William Bacon Stevens papers
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William Bacon Stevens papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Stevens, William Bacon, 1815-1887.
Title: William Bacon Stevens papers
Dates: 1736-1849
Extent: 0.5 cubic feet (1 box)
Identification: MS 0759

Biographical/Historical Note

William Bacon Stevens (1815-1887), physician, historian, and Episcopal bishop, was born in Bath, Maine. He attended the Medical College of South Carolina and studied under Dr. Edward Coppee in Savannah, Georgia. He became interested in the Episcopal ministry and studied under Bishop Stephen Elliott in Savannah. Ordained as a deacon in 1843, he was appointed missionary to Athens, Georgia, where he soon became the rector of the local Episcopal Church. He accepted a call to St. Andrews Church in Philadelphia and became the Bishop of Pennsylvania in 1865. Always interested in history, he wrote A History of Georgia, 2 vol. (Savannah, 1847; N.Y., 1859) and many papers on historical and religious subjects. He was one of the founders of the Georgia Historical Society.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the papers of William Bacon Stevens. Except for two original letters to Stevens and his sketches (Folders 16-18), all of the papers are copies of primary source materials used by Stevens for writing his History of Georgia. Many copies are in his own hand; others are in the handwriting of clerks, but contain Stevens' notes. All of the extracts from the Proceedings of official bodies were later included in Colonial Records of Georgia and the Revolutionary Records of Georgia, both edited and compiled by A.D. Candler.

The papers from 1782 (Folder 6) contain copies of letters from Generals Anthony Wayne, Nathaniel Greene, and Andrew Pickets. Some of these papers are also in the John Vallence Bevan papers, MS 71; these copies are noted in parentheses. Elijah Clark, Patrick Carr, and others, are often referred to in the proceedings. The articles in the three copy books are from contemporary news papers (No. 2) and proceedings of the Executive Council and Commons House of Assembly (Nos. 5-6).

Index Terms

Clarke, Elijah, 1733-1799.
Georgia--Politics and government.
Greene, Nathanael, 1742-1786.
Letters (correspondence)
Stevens, William Bacon, 1815-1887.
Wayne, Anthony, 1745-1796.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Material was acquired from the creator's estate.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], William Bacon Stevens papers, MS 759, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bishop William Bacon Stevens, 1888.


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.


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

Container List



1Correspondence, 1849 and undated ( 2.0 items. )
I.K. Tefft to W.B. Stevens, October 19, 1849, regarding his experience at the State Paper Office in London; Robert Habersham to W.B. Stevens, undated, giving information on his grandfather.


2Manuscript of his History of Georgia ( 1.0 items. )


3Portions of manuscript for History of Georgia ( 6.0 items. )
Includes dedication to Dr. Alonzo Church, not used in publication; a chronology of 1773-1774, history 1779-1780, pp. 7-37; 1789-1799, pp. 37-58, and a bibliography of source materials.


4Extracts from Proceedings, 1755 ( 31.0 p. )
The first two pages contain a copy o f a letter of John Wesley to Mr. Vernon and Mr. Hutchinson, two of the Trustees, July 23, 1736 regarding the South Carolina and Georgia Indian trade. Most of the remainder are comprised of extracts from Proceedings of the Governor and Council and the Commons House of Assembly, January-June 1755, with Gov. John Reynolds' Commission, proclamations, warrant for the seal of Georgia, etc. At the last is a treaty between Gov. Henry Ellis and Creek Indians, April 24, 1760, and a portion of Stevens' History of Georgia regarding the Oglethorpe era, 1736.


5Extracts form Proceedings of Executive Council, 1772-1780 ( 4.0 items. )
Contains Proclamation of Gov. Archibald Bulloch (clipping), May 2, 1776, regarding scarcity of goods and depreciation of paper currency, and Proclamation of Gov. Richard Howley, February 25, 1780, regarding plundering.


6Extracts from Proceedings of Executive Council, 1782 January-1783 December, 1790-1800 ( 47.0 p. )
Contains largely copies of important letters, general orders, etc. of the period. They are: Gen. Anthony Wayne to Gov. John Martin, March 26, 1782; Gen. Nathanael Greene to Gov. Martin, January 9, 1782 (MS 71, Item 47); Gen. Wayne to Gov. Martin, February 19, 1782 (MS 71, Item 49); Proclamation of Gov. Martin, February 20, 1782; Gen. Greene to Gov. Martin, march 12, 1782; Gen. Wayne to Gov. Martin, March 15, 1782 (MS 71, Item 54); Gov. Martin to Gen. Greene, February, 1782; General Orders, March 18, 1782; Gen. Wayne to Gov. Martin, April 17, 1782; Extract from General Orders, April 16, 1782; Patrick Tonyn, Gov. of East Florida to Gov. martin, August 28, 1782 (MS 71, Item 46); Representation of the Deputies to Gov. Martin, December 5, 1782 (MS 71, Item 61); Same to same, August 8, 1782; Same to Same, August 16, 1782 (MS 71, Item 66); Proclamation of Gov. Martin, September 3, 1782; Col. Cunningham to Elijah Clark, March 4, 1782; Andrew Pickens to Col. Elijah Clark, April 3, 1782; Elijah Clark to Gov. Martin, November 3, 1782 (MS 71, Item 72); Gen. Pickens to Gov. Martin, October 26, 1782, enclosing Indian talk (MS 71, Item 71); General Orders, March 2, 1782 (MS 71, Item 52); Patrick Carr to Gov. Martin, August 11 and 22, 1782 (MS 71, Item 65); Patrick Carr to Gov. Lyman Hall, September 13, 1782 (MS 71, Item 74); Same to same, December 10, 1783 (MS 71, Item 76); Indictment, petitions, etc. re Patrick Carr, 1790-1800 (MS 71, Item 96).


7Extracts of Proceedings of Executive Council and House of Assembly, 1783-1789 ( 14.0 items. )


8Extracts of Proceedings of Executive Council, 1790-1799 and undated ( 7.0 items. )


9Trustees of Georgia. "List of the Trustees and notices of the Same;" a partial list of the Trustees ( 2.0 items. )


10Indian affairs, 1786-1788 ( 3.0 items. )
2 letters of the Board of Commissions for an Indian Treaty to Gov. Telfair, October 21, 1786 and November 8, 1786. Attached to the latter is a copy of the Shoulderbone Treaty; "Extract of a letter from a Gentleman in Savannah, to his friend in new York," dated may 11, 1788, regarding the Creek Indians.


11Miscellaneous, 1775-1822 ( 9.0 items. )
Resolution of St. Andrews Parish, June 29, 1775; "Act for Amicable settlement of limits with the State of Georgia and Authorizing the establishment of a government in the Mississippi Territory," 1798; Proceedings of U.S. Senate, March 2, 1795, regarding an act for a treaty and of Indian trade; notes on William Few; vessels cleared from Savannah, February 14-December 30, 1786; Deposition of William Johnston regarding the character of Gen. Jared Irwin; Ratification of the U.S. Constitution by the Georgia Convention, 1788; notes regarding Gen. Banastre Tarleton; Health statistics, Savannah, 1809-1822.


12Memoranda. Notes on foolscap sheet and small pieces of paper ( 6.0 items. )


13Copies of documents (MS 71). "Table by J.V. Bevan of documents relating to the history of Georgia;" copy of the chapter relating to the Siege of Savannah of J.V. Bevan's unpublished manuscript history ( 2.0 items. )


14Copies of documents. "Extract from a Sermon preached before the Trustees...of Georgia...February 23, 1730/31, by Samuel Smith, L.L.D.;" "Description of Frederica in 1741" from A True and Historical Narrative of the Colony from its First Settlement, by Patrick Tailfer, et al (1741); "Itinerant Observations in Georgia, 1744" from the London Magazine, 1745 August ( 3.0 items. )


15Copies of documents. Three foolscap copybooks, marked as follows: "No. 2, Historical Incidents relating to Georgia;" "No. 5 Containing Speeches, Addresses and Answers Relating to Georgia, 1760-1770;" "No. 6 Speeches, Addresses and Replies, also The Georgia Association." Contents are listed on the outside in Stevens' handwriting; No. 2 covers and No. 6, 1770-1779, 1771-1775 ( 3.0 items. )


16Essay of W.B. Stevens tracing the progress of free principles in American ( 22.0 foolscap pages. )


17Sketch of the life of James Habersham the elder (15 foolscap pages); one page of a paper re James Habersham which recounts the death of his brother, Joseph; Sketch of Noble Wimberly Jones (first few pages missing) ( 3.0 items. )


18"Portrait of James Jackson;" extracts from 2 letters of James Jackson: to N. Atkinson; to the President of the U.S., John Adams; Edward Telfair to James Jackson; Copy of Jackson's paper on the Yazoo Speculation, 1798 June 28, 1798 August 8, 1795 June 4, 1795 ( 4.0 items. )


19Clippings from the Savannah Republican, 1851 March 14-16 ( 4.0 items. )
reprinting the English account of the Siege of Savannah from the Political Magazine and Parliamentary, Naval, and Literary Journal, 1779-1780; clipping form an undated New York newspaper reporting Jared Sparks' lecture on the American Revolution.