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A Guide to the Bellamy Family Papers

Finding aid created by Gene Goldmintz

Digitization funded with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
April 2007

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bellamy family
Title: Bellamy Family Papers
Dates: 1825-1894
Bulk dates: 1847-1849; 1866-1872
Abstract: Correspondence amongst members of the Bellamy family and others.
Extent: 0.2 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: Ms 214
Language(s): English
Online ContentItems from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Bellamy (1776?- 1845) and his wife Margaret Bellamy (??-1847) moved to East Florida with their five children in 1821. The Bellamys were one of the first inhabitants of Tallahassee and longtime residents of Jefferson County. Through the labor of his seventy or more slaves Bellamy constructed a plantation near Miccosukee Lake where other wealthy "barons" lived (Davis 1944, 27). Establishing himself early on as a resilient entrepreneur, Bellamy grew rice, tobacco, cotton, and sugar cane amassing assets of over $87,000 in slaves, equipment, and financial holdings by the time of his death in 1845 (Jefferson County 1847, April 10).

John Bellamy was closely associated with construction of a major east-west thoroughfare across Florida. Known as the Bellamy Road, it roughly followed the old Mission Trail. Prior to the construction of this road the only other major highway in Florida was the King's Road, constructed by the British in 1763 to run from St. Augustine to Colerain, Georgia (Rerick 1902, 165). John Bellamy agreed to complete the portion of the Bellamy Road that ran from the Ochlockonee River to the St. Johns River for a sum of $13,500 (Boyd 1936, 160, 161). Construction began on December 21, 1824 with Bellamy's own equipment and slaves. The Bellamy Road was completed in 1826.

A family history and genealogy by Mary Walker, a Bellamy descendant, is included on CD in this collection; compiled and written 2009-2010.

Sources: Grenelle, Eleanor Hortense, The Bellamys of Territorial Florida (Master's Thesis, University of Florida, 1953). Book of Inventories and Appraisements, and Account of Sales (Jefferson County, September 15, 1846). "The Tallahassee Historical Society's 'Apalachee': Tallahassee Through Territorial Days," Florida Historical Quarterly 23 (July) 1944: 27-28. Rerick, R.H., Memories of Florida, 2 Vols., edited by Francis P. Fleming (Atlanta: Southern Historical Association, 1902). Boyd, M.F., "The First American Road in Florida: Pensacola-St. Augustine Highway, 1824, Part II," Florida Historical Quarterly 14 (January) 1936: 139-192.

Scope and Content

The Bellamy Papers contain correspondence between members of the Bellamy family and their acquaintances, spanning the years 1825-1894. These letters are personal in nature, consisting mostly of family members and friends corresponding with one another over personal matters. The major correspondents are Burton William Bellamy and his mother, Eliza A. Bellamy. Eliza's second husband was William J. Bailey, and the collection contains correspondence relating to the Bailey family, also of Jefferson County.

Of particular interest is Burton Bellamy's "Paper on Slavery" (1849). This piece, written from the eyes of a southern man studying at Yale, defends the institution and maintenance of American slavery as the South's unalienable right as derived from the Constitution of the United States. This was the prevailing argument during this time, and thus reflects the greater socio-political climate of the slave-holding section of the nation. In 2008, Mary Walker, a Bellamy descendant, donated additional family letters, which now comprise about half the collection. These letters were written to Burton Bellamy by his mother, his stepfather, his sisters, other relatives and friends. A few of the letters were written to his sisters. Walker's transcriptions of the Bellamy Family Papers are available on CD in the collection.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

Bellamy/Bailey Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill (Also available at University of Florida on microfilm reel 185A Special Collections)

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Items in this collection have been digitized and are available via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) as part of the Pioneer Days in Florida project, which is generously supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Bellamy Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Burton Bellamy's "Paper on Slavery" (1849) was donated to the Georgia Division of Archives and History by C.T. Tillman and transferred to the University of Florida February 4, 2004.

Letters to Burton Bellamy were donated by Mary Walker, Oak Hammock, Fla., in 2008. In 2010 Mrs. Walker also donated her transcriptions of the Bellamy Family Papers coupled to summary histories of the families (Williams, Bellamy, and Bailey) represented in most of the correspondence (203 pp).

Contents List

1 Genealogical notes and letter transcriptions by Mary Walker
1 Family Correspondence. 1825-1848
1 Correspondence (includes "Paper on Slavery"). 1849
1 Family Correspondence. 1850-1894
1 Miscellaneous, Family Genealogy
1 Letters to Burton Bellamy from family. 1866-1868
1 Letters to Burton Bellamy from family. 1869-1870
1 Letters to Burton Bellamy from family. 1871-1872
1 Letters to Burton Bellamy from family. 1877, 1882-1883

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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