Abraham "Abram" Maury, Jr. (1766-1825), was born in Lunenburg, Virginia, to Abram Maury, Sr., and Susannah Poindexter. After struggling with debt issues in Virginia, Maury purchased a tobacco plantation near Franklin, Tennessee. Between 1808 and his death in 1825, Maury speculated heavily, and successfully, in land and cotton production throughout the South (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi). He served as a member of the Tennessee state legislature, and in 1820 as a land commissioner. He married Martha Branch Worsham and they had eight children, including Daniel Worsham (1799-1862), Abram Poindexter (1801-1848), Ann (1803-1876), Martha Fontain (b. 1807), and Zebulon Montgomery Pike (b. 1814).
Abram Poindexter Maury (1801-1848) was the son of Abram Maury, Jr., and was born on his father’s Tennessee plantation. Abram P. Maury entered West Point military academy at age 16, but left in 1821 to study law and apprentice as a newspaper editor. He worked on various papers, including the Nashville newspaper the Republican. In 1826, Maury married Mary Eliza Tennessee Claiborne (1806-1852), daughter of Sarah Terrell Lewis and Dr. Thomas Augustine Claiborne, whose family was politically well connected in the South. Maury served in the Tennessee state house of representatives in 1831, 1832, 1843, and 1844. He was elected to the United States Congress as an Anti-Jacksonian and a Whig in 1835 and 1837 but did not seek reelection. He was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1839, and practiced law in Williamson County. Maury died in 1848.
Abram P. Maury and his wife Mary Eliza had nine children: Martha Thomas (1827), Sarah Claiborne (1829), Mary Ferdinand (1830), Elizabeth James (1832), Josephine (1834), Abram Poindexter, Jr. (1836), Septima (1840), Octavia (1842), and Ferdinand Claiborne (1845). Other Maurys in the collection include Abram P. Maury's siblings, such as Ann Maury (1803-1876) and Daniel W. (ca. 1799-1862); and cousins, nieces, and nephews, such as James H.; James P.; Mary Eliza Tennessee Claiborne; Richard, Sr.; Sam, Thomas Tabb; and William Henry.
The collection contains letters of the Claiborne family , which was connected to the Maury family through Mary Eliza Claiborne's marriage to Abram P. Maury. Other Claibornes include Mary Eliza's uncle Nathaniel Herbert Claiborne (1777-1859), a Congressman from Virginia (1825-1837), and cousin John Franklin Hamtramck Claiborne (1807-1884), a United States congressman representing Mississippi from 1835 to 1838. Also of note is Macajah "Mac" Greene Lewis Claiborne (1808-1878), who was the son of Sarah Terrell Lewis and Dr. Thomas Augustine Claiborne. Mac married Tennessee native Lavina Cannon. He enlisted as a United States Navy midshipman in 1827 and served until 1849, when he resigned as a lieutenant. During his career, he sailed around the world and had missions in Brazil, China, Hawaii, Tahiti, and Java. After leaving the navy, Claiborne worked as a lawyer and as a member of the Nashville Board of Education.
Other contributors include Dr. Francis T. Reid; his sister-in-law Elizabeth "Betsy" Maury Reid; her son William S. Reid; Cary A. Harris, Superintendant of Indian affairs in 1836 and husband to Martha F. Maury, Abram P. Maury's sister; and Carey A.Harris, Jr.
Among the many letters from non-family members are several from Meredith Poindexter Gentry (1809-1866) who succeeded Abram P. Maury as the Tennessee representative to the United States Congress. Gentry practiced law in Williamson County, Tennessee; was elected to the state house of representatives in 1835 and 1837; and served in the United States Congress from 1839 to 1843, and from 1845 to 1853. During the Civil War, he served in the First and Second Confederate Congresses (1862-1863). He died in 1866 at his home in Nashville, Tennessee.