Speculator and one of the founders of the Columbia Mining Company in Columbia Co., Ga. Collection (672 items; dated 1802-1872, bulk 1845-1872) includes personal and business letters, letterpress books (1849-1855), scattered diaries (1845-1907), miscellaneous business record books, and other papers of Smith and members of his family, mainly concerning Smith's speculative enterprises in mining, railroads, cotton planting, the Columbia Minining Co., and grain mills in Georgia, Tennessee, and other parts of the nation. The bulk of the material is of the period 1845-1872. Includes information on gold mining in Georgia and Tennessee, business conditions in the South before and after the Civil War, and the development of the railroad system in the South.
Business papers of Joseph Belknap Smith relating to his investments in copper mines in Michigan and Tennessee, gold mines in Georgia, the New York Bay Cemetery Company, a lumber company and a cotton and land company in England, a project to build a railroad and telegraph from Caracas to La Guaira, Venezuela, a grain mill, sawmills, and salt mines and lands in Georgia. Included are contracts; scattered financial reports; schedules of property belonging to the Columbia Mining Company containing lists of slaves and their values; contracts for hiring slaves and freedmen; land deeds; broadsides of a steamboat company in Georgia; advertisement for an apparatus of Edward N. Kent for separating gold from foreign substances; letterpress book, 1849-1855, containing copies of the correspondence of Smith and one of his partners, George Wood, about their copper mines in Tennessee; diaries, 1845-1861, 1863-1864, and 1866; daybook, 1846-1850; and a ledger, 1860-1873, containing valuations of the mine and mill properties of Smith and his partners and the amount of the Confederate soldiers' tax and war taxes for some of the Civil War years. There are also letters, 1857-1860, from Eliza Annie Dunston concerning her experiences as a teacher in Illinois and Mississippi, her travels, and her social life; scattered family correspondence; reports of the Columbia Mine post office in account with both the Federal and Confederate governments; petition of a number of Wilkes County, Georgia, citizens requesting a military exemption for Smith, miller and postmaster; circulars of Alabama Central Female College and Thomson (Georgia) High School; letters from Herschel V. Johnson and Company, agents for those who had cotton tax claims against the United States government; address of Jacob R. Davis to black voters of the 18th district of Georgia; and correspondence, 1860s, containing references to a ball to be given in New York City in honor of the Japanese emissaries, secession sentiment in Georgia, enlistment of volunteers, camp life and rumors in the Confederate Army, marketing of scrap iron, production of salt, raising of hogs for the Confederate government, commodity prices, the siege of Petersburg and the performance of African American troops there, the use of buildings at Emory and Henry College (Emory, Virginia) as army hospitals, Sherman's march to the sea, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the difficulty of securing freedmen to work on the farms in Georgia, and elections in Georgia in 1868.
Unprocessed addition (Boxes 4 and 5) includes correspondence, both business and personal, to either Smith or his wife, Jane Septima Smith; legal and financial papers of the Columbia Mining Company; six volumes of Smith's diary (1867, 1884, 1905, 1907); and his photograph. One of the letters described how life after the Civil War changed for both black and whites.