Thomas Porcher Ravenel papers
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Thomas Porcher Ravenel papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Ravenel, Thomas Porcher, 1850-1936.
Title: Thomas Porcher Ravenel papers
Dates: 1769-1950
Extent: 13.0 cubic feet (26 boxes)
Identification: MS 0649

Biographical/Historical Note

Thomas Porcher Ravenel (1850-1936) was born in Pinopolis, South Carolina. He was a prominent lawyer in Savannah and was a partner of Rufus Ezekiel Lester in the firm Lester & Ravenel. For a time, William Livingston Kenan of Darien, Georgia, was also a partner, during which period the firm's name was Lester, Ravenel & Kenan. After Lester's death in 1906, Ravenel opened a solo law practice.

Ravenel was a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, a member of several patriotic and cultural organizations, and a long-time officer of the Georgia Historical Society, serving as Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of letter books of outgoing correspondence from Lester & Ravenel, Lester, Ravenel & Kenan, and T.P. Ravenel, 1871-1927. Also included are folders of incoming correspondence, 1888-1905, brief books, financial accounts, and clippings. Some of the incoming correspondence concerning individual cases is arranged alphabetically by subject. There are 15 volumes of abstracts of title to property in Savannah and Chatham County, with a folder of indices to the abstracts. Included are 2 volumes of T.P. Ravenel's personal accounts and 2 volumes of receipts.

Old deeds and other documents account for the beginning date of this collection as 1769; those after 1827 were added by Ravenel's son-in-law, Thomas H. Gignilliat, who continued the firm under his own name.

Index Terms

Bonaventure Cemetery (Savannah, Ga.)
Business enterprises--Georgia.
Charleston and Savannah Railroad.
Insurance policies.
Land grants.
Lester and Ravenel (Savannah, Ga.)
Letter books.
Letters (correspondence)
Ossabaw Island (Ga.)
Owens-Thomas House (Savannah, Ga.)
Ravenel, Thomas Porcher, 1850-1936.
Real property--Georgia--Savannah.
Telfair family.
Title (property rights)

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Mary Wallace Ravenel Gignilliat and Emily Guerard Ravenel were Thomas P. Ravenel's daughters.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Thomas Porcher Ravenel papers, MS 649, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mary Wallace Ravenel Gignilliat and Emily Guerard Ravenel, 1970; J.F. Waring papers, 1978; Thomas Gignilliat, 1979 (Add. 1); unknown, 1979 (Add. 2); R.Y. Lane, 1979 (Add. 3).


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Separated Material

Artifacts were separated and cataloged with the Georgia Historical Society Artifacts Collection. View digital images of artifacts at the end of this collection inventory or search the Digital Image Catalog for further information.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List



1Letter books: T.P. Ravenel. Legal and personal; retained copies of outgoing letters

Letter book, 1871 July 8-1874 May 4
Letter book, 1874 May 3-1876 July 31
Letter book, 1876 August 11-1877 October 17
Letter book, 1877 October 23-1890 December 18


2Letter books: T.P. Ravenel. Legal and personal; retained copies of outgoing letters

Letter book, 1890 December 19-1894 June 17
Letter book, 1894 June 30-1897 February 3
Some letters written by T.P. Ravenel as Secretary and Treasurer of the Standard Manufacturing and Commission Co. Some letters are signed Lester & Ravenel.
Letter book, 1897 February 9-1905 June 9


3Letter books: T.P. Ravenel. Legal and personal; retained copies of outgoing letters

Letter book, 1905 June 22-1907 August 30
Letter book, 1907 August 30-1909 May 24
Letter book, 1909 May 25-1913 February 13


4Letter books: T.P. Ravenel. Legal and personal; retained copies of outgoing letters

Letter book, 1913-1915 February 25
Letter book, 1919 June 19-1921 September 7
Letter book, 1921 September 24-1927 February 23


5Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1880 February 3-1881 May 6
Letter book, 1881 May 6-1882 May 11


6Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1882 May 12-1883 July 16
Letter book, 1883 July 16-1885 January 27


7Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1885 May 30-1886 June 11
Letter book, 1886 June 19-1888 January 28


8Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1888 January 24-1889 June 21
Letter book, 1889 June 22-1891 February 27
Letter book, 1889 October 11-1892 March 17
Letter book of Lester, Ravenel & Kenan.


9Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1891 February 27-1892 April 11
Letter book, 1892 April 11-1893 July 24


10Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1893 July 25-1895 April 5
Letter book, 1895 April 5-1896 January 10


11Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1896 January 10-1897 August 25
Letter book, 1897 August 25-1899 September 15


12Letter books of Lester & Ravenel

Letter book, 1899 September 18-1902 September 27
Letter book, 1902 September 27-1903 December 24


13Lester & Ravenel: incoming correspondence, 1888-1893


14Lester & Ravenel: incoming correspondence, 1895-1899


15Lester & Ravenel: incoming correspondence, 1900-1905 April


16Lester & Ravenel ( 5.0 items. )
2 brief books; account book, 1885-1899; docket, City Court, 1900-1904; scrapbook of newspaper clippings re legal cases and notices, January 26, 1874-July 28, 1908. Some later clippings laid in, not pasted.


17Thomas Porcher Ravenel ( 5.0 items. )
Personal account books, 1874-1898, 1895-1917, and Thomas Gadsen's receipt books, 1878-1884; William b. Fleming's briefs and notes, 1840.


18Thomas Porcher Ravenel: receipt books, 1870-1876; 1882-1891


19Legal cases and other papers, A-La. Papers of T.P. Ravenel and Lester & Ravenel

Abstracts of titles, miscellaneous: Lot 9, Charlton Ward; Lot 12, Chatham Ward; Lot 26, Franklin Ward; Pt. of Lots 58 and 59, Thomas Ward; Lot 10, Springfield; Wilmington Island tracts (Barstow lands, Pinder lands, Back Island), 13.0 items.
Agricultural and Mechanical Association of Georgia, 1875-1898, 56.0 items. View online.
Papers of J.H. Estill as treasurer: dividend rolls, 1875-1886, receipts, vouchers, etc. and plot of the lands of the association. Vouchers not counted.
Andrue claims, 1895-1899, 6.0 items.
Claims of heirs to property of Thomas and James Andrue in Cuba with genealogies showing descent.
Bonaventure: abstracts of title, 1783-1893, 1.0 items.
Bradley, William, 4.0 items.
copies of grants of lots in Savannah to William Bradley, Sr. and Jr., 1762; copy of will of William Bradley, Sr., 1766; genealogy of Barnard descendants of William Bradley through his daughter, Jane, who married John Barnard.
Cuyler, Jeremiah, and Effingham Academy, 1817-1869, 11.0 items.
Deed of Mortgage, Cuyler to Trustees of the Academy, 1817; bond, same to same, with notices of payments; 1818-1826; records for payments, 1831-1855; Trustees of Academy petition for foreclosure of mortgage and rule nisi, 1869; letters of John M. and W.H. Cuyler in regard to the Academy debt, 1869.
Fair Lawn Tract, abstract of title to part of Lot 12, (lots 44, 45, 46, Davis Ward), and notes, 1892-1893
Farden, J.S., 1892-1893, 2.0 items.
J.S. Farden of Washington, D.C. to R.E. Lester, regarding proposed colonization scheme in lands in Washington, Laurens, and Tattnall counties, with abstracts of title to the lands.
Hampstead Village. Abstracts of title and some deeds to lots 11 and 12, which became the property of the DeSoto Investment Co., 1883-1914, 18.0 items.
Hilton, Joseph, 1890-1892, 8.0 items.
Bill of sale of the Old Homestead publication, Davis Brothers to Joseph Hilton, and correspondence concerning.
Insurance policies, miscellaneous, kept because they describe the property; dwellings at Hall and Tattnall Streets, 18 West Hull St., 1882-1886; 1908-1912, 4.0 items.
Jones, Henry J., et al vs. the steamer St. Nicholas in the U.S. Court at Savannah, Ga.: Report of testimony, vol. 3, 1.0 items.
Kemps-Foy patent, 1881
Letters patent to James A. Kemps of Savannah and Edward E. Foy of Egypt, Ga., for improved skimmer, and transfer of patent, Kemps to Foy.
Land grants, miscellaneous, 11.0 items.
Appling county, Lucretia Singleton, 1820, signed by Gov. C.J. McDonald. Effingham County, to James Read (St. Matthews Parish, 1769, signed by Gov. James Wright; John Helvenstine (St. Matthews Parish), 1770, signed by Gov. Wright; Christian Zipperer, 1808, signed by Gov. William Schley; John R. Shearouse, 1853, signed by Gov. Herschel V. Johnson. Glynn county, Charles Barber, 1812, Thomas Dover, and Moses Hatcher, 1813, all three signed by Gov. Peter Early; James Gowen, 1842, signed by Gov. Charles J. McDonald. Ware County, John T. Clough, 1820, signed by Gov. George Towns.



2058Lefils (Armand), Jr. to his sister, Mrs. Sarah A. Thomas at Jeffersonton, Macon, 1844 August 8, 3.0 p.
Concerns business occupation for Mr. Thomas; Lefils does not want her to teach school.
59homas T. Liebels vs. Hardy B. Hodges, Bulloch County Superior Court, 1853-1860
Suit to recover medical bill; statement from C.I. Paine, M.D. Secretary of the Board of Physicians of Georgia, 1853, that Liebels was not licensed to practice. Case handled by Charles S. Henry in 1853, Claudius C. Wilson in 1860.
60Leigh-Wister papers, 1889, 4.0 items.
Three letters form Frances Butler Leigh from Butlers Island and one from her nephew Owen Wister at Philadelphia to W. Kenan making payment for a case he handled for Mrs. Leigh.
61McIntosh County papers, 1849-189?, 6.0 items.
Grants to John Blount, 1856, signed by Gov. Herschel V. Johnson, to Henry H. Howard, 1869, signed by Gov. Rufus B. Bullock and to Samuel Rozier, 1854 (copy signed by David G. Cotting, Secty. Of State); copy of last will and testament of Margaret Ann Harris, 1865; abstracts of title to various tracts of land, 189?.
62Manigault (Joseph) estate, 1908-1911, 17.0 items.
For addenda see Items 2146-2158, 2160-2166, in Box 25. Papers concerning property and rose garden on Pennyworth Island, will and insurance policies on dwellings at 25 Congress Street, 124 West Harris Street, and on Pennyworth Island, describing dwellings. Includes a photograph of a young girl and two clippings of hair.
63Miscellaneous, 5.0 items.
Bill of salve of slaves, 1859; certificate for Registered Bonds of Confederate States of America, 1864; copy of will of Benjamin A. White; Baldwin County, 1866, with unusual provisions for funeral expenses, destitute orphans of Confederate soldiers, and two ex-slave women; W.F Brumer, M.D., Health Officer at Savannah to Lester, Ravenel & Kenan, 1888, regarding quarantine; circular letter of Judge Samuel Lumpkin announcing his candidacy for Georgia Supreme Court, 1890; deed of conveyance, trustee of Ann M. Waring to T.P. Ravenel for 1/3 interest in western 1/5 of Lot K, Decker Ward, 1899.
64-65Nightingale (Phineas Miller) papers, 1827-1879, 69.0 items.
Concerning case of W.H. M. & Katie Sanger vs. P.M. & William Nightingale over title to Camber Island and other property: deeds, correspondence, etc. including wills of Louisa Catherine Greene Shaw, 1831, and P.M. Nightingale, 1874. Dungeness on Cumberland Island is involved.
66Ossabaw Island, 1910, 2.0 items.
Sale prospectus (broadside); sale-ticket, George S. Haines to E.G. Black.
67-68Owens-Thomas papers, 1840-1950, 27.0 items.
Relating to the property of the Owenses from George W. Owens down through Margaret W. Thomas; deeds, wills, inventories; Owens and Thomas genealogical notes. Includes commission of Dr. and J.G. Thomas as Surgeon, P.A.C.S., 1863, and correspondence between Miss Margaret Thomas and National Park Service in regard to final disposition of family mansion, 19840.
69Printed materials, 10.0 items.
Quarantine Regulations, Port of Savannah, 1886; circular, Darien Short Line Railroad, 188?; announcement of Southern States Investment Association, Atlanta, 1888; circular asking for subscriptions to build Confederate Home in Atlanta, 1889; Constitution of the M.W. Union Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M. of the State of Georgia, 1892 (African American Masonic order); brief of Lester & Ravenel and G.A. Mercer & Son, F.B. McQuesten, et al, vs. Propeller Tow Boat Co. in Circuit Court of Appeals of the U.S. Fifth Circuit, 1892; Brief and Argument of Lester & Ravenel, John Vinson vs. Morning News in Supreme Court of Georgia, 1903; Rules of the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia, 1907; Brief, Lester & Ravenel, E.B. Hunting vs. John H. Craig, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, undated.
70Savannah, City of, 2.0 items.
Two grants, one to a ground rent lot (1854) and one to lot in Laurel Grove Cemetery (1853).
71Savannah & Charleston Railroad Company, 1869-1883, 3.0 items.
Bond of 500 shares, 1869; opinion of P.A. Emanuel on worth of stock, with history of railroad, 1883; letter from office of 3rd Vice President of Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company, undated and signed C.S.G.or A. that the Plant System is offering adjustment on bonds.
72Savannah and Ogeechee Canal papers, undated
Typed copy of opinion of W.B. Fleming on matters concerning the canal company.
73Telfair-Wetter papers, 1893-1925, 26.0 items.
Concerning Alberta Telfair Wetter Gould as one of heirs of Mary Telfair under Item 19 of his will; also her brother, Edward Telfair Wetter, in regard to sale of a strip of Sharon Plantation to the Georgia & Alabama Railway. Includes personal letters of Mrs. Gould, E.T. Wetter, T.S. Wetter (son of E.T. Wetter), and Mildred R. Gould (daughter of Alberta T. Gould); deed to secure debt of divided one-half interest of Mrs. Gould in Sharon Plantation, 1915, with plat, and assignment of three deeds to same, 1924, both describing the tract.
74-75Twiggs-Moore papers, 1907 April-May, 36.0 items.
Correspondence of Judge H.D.D. Twiggs of Savannah, John P. Moore of Claxton, and others: depositions, legal opinions, etc. in the matter of challenge by Twiggs to Moore for a duel to settle an alleged insult.
76Union Society and the Barry Male Orphan Asylum papers, 1862-1902, 18.0 items.
Concerning settlement of their joint ownership of Tipperary Plantation in Bryan County: correspondence, legal papers, etc. includes ALSs of Bishops Thomas A. Becker, 1894, and Benjamin J. Keiley, 1902. The orphanage was founded in 1950, by Bishop Barry as Barry Male Orphan Asylum. The property was willed to the two organizations by Uriah Cranston in 1874. The Union Society operates Bethesda Home for Boys (formerly Bethesda Orphanage) in Savannah. Some of the papers are concerned solely with Union Society matters.
77Von Waldner papers, 1861, 3.0 items.
Claim of heirs of William Claudius Von Waldner, who died in Barcelona, to his estate. Includes abstract of Von Waldner's pension as Major in Esterhazy Regiment of Hussars, 1779.


21Lester & Ravenel: abstracts of titles, Savannah and Chatham County (Books 1-3, 5-7.)


22Lester & Ravenel: abstracts of titles, Savannah and Chatham County (Books 8-11.)


23Lester & Ravenel: abstracts of titles, Savannah and Chatham County (Books 12-16.)


24Lester & Ravenel: abstracts of titles, Savannah and Chatham County (Books 18-21, and indexes, Books 1 and 3, 5-21.)


25Items 2144-2145: Two books of briefs with some legal forms
Addenda 1


25Thirteen Workmen's Time Books for Pennyworth Island plantation and Soubra plantation
Item 2146:, 1880 February 14
contains list of roses.
Item 2147:, 1880 June 26
Item 2148:, 1881 June-July
Item 2149:, 1882 September 9-November 11
Seed rice -a/c Soubra.
Item 2150:, 1885 October-1886 March
Item 2151:, 1891 April
Item 2152:, 1891 October-November
Item 2153:, 1891 November-December
Item 2154:, 1892 February-March
Item 2155:, 1892 April-May
Item 2156:, 1892 October-December
Item 2157:, 1894 February, 1894 March, 1894 October
Item 2158:, 1895 November-1898 June
Addenda 3


25Joseph Manigault papers, 1908-1911
Item 2160: Will of Joseph Manigault, 1908 October 2
Item 2161: Petition of T.P. Ravenel, Exr., regarding Manigault's estate, 1911 June 11
Item 2162: Obituary from an unidentified Savannah newspaper, 1811 June 12
Items 2163-2166: Photographs
Joseph Manigault in his rose garden on pennyworth Island; house on Penyworth Island; boat crossing Savannah River from Pennyworth Island, with ladies and gentlemen carrying roses; toll gate on Planters' Cut.
Addenda 2


26Item 2159: Letter book of Lester & Ravenel, 1889-1891
Letters to the firm posted in an invoice book.
A-0649-001 "My Sister’s Hair" View online.
A-0649-002 A lock of Mary M. Manigault’s hair View online.