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William Beverly Randolph Hackley Letters

Identifier: MS-1275

  • Staff Only

This collection consists of transcriptions of 43 letters from William Randolph Hackley to his wife, Matilda, and family in Illinois written from November 22, 1863 to April 20, 1866. During this time, he worked as a local special agent and cotton agent with the United States Department of the Treasury in West Tennessee and Mississippi. The correspondence describes Hackley's efforts to make money to send home to his family, the low salary paid to treasury employees, the corrupt nature of the Treasury Department, and the cynicism of government workers. The letters also demonstrate Hackley's homesickness and love for his family. Also included are several drafts of an article written about Hackley and his letters, "The Letters of William Beverly Randolph Hackley: Treasury Agent in West Tennessee, 1863-1866," edited by Walter J. Fraser, Jr. and Pat P. Clark from circa 1971.


  • 1863 November 22-1866 April 20, circa 1971


The material in this collection is in English.

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.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)


This collection consists of transcripts of letters from William Beverly Randolph Hackley to his wife, Matilda, dated 1863 to 1866. Also included is an article written about Hackley and his letters, "The Letters of William Beverly Randolph Hackley: Treasury Agent in West Tennessee, 1863-1866."

Biographical/Historical Note

William Beverly Randolph Hackley was born on October 7, 1806 in Virginia to Richard and Harriet Randolph. In 1826, Hackley moved to the Tallahassee area of Florida after attending William and Mary College and was later admitted to the Florida Bar in 1827. He had a flourishing law practice and married Matilda Rhoda Agnes Clark Folker (1825-1902) in 1841 and had three known children together. Hackley served as U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 1849 to 1857 when the Hackley family moved to Joliet, Illinois. In 1863, he relocated to Memphis, Tennessee and worked for the U.S. Treasury Department as a local special agent and a cotton agent until 1866. He died in 1867 in Memphis where he was placed in a temporary grave until 1878 at which time his body was sent to Pensacola, Florida.

Patricia Pumphrey Clark grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and graduated from Madison College with a BA degree in education, a major in social science. She taught school for over five years before marrying G. Wayne Clark, a physicist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. From 1955 to 1958, Clark worked for the Virginia Historical Society. In the 1960s, she received her master's degree in history from the University of Tennessee. She was an assistant research director and editor of the Papers of the Andrew Johnson Project at the university. She won the first Phillip M. Hamer award given by the Society of American Archivists, and has been published many times, including the Florida Historical Quarterly, the Virginia Magazine of History, and Biography.

Walter J. Fraser, Jr., born in 1936, was a professor of history. Fraser completed his graduate studies at the University of Tennessee, earning his doctoral degree in history in 1970. He later taught at the Citadel and served as chair of the history department at Georgia Southern University. Fraser has authored several books and scholarly articles.


This collection consists of one folder.

Repository Details

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

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA