brown and Nannie) to Nannie Richardson, while she was vacationing in Maine, July 11, 1895.

Lizzie (Elizabeth Charles LeBourgeois, first wife of John Francis Richardson) to Nannie Richardson, from Washington, D. C., Jan. 7, 1902.

Nannie Richardson to Mary Richardson Rasche (daughter) (Mary was living in Backsburg, Virginia), Nov. 11, 1903.

John Francis Richardson to Mary Rasche, Dec. 29, 1903.

John Francis Richardson to Henry Brown Richardson, from Belmont, Massachusetts, Jan. 25, 1904.

John Francis Richardson to Henry Brown Richardson, from Belmont, Massachusetts, Apr. 1, 1904.

Copy of a letter of Roger W. Richardson (son) to Nannie Richardson, Aug. 1, 1905.

Copy of a letter of Roger W. Richardson to Nannie Richardson, Sept. 1, 1905, mentioning that brother Henry, Jr. had contracted yellow fever but was recovering.

Harriet Southworth to Nannie Richardson, July 7, 1906. Note of sympathy written after the death of Nannie’s eldest son, T. Farrar.

Nannie Richardson to Tom Farrar (her brother), Aug. 14, 1906.

Nannie Richardson to Mary Rasche, Aug. 24, 1906. Mary was married to William Rasche, a professor at VPI, in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Nannie Richardson to Mary Rasche, Nov. 14, 1907, mentioning Newcomb College art show.

Nannie Richardson to Mary Rasche, Aug. 23, 1909, conveying news of her father’s death. Henry Brown Richardson died in New Orleans, Aug. 21, 1909.

Copy of a letter from Edgar H. Farrar (Nannie’s cousin) to Luther Hall, Governor of Louisiana, Nov. 28, 1912. (an appeal for clemency for the murderer of their son)

Miscellaneous letter of Kate Dabney, undated

Jennie Bass to Nannie Farrar, undated (before 1867)




16 items: Miscellaneous correspondence and printed items

Letter, A. Dunlap to William B. Preston, Red Sulphur Springs, Monroe County, Virginia (West Virginia, after 1863), Feb. 28,

1859. Discusses local and national politics.

Miscellaneous letter and pamphlet from the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, 1881. 2 items.

Miscellaneous magazine picture of the U. S. Quarantine Station, Reedy Island, Delaware. T. Farrar Richardson and family were stationed here in 1902.

Obituaries in New Orleans and other southern newspapers:

Mrs. Martha Farrar, 1827

Capt. Thomas Farrar, 1839

Thomas Prince Farrar, 1880

Dr. T. Farrar Richardson, 1906 (3 items)

Judge Frederick Hillsman Farrar, 1898.

Judge Edgar Douglas Farrar, 1901.

Henry Brown Richardson, 1909 (in the Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer, Aug. 28, 1909)

Henry Brown Richardson, 1909

Judith Turner, undated (employee of F. H. Farrar)

Genealogical list of the Farrar family.




1904; 1 item:

Photograph, Henry Brown Richardson and his seven sons, winter of 1904.




Nov. 3, 1948; 2 items:

Nov. 3, 1948 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, with headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” Also a miscellaneous page from Time Magazine, Mar. 31, 1975, giving the value of a perfect copy of the above as $5,000.




2 items:

“David Thurston” and “A District School in 1850,” two miscellaneous articles written by John Francis Richardson and edited in 1961 by his granddaughter Emily Martin Porter. (David Thurston was John F.’s and Henry B.’s maternal grandfather)




May 23, 1967; 1 item:

Xerox copy of an oral history interview with Margaret Dixon, May 23, 1967, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By John Stewart for the John F. Kennedy Library.




1899; 1 item:

Diary for 1899, of Anna (Nannie) Farrar Richardson. (typescript)

Manuscript Volumes




1900, 1902

2 volumes: Diaries of Anna (Nannie) Farrar Richardson.



Map Case D:16

A Map of the Orenburgh Expedition, with the Russian Frontiers towards Independent Tartary, made in Orenburgh in 1747. Published in England in 1753.


A Map of Some Provinces in Siberia, and the Borders towards China being an appendage to the Map of the Russian Frontiers as Surveyed by the Russians, 1747. Published in England, 1753.


The Appendage to the Maps of the Orenburgh Expedition No. 1 and the Provinces in Siberia, No.2 as taken by the Russians in 1747. Published in England, 1753.


The Several Routes to and from Persia taken from the Map Presented to the House of Lords by the RussiaCompany in 1740, and since corrected according to experience. England, 1753.


The Author’s Routes from London as far as Zaritzen and back through Russia, Germany, and Holland. England, 1753.

United States


Map of the United States ca. 1860. Outlines Federal Non-slaveholding, Border slave holding, Confederate, and Indian Reservations.

Old Map Case

Drawer 3

Map of the Battlefield of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Second Days Battle. Published by the authority of the Secretary of war, Office of the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army, John B. Bachelder, 1876.

Cross References



Description of relevant documents

Floods--Louisiana--Tensas Parish.

1866, 1867

Letter of May 16, 1866, describes flooding of Mississippi and one of Apr. 20, 1867 describes breaking of the levee system and the devastation wrought by the flood for 30 miles inland.

Ice on rivers, lakes, etc--Louisiana--Saint Joseph.

Feb. 16, 1873

Letter notes an unusually cold winter and claims that a week or ten days ago, ice in great quantities was running in the rivera most unusual occurrence.

Myrtle Grove Plantation (La.)


Letters of Henry B. and Anna Richardson pertaining to Tensas Parish. Letter of May 16, 1866 notes flooding of the Mississippi and its devastating impact; discusses the Freedman’s Bureau, taxes, and the death of livestock. Letter of Apr. 20, 1867 notes terrible flooding and that the levees have broken in all directions flooding all the land for 30 miles back of St. Joseph.

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


Letter of May 16, 1866, noting the extremely depressed conditions in Louisiana following the end of the Civil War. Places blame on the weather, the Freedmen’s Bureau, the freedmen, taxes, death of livestock, etc. Suggests that for blackstheir idea of slavery is labor; Letter of Apr. 20, 1867 noting the terrible prospects for local inhabitants who are saddled with debts, mortgages, taxes, freedmen, and flooding; Letter of Nov. 30, 1868 notes a very unsettled state of affairs in Louisiana. Claims that Union men and women are still robbed, murdered, and ravaged in broad daylight and that the rebellion still rages.

Richardson, Anna Farrar.


Daughter of Thomas P. Farrar of Myrtle Grove Plantation near St. Joseph, Louisiana. Married Henry Brown Richardson in 1867. Correspondence includes letters to both the Richardson and Farrar families. Three diaries, 1899, 1900, and 1902 describe family life in New Orleans and detail trips to Maine and Delaware by rail and by steamer.

Richardson, Henry Brown, 1837-1909.


Papers of the Chief Engineer of the State Board of Engineers of Louisiana. 1888-1904, and a member of the Mississippi River Commission, 1904-1909. Includes correspondence with his father while traveling in the Northwestern states, Civil War correspondence while a prisoner at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, and family correspondence after 1783.

Yellow fever--Louisiana--New Orleans.

1899, 1905

An entry in Anna Farrar’s diary notes the death of a victim in the city from yellow fever and the fact that Mobile and Texas are quarantining travelers from the city. Remarks that this is the third year in a row that yellow fever has been in the city (1899); Two letters from Roger W. Richardson to his mother Nannie (Anna) mentioning an outbreak of yellow fever in Louisiana and the fact that his brother has contracted the disease (1905).

Yellow fever--Louisiana--Saint Joseph.

Oct. 3, 1877

Letter from A. N. Farrar to Nannie (Anna) Farrar Richardson describing a yellow fever outbreak in Louisiana.

Container List





Contents (with dates)








1876-1967; 2 manuscript volumes, 2 printed volumes

Map Case




Maps of Russia (published 1753)

Map of U.S. (1860)

Old map case


Drawer 3

Maps of the Battlefield of Gettysburg (1876)

MF 5735, Series B




Omission: Folders 11-12, 15-19, and Volumes