A Guide to the Charles William Tait Papers, 1844-1854
Born to James Ashbury and Elizabeth Caroline (Goode) Tait in Georgia, Charles William Tait (1815-1878) moved with his family to Alabama, where he studied at the University of Alabama before earning a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Following his service in the U.S. Navy as a surgeon, Tait moved to Texas, settling on a 6,000-acre plantation, named Sylvania, near Columbus in the mid-1840s. In 1848, Tait married Louisa Williams, with whom he had nine children. During the Mexican War, he served as surgeon of John C. Hays’ regiment, and during the Civil War as lieutenant colonel in the 4th Texas Cavalry. Tait was Colorado County commissioner (1850) and served in the Texas House of Representatives (1854-1854; 1857-1858). A director of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado River Railway Company, he founded a cooperative mercantile store, later known as the Columbus Mutual Aid Association, and operated a ferry service on his plantation. Tait also organized the Standing Relief Committee, which provided food and medicine to Colorado County families affected by an 1869 flood and the 1873 yellow fever epidemic.
Flachmeier, Jeanette H. "Tait, Charles William."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed March 1, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fta03.
"Dr. Charles William Tait."Daughters of the Republic of Texas: Patriot Ancestor Album, edited by Herbert C. Banks, p. 270. Paducah, Ky.: Turner Publishing Company, 2001.
Comprising correspondence, ferriage accounts, plantation rules, and photographs, the Charles William Tait Papers, 1844-1854, document the agricultural and ferrying activities of Tait in Columbus, Texas. The Photostatic copies of correspondence, 1844-1854, primarily from Tait to his father James in Wilcox County, Alabama, describe agricultural activities and family affairs. Undated photographs depict Tait’s plantation, the Taits’ cook Sam Roy, and Tait’s son William with his nursemaid Phebe. The collection also includes Photostatic copies of ferriage accounts, 1847-1852, and an undated manuscript copy of Tait’s plantation rules for overseers.
This collection is open for research use.
Charles William Tait Papers, 1844-1854, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers