George Henry Nixon Manuscripts

Available at Lawrence County Archives

In 2006, Bill Caudle, president of a former local Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) chapter donated a collection of the personal papers of Col. George H. Nixon to the Lawrence County Archives. The SCV purchased the bound papers in 2003 for $500 from a person who had bought the book at a yard sale in California. In 2004, a Nashville conservator removed the pages from the binding, cleaned and repaired the pages, and encapsulated each leaf in Mylar sheets to preserve them. These manuscripts were recently evaluated by Michael T. Gavin, a Preservation Specialist for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, at MTSU.

The collection consists of materials dating from 1841 to 1908 primarily composed of correspondence between Col. Nixon, his family and business associates during the Mexican War period. A few actual documents for the Mexican War are included. There are also several letters from the 1850s in which the authors recommend Nixon for a United States’ diplomatic post. The rest of the papers can be classified as political, personal, genealogical (including births, deaths, etc. from a Bible); illustrations from contemporary books and magazines; and a few miscellaneous items. There are only two Civil War-era letters in the collection: one dated Jan 1862 to his daughter from an army camp near Bowling Green and one dated 1861.

Col. George H. Nixon was born October 22, 1820 and died July 4, 1887. During the Mexican War, he was an officer in Company M, 1st Tennessee Volunteers (Lawrenceburg Blues). Later, he served three terms in the Tennessee General Assembly before being appointed Land Registrar in the Nebraska Territory by President James Buchanan. He commanded two regiments (48th TN Infantry and 22nd TN Cavalry) during the Civil War. After the war, he was elected Chancellor of the 9th District and served from 1870 to 1886. Nixon was also very instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lawrence County, thus creating faster access to more markets all over the U.S. for Lawrence County businesses, especially the iron ore mines and farmers. He is buried in the Old City Cemetery on Waterloo St. in Lawrenceburg.

At present the manuscripts are in excellent condition, probably because they have not been handled extensively. This situation could change quickly if the Mylar sheets are improperly handled, slid against each other, or come in contact with rough surfaces such as table tops. To avoid deterioration, the archives hopes to scan the documents and save them as electronic images stored on CD-ROM for researchers to copy sometime in the future.

If you wish to examine these documents, you may do so at the Lawrence County Archives office at 2588 Hwy. 43 S., Leoma, TN. The phone number is 931-852-4091. At present, I do not have the time or staff to do research in these papers for offsite researchers, except the Bible records. You man contact Kathy Niedergeses for further info.

Last updated by Kathy Niedergeses November 30, 2009

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