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General Duncan Lamont Clinch Family Papers

Identifier: Ms 211

Scope and Content

This collection contains mostly correspondence and newspaper clippings about General Clinch. Topics range from family matters to his military campaign in the Second Seminole War and include letters from the Secretary of War at the time, Lewis W. Cass. The newspaper clippings pertain to General Clinch's defense of his actions during the Second Seminole War and at the Battle of the Withlacoochee. Also included in this collection are a number of land transaction documents and bills of sale. There are also newspaper clippings and letters about Clinch's first daughter, Eliza Bayard Clinch, who was married to the hero of Fort Sumter, General Robert Anderson. There are also copies of several wills from General Clinch's children, several letters of correspondence from within the family, and Clinch's autobiography written in the form of a letter to his sons. Portions of this latter document are missing.

It is important to note that while there are multiple letters and correspondence regarding the Battle of the Withlacoochee and the prosecution of the Second Seminole War in Florida, there is nothing specific with regard to the destruction of the "Negro Fort." The collection is arranged by topic and then chronologically within each folder.


  • Creation: 1804-1904



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Duncan Lamont Clinch was born in 1787 in North Carolina to a middle class family. He was orphaned in youth and started life with an inheritance of twelve hundred dollars. In 1808 Congressman Thomas Blount selected Clinch as one of two individuals to receive commissions as first lieutenants in the U.S. Army. During the War of 1812 he was stationed in Louisiana and Plattsburg, N.Y. In July of 1816 he led the expedition that destroyed the "Negro Fort" on the Apalachicola River. Later he was brevetted to the rank of Brigadier General and led over seven hundred men against the Seminole Indians at the Battle of the Withlacoochee during the Second Seminole War. On April 26, 1836 General Clinch tendered his resignation to President Andrew Jackson, who tried to get him to reconsider; however, Clinch refused and on September 21, 1836 retired from his military career.

During his lifetime Clinch married three times. His first wife was Eliza Bayard McIntosh of the wealthy McIntosh family of Camden County, Georgia. This marriage produced eight children, five boys and three girls. Eliza died fairly soon after the eighth child was born and Clinch married his second wife, Elizabeth Bayard Houstoun, who after two still births died as well. Clinch's third wife, Sofia Gibbs, outlived Clinch by over fifty years. After his retirement from the service Clinch was responsible for his eight children and the Refuge plantation, on the Satilla River, Georgia, which he had inherited from his first wife's father, John Houstoun McIntosh. Clinch also became involved in politics and in 1843 was elected to replace Congressman John Millen who had died in office. After finishing that term Clinch did not enter politics again until 1847 when he was nominated as a gubernatorial candidate for Georgia but subsequently lost the election.

Clinch died on November 27, 1849 in Macon, Georgia. He had amassed an estate valued at two million dollars. The estate included the Refuge plantation with five thousand acres, a summer mansion in Clarksville, Georgia, two hundred and ten slaves, and over twenty-one thousand acres of land in Florida.

Source: Patrick, Rembert Wallace, Aristocrat in Uniform, Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1963.


0.4 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Letters, legal documents, wills, and newspaper clippings pertaining to General Duncan Lamont Clinch and family.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Items in this collection have been digitized and are available via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) as part of the Pioneer Days in Florida project, which is generously supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

Additional material about General Clinch remains primarily in private hands. See Rembert Patrick, Aristocrat in Uniform, pages 218-219.

Other manuscript collections include: Clinch Letterbook, 1834-1835, at the Library of Congress. Journal of the Florida Expedition, 1836, Feb 21-April 23, at Duke University Library. Richard Keith Call Papers at the University of North Carolina Library. Duncan Clinch Heyward Papers at the Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina. Reminisces of the Seminole War at the Florida Historical Society. Materials at the Georgia Historical Society, Savannah. Ink sketches of the Episcopal Church (St. Marys, Ga.,) and Refuge Plantation House in the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History.

A Guide to the General Duncan Lamont Clinch Family Papers
Finding aid created by J. Sean McCormick
April 2007
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.
Digitization funded with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America