Collier and Comer families papers
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Collier and Comer families papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Collier family.
Creator: Comer family.
Title: Collier and Comer families papers
Dates: 1828-1975
Extent: 3.33 cubic feet (4 boxes, 3 oversize folders)
Identification: MS 2372

Biographical/Historical Note

Cowles Myles Collier was born to Charles Miles Collier, Jr. (1808-1848) and Sara Ann Cowles (b. 1815) in Hampton, Virginia in 1836. He attended a military school in Virginia, and after graduation attended West Point, only to resign some months later. Upon returning to Virginia he was appointed to serve with the United States Navy and served under Captain Samuel Barron on the USS Wabash from 1858 to 1859. Later his service in the Navy took him to foreign waters, mainly in the Mediterranean, visiting Egypt, Greece, Turkey, North Africa, Spain and Portugal. After returning to the United States he served under Charles M. Fauntleroy. When Virginia seceded from the Union, he resigned from the United States Navy, returned to Virginia and applied to Governor John Letcher for a position in the Confederate Navy. He was appointed First Lieutenant and ordered to report for duty at Fort Rappahannock. There he reunited with Fauntleroy, who requested his service under General Joseph F. Johnston's artillery in protecting Harper's Ferry. While serving under Johnston he gained a great knowledge of artillery and weaponry, and was asked by the Confederate Government to oversee the Arsenal in Augusta, which housed the largest plant for the manufacture of gunpowder in the Confederate States at the time. In addition to being a sailor and soldier, he was an artist and painter. He mainly painted watercolors of nautical scenes and sailors. His works were shown at multiple exhibitions during his later life. In 1863 he married Hannah Celeste Shackelford(1841-1913), daughter of James Shackelford (1786-1866) and Hariette Cowdrey (1800-1867) of South Carolina. They had four children: Barron Gift Collier, Charles Miles Collier, Euphan Marshall Collier and Georgia Shackelford Collier, who married Edward Trippe Comer. In later life Collier and his wife relocated to New York City, where Collier was considered to be an artist of note. Mrs. Collier was involved in the local Revolutionary War descendant societies. Collier died in September, 1908.

Georgia (Georgie) Shackelford Collier was born in Aiken, South Carolina. She married Edward Trippe Comer in 1888 in Memphis, Tennesee and after his death in 1927 took over the E.T. Comer Company and ran Millhaven Plantation until its sale in 1942. She was a member of the Colonial Dames of America starting in 1914 and from 1925 to 1928 was a member of the Board of Managers. In addition, she was on the Board of Directors of the Telfair Hospital from 1931 until her death. Perhaps owing to her father's artistic inclinations, she was a great patron of the arts and an active member of Georgia's cultural and historical societies. On her death a good portion of her collected art, including works by her father, were donated to Wellesley College, as well as $75,000 for the erection of a fine arts building on the campus.

Edward Trippe Comer was born on August 1, 1856 in Springhill, Alabama. He was educated at the Academy in Eufaula, Alabama and the University of Alabama. When he was 17 he went to Savannah, Georgia with his brother Hugh Moss Comer (a future president of the Central of Georgia Railway). In 1887 he relocated to Texas, where he directed the management of a large cattle ranch 30 miles west of San Antonio. He acquired a fondness for livestock and agriculture, an interest he would maintain until the end of his life. In 1897 he returned to Savannah and after the death of his brother, H.M. Comer, he took over the management of H.M.'s business ventures, and assumed his brother's title of president at the Bibb Manufacturing Company of Macon, of which he was a member of the Board of Directors. He later became Chairman of the Board. He was also a director of the Citizen's and Southern Bank as well as the Central of Georgia Railway, and was president of the Chattahoochee and Gulf Railroad and E.T. Comer Company of Millhaven, Georgia. In 1905 Comer purchased Millhaven Plantation in Burke and Screven Counties, Georgia. Comer transformed the plantation into a tenant farming operation, cattle ranch, cotton production and lumber farm. He died in 1927 in his home at Millhaven.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the papers of the Collier and Comer families. The papers are predominately personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, genealogical research, and photographs dating from 1860 to 1975. The main family members are as follows: Cowles Miles (Myles) Collier (1836-1908), his wife Hannah Celeste Shackelford Collier (1841-1913), their children Barron Gift Collier, Charles Miles Collier, Euphan Marshall Collier and Georgia Shackelford Collier, Georgia's husband Edward Trippe Comer and cousin Harriet Castlen, Edward Comer's brothers Hugh Moss Comer and Braxton Bragg Comer.

The collection has been separated into three main series. Series one contains general information on the Collier and Comer families primarily in the form of compiled genealogical research by Hannah Collier and Georgia Comer. there are also numerous family photographs, negatives (film and glass), and cased images, dating from approximately 1860 to the 1930s. Subjects include family members, family homes, vacation pictures from Yellowstone National Park, Maine, and nautical scenes. Series 2 concerns E.T. Comer, his marriage and life with Georgia Shackelford Comer, Edward Comer's time as a rancher in Texas, their farm at Millhaven, Georgia and the death of Edward Comer. Series 3 contains papers on C. Myles Collier's artistic career including Collier's sketchbooks containing pencil and charcoal sketches as well as watercolors. The series also includes his Civil War career, particularly his time at the Arsenal in Augusta and his service on the USS Wabash, Included in the collection is Collier's log book and correspondence from the USS Wabash, Civil War administrative documents from the Augusta Arsenal, and post-war Confederate magazines and meeting advertisements.

This collection was originally processed at a basic level. It was processed at a detailed level with the help of funding from the donor and volunteer work done during the South Eastern Regional Conservators Association's annual meeting in 2015.

Index Terms

Architectural drawings (visual works)
Artists--United States.
Augusta (Ga.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
Bibb Company.
Black-and-white negatives.
Black-and-white photographs.
Cabinet photographs.
Cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
Castlen, Harriet.
Central of Georgia Railway.
Cliché-verre (photographic process)
Collier family.
Collier, Barron Gift, 1873-1939.
Collier, C. Myles, (Cowles Myles), 1836-1908.
Collier, Euphan Marshall, b. 1862.
Collier, Hannah Celeste Shackelford, 1841-1913.
Comer family.
Comer, Edward Trippe, 1856-1927.
Comer, Georgia Shackelford Collier, d. 1948.
Comer, Hugh Moss, 1842-1900.
Comer, John Fletcher.
Confederate States of America. Army. Georgia Artillery.
Cotton farmers.
Cyanotypes (photographic prints)
Daughters of the American Revolution.
Exhibition catalogs.
Family life.
Genealogies (histories)
Letcher, John, 1813-1884.
Letters (correspondence)
Logs (records)
Millhaven Plantation (Ga.)
Mobile (Ala.)
New York (N.Y.)
Photograph albums.
Platinum prints.
Seals (artifacts)
Shackelford, James, 1786-1866.
South Carolina--Census, 1790.
United Daughters of the Confederacy.
United States Military Academy.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Veterans.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States. Navy.
Visiting cards.
Wabash (Steam frigate)
Watercolors (paintings)
Wellesley College. Museum.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Papers were in possession of the family prior to their donation.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Collier and Comer families papers, MS 2372, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Percy Montague, III, 2001 and 2010.


Access Restrictions

The 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 2008 Archives-Basic Projects grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List


Series 1: Collier and Comer families, 1828-1975

This series includes genealogical research, family papers, correspondence, and photographs regarding the Collier and Comer families. The research was primarily collected by Hannah Collier and her daughter Georgia Comer. Research has also been provided by Lyon Tyler of Virginia and other associated family members. Both Georgia and Hannah were active participants in lineage organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution and United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Genealogical research

This portion of the series contains the genealogical research and correspondence of Hannah Collier and Georgia Comer.



11Collier Family
History of the Collier family, typescript with annotations.
2Collier genealogy research material
Mainly photostats from resources at the New York Public Library. Also includes a handwritten genealogy.
3-4Collier and Shackelford families genealogy
Includes correspondence, copies of wills and letters, photostats, genealogies and research notes on the Collier and Shackelford families as well as other family branches. Dated approximately 1906-1933.
5-7Collier family lineage
Genealogical material compiled and sent from the Hon. Lyon Tyler, Holdcraft, Virginia. Includes typed copies of deed and other legal documents.
1"Colliers of Stone Manor"
B.G.C. on cover
8Mrs. Sarah Collier, 1899-1909
Correspondence and clippings regarding the death of Mrs. Sarah Collier, C. Myles Collier's mother.
9-14Hannah Collier correspondence and genealogical research, 1848-1931
Includes genealogical notes, clippings, photographs, poems, calling cards, ephemera, and pamphlets.
15Collier family clippings, 1927-1931
Regarding Radium Springs and Columbus, Georgia.


1Collier coat of arms and Hannah Collier's United Daughters of Confederacy certificate
16Comer family history
Compiled by Georgia Comer's niece and includes clipping and photographs.
17-29Georgia Comer correspondence and genealogical research, 1888-1944
Includes clippings, lineage applications, and genealogical notes. There is also a Collier family biography.



21Georgia Comer's genealogical drafts
2Georgia and E.T. Comer marriage
Regarding Georgia Collier Comer's marriage and time in Texas. Contains postcards, photographs, a wedding invitation, clippings, and correspondence. E.T. Comer's leather wallet has been removed to the artifacts collection, but it's contents remain with these papers.
3Georgia S. Comer
Correspondence and clippings regarding her death.
4Mills B. Lane clippings
Husband of H.M. Comer's daughter.
5Hannah Collier correspondence
Miscellaneous correspondence, poems and receipt. Some correspondence regards the death of H.M. Comer.
6-7Deeds to land in Coweta Falls and Cherokee County, Georgia, 1828; 1832
Both have wax seals.
1 Encyclopedia of Georgia Biographies
2 Head of Families First Census of the United States: 1790 State of South Carolina
8"Fireside Saga" by Harriet Collier
Also includes photographs and clippings.


This portion of the series contains family photographs, negatives and cased images of the Collier, Comer and Shackelford families.



29Comer family photographs
Includes a studio portrait of E.T. Comer and G.S. Comer, Hannah Shackelford Collier, interiors of the Comer's Savannah home and Spring Hill, Alabama.
10Collier/Hinton family photographs
Includes genealogical notes on descendants of Capt. James Marshall.


2Comer family photographs
Includes J.W. Comer with servant, E.T. Comer, G.S. Comer, and Justice Marshall's home.
11Comer family photograph album, 1920s
Contains photographs of Mr. and Mrs. E. T. Comer, Millhaven Plantation, and Savannah, Georgia.
12Collier and Comer family photographs
13Collier family photographs
Includes platinum prints of C. Myles Collier and a sketch.


4Cased images
Includes ambrotypes and a tintype. Individuals are John Fletcher Comer, E.T. Comer's father; Sarah Ann Collier, C. Myles Collier's mother; an unidentified woman, possibly Sarah Ann Collier; and an unidentified child.
14-16Collier and Comer families photographs and negatives
Includes cabinet cards, carte de visites, prints and negatives.
Three glass plate negatives of family photographs
Negatives are of existing family photographs. One has two corners broken off.

Series 2: E.T. Comer

This series contains papers concerning E.T. Comer's Millhaven Plantation, Bibb Manufacturing Company, and E.T. Comer & Company. There is also a copy of E.T. Comer's will, school reports, clippings, correspondence and a scrapbook.



217-20Millhaven Plantation
Includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, and negatives of Millhaven Plantation, E.T. Comer's home in Burke and Screven Counties, Georgia which he utilized as a tenant farming operation, cattle ranch, cotton production, and lumber farm.
21E. T. Comer papers, 1870-1940
Includes E.T. Comer's will, report card from Southern University, receipts, clippings, correspondence both business and personal, a 1918 report on E.T. Comer & Company, as well as correspondence from Mrs. Georgia Comer regarding Dr. Herty's legacy.
22E.T. Comer clippings
Contains newspaper clippings on B.B. Comer and E.T. Comer including obituaries, Bibb Manufacturing. There are also letterhead and maps.
23 Wesleyan Alumnae Magazine, 1941
Regarding the Catherine L. Comer Chair of Fine Arts created by E.T. Comer.
3Scrapbook on E. T. Comer's death

Series 3: C. Myles Collier

This series concerns the artistic and military career of C. Myles Collier.


This portion of the series deals with C. Myles Collier's career as an artist when he and his wife moved to New York City. It includes sketches, sketchbooks, watercolors, exhibition catalogs, correspondence regarding show, clippings, invitations, photographs of his travels including the Netherlands, and his Silver Medal from the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition for his painting "Grey Day".



31Artists' clubs, 1899-1909
Includes catalogs, memberships, clipping, and invitations to various artists shows and exhibitions such as the Salmagundi Club, American Water Color Society, Maison Artz in the Hague, Holland, Black and White Club, and the Art Club of Philadelphia. There is also a sketch of a tree.
2Catalogs, 1899-1948
Catalogs of C. M. Colliers works and exhibits, correspondence and clippings are also included. Catalogs include a list of artwork at the Comer home, exhibition of paintings at the Detroit Art Museum, the Art Club of Richmond, Virginia, an invitation to Mr. Collier for the Kit Kat Club smoker and exhibition, Atlanta Art Association First Annual exhibition, Salmagundi Club, the Art Club of Philadelphia, and the Boston Art Club. There is also a photograph of a nude from the Art Club of Erie exhibition.
3Art work, 1902-1907
Includes sketchbooks and loose sketches, photographs of artwork, his silver medal for "Grey Day" from the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, as well as correspondence regarding artwork from the Detroit Art Museum and a bicycle map of New York.
4Photographs of Collier trips
Photographs are mostly of Holland, there are also ships, family, a hunting trip, C. Myles Collier painting on the beach, several cyanotypes, and a souvenier photo book from Gloucester, Massachusetts.
5-6Negatives, circa 1903
Nautical scenes, possibly of C. Myles Collier's trip to Holland. There may be corresponding prints in Box 3 Folder 4.


4Two glass plate negatives of C. Myles Collier's artwork
Clippings and correspondence, 1882-1909
Correspondence from C. Myles Collier regarding paintings and from the Art Institute of Chicago inviting him to exhibit "A Grey Day'' in their Annual Spring Exhibition. The clippings include the 1893 Style Graphic with an article on C. Myles Collier and a 1909 article after his death.
8Clippings and correspondence, 1909-1976
The 1909 clippings are of C. Myles Collier's death, the 1976 paper is of the Collier family, there is also correspondence regarding a 1919 sale of one of C. Myles Collier's paintings for a thousand dollars and condolences for C. Myles Collier's death.
9C. Myles Collier correspondence and clipping, 1857-1907
10Correspondence, 1887-1907
Includes postcards and a photograph signed by John Bradshaw Longman.
11Address and accounting books
Books also contain calling cards, tickets, and clippings.
12C. Myles Collier's receipts, 1899
13Wesleyan Art Museum clippings, 1942
Regarding donation of the late C.Myles Collier's work to Wesleyan College for the Wesleyan Art Museum. There is also a booklet on Monticello.


3Preliminary sketch and elevation of the Wesleyan Art Museum by Henry Chandlee Forman, 1942
14 C. Myles Collier A Memoir by Regina Armstrong, 1909
Privately printed.
15Hannah Collier diary
Contains poems, copies of letters and articles; photographs, clippings and correspondence are also included. Inscription dated 1858.
16Miscellaneous Collier family documents, 1898-1926
Also includes a poem, map of Woodlawn cemetery with C. Myles Collier's burial location noted, C. Myles Collier's calling card and a receipt, correspondence to and from various Collier family members including a copy of a civil war letter to C. Myles Collier and a letter from Mrs. Hannah Collier regarding their trip to Holland.

Military career

This portion of the series deals with C. Myles Collier's military career including correspondence from his time aboard the U.S. Steam Frigate Wabash, as well as the logbook, his receipts and invoices while in command of the Arsenal in Augusta, Georgia during the Civil War, and his participation in various veteran organizations including correspondence, invitations, and publications.



317Letters from the U.S. Steam Frigate Wabash, 1854-1859
Includes log book and typescript copies of letters.
18-23Receipts and invoices, 1862-1864
The receipts and invoices were issued while C. Myles Collier was in charge of the Arsenal in Augusta. Also included is a handwritten sermon.
24C. Myles Collier miscellaneous documents
Includes clippings, calling cards, photographs, veteran meeting invitations, and publications, including a Confederate War Journal, all related to C. Myles Collier's military career.
A-2372-001: C. Myles Collier's artist's palette View online.
A-2372-002a-cc: C. Miles Collier's paint splattered artist box containing 25 brushes, a pencil and two pieces of brass hardware View online.
A-2372-003: A tan leather wallet belonging to E.T. Comer View online.
A-2372-004: Leather wallet belonging to the Collier or Comer families View online.
A-2372-005: A cased concave razor made by Frederick Reynolds of Sheffield. Possibly belonging to C. Myles Collier and used as an artist's tool rather than for shaving, 1860-1877 View online.
A-2372-006: Ivory ribbon, believed to have belonged to Hannah Collier as a delegate for the United Daughters of the Confederacy during the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, 1904 View online.
A-2372-007: Ivory Delegate ribbon, believed to have belonged to Hannah Collier as a delegate for the United Daughters of the Confederacy during the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, 1904 View online.
A-2372-008: Blue Member ribbon, believed to belong to Hannah Collier and worn during the 16th Annual Continental Congress, 1907 View online.
A-2372-009: Green Alternate ribbon, believed to belong to Hannah Collier and worn during the 16th Annual Continental Congress, 1907 View online.
A-2372-010: Ivory ribbon with "Tennessee" in blue along it's length, 1904-1907 View online.
A-2372-011a-c: Two locks of brown hair in an envelope addressed "For, Iamus Barrian Hope" View online.
A-2372-012a-b: Two locks of blonde hair belonging to Georgia Comer View online.
A-2372-013a-b: A lock of blonde hair in an envelope entitled Ma's Hair View online.
A-2372-014: Lock of brown hair tied with a white thread View online.