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A Guide to the General Duncan Lamont Clinch Family Papers

Finding aid created by J. Sean McCormick

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: Clinch, Duncan Lamont, 1787-1849
Title: General Duncan Lamont Clinch Family Papers
Dates: 1804-1904
Abstract: Letters, legal documents, wills, and newspaper clippings pertaining to General Duncan Lamont Clinch and family.
Extent: 0.4 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: Ms 211
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

Duncan Lamont Clinch was born in 1787 in North Carolina to a middle class family. He was orphaned in youth and started life with an inheritance of twelve hundred dollars. In 1808 Congressman Thomas Blount selected Clinch as one of two individuals to receive commissions as first lieutenants in the U.S. Army. During the War of 1812 he was stationed in Louisiana and Plattsburg, N.Y. In July of 1816 he led the expedition that destroyed the "Negro Fort" on the Apalachicola River. Later he was brevetted to the rank of Brigadier General and led over seven hundred men against the Seminole Indians at the Battle of the Withlacoochee during the Second Seminole War. On April 26, 1836 General Clinch tendered his resignation to President Andrew Jackson, who tried to get him to reconsider; however, Clinch refused and on September 21, 1836 retired from his military career.

During his lifetime Clinch married three times. His first wife was Eliza Bayard McIntosh of the wealthy McIntosh family of Camden County, Georgia. This marriage produced eight children, five boys and three girls. Eliza died fairly soon after the eighth child was born and Clinch married his second wife, Elizabeth Bayard Houstoun, who after two still births died as well. Clinch's third wife, Sofia Gibbs, outlived Clinch by over fifty years. After his retirement from the service Clinch was responsible for his eight children and the Refuge plantation, on the Satilla River, Georgia, which he had inherited from his first wife's father, John Houstoun McIntosh. Clinch also became involved in politics and in 1843 was elected to replace Congressman John Millen who had died in office. After finishing that term Clinch did not enter politics again until 1847 when he was nominated as a gubernatorial candidate for Georgia but subsequently lost the election.

Clinch died on November 27, 1849 in Macon, Georgia. He had amassed an estate valued at two million dollars. The estate included the Refuge plantation with five thousand acres, a summer mansion in Clarksville, Georgia, two hundred and ten slaves, and over twenty-one thousand acres of land in Florida.

Source: Patrick, Rembert Wallace, Aristocrat in Uniform, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1963.

Scope and Content

This collection contains mostly correspondence and newspaper clippings about General Clinch. Topics range from family matters to his military campaign in the Second Seminole War and include letters from the Secretary of War at the time, Lewis W. Cass. The newspaper clippings pertain to General Clinch's defense of his actions during the Second Seminole War and at the Battle of the Withlacoochee. Also included in this collection are a number of land transaction documents and bills of sale. There are also newspaper clippings and letters about Clinch's first daughter, Eliza Bayard Clinch, who was married to the hero of Fort Sumter, General Robert Anderson. There are also copies of several wills from General Clinch's children, several letters of correspondence from within the family, and Clinch's autobiography written in the form of a letter to his sons. Portions of this latter document are missing.

It is important to note that while there are multiple letters and correspondence regarding the Battle of the Withlacoochee and the prosecution of the Second Seminole War in Florida, there is nothing specific with regard to the destruction of the "Negro Fort." The collection is arranged by topic and then chronologically within each folder.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

Additional material about General Clinch remains primarily in private hands. See Rembert Patrick, Aristocrat in Uniform, pages 218-219.

Other manuscript collections include: Clinch Letterbook, 1834-1835, at the Library of Congress. Journal of the Florida Expedition, 1836, Feb 21-April 23, at Duke University Library. Richard Keith Call Papers at the University of North Carolina Library. Duncan Clinch Heyward Papers at the Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina. Reminisces of the Seminole War at the Florida Historical Society. Materials at the Georgia Historical Society, Savannah. Ink sketches of the Episcopal Church (St. Marys, Ga.,) and Refuge Plantation House in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History.

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], General Duncan Lamont Clinch Family Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Contents List

1 Clippings regarding Eliza Bayard Anderson, General Clinch's eldest daughter. 1878-1879
1 Biographical writings about General Clinch. 1849-1900s
1 Legal Document for General Clinch and family. 1819-1888
1 Correspondence of General Clinch's family. 1804-1895
1 Clinch family legal documents. 1837-1904
1 Legal and land documents for General Clinch. 1834-1853
1 Letters from General Clinch. 1820-1847
1 Letters to General Clinch. 1811-1836
1 Letters to General Clinch. 1836-1844
1 Letters to General Clinch. 1844-1849
1 Copies of newspaper clippings about General Clinch. 1836-1837
1 Original newspaper clippings about General Clinch. 1836-1837
1 Map and floor plans of the Refuge plantation house. 1850
1 Letters to Mrs. Robert Anderson, Clinch's daughter, from General William T. Sherman. 1864-1865

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Anderson family.
Clinch family.
Clinch, Duncan Lamont, Jr.
Clinch, John Houstoun McIntosh.
Plantations -- Georgia.
Seminole War, 2nd, 1835-1842.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.

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

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