2. Earliest Archival Records

The earliest records in the holdings of the National Archives at Atlanta are replete with evidence of pirates and preachers, presidents and prisoners, the powerful and the poor. They represent the interaction of the Federal government with the lives of a diverse cross section of Americans. What emerges are glimpses of Southern life, part of the collective American experience.

1718 Minutes of the British Vice Admiralty Court

Admiralty courts have jurisdiction over crimes committed on the high seas. The minutes of the British Vice Admiralty Court, Charleston, South Carolina, are the earliest records at the National Archives at Atlanta. They date from 1718—seventy-one years before the establishment of the United States under the Constitution.

Pirate Major Stede Bonnet, a cohort of Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, was convicted of piracy and hanged. His trial is noted in the minutes of the vice admiralty court.


1718 Minutes of the Vice Admiralty Court

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1790-1860 Register of Aliens Admitted to Charleston

In the early days of the United States, Charleston, was a lively city and one of the wealthiest. The early settlers were primarily Anglo-Saxons, but other ethnic groups were also represented.


List of Aliens Admitted to Citizenship, 1790-1860

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1806 Indictment of Aaron Burr

In 1806, the third vice president of the United States was indicted for treason against his own country. Aaron Burr, vice president under Thomas Jefferson, was a political adventurer who allegedly schemed to form a new nation out of the West. He was acquitted in the Kentucky trial.


Burr's Portrait and the Indictment

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1825-1863 Slave Sale Documents