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Collection Title: North (Ralph) Letter

Collection Number: M52

Dates: January 20, 1883

Volume: 1 Letter

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Ralph North was born in Connecticut in 1814. He and his wife, Mary, moved, prior to 1840, to Natchez, Mississippi, where North pursued a career as a lawyer. He served as a representative from Adams County in the Mississippi legislature in 1846. North was one of the main officials in the Natchez Building Association, and an early form of a savings and loan institution chartered in 1852. He was appointed as a Mississippi Supreme Court Chancellor for the 12th district in 1878 and 1882, and served as a circuit court judge from 1878 until approximately 1890.

Sargent Prentiss Nutt (who later changed his name to the old spelling, "Knut") was born c. 1854, one of the eleven children of Dr. Haller and Julia Nutt. Haller Nutt, a Union sympathizer, began the construction of Longwood in Natchez in 1860. Due to the outbreak of the Civil War, the home was never completed. Soon after Dr. Nutt's death in 1864, Julia Nutt filed suit against the U.S. government in an attempt to recover some of the losses sustained during the war. Sargent Prentiss, educated in Philadelphia and at the University of Virginia, studied law in Natchez and became an attorney. By the time of this letter, he had moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked to recover the family fortune by preparing lawsuits against the Federal government. The Nutt family eventually received approximately $200, 000 from the Federal government.

Scope and Content:

A letter dated January 20, 1883, from Ralph North in Natchez, Mississippi, to Sargent Prentiss Nutt. The letter concerns Nutt's request for confirmation of the capture of two coal boats in Natchez in the spring of 1863 by a Federal gunboat. The information was requested to support the Nutt family's claim against the U.S. government for reparations for damages to Longwood Plantation and other properties during the Civil War. North was unable to verify that incident, but he did recall the Federal capture of property belonging to Dr. Nutt in September 1862.

Related Collections:

McNutt (Alexander G.) Letters, M 67


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