The collection is made up family and business correspondence of George Lewis Collins Davis (1807-1876) of New Orleans and Natchez. He served as surveyor of Natchez, selectman for the city, and in 1855 was representative of his district in the Mississippi legislature. He was also superintendent of the Ohio and New Orleans Telegraph Company, later the Southwest Telegraph Company, the National Telegraph Company and Western Union in Natchez and New Orleans.
The collection covers the dates that Davis lived in Natchez (1840-1860). There are extensive correspondence and financial accounts with his agents in New Orleans describing conditions for renting real and slave property and the problems associated with such a business. There is also a series of surveys from Natchez as well as correspondence concerning the operation of the telegraph office in the Mississippi Valley. Included in the collection are slave sales to T.P. Leathers, a discussion of the causes of cholera in Natchez-under-the-hill (1853 November 3), the operation of the National Telegraph Company at the start of the Civil War and the cooperation with the Confederate state governments, the education of a young lady in New Orleans (1855); surveys of property in Natchez, and a telegram from a slave asking for more clothing (1858 December 16).
Also included in the collection are a few items from the Civil War Period, such as oaths of allegiance to the United States. The majority of the post-war material concerns the settling of Davis' estate and telegraph company accounts. The collection also contains an electrostatic copy of the letterbook of George Davis, the father of George Lewis Collins Davis, containing forty-eight letters (1810-1827) relating to his work at the New Orleans Customhouse.
Box 1: Family records, survey papers, and letter book, 1780-1839
Box 2: Correspondence, bills and receipts, and legal documents, 1840-1849
Box 3: Correspondence, bills and receipts, and legal documents, 1850-1859
Box 4: Correspondence, bills and receipts, and legal documents, 1860-1903