Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Materials

MC 1804

Special Collections Department
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Krista Jones, 2010.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Whittington, Hiram A. and Whittington, Granville
Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Materials
Inclusive Dates
MC 1804
1 linear foot (2 boxes)
Materials are in English.
Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

Restrictions Apply: The original bound volume of letters and the daguerreotype of Granville Whittington are restricted due to fragility. Researchers should use photocopies of the original letters and daguerreotype of Granville Whittington housed in Box 1. Researchers may also refer to a microfilm copy of the letters in MC 519 Whittington Family Letters, 1824-1834; Observations of Arkansas: the 1824-1863 Letters of Hiram Abiff Whittington (Hot Springs: Garland County Historical Society, 1997); and Letters of Hiram Abiff Whittington: An Arkansas Pioneer from Massachusetts, 1827-1834 (Little Rock: Pulaski County Historical Society, 1956).

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

The Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Materials were donated to the Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, on November 14, 2008, by Ellen Elder.

Processing Information

Processed by Krista Jones; completed in September 2009.

Related Collections

Whittington Family Letters, 1824-1834 (MC 519)

Preferred Form of Citation

Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Materials (MC 1804), Special Collections Department, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

Hiram Abiff Whittington was born January 14, 1805 in Boston, Massachusetts to William and Hepzebeth Whittington. At the age of fifteen, Hiram learned the printing trade and became an apprentice for the Nantucket Enquirer. During his tenure at the newspaper, his younger brother, Granville, was training under a book binder.

In 1823 Hiram moved to Brooklyn, New York where he worked under Alden Spooner, who introduced him to William E. Woodruff, editor of the Arkansas Gazette. When Hiram heard that the Arkansas Gazette needed a printer, he left for Little Rock and arrived Christmas day 1826. Due to an illness, Hiram left Little Rock seeking the healing waters of Hot Springs in 1832. After Hiram’s illness subsided he returned to Little Rock, but only for two month. A Little Rock merchant named John McLane wanted to open a store in Hot Springs and wanted Hiram to operate it. While in Hot Springs, Hiram established the city’s first mercantile store, H.A Whittington & Co., developed a novaculite factory to manufacture and export whetstones, and started the state’s first lending library. In addition, he was appointed Post Master and elected Clerk of Hot Spring County in 1833. Hiram was in Hot Spring County because Garland County, named after Arkansas Governor, Augustus Garland, was not established until April 5, 1873, from parts of Hot Spring, Montgomery, and Saline counties.

Hiram returned to Boston in 1836 and married Mary Burnham on October 12, 1836 and brought his new bride back to Hot Springs. While in Hot Springs, Hiram opened the Chalybeate Springs, a boarding house, which was in operation from 1836 to 1849. Hiram entered the political arena when he was elected as a councilman from Hot Spring County, Arkansas in the General Assembly in 1835. In 1838, area citizens elected him to the Arkansas House of Representatives and he was re-elected in 1840 and 1850.

Mary Burnham Whittington died April 7, 1851 at the age of 31. Together, Mary and Hiram had six children and lived in the Magnolia House, a log cabin, which was located on the present site of the Majestic Hotel. During the last few years of Hiram’s life, he donated land near his home, which he built in 1851, to St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the First Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs. Hiram died May 5, 1890 and was buried in a cemetery off of Mill Creek Road and was later moved to the Whittington family plot in the Hollywood Cemetery in Hot Springs in 1991.

During the years 1827 through 1834, Hiram wrote to his brother, Granville, in Boston about life on the Arkansas frontier. After the marriage of Hiram and Mary, Granville left Massachusetts with his wife, Cordelia Wilder whom he married August 31, 1831, and came to Arkansas in 1837. After his arrival in Arkansas, he spend a brief time in Hot Springs before he settled near present day Mount Ida Montgomery County, Arkansas and opened a general store.

The first post office in the area was established in June 1842 by Granville and was named Mount Ida after a mountain near his home in Massachusetts. In 1846, Granville was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives from Montgomery County. In addition, for six years he operated the post office and general store out of his log home one mile north of the present town square until the post office was relocated to the county clerk’s office in 1848.

Granville died April 27, 1887 at the age of 79. Cordelia, his wife, died five years after his death on January 10, 1892. Between them they had ten children with eight surviving to adulthood.

Scope and Content Note

The Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Materials contain correspondence between Hiram and his brother, Granville, back in Massachusetts revealing the conditions and his experience in the new Arkansas territory. Granville, a book binder by trade, preserved the letters in a bound volume. These letters that were neatly bound were found in Granville’s attic when his house in Mount Ida was torn down in 1913.

The letters begin in 1824 when Hiram was writing from his home in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The first that Hiram wrote Granville from Arkansas was written from the office of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock on February 20, 1827. The last letter in the original bound volume was written from Hot Springs, Arkansas, May 19, 1834. Topics covered in the letters economic opportunities in Arkansas, religion, elections in Arkansas, Indians, and health in the Arkansas frontier. In addition to the bound letters, the Whittington Family Letters collection contains, biographical information about the Whittington family and their descendent, a letter written in 1874 from Cordelia Whittington in Mount Ida, Arkansas, to her husband, Granville, in Boston, Massachusetts, and a photograph of Cordelia Whittington.

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged by topic.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

Box 1

Box 1 Folder 1

Whittington Family Biographical Materials, 1976

Box 1 Folder 2

Letter from Cordelia Whittington in Mount Ida, Arkansas to Granville Whittington in Boston, Massachusetts, 1874

Box 1 Folder 3

Photograph of Cordelia Whittington, ca. 1840 (Image 1)

Box 1 Folder 4

Daguerreotype of Granville Whittington , ca. 1850 (Image 2a) (Scan)

Box 1 Folder 5

Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Correspondence, 1824-1829 (Photocopy)

Box 1 Folder 6

Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Correspondence, 1830-1831 (Photocopy)

Box 1 Folder 7

Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Correspondence, 1832-1833 (Photocopy)

Folder Restricted
Box 2 Item 1

Original Bound Hiram A. and Granville Whittington Correspondence, 1824-1834

Folder Restricted
Box 2 Item 2

Daguerreotype of Granville Whittington , ca. 1850 (Image 2)


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