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James Morrison Papers,1798-1823

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Processed by: staff; machine-readable finding aid created by:Bonnie Cox


James Morrison Papers




Transylvania University Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40508 USA

Conditions Governing Access note

Open to researchers.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], James Morrison Papers, 1798-1823, MSC 22,Special Collections, Transylvania University, Lexington.


.4 cubic ft.


James Morrison, a native of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, served as an officer during the Revolutionary War and subsequently as a sheriff of Cumberland County prior to coming to Lexington, Kentucky in 1792. Having entered into business here as a merchant, he was appointed land commissioner by Isaac Shelby, and in 1797 represented Fayette County in the Kentucky legislature. Thereafter, he served as navy agent and as deputy quartermaster general during the War of 1812, both positions giving him opportunities to establish markets for Kentucky hemp and other products. Morrison was chair of the Transylvania University Board of Trustees from 1819 to 1823. Morrison Hall, designed by Gideon Shryock, was constructed from funds left to Transylvania on his death.

Scope and Content

This collection is comprised of correspondence and financial records relating to Morrison's manufacture and sale of hemp, his activities as navy agent and quartermaster during the War of 1812, and to his various other commercial affairs. Correspondence consists primarily of letters received by Morrison from business associates and his agents at various locations. Such letters provide documentation of Morrison's commercial activities during the period, particularly his procurement of supplies as navy agent. Present are numerous letters (1806-1817) from Morrison's agents in Natchez, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Louisville. Also present are several letters written to Morrison during the War of 1812 and copies of his replies. Other letters reflect Morrison's financial affairs generally; and relate to acquisition and sale of land in various Kentucky counties, his investment in a salt works along the Saline River in Illinois, and his executorship of the estate of Lexington lawyer and businessman George Nicholas. Variant title: James Morrison collection. Condition of material: fair (acid damage).


  • Morrison, James, 1755-1823.
  • Nicholas, George, 1754?-1799.
  • Business enterprises -- Illinois
  • Business enterprises -- Kentucky -- Louisville.
  • Business enterprises -- Louisiana -- New Orleans
  • Business enterprises -- Mississippi -- Natchez.
  • Business enterprises -- Missouri -- St. Louis.
  • Hemp industry -- Kentucky
  • Land tenure -- Kentucky
  • Salt industry and trade -- Illinois.
  • Saline River (Ill.)
  • United States -- History -- War of 1812 -- Equipment and supplies
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records

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