Skip to main content

Panton Leslie and Company Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: M1986-10

Scope and Contents

Editorial and research files of Dr. William S. Coker, Editor, the Papers of Panton, Leslie and Company. Includes an extensive body of correspondence, business papers, court records, and other documents relating to the British firm and its successors, John Leslie and Company, and John Forbes and Company, 1739-1847. The company, under a monopoly granted by the Spanish government, engaged in an extensive Indian trade throughout the Old Southwest, and continued under British and American governance. The documents in the editorial files, photocopied from depositories throughout the world, were selectively published on microfilm.

The papers touch virtually every aspect of frontier life in Spanish and British Florida and adjacent states. In addition to records of the company, the collection includes exhaustive documentation from other sources, historical publications, and writings (1900-1987) about the company, its massive trading empire in the Southeast United States, and company trading posts throughout present-day Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and operations in Tennessee, South Carolina, Cuba, the Bahamas, and London. Headquarters of the Company was Pensacola, Florida.

The emphasis of the collection is on Spanish-American relations with the Upper and Lower Creeks, Seminole, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes; the correspondence of members of the firm, including William Alexander (d. 1799), John Forbes (1769?-1823), Thomas Forbes (d. 1808), John Forrester, James Innerarity (1770?-1847), John Innerarity (1783-1854), John Leslie (1749?-1803), Robert Leslie (1758?-1798), Alexander McGillivray (1750-1793), William Panton (1742?-1801), and William Simpson (d. 1813); papers of related companies, such as Forbes, Munroe (Nassau), E. and J. Gairdner (Charleston), MacKenzie and Glennie (London), and Mather and Strother (Mobile); and U. S. officials such as Richard K. Call, Henry Dearborn, Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Jackson, Joseph M. White, and James Wilkinson.

Includes correspondence of Brithsh (and Spanish) East Florida officials including Patrick Tonyn, Thomas Brown, Vicente Manuel de Zespedes, Juan Nepomuceno Quesada, Enrique White, Juan de Estrada, Sebastian Kindelan and Jose Coppinger; and Spanish West Florida and Louisiana, including Arturo O'Neill, Vicente Folch y Juan, Francisco de St. Maxent, Matheo Gonzalez Manrique, Jose Masot, Jose Maria Callava, Estaban Miro, Baron de Carondelet, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, and Marques de Casa Calvo.

With papers relating to William Augustus Bowles, Louis Milfort, Chief Perryman, Peter McQueen, Edward Nicolls, George Woodbine, Robert C. Ambrister, Alexander Arbuthnot, Colin Mitchell, Edmund Doyle, and William Hambly.

A portion of the collected papers were microfilmed (MF 946--Panton, Leslie and Company Papers). In addition to the papers and research files, the microfilm research collection numbers 525 reels. Where possible, these have been described elsewhere in the Special Collections Manuscript Guide; nearly 100 reels are of spanish archival records from archives in Seville, Madrid and Simancas, Spain.


The purpose of the Panton, Leslie and Company Research Project was to bring together the history of the company through the gathering of company files, correspondence, and other documents scattered among libraries and archives throughout the world. As documents were identified, they were copied (photocopied from books, microfilm and archives) and filed chronologically by date. At the end of the project, the chronological company archives were microfilmed onto the 26-reel set of the Panton, Leslie and Company Papers (MF 946). The published Guide to the Panton, Leslie and Company Papers can be used as a chronological and index to both the collection (M1986-10) and the microfilm company records (MF 946).

These files, however, represent raw data. There is a folder for each document in the collection. Inside each folder is a photo reproduction of the document, along with correspondence, transcriptions, translations, and other information on the document, its subject, and writers. Except for the document itself, these were not reproduced on the miicrofilm.

It is important for researchers to also understand that to compile the 26-reel microfilm edition, it was necessary to acquire permission from each owner (library, archives, repositories) to reproduce the documents on microfilm. Roughly 10-15% of the owners refused such permission; thus of the ten thousand or more documents, only 8,357 documents appear on the microfilm. This collections (Accession: M1986-10), however, includes all documents gathered by the project, whether microfilmed or not.


  • created: 1739-1847
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1987


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers, dependent on our compliance with U.S. Copyright Law, HIPPA requirements, donor agreements and other applicable state and federal statutes. Occasionally we may need to review a collection before permitting immediate access.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography, scanning, and photocopying of materials is prohibited. Permission may be granted by the Special Collections Librarian for such reprography dependent on issues of copyright, ownership, condition, donor agreements, etc. In general, staff do not make reproductions of copyright materials or materials for which title is not owned by the institution. Recent revisions in the U.S. Copyright Law extended the copyright of correspondence, letters, and other personal papers to the life of the author plus seventy years.


19375.00 items

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Dr. William S. Coker and the Panton, Leslie and Company Research Office, 1987

Processing Information

Cataloged 06/28/1996


Panton Leslie and Company Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the UWF University Archives and West Florida History Center Repository

11000 University Parkway
Pensacola FL 32514 US
(850) 474-2213
(850) 474-3338 (Fax)