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Ellen Landers Collection

Identifier: A-0275

Scope and Contents

While ostensibly a genealogical collection detailing Ellen Landers’s ancestry going back more than 6 generations, the Ellen Landers Collection also offers valuable insight into topics such as the interstate slave trade, antebellum politics in Georgia, the 1856 Democratic National Convention, secession, and 1880s courtship etiquette. The majority of historical documents are correspondence to and from family and friends, but there are also bills and receipts, dance invitations, and one month of an 1852 diary. As an added convenience, Landers typed transcriptions for the majority of the correspondence. Genealogical materials include family trees, pedigree charts, obituaries, newspaper clippings and 90 family photographs. Geographically, the majority of documents pertain to Rusk, Smith and Wood Counties, Texas and Upson County, Georgia.

Items researchers might find of particular interest include:

Correspondence and a photograph pertaining to Lacy Drake, who was a Flewellen slave the family kept in contact with long after the Civil War. Drake received a letter in March 1897 from Enos R. Flewellen regarding her request for financial assistance. The letter also gave Drake the status of former Flewellen slaves still living in Thomaston, Georgia.

The papers of John J. Cary are full of intrigue, such as a letter from 1847 explaining why the President had to rescind his nomination of Cary as Georgia’s next attorney general; a letter from a friend urging Cary to move to Texas instead of being a politician in Georgia; correspondence and letters of recommendation from future Confederate States of America Vice President Alexander Stephens; and letters to and from his wife, Frances Flewellen Cary, regarding their family, the 1856 Democratic National Convention, and dining with the President.

A. L. Landis had a number of business interests in the antebellum North and South, including buying/speculating on slaves. He sent Henry G. Landers six letters from 1853 to 1856 describing his extensive travels, business dealings, and family affairs.


  • Creation: 1791-2006


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Ellen Landers Collection brings together the history of more than seven generations from six distinct families:

The Cary family of Thomaston, Upson County, GA and later Henderson, Rusk County, TX

The Drake family of North Carolina

The Flewellen family of Thomaston, Upson County, GA and later Smith County, TX

The Landers family of Smith County and Mineola, Wood County, TX

The Rhone family of Smith County, TX

The Shelton family of Mineola, Wood County, TX

Below is a pedigree chart of those frequently mentioned in the collection:

[1] John H. Drake m. Frances Williams

...[2] Frances Maria Drake m. Thomas Flewellen

......[3] Eugenia A. Flewellen (Thweatt)

......[3] Frances Flewellen m. John J. Cary

.........[4] Ada Cary

.........[4] Sarah Alice Cary m. James Shelton

............[5] Mary Flewellen Shelton m. James H. Landers

...............[6] Douglas Landers m. Grace Adams

..................[7] Ellen Landers (Notestine)

..................[7] James A. Landers

..................[7] Grace Landers

..................[7] Frances Landers (Loving

...............[6] Malcolm H. Landers

...............[6] Flossie Landers (McKay)

............[5] Fannie Shelton

............[5] James Shelton

[1] James Flewellen and Elizabeth Parson

...[2] Thomas Flewellen

...[2] Robert Turner Flewellen

...[2] Enos R. Flewellen

......[3] John Rhone

.........[4] Matilda Rhone m. Henry G. Landers

............[5] James H. Landers

Ellen Landers (1917-2006) was an East Texas native, born in Mineola to Douglas and Grace Adams Landers. She had two sisters, Frances and Grace, and a brother, James Alfred, who died in the Pacific during WWII. Most of Ellen Landers’s childhood was spent in Henderson, Texas where one of her childhood friends was the mother of the future Congressman Martin Frost. After attending the University of Texas for one year, she married Ronald Notestine, who was based in Texas with the Army Air Force at the time, in 1941. She raised five children in California.

The papers in the Ellen Landers Collection began their journey with Georgia Congressman George Cary (1823-1827) and Thomas Flewellen. Flewellen moved his family to East Texas in the 1840's, and from there the letters and documents were successively passed down to John J. Cary, his daughter Sarah Alice Cary Shelton, Malcolm H. Landers and finally to Ellen Landers.

(Biographical sketch of Ellen Landers compliments of Randy Notestine)


1.50 Cubic Feet


This collection consists of 420 items arranged at the folder-level in one box (23 folders) and one oversize bundle. The collection is described across 9 series.

Guide to the Ellen Landers Collection
Kyle Ainsworth
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository