CLAIBORNE, John Francis Hamtramck

1809–1884

Biography

CLAIBORNE, John Francis Hamtramck, (nephew of William Charles Cole Claiborne and Nathaniel Herbert Claiborne, grandnephew of Thomas Claiborne [1749–1812], great–grandfather of Herbert Claiborne Pell, Jr., great–great–grandfather of Claiborne de Borda Pell, and great–great granduncle of Corinne Claiborne Boggs), a Representative from Mississippi; born in Natchez, Adams County, Miss., April 24, 1809; attended school in Virginia; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1825 and commenced practice at Natchez, Miss.; member of the State house of representatives 1830-1834; moved to Madison County, Miss.; elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1835-March 3, 1837); presented credentials as a Democratic Member-elect to the Twenty-fifth Congress and served from July 18, 1837, until February 5, 1838, when the seat was declared vacant; engaged in newspaper work in Natchez, Miss.; moved to New Orleans, La., in 1844 and resumed newspaper interests; appointed United States timber agent for Louisiana and Mississippi in 1853; author of several historical works; returned to his estate, "Dumbarton," near Natchez, Miss., and died there on May 17, 1884; interment in Natchez City Cemetery, Natchez, Miss.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1818-1885, 1.2 linear feet. The papers of John Francis Hamtramck contain correspondence, diaries, speeches, writings, notes, busines records, legal and financial documents, genealogical charts, and other papers relating principally to Democratic Party politics at the state and national level prior to the Civil War, a visit to Washington, D.C. (1824-1825), Claiborne's work as editor of several Democratic newspapers, his role as a member of the U.S. Board of Choctaw commissioners in the settlement of claims by the Choctaw Indians, his service as U.S. timber agent for Louisiana and Mississippi, slave transactions and other business matters as a plantation owner in Adams County, Miss., and personal and family affairs. Includes a diary (1864) of Claiborne's son, Willis Herbert Claiborne, kept while serving with the Army of Tennessee at Missionary Ridge, Tenn., and a diary (1861-1869) of Claiborne's son-in-law, Henry A. Garrett, relating to his service in the Jefferson Davis Legion of the Mississippi Cavalry, to Reconstruction, and to personal and business affairs as a plantation owner in Adams County, Mississippi. An inventory is available in the library. The papers are also available on microfilm.
Papers: In the Thomas Flournoy Papers, 1812-1846, 73 items. Correspondents include J.F.H. Claiborne. The papers are also available on microfilm.
Papers: In the James K. Polk Papers, ca. 1775-1891, 39 linear feet. Correspondents include J.F.H. Claiborne. A finding aid is available in the library. The papers are also available on microfilm.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Jackson, MS
Papers: 1807-1881, approximately 1,700 items. Historical letters collected by Col. J.F.H. Claiborne, historian, newspapers editor, and Representative from Mississippi.
Microfilm: 1818-1885, 2 microfilm reels. Microfilm copies of original papers at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Purdue University Libraries

West Lafayette, IN
Microfilm: 1807-1881, 11 microfilm reels. Historical letters collected by Col. J.F.H. Claiborne, historian, newspaper editor, and Representative from Mississippi. The letters were originally published in three volumes in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Southern Historical Collection

Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: 1797-1884, 3 linear feet. The papers of J.F.H. Claiborne contain relatively few items pertaining to Claiborne's personal activities but include letters he wrote while a law student in Wytheville, Va.; records of the 1842-1843 commission on Choctaw Indian claims; a few papers of Gov. John Anthony Quitman; diary of Willis Herbert Claiborne as a Confederate officer at Vicksburg in April-July 1863; J.L. Power's notes on the Mississippi secession convention; materials collected by Claiborne in preparation of his history of Mississippi, among them biographical and autobiographical material on prominent leaders; and writings of Claiborne and others on a wide variety of contemporary and historical subjects. An inventory is available in the repository and online.

University of Texas at Austin
Center for American History

Austin, TX
Papers: 1828-1838, 15 items. The papers of J.F.H. Claiborne document the business and political affairs of Claiborne. Included is a deed for land in Warren County, Mississippi, sold to James A. McPheeters, and two letters from Congressman Claiborne in Washington, D. C., describing a floor debate about a contested North Carolina election and describing living conditions in Washington (1836).
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Claiborne, John Francis Hamtramck. Historical account of Hancock County and the sea board of Mississippi. New Orleans, La.: Hopkin's Printing Office, [1876].

------. Life and correspondence of John A. Quitman, Major-General, U. S. A., and Governor of the State of Mississippi. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860.

------. Life and times of Gen. Sam. Dale, the Mississippi partisan. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860.

------. Mississippi, as a Province, Territory, and State. Jackson, Miss.: Power & Barksdale, 1880. [Baton Rouge]: Reprint, Louisiana State University Press, 1964.

Harlan, James. Remarks of Mr. Harlan, of Kentucky, on the Mississippi contested election. Washington: Printed by Gales and Seaton, 1837.

Lagrone, C.M. An index to J. F. H. Claiborne's Mississippi as a province, territory and state. Hattiesburg, Miss.: The Book Farm, 1939.

Lang, Herbert H. "J.F.H. Claiborne at 'Laurel Wood' Plantation, 1853-1870." Journal of Mississippi History 18 (January 1956): 1-17.

Moore, John Hebron, ed. "Claiborne's Journal in 'Mississippi'" A Fragment from the Unpublished Second Volume of History of Miss." Journal of Mississippi History 22 (April 1960): 87-100.

Riley, Franklin L. Life of Col. J.F.H. Claiborne. Oxford, Miss.: Reprinted from Publications of Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. 7, 1903.

Williams, Frederich D. "The Career of J.F.H. Claiborne, States' Rights Unionist." Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1953.

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