These are the diaries and other papers of Robert H. Cartmell (1828-1915), Madison County farmer. The papers are composed of an account book, clippings, letters, and thirty-three volumes of Mr. Cartmell’s diaries (the first four volumes of which have been typed and edited by Emma Inman Williams). There are two photographs of Mr. Cartmell.
Beginning in 1853, the diaries contain full commentaries on the nature of his farm operation, the weather, and the fluctuations of the cotton market. They contain thoughtful comments on politics and candidates for office and opinions on matters of public interest, such as the price of cotton, slavery, abolition, railroads, agricultural meetings, state fairs, prohibition, religion, secession, the Union, and conditions in Madison County during and after the Civil War. The diaries during the war years are filled with accounts of battles and the movements of Federal armies stationed in west Tennessee.
Except for a break from May, 1867 to January,1879, the journals are faithfully kept and rich with information through the early years of the twentieth century. Descriptions of farming have many interesting details, and the views expressed on public affairs are both literate and well-informed.