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Mary Francis (Fannie) Smith Family Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3029

Series I: Correspondence 1865, 1904-1917 contains thirty Civil War letters written to and from Binghamton, New York and a variety of places in Tennessee. The letters were written from February 22 to June 19 in 1865. Some of the letters are written on paper provided by the U. S. Christian Commission. Most of the letters still have their original envelopes, some with postmarks and stamps still affixed. Some of the envelopes are undated and unattached to any of the letters. The letters from Binghamton are written by Eliza Smith and D. D. Cooley, a friend of the family. The letters from Tennessee are written by William and Alfred Smith. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between William and Eliza. The letters written by William describe his engineering work for the Union side, his health, and descriptions of the various places he worked in the South. The majority of William's letters are written from Chattanooga, Tenn, but he mentions several other East Tennessee locations such as Knoxville, Lookout Mountain, Bulls Gap, Bristol, and MacDonald's Station. William also passionately expresses his grief at the death of his son Alfred in Nashville. The letters written by Eliza describe happenings in Binghamton, N.Y. and her distress at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. She also describes the floods of 1865 that greatly impacted the Northeast. There are very few letters from Alfred, but he does write about the conditions at Camp Irvin and about the five-mile long procession for Lincoln's funeral in Nashville. This series also includes other early 20th century correspondence relating to the affairs of Fannie Smith. There are two handwritten letters written in pencil that are very difficult to read.

Series II: Photographs, 1920, undated includes three 19th century photographs, possibly of William and Alfred Smith. This series also includes a postcard dated to 1920 with two Civil War era photographs copied on the front of the card. The photographs could possibly be of Eliza and Alfred Smith, but the handwriting is unclear.

Series III: Other Papers, 1904-1917 includes cemetery and burial receipts, newspaper clippings of obituaries and wedding announcements belonging to Fannie Smith. One of the newspaper clippings contains Civil War era railroad fares.

Dates

  • 1865, 1904-1920

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

The collection contains thirty Civil War letters written to and from Binghamton, New York and a variety of places in Tennessee. Some of the letters are written on paper provided by the U. S. Christian Commission. Most of the letters still have their original envelopes, some with postmarks and stamps still affixed. The letters from Binghamton are written by Eliza Smith and D. D. Cooley, a friend of the family. The letters from Tennessee are written by William and Alfred Smith. There are also several Civil War era photographs in the collection. The collection was compiled and retained by Mary Francis (Fannie) Smith, the wife William and Eliza's youngest son Henry.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Smith Family emigrated from England to the United States in 1854. William and Eliza Smith along with their children Austin and Alfred arrived in New York on July 27, 1854 on a ship named the Saratoga. They moved to Broome County, New York and lived in the village of Binghamton. William Smith was born in England in 1830, and he was employed as both a gardener and carpenter during his life. Eliza Smith was born in England in 1825. Eliza and William's oldest son Austin was born in England in 1848 and became a shoemaker. Their middle son Alfred was born in England in 1852. Their youngest son Albert Henry Smith was born in 1860 in New York.

During the Civil War, the Smith Family of Binghamton, New York had two family members that participated in the conflict. William Smith worked for the Union in an engineering brigade that repaired roads, bridges, and railroads during the war. His 13-year-old son Alfred went with his father to the South and worked in a mess house. Both were initially stationed at Camp Irvin near Nashville, Tennessee, but William later traveled with his engineering group to Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Bulls Gap, Bristol, Knoxville, and MacDonald's Station in East Tennessee, and then he traveled to Virginia, Alabama, and Georgia. Alfred stayed in Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked in a mess house. Alfred died on June 12, 1865 of a severe fever. His father William received his discharge papers and returned home to Binghamton after his death. William and Eliza's youngest son Henry later became a cigar-maker and married Mary Francis (Fannie) Smith, who collected and retained the collection of Civil War letters from his family.

Arrangement

Collection consists of one box arranged into three series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence 1865, 1904-1917
  2. Series II: Photographs, 1920, undated
  3. Series III: Other Papers, 1904-1917

Acquisition Note

Collection is property of Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480