Guide to the Confederados Collection, 1861-1992, RG 958

Listed by: M. Olliff

Revised by: Dieter Ullrich
Date: 8-26-03

Date Span: 1861-1992 [Letters, 1861-1909; Memoirs/Secondary Works, 1970s-1992]

Contents: Contains correspondence from the Norris family [1861-1909] and John R. Buford [1862-1876] as well as early Southern Methodist-Episcopal Mission Reports about the Confederados community [c. 1867-1874], memoirs of some of the descendants [1970s-1988], and information relative to the Auburn University Latin American Studies Conference held in July 1992.

Biographical Sketch: In 1868, a number of families from former Confederate states in the South fled the Reconstruction policies for Brazil. They settled in various regions of the country but, within a few years, concentrated near the current towns of Americana and Santa Barbara, Sao Paulo State. These settlements were approximately 100 miles inland from the city of Sao Paulo. The family of Colonel William H. Norris was the first to arrive from Alabama. His son Robert C. Norris and daughter-in-law Martha Temperance [Patti] Steagall as well as his own daughter Angela Norris accompanied the Colonel, but son Saunders Norris remained at the family home of Mt. Pleasant, Alabama, 40 miles northeast of Mobile.

Robert Cicero Norris
Robert Cicero Norris was the son of Col. William Hutchison Norris. He was born in Perry County, Ala., March 7, 1837. His boyhood days were spent in Dallas County, Ala. From 1850 to 1856 he was a student at Fulton Academy, one of the best educational institutions of the State. Having finished the course there, he studied law under his father, though not intending to practice this profession; but he wished to inform himself concerning the laws of the country.

At the age of twenty he taught in a public school for a year, and then he went to Brundidge, Ala., where he studied medicine under Dr. J.H. Dewberry as preceptor. He matriculated in the Mobile Medical College (now University of Alabama). On January 28, 1861, his studies were interrupted when he went with other volunteers under Capt. Theodore O'Hara to Pensacola to seize the navy yards. He then returned to his studies.

On July 3, 1861, he enlisted in Company F, 15th Alabama Regiment, and went to Fort Mitchell for organization, and from there to Virginia, where his regiment served in Stonewall Jackson's brigade. In 1862 he was made sergeant major, serving in this capacity until 1864, and acted as adjutant much of the time. He was later assigned to Company A, 60th Alabama Regiment, and promoted to first lieutenant. In an engagement on Hatcher's Run he was captured and sent as a prisoner to Fort Delaware, where he was kept until June 17, 1865.

He arrived at his old home in Alabama on the 5th of July. During the four years' service he was wounded three times. He served in many battles and skirmishes, including Front Royal, Port Republic, Harper's Ferry, Cross Keys, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Cedar Run, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Brown's Ferry, Wilderness, Spottsylvania Courthouse, Second Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Darbytown Road, and Williamsburg Road.

At the end of 1865 he traveled to Brazil and settled in Villa Americana, State of Sao Paulo, being the first American to settle in that section of the country. Afterwards a flourishing American colony was established there. He returned to the Mobile in 1890 to study medicine. After completing his studies, he rejoined his wife and their 10 children in Brazil, where he established a successful practice. He retired from active life in 1911. (see CONFEDERATE VETERAN, November 1913, Vol. 21, No. 11)

He was made a Mason in 1858 in the Fulton Lodge, Dallas County. In Brazil he took an active part in organizing a lodge, A.Y.M., in Santa Barbara, of which he was Senior Warden for two years, afterwards being elected to the position of Grand Master, which he held until his death. Dr. Robert C. Norris departed this life on May 14, 1913.

Martha Temperance Steagall
Martha Temperance Steagall was born on February 4, 1850 in Union City, Obion County, Tennessee. She was the daughter of Henry Farrar Steagall and Delia Elizabeth (Peck) Steagall. She relocated with the rest of her family and her husband Robert C. Norris to Brazil in 1867. She and her husband had two daughters, Kennie and Julia and a son Robert Clay Norris. She died on September 16, 1933 in Washington, D.C.

Robert Clay Norris
Robert Clay Norris was born January 5, 1872 in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He studied dentistry in Sao Paulo and assisted in the practice of Dr. I. G. Baumgardner before his untimely death on December 10, 1906. He married Ana Candida Escobar 1895 in Santa Barbara d'Oeste, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

John Ridley Bufird
Prior to relocating to the American Civil War, John Ridley Buford was a resident of Eufaula, Alabama. He enlisted in April 1862, at Eufaula, Alabama and was appointed Sergeant in Captain Reuben Koulb's Battery of the Barbour Alabama Light Artillery. He was transferred on November 6, 1864, with the rank of private to the Eufaula Battery of Alabama Light Artillery. He was in St. Mary's Hospital at Union Springs, Alabama from September 29,1864, until November 6, 1864. Buford took part in the battles of Kentucky Campaign, Hood's Tennessee Campaign, and Chickamauga, and was paroled at Meridian, Mississippi, on May 10, 1865. At his parole, he listed his residence as Eufaula. In late February of 1867, Buford moved to Santa Barbara, Brazil where he farmed tobacco. He was alive in 1913 at age of 72.

Box 1
File 1. Correspondence to John R. Buford, 1866-1869 File 2. Correspondence to John R. Buford, 1873-1892 File 3. Diary of John R. Buford, 1862-1870
File 4. Miscellaneous papers of John R. Buford, ca. 1860-1890
File 5. Correspondence of Charles & Mary Elizabeth Norris, 1890-1896 File 6. Correspondence of Robert C. Norris to his wife, July to September, 1890 File 7. Correspondence of Robert C. Norris to his wife, October to December, 1890 File 8. Correspondence of Robert C. Norris to his wife, 1891 File 9. Correspondence of Robert Clay Norris, 1892-1902 File 10. Correspondence of Robert Clay Norris, 1903-1909 File 11. Correspondence of Robert Clay Norris, No exact dates listes
File 12. Correspondence of Patti Steagall [Martha Temperance Steagall Norris], 1861-1891. File 13. Correspondence of Patti Steagall [Martha Temperance Steagall Norris], 1867 File 14. Correspondence of Patti Steagall [Martha Temperance Steagall Norris], 1868-1869 File 15. Correspondence of Patti Steagall [Martha Temperance Steagall Norris], 1870-1891 File 16. Correspondence of Patti Steagall [Martha Temperance Steagall Norris], Exact dates unknown File 17. Memoirs of Confederados families by Kennie Bletz, Milton Adams, 1988, and [Julia] Norris.
Item number: File 18. Printed Materials viz. Methodist-Episcopal Church, South, Mission in Brazil, c. 1867-1874.
File 19. Newspaper & Magazine Clippings, 1960-1990
File 20. History of the Taylor-Hall families, 1684-1966
File 21. Confederados Genealogy: Auburn Conference July, 1992

Oversized materials

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