Branch, Otho M.
Phillips, James W.
Phillips, Vivian Branch, 1915-ca. 1987
Planters Gin Co. (Bishop, Ga.).
|Title: ||Branch family papers|
46.8 Linear feet
(74 document boxes, 11 half boxes, 3 cartons, 1 slide box, 4 large card file boxes, 7 oversized boxes, 5 oversized volumes, 7 oversized folders A, 3 oversized folders B), 1 card file box.
|Coll. Number: ||ms2523|
The Branch family seems to have resided in Clarke, Oconee, and Greene counties for a significant period of time. William Scott Branch received his land in the lottery, owning a plantation and slaves. The Branch family mainly resided in Oconee County from the mid-1800s to late 1900s.
The donor, Vivian Branch Phillips, worked as a librarian for the University of Georgia for 29 years, retiring in 1974. She was born in 1915 in Oconee County, Georgia in the house where she later lived with her husband, James W. Phillips, a farmer and former civilian employee with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Vivian's father, Otho M. Branch, was a cotton farmer, who also built Planters Gin Co. in Bishop, Georgia. His father, Marcellus L. Branch was also a farmer who developed and sold a variety of cotton called Branch's Long Shank Cotton.
Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of 97 Hollinger boxes and 10 oversize folders of material relating mainly to the Branch Family of Oconee County, Georgia and date from around 1836 to 1986. Since the papers were only somewhat organized when received, a good deal of order was imposed during their processing. It should also be mentioned that Mrs. Phillips annotated many of the original folders and individual items. These folders were retained and placed near the end of the collection. See Box no. 89.
Papers relating to Vivian B. Phillips and her husband comprise only a part of this collection. Much of the material includes personal correspondence and farm business papers (including Planters Gin Co. records) of her parents, Otho and Claire Branch, and also personal correspondence to and from related family members and friends.
A brief outline of the collection follows:
Boxes 1-4 contain biographical and genealogical information on the Branch and allied families.
Boxes 5-41 consist entirely of personal and family correspondence organized for the most part in chronological order (1870-1986). Several groups of letters within this section have been kept separate, as they were received this way. For instance, boxes 29-39 consist entirely of letters to Mamie McRee Elliot from her longtime friend, Katie Downs. There is also a box of correspondence between Vivian Branch Phillips and various Georgia and national political figures. This group of letters was organized by last name. Also of interest is a box of letters addressed to D.H. Waggoner and concern the Jennings Inheritance, a mail fraud of the 1930s, in which many people were swindled, by being led to believe that they could share in a huge inheritance.
Boxes 42-79 consist of business correspondence, receipts, ledgers, etc. (1862-1980), most of which relates to the Branch family farm and to the Planters Gin Co., which was owned by Otho M. Branch and was in operation from around 1920 until it burned in 1953.
The last part of the collection (Boxes 80-97) includes church records, legal documents (1830's-1980's), photographs, scrapbooks, and other miscellaneous items. Of special note are several early legal documents, one of which is a bill of sale of the property of William Scott Branch and includes a list of slaves by name, purchaser, and price of each (See box # 82, Fldr. # 2).
Arranged by record type.
Preferred Citation note
Branch family papers. MS 2523. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
The Vivian Branch Phillips Collection was given to the University of Georgia Libraries in May 1987 by the Estate of Vivian Branch Phillips.