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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:
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
Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile Store,
Series 1, Business Receipts and Correspondence 1923—1956
Correspondence to Curtis Espy
Advertisement Correspondence to Curtis Espy
Vocational School Purchase Orders
Subgroup 1: Espy Mercantile Store,
Series 2, Cleared Checks, 1921—1958
and Cleared Checks
Series 3, Business Ledgers,1920—1958
Personal Debit /
Saw Mill Ledger
Subgroup 2: Espy Cotton Gin,
Series 1, Ledgers and Receipt Books, 1906—ca. 1950s
Cotton Bills and
Checks Ledger (re: Espy Gin Account)
Cotton Gin Check
Book [Blank] (re: Espy Seed Acct)
Returns of Ginner of Cotton
Series 2, Loose Receipts, 1924-1936
Cotton Warehouse Receipts
Series 3, Artifacts
Small flag w/
Weight w/ hook
for Scale, Lever [Cotton bale]
2 @ Shot, Case
[Iron Spheres, @ ca. 2.5" dia.]
[Made of Iron]
Subgroup 3: Personal Papers of Espy Family,. 1904 –
Marketing Cards Identifying Espy Estate as Authorized Cotton Grower
Corporation Return for Franchise Taxes
Tax Return List
on Personal Property
Assets and Legal Documents
Assets and Legal Documents
Medical Association of the State of Alabama
A. I. Ward
Epsy's Medical Certificate
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