Guide to the Espy Family Business Records, 1904-1959

Record Group 051

Date Span:

Extent: 9 cubic feet

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Curtis Espy (1876-1950) was a prominent businessperson from Midland City, Dale County, Alabama.  He held the Alabama Certificate of Medicine and briefly practiced as a local physician.  Dr. Espy gave up his medical career and became involved in several businesses that included owning and operating a local mercantile as well as cotton gin.  Dr. Espy purchased land and leased it for sharecroppers.  Dr. Curtis Espy died in 1950 and his son, Jim Espy, became owner and operator of the business.

Dr. Espy was married to Flowers Kelly Espy and they had three children, a son, Jim Byrd, and two daughters, Nell and Virginia.  The family rests in the Midland City Cemetery.

The old Espy mercantile building was demolished in the mid 1990’s.

Scope / Content: The Espy Family Business Records documents daily business activities of the Espy Mercantile and the Espy Cotton Gin.  This includes business transactions with local and national businesses, documents federal and state taxes, provides evidence that the business had a credit system with customers and documented transactions with local banks.  The Espy Family Records present evidence of the family’s estate, will information, and loan papers.

Organized into three subgroups, then into series:  

Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile Store served the needs of local farmers for goods, agricultural supplies, and credit.  Records in this subgroup document daily business activities of the Mercantile and divided into three series: 

  • Series 1, Business Receipts and Correspondence 1923—1956 [52 File Folders]:  Receipts from daily business transaction from the Espy Mercantile Store.  Includes receipts for orders placed with national and local wholesalers as well as bills of lading from transportation companies.  In addition the series also includes correspondence from business advertising services and goods to Dr. Espy, records of goods purchased by the Midland Vocational School, torn pages from various journals, one blank fertilizer ledger, various envelopes, store purchase orders, Dr. Espy’s personal memo books, and hand written correspondence involving customer credit issues.  Some of the receipts cross-reference with the Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin, and Subgroup 3: Personal Papers of the Espy Family
  • Series 2, Cleared Checks, 1921—1958 [ca. 1 cubic foot]:  Cancelled checks and monthly bank statements that document payments and purchases made by the Espy business.
  • Series 3, Business Ledgers,1920—1958 [2 File Folders + 38 Ledgers]:  The ledgers recorded daily business transactions and included customer credit, fertilizer sold, business costs, one sawmill journal, payment records, invoice records, and a check voucher register.  The journals document that farmers sometimes traded crops for goods at the store.  This series sometimes cross-reference to Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin.  The business ledgers are hardbound books and vary in size.

Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin was a significant business of the Espy family.  Dr. Espy’s son Jim ran the gin after World War 2.  These records documents the daily activities of the Cotton Gin.  There is some overlap in series with Espy Mercantile, and the Subgroup is organized into three series.

Subgroup 3: Personal Papers of Espy Family,. 1904 – 1959 [14 File Folders]:  Documents other business ventures, such as peanut farming and breeding cows, conducted by the Espy Family. The subgroup also includes Dr. Curtis Espy’s Medical Certificate, a cattle herd genealogy, and some records of their peanut farm.  These business ventures cross reference with the Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile and Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin.

Provenance:  William Holman, Executive Director of the Dothan Landmarks Foundation, Inc., came into possession of these records when he visited the old livery (Espy Mercantile) in downtown Midland City.  Due to the condition of the building, Dr. Espy’s daughter, Virginia, gave Mr. Holman permission to move the records to the Dixie Rail Depot in Dothan Alabama.  The records stayed at the Depot for a time then accessioned by the Wiregrass Archives.

Processing Notes:  The collection was in a dilapidated building and exposed to harsh weather conditions. Most pieces have severe damage due to insects, decay, water and heat.  Some of the records were unsalvageable.

Preferred Citation:  [Item], [Subgroup], [Series], Espy Family Business Records, RG051.  The Wiregrass Archives, Troy University--Dothan Campus, Dothan, AL. 

Access:  Open per donor agreement (030, DLF, Inc.) and e-mail confirmation, 6-27-2007

Date processed:   2/11/2004

Processed By: Mike Heer


INVENTORY BY Subgroup and SERIES


Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile
Store, 

Series 1, Business Receipts and Correspondence 1923—1956

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

001

001

1923-1924

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

002

1925

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

003

1925

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

004

1926

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

005

1926

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

006

1927

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

007

1927

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

008

1927

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

009

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

010

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

011

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

012

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

013

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

014

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

015

1934

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

016

1935

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

017

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

018

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

019

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

020

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

021

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

022

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

023

1936

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

024

1937

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

001

025

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

001

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

002

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

003

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

004

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

005

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

006

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

007

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

008

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

009

1938

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

010

1939

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

011

1940

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

012

1941

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

013

1941

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

014

1941

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

015

1941

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

016

1941

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

017

1941

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

018

1951-1953

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

019

1954

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

020

1954

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

021

1955

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

022

1956

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

002

023

1956

Warehouse Receipts

051

04-0211

003

001

1938

Hand Written Correspondence to Curtis Espy

051

04-0211

003

002

1922-1950

Business Advertisement Correspondence to Curtis Espy

051

04-0211

003

004

1932-1938

Various Envelopes

051

04-0211

003

009

1922

Midland Vocational School Purchase Orders

 

Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile Store, 

Series 2, Cleared Checks, 1921—1958

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

005

1921-1926

Bank Statement and Cleared Checks

051

04-0211

006

1926-1928

Bank Statement and Cleared Checks

051

04-0211

007

1930-1937

Bank Statement and Cleared Checks

051

04-0211

008

1938-1958

Bank Statement and Cleared Checks

051

04-0211

011

1930-1936

Returned Checks

 

Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile Store, 

Series 3, Business Ledgers,1920—1958

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

002

024

1940-1947

Account Ledger (Torn Pages)

051

04-0211

002

025

1923-1924

Fertilizer Sales Ledger

051

04-0211

003

003

1933-1941

Personal Debit / Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

003

005

1949

Store Purchase Orders

051

04-0211

003

006

1949

Store Purchase Orders

051

04-0211

003

007

1949

Store Purchase Orders

051

04-0211

003

008

[nd]

Blank Receipt Ledgers

051

04-0211

004

001

1920

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

002

1933-1934

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

003

1937

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

004

1940

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

005

1940

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

006

1943

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

007

1948-1949

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

008

1954

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

009

1955

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

004

010

1948

Saw Mill Ledger

051

04-0211

004

011

1941

Business Costs

051

04-0211

004

012

1942-1946

Fertilizer Ledger

051

04-0211

004

013

1954

Fertilizer Ledger

051

04-0211

004

014

1924

Torn Ledger Pages

051

04-0211

ITEM

001

1922

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

002

1924

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

003

1930

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

004

1934

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

005

1936

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

006

1937

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

007

1937

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

008

1938

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

009

1938

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

010

1939

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

011

1939

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

012

1941

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

013

1941

Credit Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

014

1936

Invoice Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

015

1944-1953

Check Voucher Register

051

04-0211

ITEM

016

1953

Cash Payment Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

017

1924-1926

Farmers Union Receipt Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

018

1934-1940

Farmers Union Receipt Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

019

1941

Farmers Union Receipt Ledger

051

04-0211

ITEM

021

1922

Union Warehouse Receipt Book

051

04-0211

ITEM

022

1922

Union Warehouse Receipt Book


Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin, 

Series 1, Ledgers and Receipt Books, 1906—ca. 1950s

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

003

010

[nd]

Cotton Bills and Checks Ledger (re: Espy Gin Account)

051

04-0211

003

011

[nd]

Cotton Gin Check Book [Blank] (re: Espy Seed Acct)

051

04-0211

003

014

1938

Record Monthly Returns of Ginner of Cotton

051

04-0211

ITEM

020

[nd]

Cotton Shipping Journal

051

04-0211

ITEM

023

[nd]

Cotton Weight Journal

051

04-0211

ITEM

024

1906

Cotton Weight Journal

Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin, 

Series 2, Loose Receipts, 1924-1936

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

009

na

1924-1936

Cotton Warehouse Receipts

Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin, 

Series 3, Artifacts

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

003

012

[nd]

Cotton Weight Tags

051

04-0211

003

013

[nd]

Cotton Invoices

051

04-0211

010

001

[nd]

Small flag w/ 3-piece pole

051

04-0211

010

002

[nd]

Weight w/ hook for Scale, Lever [Cotton bale]

051

04-0211

010

003

[nd]

2 @ Shot, Case [Iron Spheres, @ ca. 2.5" dia.]

051

04-0211

010

004

[nd]

Holder, String [Made of Iron]


Subgroup 3: Personal Papers of Espy Family,. 1904 – 1959

File I.D.

Year

File Label

051

04-0211

003

015

1954

Upland Cotton Marketing Cards Identifying Espy Estate as Authorized Cotton Grower

051

04-0211

003

016

1956

Upland Cotton Marketing Cards Identifying Espy Estate as Authorized Cotton Grower

051

04-0211

003

017

1953

Jim Espy Business Records

051

04-0211

003

018

1956-1958

Jim Espy Business Records

051

04-0211

003

019

1920

Domestic Corporation Return for Franchise Taxes

051

04-0211

003

020

1937

Tax Return List on Personal Property

051

04-0211

003

021

1938

Tax Return List on Personal Property

051

04-0211

003

022

1949

Personal Loan Statement

051

04-0211

003

023

1955

Personal Loan Statement

051

04-0211

003

024

1956

Personal Loan Statement

051

04-0211

003

025

1957

Personal Loan Statement

051

04-0211

003

026

1957-1959

Virginia Espy's Assets

051

04-0211

003

027

1948-1957

Jim Espy's Assets and Legal Documents

051

04-0211

003

028

1919-1959

Curtis Espy's Assets and Legal Documents

051

04-0211

003

029

1956

Flower Espy's Assets

051

04-0211

003

030

1920

Transaction of Medical Association of the State of Alabama

051

04-0211

003

031

1917-1922

Herd Breeding Records

051

04-0211

003

032

1936-1944

A. I. Ward Accounts

051

04-0211

OS

001

1904

Dr. Curtis Epsy's Medical Certificate

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