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Richard A. Blount Collection Finding Aid


Compiled By David J. Manges, Sr., 1992

Preface

The photocopies of the documents comprising the Richard A. Blount Collection were donated to the Russell Library by Mr. H. I. Bridges, Jr., of Sandersville, Georgia. Mr. Bridges became interested in Richard A. Blount because of his association with the U. S. Postal Service. Mr. Bridges requested and received reproductions of the bulk of the collection on photocopy from the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The original Richard A. Blount Collection is located at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36130. In 1991, David J. Manges, Sr., an undergraduate student in the History Department of Georgia College, began a complete inventory and indexing project of the portion of the collection that was donated. At that time, the collection consisted of a large stack of photocopied pages and a very brief, vague inventory of the collection from the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

The results of the processing are two file boxes of photocopies of the original documents along with a typed text of all legible material arranged as closely as possible to the order of the original collection in the Alabama Archives. Following a biographical essay on Richard A. Blount is a general description of the scope and content of the papers, which are divided into the two file boxes. Narrative summaries of the contents of each folder are given, followed by an index of the collection.

The Richard A. Blount Collection is available to all qualified researchers. GC places no restrictions on the use of the collection; however, the copyright is held by the repository of the original collection.

Biographical Information

Richard A. Blount, son of John and Mary (Ridley) Blount, was born 1 August 1774 in Virginia. He was educated in the Old Dominion, and, in his youth, traveled to the West Indies and then through Tennessee, the Carolinas, and several of the Northwestern states.

In the year 1798 Richard A. Blount left his home in Chuckatuck, Nansemond County, Virginia, and traveled to Savannah, Georgia, "a large and populous city of 250 or 300 dwellings." On his return trip to Virginia, he passed through the towns of Sandersville and Sparta in central Georgia.

In the year of 1800, Richard A. Blount and family settled in Washington County, Georgia. He was the postmaster of Lebanon, Georgia and a land owner in Washington and Baldwin Counties, Georgia. He also experimented with the grafting of apple trees on his three farms, which he named Belle Mont, Oconee, and Lebanon.

On 26 July 1806, R.A. Blount was nominated to run for the United States House of Representatives "to fill a vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the Hon. Joseph Bryan." In 1807, he served on the Hancock County Court House Construction Committee, and on 27 October 1813, he was chosen as a Justice of Inferior Court.

Richard A. Blount was commissioned "Aide De Camp with the rank of Major in the Second Division of the Militia of the State of Georgia" by John Irwin, Brigadier General, on 1 May 1816. On 3 July 1816, Blount was appointed "Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief with the rank of Colonel." On 15 April 1817, R. A. Blount, Esq. was appointed "to continue as Aide de Camp with the rank of Colonel."

Boundary Line Commission

In 1826, Richard A. Blount was appointed by the Governor of Georgia, G. M. Troup, to be part of a commission charged with surveying the boundary line between the states of Georgia and Alabama. He was elected treasurer of the commissioners from the state of Georgia and kept a journal of the conduct and expenses of the surveying expedition.

Colonel Blount, serving as a guide and translator, accompanied Reverend William Capers of South Carolina on an expedition into Indian country in August 1822 to consult with Chief William McIntosh and the leaders of the Creek Indians about the construction of a Methodist mission school among the Indians. Their visit resulted in the building of the short-lived Asbury Mission along the Chattahoochee River - near present day Columbus, Georgia. Asbury Mission was the second mission formed by the Methodists in the United States; the first one being a mission for the Wyandotte Indians in Ohio.

Richard A. Blount was the secretary for the Forth Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church and was responsible for the publication of the "Minutes of the Forth Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church," dated "6 September 1834, Milledgeville, Georgia." He was elected as an elder by the Georgia Annual Conference of Ministers and Delegates of the Methodist Episcopal Church 18 November 1839.

Richard A. Blount died on 24 December, 1849 and was buried in Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia. He is best remembered for his work as a commissioner for the surveying of the Alabama-Georgia boundary line in 1826.

His headstone in the Milledgeville Cemetery has the incorrect date of 1771.

Scope and Content Note

The Richard A. Blount Collection consists of 74 folders arranged within two file boxes. It includes personal and professional journals, sermons, expense accounts and correspondence. The collection includes R. A. Blount's writings from 1793 to papers concerning the disposal of his estate dated 1859.

File Box 1, Book 1, Folder 1A contains a typed text of Richard A. Blount's journal, which was written while serving as a commissioner for the Georgia-Alabama boundary line surveying expedition of 1826. This is the largest folder in the collection and contains a daily narrative of the journey along with fascinating insights into the life and customs of the Creek and Cherokee Indians indigenous to the area. Of great value to the scholar is an English to Creek to Cherokee translation guide located in File Box 1, Book 1, Folder 12.

There are major gaps in all areas of the collection. It is surmised that the gaps are due to the likelihood that neither Richard A. Blount nor his heirs preserved all of his papers, thus contributing to the indiscriminate demeanor of the extant documents.

There are several prominent personalities included within the collection. For example, Blount corresponded with Governor George Troup of Georgia continuously during the boundary line expedition of 1826 and then maintained a politically-based correspondence until the late 1840's. Extracts from the journal of Bishop Francis Asbury, a pivotal figure in the early Methodist church in America, are included in the collection (File Box 2, Folder 12). Included in the Asbury folder is a personal letter from John Wesley to Bishop Asbury dated 1787. General (Chief) William McIntosh (of the Creek Indians) appears in Blount's journal and a detailed description of his death is recounted when Blount met the General's two Indian widows in 1826. Also mentioned is the Reverend William Capers, another prominent figure in the early Methodist church.

More detailed information about the collection is provided in the individual folder descriptions. Georgia College places no restrictions on the use of the collection. The copyright is held by the Alabama Department of Archives and History; therefore, permission to quote from any of the materials must be obtained from: Director, Alabama Department of Archives and History, 624 Washington Ave, Montgomery, Alabama 36130.

Provenance and Arrangement

The original manuscripts in the Richard A. Blount Collection are housed in the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama. Georgia College has no knowledge as to how the papers were moved from Milledgeville, Georgia to Alabama; however, it is surmised that Richard A. Blount's daughter, Marianna Sanford, inherited the estate from her mother, Mary D. Blount, and transferred the materials to her home in Alabama. At some point, the collection was transferred to the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

In 1939, the Blount Collection was organized for the Alabama Department of Archives and History by Mrs. Mary Dreyspring as a project funded by the Works Progress Administration, Division of Women's and Professional Projects. Mrs. Dreyspring, who was not a trained historian nor an archivist, arranged the collection in an unidentifiable scheme. It is assumed that arrangement is by the order in which the material was received by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

In 1991, Mr. H. I. Bridges, of Sandersville, Georgia, located the Blount Collection through his interest in middle Georgia postal history. He requested photocopies of the collection from the Alabama Department of Archives and History and deposited the photocopied collection in Special Collections, Georgia College Library, for researchers to use.

When the materials arrived at Georgia College in the fall of 1991, processing of the collection began immediately. This procedure included an initial inventory and evaluation of the papers. Once the papers were deemed pertinent to the mission of Special Collections, the collection was arranged in correspondence with to the order established by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

The collection has been organized into two file boxes. The first file box is further divided into books and then into folders; i.e., File Box 1, Book 3, Folder 2. The second file box is divided into folders only; i.e., File Box 2, Folder 18. Some of the documents cannot be placed into the original order due to the lack of detail of the folder inventory; ie, "Several pages containing notes in Col. Blount's hand." Without dates or subjects it is impossible to know how these pages were originally cataloged. All pages that have not been filed into the collection may be found in File Box 2, Folders 28 and 28A.

The processing procedure began with the removal of the Blount materials from acidic manila folders and their placement in acid-free file folders. Each folder was then labeled with the collection's name, the file box number, book number, and folder number. For security precautions, as well as to provide an accurate count of materials for inventory purposes, an item count of the contents therein was added to the folder information.

The handwritten documents in the collection - some that are exceedingly hard to read - were painstakingly "deciphered," and a typed text of the document was produced so that valuable research time would not have to be spent with a magnifying glass in hand. The typed text was placed in the folder with the photocopied original, except in the case of Blount's journal. (This typed text was placed in a separate folder (File Box 1, Book 1, Folder 1A.)) The folders were then placed in acid-free file boxes and the arrangement was completed. (NOTE: As the folders were arranged, labeled, and a typed text produced, a description of each folder was entered into a word processing program. At the same time, the contents of the folders were added to the subject index.)

During the processing of the information and researching of the biography, several original sources regarding Richard A. Blount - such as the "Day Book of Mrs. Mary E. Blount" (wife) - were located in the Special Collections holdings. These materials are cross-referenced in the "Additions/References" section of the guide.

Additional Information on the Richard A. Blount Collection

Box List (pdf)
Additions to the Collection
References

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