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William McNaught Papers

Identifier: ahc.MSS156

Scope and Content

The collection is primarily a series of correspondence and documents relating to William McNaught’s business interests; and a limited collection of personal correspondence between family members. The business records document ordinary business activities as well as the effects of the Civil War on his commerce. Several letters document the difficulties collecting funds from debtors after the Civil War. During the Civil War William McNaught with a group of investors formed the Fulton Exporting and Importing Company, which purchased a steamer to transport goods into the Confederate States. Soon after the delivery of the steamer, it sunk at the mouth of the Suwannee River in Florida and some effort was made to salvage the steamer. A significant number of slave documents are found throughout the collection. Most of these documents provide a brief physical description of the slave as well as their given name. The collection also includes correspondence written by Euphemia McNaught Knapp, John McNaught, and William McNaught, Jr. John McNaught graduated from Harvard and then spent several months on a European tour. Many of his letters reflect on the society in Europe and the contrast to American society. His sister “Pollie” inquired about the fashions of Europe in one of her letters to him and he provides her with a brief sketch of the fashions in England, Ireland, and Paris. The letters written by Euphemia describe life in Canada during the Civil War and in Atlanta after the war as well as financial difficulties after her husband abandons her and their children.


  • 1836-1911


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Administrative/Biographical History

William McNaught (1814-1896 April 13) immigrated to the southern United States after leaving Scotland in 1832. William McNaught lived in Newport, Florida before moving to Georgia, where he spent a significant portion of his adult life. He married Judith A. Spencer (1828-1882) and they had four children: Euphemia McNaught, John McNaught, Mary McNaught, and William McNaught. In 1859, William McNaught moved his family to Georgia from Florida. He appears in the 1860 Federal Census residing with his family in the Black Hall area in Fulton County, Georgia. 1 William McNaught’s business interests included Confederate Fire and Marine Insurance Company, Fulton Export-Import Corporation, Fulton Paper Mill Company, Fulton Petroleum and Mining Company, Georgia Petroleum Company, McNaught Land Company, McNaught-Ormond and Company, Novelty Iron Works Company, and Texas Land Company.


5.5 linear ft.



System of Arrangement

This collection is arranged Folders arranged alphabetically according to titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase 1968 (1968.1)

Related Materials

Visual images from this collection are un-cataloged. See reference staff to make an appointment with an archivist for access. Please note there will be a delay to access any un-cataloged collection.

General Physical Description note

Extent: 5.5 linear feet ( 8 document boxes, half document box, and 2 oversize boxes)


America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Description Control

Reprocessed in 2009
William McNaught Papers: ahc.MSS 156
An Inventory of His Papers at the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center
Inventory prepared by Melanie Stephan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305