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Ormond Family Papers

Identifier: Ms 078

Scope and Content

Correspondence, business account notebooks, official marriage, deed, estate records, and a manuscript memoir. Collection includes family correspondence ranging from James I in 1884 to James III in 1882, the bulk (3 boxes) of which chronicles the business and personal affairs of James III. Major subjects covered include the Second Seminole War in Florida, the Civil War, the Andersonville Prison in Georgia, and business operations characteristic of the nineteenth century. Other topics include yellow fever outbreaks in Florida, frontier life in north Florida, Spanish land grant claims, and family history. Researchers may find the ongoing, regular correspondence between James III and McNaught useful for topics relating to business practices of the period. Of particular note is the handwritten autobiography of James III, dictated in the year before his death. The collection is arranged chronologically.


  • 1784-1909
  • Majority of material found within 1834-1892



The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

No photocopying of the Ormond Account Books, Box 4.

Biographical/Historical Note

Captain James Ormond I (175?-1819), born in Scotland, commanded the brig Somerset. He owned a plantation on Exuma in the Bahamas, but then took advantage of Spanish land grants in Florida. He settled near New Smyrna, Florida, where he was later killed by a neighbor's slave.

James Ormond II (179?-1829), also born in Scotland, came to Florida with his wife, Isabella (neé Christie), and their four children after a failed business venture. They lived on the Damietta plantation, near St. Augustine, Florida.

James Ormond III (1815-1892) was born in Mayfield, Scotland. During the Second Seminole War, he volunteered in the Mosquito Roarers militia as a sergeant. Ormond married Elizabeth Chaires in 1844, with whom he had nine children. His business ventures included the Atlanta Paper Mill, one of the first paper mill operations in the South and other enterprises with his partner William McNaught. During the Civil War, Ormond worked as an adjutant at Andersonville Prison. He moved his family to Canada and England after the war, returning to Atlanta in 1867. He later came back to Florida and settled near the remains of his former plantation, Damietta. The town of Ormond, named for him, was incorporated in 1880.

Source: "James Ormond, Merchant and Soldier," by Alice Strickland, The Florida Historical Quarterly, (41):209-222.


2 Linear feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection includes correspondence, business letters, account books, and a memoir manuscript created by members of the Ormond family of Florida.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Custodial History

Collection formerly owned by Mrs. St. Elmo Massengale, Jr. (nee Bettie Render Hodgson).

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ms. Bettie Massengale Edwards, 1979.

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

For additional information on this topic, you may also want to see Reminiscences of James Ormond: Concerning the Early Days of the Halifax Country at the PK Yonge Library of Florida History (F. 2 V94 073r).

Separated Material

Oversize materials from Boxes 1, 2, and 4 have been relocated to Miscellaneous Oversize Materials Box 1, in the Ormond Family Folder.

A Guide to the Ormond Family Papers
Finding aid created by Paige M. Scofield
December 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