Francis Bartow Torlay papers
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Francis Bartow Torlay papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Torlay, Francis Bartow, 1873-1957.
Title: Francis Bartow Torlay papers
Dates: 1818-1939
Extent: 0.25 cubic feet (8 folders)
Identification: MS 0805

Biographical/Historical Note

Francis Bartow Torlay (1873-1957 ) (known as Frank B. Torlay), was born at Laurel Grove Cemetery, the son of Alfred (?) B. Torlay (b. 1842) and grandson of Alfred Francis Torlay (1819-1888), keeper of Laurel Grove Cemetery from its opening in 1852 to his death. Previous to this, A.F. Torlay was a stone cutter.

Frank B. Torlay's certificate of admission to communion in the Lutheran Church of the Ascension give his name as Francis Bachman Torlay, though in one instance in this collection where he signed his full name, he wrote it as Francis Bartow Torlay. From his youth he was active in local military companies and served in the Spanish-American War in Cuba. He was for many years in the Auditor's office of the Central of Georgia Railway Company in Savannah. He lived for a few years in Washington, D.C. and Ashville, N.C. He was living in New Orleans when he presented these papers to the Georgia Historical Society. He passed away June 28, 1957.

Scope and Content Note

There are only a few personal papers in the collection. The remainder pertains to military companies to which Torlay belonged: Bartow Light Infantry, 1890-1891; Savannah Busch Zouaves, 1892-1893; and the Chatham Artillery, 1893-1906. The greater portion of the papers relate to the Chatham Artillery. A letter of July 9, 1898, describes life at Camp Thomas as Chickamauga Park, letters of November-December, 1898, concern his efforts to get a commission in the U.S. Army for service in the Philippines, and those of 1900-1903 concern the use of machine guns, particularly the Gatling gun. The letters of 1938-1939 are from the Historian of the Chatham Artillery thanking him for his gift of uniforms and memorabilia and asking for his papers.

A black marble name plate of Alfred Francis Torlay (1819-1888), keeper of Laurel Grove Cemetery, Savannah added to artifacts collection.

Index Terms

Camp George H. Thomas (Ga.)
Confederate States of America. Army--Busch-Zouaves.
Confederate States of America. Army. Georgia Infantry, Bartow Light Brigade.
Gatling guns.
Georgia. Chatham Artillery of Savannah.
Laurel Grove Cemetery (Savannah, Ga.)
Letters (correspondence)
Machine guns.
Torlay, Francis Bartow, 1873-1957.
United States--History, Military--to 1900.

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], Francis Bartow Torlay papers, MS 805, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Francis B. Torlay, 1947 June 4.


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.

33 pieces of Confederate money, mostly of Savannah banks, were separated and added to the currency in the artifact collection.


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

Container List



1Personal papers, 1841-1893 ( 5.0 items. )
A poem written by Alfred F. Torlay, 1841, on the back of which is a poem by Frank B. Torlay, 1898; certificate from the City of Savannah that A.F. Torlay has been elected as keeper of Laurel Grove Cemetery for three years, 1882; Memorial resolutions on the death of A.F. Torlay by Oglethorpe Lodge, I.O.O.F. [1888]; Certificate to Francis Bachman Torlay of admission to communion in the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Savannah, 1893; name plate of Alfred A. Torlay, 1840, cut in black marble [ this has been placed in the ARTIFACTS box].


2Bartow Light Infantry, 1890-1891 ( 23.0 items. )
Letters, bills, notices of meetings, election of officers, list of members, accounts of dues, acceptance of Torlay's resignation. Torlay was Quarter Master.


3Savannah Busch-Zouaves, 1892-1893 ( 12.0 items. )
Receipts for dues and fines; application for membership drill and meeting notices; letters asking Torlay to reconsider his resignation; Rules of the Savannah Busch-Zouaves, (Savannah:1889) (pamphlet). Torlay was Quarter Master.


4Chatham Artillery, 1893-1898 ( 24.0 items. )
Company business; letters to Torlay; Camps at Chickamauga; letters re a commission in the 3d Ga. Regt. From Rufus E. Lester and Gov. Allen D. Candler.


5Chatham Artillery, 1899 ( 19.0 items. )
Regarding Torlay's efforts to secure a commission as 2d Lt. in the U.S. Army. Correspondents in addition to Torlay: two secretaries to President McKinley; John L. Morrissey; James L. Mock; Elihu Root, Secretary of War; W.R. Pedigo; W.H. Carter, Asst. Adj. Gen.; John A. Johnston, Asst. Adj. Gen.


6Chatham Artillery, 1900-1906, 1938-1939 and undated ( 35.0 items. )
Some of these papers concern routine company matters. The correspondence is re the use of machine guns, especially the Gatling gun. Correspondents in addition to Torlay are F.L. Gunther (?), Col Commanding 4th Artillery; Owen J. Hopkins of the Adj. General's Dept., State of Ohio; Senator Benjamin R. Tillman; Col. Frederick W. Pierce, Secretary of the Gatling Gun Company. There is also a letter from an Army Commission, 1901. Writer of the 1938-1939 letters is George F. Hoffmann, Historian of the Chatham Artillery, re Torlay's gifts.


7Chatham Artillery – Printed materials and miscellaneous ( 18.0 items. )
Rules for the Government of the Chatham Artillery,...1895; Manual of Riot Duty, by Col. G.A. Gordon, [1904]; Instructions for Sentinels, n.d. (2); Souvenir Autograph Album, Camp Thomas, Chickamauga, with some autographs and some views of Chickamauga Park; miscellaneous samples of letterheads, cards, envelopes, and a satiric manuscript, "Hogan's Alley Hotel Rules."


8Miscellaneous ( 3.0 items. )
Small notebook with dates of birth of Alfred Francis Torlay, some of his children and grandchildren; Cash book of Peter Thomas, Charleston, 1818-1823, listing expenditures also (on the back pages clippings are pasted in and there is a note in Francis B. Torlay's hand: "This old account book was used by an uncle of mine in Charleston, S.C."); business card of Frank B. Torlay.
A-0805-001 Marble name plate of Alfred Francis Torlay, stone cutter and keeper of the Laurel Grove Cemetery, 1840 View online.