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Benjamin T. Watkins family papers, 1818-1920

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/900x1

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Watkins, Benjamin T.
Title: Benjamin T. Watkins family papers, 1818-1920
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 717
Extent: .25 linear feet (1 box) and 1 oversized papers boxes (OP)
Abstract:Papers of Georgia soldier Benjamin T. Watkins, his son John Hill Watkins, and James McMillan from 1818-1920, including correspondence, military records kept by Benjamin T. Watkins relating to the relocation of Cherokee Indians, and miscellaneous land contracts and receipts.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift of John Bacheller, Jr., 1984.

Custodial History

John Bacheller, Jr. is the great-great-great-great-grandon of Benjamin T. Watkins.


[after identification of item(s)], Benjamin T. Watkins family papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Rose Library Director, Linda Matthews, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Georgia history.


Processed by Elizabeth Russey, February 15, 2005

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Benjamin Templeton Watkins was born July 4, 1797. He was drafted into the Georgia military in 1818 and fought in the Seminole Wars. In 1825 he married Hannah Lassetter (March 10, 1809-December 2, 1851), possibly a descendant of a Cherokee Indian, and they both moved to Campbell County, Georgia in the 1830s. They had twelve children together. In 1838, Benjamin T. Watkins was commissioned as a captain of the Georgia Volunteers during the Cherokee removal in North Georgia and served as the commander of Fort Cumming. He died December 2, 1875.

John Hill Watkins was born circa 1836, the fifth child of Benjamin and Hannah Watkins. In 1867 he married Marietta Bedell. John Hill Watkins graduated from the Nashville School of Medicine (now Vanderbilt University) and worked as a physician in Campbell County, Georgia.

James M. McMillan married Lily Watkins, a daughter of John Hill Watkins. McMillan was a farmer in Palmetto (Campbell County), Georgia around 1920.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Benjamin T. Watkins, his son John Hill Watkins, and James McMillan from 1818-1920. The papers include correspondence, military records kept by Benjamin T. Watkins, and miscellaneous land contracts and receipts. The military records are mostly from 1838, during the Cherokee removal in north Georgia. Benjamin T. Watkins was the commander of Fort Cumming, one of the forts in which Cherokees were gathered before leaving Georgia. The mostly handwritten military orders document troop movements and the military’s treatment of the Cherokee. A printed order from May 17, 1838 is signed by General Winfield Scott. Also included are supply lists and a muster roll of the 2nd Regiment of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry from May to June 1838. Of particular interest is a letter from Benjamin T. Watkins to his commander in 1838 that discusses a financial dispute between a Cherokee and a white resident of Georgia.

The papers of John Hill Watkins contain pharmaceutical advertisements from the early 1900s, postal receipts, a newspaper clipping concerning cholera, and correspondence. Two letters from 1857 and 1858 discuss the medical treatment of slaves in Newnan, Georgia. The remainder of the collection contains the papers of James M. McMillan, John Hill Watkin's son-in-law. The papers include a land contract, income tax worksheets from 1918-1919, and an undated page of handwritten notes discussing the planting of crops and other daily farming activities. .

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type.

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Container List

Benjamin T. Watkins
Box Folder Content
1 1 Account book, [1847?]
1 2 Baggage transport requests, May 1838
1 3 Benjamin J. Camp [1st lieutenant under Benjamin T. Watkins], military commission, May 1838
1 4 Correspondence, June 1838
1 5 Justice of the Peace appointment, Campbell County, Georgia, January 1851
1 6 Land grant, June 1849
1 7 Military orders, April-June 1838
OP1 1 Military orders, “Orders #25," Tennessee, May 17, 1838
OP1 2 Military order, June 1838
1 8 Military service records, 1818, 1838
1 9 Military supply lists, May – June 1838
OP1 3 Muster roll, May 1838
OP1 4 Supply list, June 1838
OP1 5 Receipt, September 22, 1864
J.H. Watkins
1 10 Correspondence, 1857-1858, 1907
1 11 Newspaper clipping, undated
1 12 Pharmaceutical advertisements, 1898-1901
1 13 Receipts, 1905-1908
James M. McMillan
1 14 Contract, February 1920
1 15 Land contract, September 25, 1900
1 16 Income tax worksheets, 1918-1919
1 17 Writings, August, [?]