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Butler-Coulter Family Letters

Correspondence, 1856-1897

Manuscript Collection 1086


137 original letters and two bound volumes of photocopied typed transcripts pertaining to the Butler-Coulter families of southern Arkansas were donated to Special Collections by Mary Elizabeth Bramlitt Braswell of Houston, Texas, on December 17, 1990.

The collection consists of letters and fragments exchanged by Henry Alexander Butler (1836-1907) and Mary "Mollie" Elizabeth Coulter Butler (1843-1897) of Dallas and Sevier Counties, Arkansas, along with those from relatives and friends at various points in Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, California, and South America.  The Butlers were a prominent family of Tulip, Arkansas, where father Alexander Butler (1807-1881) ran a mercantile operation assisted by his eldest son Henry.  When the Civil War broke out, Henry and three of his brothers enlisted in the Third Arkansas Infantry, the only Confederate regiment from the state to serve entirely in the eastern theater of the war.  Henry eventually achieved the rank of Major and served as Adjutant General to Brigadier General John Rogers Cooke.  After the war Henry married Mollie Coulter and the couple lived in Union County, Tulip, and Malvern, Arkansas where Henry engaged in agriculture and trading.

The collection includes 51 letters written between January 7, 1861 and January 16, 1865 from Henry at various points in Virginia; Mollie Coulter at Evergreen, Arkansas; and W.H. Foster, a friend at Mountain, Tennessee.  Many of Henry's wartime letters describe camp conditions and military movements, although most are devoted to family news and courtship.  The postwar letters include those from Mollie's father, David Reddock Coulter, written from New Orleans during the first two years of Reconstruction and from Brazil where he visited with his son George in the early 1870s.  All of the letters have been encapsulated, numbered, and arranged in chronological order.  Two bound typescripts of the originals along with genealogical data on the Butler-Coulter families prepared by Ann Braswell in June 1988 are also included.

Some of the correspondents represented in this collection, such as Henry and Mollie Butler, are authors of additional letters found in the Butler-Paisley Family Papers, a separate manuscript collection held by the department.  Most of the Butler-Paisley letters have been published by Elizabeth Paisley Huckaby and Ethel C. Simpson in Tulip Evermore: Emma Butler and William Paisley, Their Lives and Letters, 1857-1887 (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1985).  An additional manuscript collection held by the department, the Butler-Paisley Photograph Albums (MC 632), includes photographs of the principal correspondents of the Butler-Coulter Family Letters.

Processed by Kim Allen Scott, Special Collections Division, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas, in January, 1991.

Related material in Special Collections includes:

MC 514 Butler-Paisley Family Papers
MC 632 Butler-Paisley Photograph Albums
MC 633 Jonathan K. L. Smith Map of Tulip Ridge

139 items

Box 1

 1. Letters, 1856-1897  (137 items)

Box 2

 1. Bound transcripts, 1856-1865
 2. Bound transcripts, 1866-1897

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