Turnbull (Daniel) Family Papers

(Mss. 4973)


Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library

Louisiana State University Libraries

Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University

Spring 2007


Biographical/Historical Note


Scope and Content Note


Series 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. Publication. Readers assume full responsibility for compliance with laws regarding copyright, literary property rights, and libel. 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.



74 items

Geographic locations.

West Feliciana Parish, La.; Point Coupee Parish, La.; New Orleans, La.; Philadelphia, Penn.; Washington D.C.; Liverpool, England; Paris, France

Inclusive dates.


Bulk dates.





Family papers and financial records of the Turnbull and Bowman families, planters of West Feliciana Parish and Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana.


Papers arranged by family, then chronologically within series.

Restrictions on access.

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

Related collections.

James P. Bowman Family Papers (Mss. 1372, 1382) Turnbull-Allain Family Papers (Mss. 4261) Turnbull-Bowman Family Papers (Mss. 4452) Turnbull-Bowman-Lyons Family Papers (Mss. 4026)


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


Daniel Turnbull Family Papers, Mss. 4973, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, La.

Stack location(s).


BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE Daniel Turnbull (1796-1861), son of Catherine (nee Rucker) and John Turnbull, became a successful planter, primarily owning cotton plantations. In 1835, he founded Rosedown Plantation where he resided with his wife, Martha Hilliard Barrow Turnbull (1809-1896). Martha was raised on Highland Plantation in West Feliciana Parish. An avid horticulturalist, she assembled a large collection of botanical specimens which she planted in extensive gardens at Rosedown. Children of this marriage include James Daniel (1836-1843), Daniel, William B. (1829-1856), and Sarah (1831-1914). In addition to Rosedown, Daniel operated Styopa, Catalpa, Middleplace, Hazelwood, Grove, Inheritance, Woodlawn, and De Soto Plantations. Daniel's son, William B. Turnbull, resided on De Soto Plantation in Bayou Sara. When he died (1856), William was survived by his wife, Caroline B. Turnbull (called "Caro"). The Bowman and Turnbull families were associated through the marriage of Daniel and Martha's daughter, Sarah, to James P. Bowman in 1857. James was the son of Eliza Pirrie and her second husband, William R. Bowman (1800-1835). Sarah Turnbull inherited Rosedown and other plantations from her family. Like her mother, Sarah was a horticulturist. Her husband, James P. Bowman, produced cotton and sugar on Frogmoor and Bayou Grosse Tete plantations which he owned in Pointe Coupee Parish. In the 1890s, James was appointed to the Board of Administrators of the Insane Asylum of the State of Louisiana. He also served on the West Feliciana Parish School Board during the early 1900s. Upon her death in 1914, Sarah T. Bowman left her plantations and assets to her four daughters, Corrie (1872-1929), Isabel (1876-1951), Sarah (1869-1952), and Nina (1869-1955). In 1956, after the death of the last Bowman sister, the Rosedown Plantation home and gardens were purchased and restored by Milton and Catherine Underwood.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE Correspondence, notes, plantation records, and financial and legal papers document the lives of the Turnbull and Bowman families from 1826-1913. Many of the papers concern the operation of as well as life on Rosedown Plantation, founded by Daniel Turnbull and inherited by his daughter Sarah Turnbull and her husband James Bowman, and Grosse Tete Plantation, owned by Bowman. They include a record book from the Bowman family recording certain lists and events from one of the plantations, and various notes from the families refer to issues that range from family marriages to descriptions of the destruction of De Soto Plantation. Correspondence discusses family issues and members, plantation management, and a series of letters between Sarah Turnbull Bowman and family attorney John Blair focus on Daniel Turnbull’s Civil War claims (1904). Financial papers include receipts for the sale of cotton or molasses, account records of the plantations, bills of sale for land, and various invoices from members of the Turnbull and Bowman families.

SERIES DESCRIPTIONS Subgroup 1: Turnbull Family I. Correspondence and notes Papers of the Turnbull family include some correspondence and various notes about the family or the plantations. One such letter is from William Turnbull, Jr. at the University of the South to his grandmother, Martha Turnbull, asking for a violin and some money (1870). Also included is a note from Martha Turnbull describing the state of things after the “fall of New Orleans” where she mentions that Inheritance Plantation was robbed during the siege of Port Hudson (1864). Another such note by an unknown author provides more detail about the destruction of De Soto Plantation and Inheritance Plantation (undated). And in another, one of Sarah Turnbull Bowman’s children lists the dates of family marriages, including her grandparents (Daniel and Martha Turnbull), her parents (Sarah and James Bowman), and her aunt and uncle (William and Caroline Turnbull) (undated). Other notes, such as one discussing a new type of grass seed (undated), one containing a translation of a verse on a sundial placed at Rosedown in 1836, and fragments from an English and Latin lesson (1845) are also included. The earliest item in the collection is a small children’s book entitled “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin,” published by Sidney’s Press, New Haven in 1826. II. Legal papers The majority of the legal papers of the Turnbull family are letters from attorneys concerning Civil War claims of Daniel Turnbull. A letter from J.G. Eustis, Attorney at Law, to Sarah Bowman tells of a bill in the Senate that would give money back to the heirs of Turnbull (1904). Many others are from John Blair, Attorney at Law, to Sarah Bowman which discuss Turnbull’s will, his descendants, and the case of their war claims (1904). Also included is a printed report from the House of Representatives entitled “Referring Certain Claims to the Court of Claims” in which Turnbull’s case is referred to the Court of Claims as well as a fragment of the bill entitled “For the relief of the legal representatives of Daniel Turnbull, deceased” (1904). The succession of William B. Turnbull, dated January 29, 1859, can also be found. III. Financial papers

Most of the financial papers pertain to the accounts of Daniel Turnbull. They include a receipt for the purchase of a Negro man, Ned, from Anne Sims (1831); an invoice for Martha Turnbull for the shipment of goods from Styopa (1871); various account statements for Daniel Turnbull (1833, 1845); and receipts for the sale of cotton (1843, 1860) and one for the sale of dogs to John Towles (1851). Letters to Daniel from Washington Jackson & Co. discuss sales and payments, including one involving Hazelwood Plantation (1852). Another letter comes from Todd Jackson & Co. in Liverpool and discusses the price of cotton and includes a comparative statement of the

import of cotton into Liverpool (1845). A Bill of Sale for land near Bayou Boeuf, Rapides Parish, which was inherited by Martha Turnbull and her sister Eliza Eleanor Barrow, then sold to Benjamin Ballard is included (1835). The oldest item in the collection is an account list for Mrs. Turnbull (1803). Subgroup 2: Bowman Family I. Plantation papers Many letters to James Bowman come from overseers and concern planting, labor, and the management of Bayou Grosse Tete Plantation in Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana (1855-1857). A record book is also included (Reynolds Consecutive Mem. No. 2 ½, Patented June 22, 1875, manufactured by Reynolds & Reynolds, Dayton, Ohio), which notes visitors to the plantation, lists of animals, payments made, and various other notes concerning the plantation from the years 1903-1913. A newspaper clipping questions what will become of Rosedown after the death of Nina Benoit Bowman (undated). II. Correspondence Most of the letters are friendly correspondence between various people and James Bowman, inquiring about his family, the plantation, and planning visits (1860, 1867, 1894, 1912). One such letter, signed Slocomb, is written from Paris and encourages Bowman to travel to Europe (1853). Also included are a poem to Miss Sarah Turnbull from Saratoga Springs (1852) and a letter to her discussing family members from her cousin Rosina Benoist Grosbeck (undated). III. Financial papers The financial papers include receipts of James Bowman for the sale of molasses (1859) and also an account record for items purchased from Richard Slocombe & Co. (1855-1856), while many bills of sale are from Sarah Bowman for bales of cotton in Bayou Sara (1868, 1896). The papers also contain three checks written by James Bowman to himself in the amounts of $2000, $2100, and $1900 (1855).



Bayou Grosse Tete Plantation (La.)


Bayou Sara (La.)

1.I; 1.II; 1.III; 2.III

Bowman family.

1.I; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Bowman, James P. (James Pirrie), 1832-1927.

1.I; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Bowman, Sarah T. (Sarah Turnbull), 1831-1914.

1.I; 1.II; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Cotton Prices.

1.III; 2.I; 2.III

De Soto Plantation (La.)


Inheritance Plantation (La.)


Letters (Correspondence)

1.I; 1.II; 2.I; 2.II



Plantation owners Louisiana.

1.I; 1.II; 1.III; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Plantations Louisiana Point Coupee Parish.

2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Plantations Louisiana West Feliciana Parish.

1.I; 1.II; 1.III; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Point Coupee Parish (La.)

2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Rosedown Plantation.

1.I; 1.II; 1.III; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III

Turnbull, Martha Barrow, 1809-1896.

1.I; 1.II; 1.III

West Feliciana Parish (La.)

1.I; 1.II; 1.III; 2.I; 2.II; 2.III


Stack Location




Subgroup 1: Turnbull Family




I. Correspondence, notes, 1826-1870, undated


II. Legal papers, 1859, 1904


III. Financial papers, 1831-1871

Subgroup 2: Bowman Family


I. Plantation papers, 1845-1913, undated


II. Correspondence, 1852-1912, undated


III. Financial papers, 1855-1896