McReynolds Family Collection, 1794-1965

Descriptive Summary

McReynolds Family Collection, 1794-1965
McReynolds Family
1/2 box, 6 folders, 105 items.
Finding Aid Author
Archives Staff
Western Kentucky University

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Thomas Phillips (1774-1843) was born near Glasgow, Scotland, and came to Philadelphia about 1797. The next year he moved to Paris, Kentucky, and in 1803 he married a Paris Widow, Susan (Edwards) Reeder, a daughter of John Edwards (one of Kentucky's first Senators). In 1806 they moved to Todd County, settling about two miles from Elkton, and resided there the rest of their lives. Benjamin E. and Mary Jane were two of their eight children. Benjamin E. lived in Clinton, Mississippi, and Nacogdoches, Texas. He married Atala A. Hotchkiss of Nacogdoches in 1838, and they had a daughter named Mary (b.1842?). Mary Jane (1814-1860) resided in Elkton all of her life. She married David Clark Reeves (1809-1841) in 1834, and they had one daughter, Ellen. Several years after the death of her first husband, Mary Jane wed Dr. James A. McReynolds (1812-1869). In 1859 Ellen (1840-1916) married Dr. John Oliver McReynolds (1827-1905), and they had the following children: Mary Bell Zarecor (1860-1934), James Clark (1862-1946), Robert Phillips (b.1871), and Ellen R. (1880-1888).
Thomas Phillips' great-grandson James Clark McReynolds received a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1882 and graduated from the University of Virginia Law Department in 1884. He practiced law for a number of years in Nashville, Tennessee; was U.S. assistant attorney-general from 1903 to 1907; practiced law in New York City; served in 1913 and 1914 as U.S. attorney-general in President Wilson's cabinet; and served as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1914 to 1941. Although he made Washington, D.C. his home, Justice McReynolds retained close ties with his Kentucky family.
Scope and Content
Letters compose the major portion of this collection, and they are chiefly the correspondence of Susan Phillips (Mrs. Thomas), 1837-1843 (10 items); Thomas Phillips, 1838-1840 (3), and Mary Jane (Phillips) [Reeves] McReynolds, 1838-1857 (16). In addition, there are letters to Ellen Reeves, 1856?-1858 (5); receipts of G. E. Phillips, 1837-1839 (6); letters to John Oliver McReynolds; and miscellaneous papers, 1829-1860 (10). The correspondence, 1945 (17), between Mary T. Moore, librarian of the Kentucky Library, and Justice McReynolds, co-donor of the collection, is included. Also, there are four manuscript booklets: recipes for foods and medicines, recipes for making dyes, an autograph album of Mary Jane Reeves, 1836-1846, and one entitled "scraps of history and the sayings of great men selected by Mary Jane Phillips in the 15th and 16th years of her age."
Biographical and genealogical materials (holographic, typescript, and photocopy) are included. Also of interest is a photocopy of questions answered by Kentucky Senator John Edwards before the Democratic Society of Washington, D.C., about the free navigation of the Mississippi River in 1794. The original is in The Library of Congress.

Contents of the Collection

McReynolds Family Papers. 1794-1965. 105 items.

  • Box 1

Correspondence of Susan Phillips (Mrs. Thomas). 1837-1843. 10 items.

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Correspondence and receipts of Mary Jane (Phillips) [Reeves] McReynolds. 1838-1857. 16 items.

  • Box 1, folder 2
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Phillips, Reeves, McReynolds papers. 1829-1860. 24 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3

Correspondence of Thomas Phillips. 1838-1840. 3 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3a
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Incoming letters, etc. of Ellen Reeves. 1856(?)-1858. 5 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3b
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Receipts of G. E. Phillips. 1837-1839. 6 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3c
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McReynolds papers and other miscellaneous papers. 1829-1860. 10 items.

  • Box 1, folder 3d
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Correspondence of James Clark McReynolds and Mrs. Mary T. Moore. 1945. 17 items.

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Mss. booklets, 1829 or 1830, and autograph album, 1836-1846. 1829-1846. 4 items.

  • Box 1, folder 5
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Biographical material -- clippings, etc. and photostats relating to John Edwards. 1794-1965. 10 items.

  • Box 1, folder 6
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